The Neptune group are a bunch of adventurous types that enjoy sailing to a deserted island right next to THE Line.
It's the world's only equator race. It's the best opportunity for most sailors to cross THE Line!..
This year Chnese New Year was in February but it does shift in accoradance with the Lunar Calendar which just happens to be the windiest part of the year!
Because you can!
It races through the Riau Archipelago start and finish is in Nongsa Point Marina but you take in Fishead Island and Neptune Island along the way.
The Great Neptune Adventure '16
The world's only equator race.
When you set foot there..
You will feel like a great explorer casting the first foot prints on some foreign land... Because you are. Especially if you sail fast like Damian and Team Kaze and get their first!. 'Neptune Island' lies just 8nm from The Line and is uninhabited all year until the fleet arrives. The trimaran fleet has a sneaky advantage in that it can park right on the beach.
For 2016, the Neptune Regatta kicked off with a very healthy 25 knot NE Monsoon blowing it's best. The opening 40nm race from Nongsa Point Marina to Fishead Island didn't start in front of the Marina as usual but from the first Gate at Lobam Island. Lobam is loctaed in the channel between Batam and Bintan Islands and so that would remove the wave action and allow everyone a safe passage to Fishead.
Fishead Island is a private island tucked within the waterway channels at the bottom of Bintan Island. Getting there is pretty straight forward and for the multihull fleet, it turns into one of the best broad reach legs of any on the Southeast Asian racing circuit. The wind progresses around from 160 degrees True to about 120 and then 90! It's a great run under kite and then switch to Screecher for an ultimate blast. First day's reports of people sustaining 15 knots for 20 minutes translated into a lot of smiles at Fishead only to be diluted with lots of alcohol.
The Neptune is a major exercise in logisitics as 20 tonnes of gear have to find their way south on an assortment of boats. So while the sailors are busy bragging there's a multitude of tasks going on in the background!
The best summary we have heard for the 2016 event comes from Damien, skipper of Kaze II (Corsair Dash750)...
"I don't know if it is the same for you, but this Neptune has been one of the best week in my life! For sure winning it was the icing on the cake. But it would never have been as good without:
- the non stop competition with jaza too. Really annoying those French. Please stay in your own country!
- meeting so many new nice people, starting by you phil, Jo, Tim, Lauren, Sacha and Ricky.
- the 5 boats beached next to each other with sharing food and drink sitting all relaxed.
- FREE bar. No need to say more on that subject.
- super DJs and LOUD speakers on Neptune island.
- bloody strong wind, rain, swell on the very first day.
Lucky Clive managed to carry on the race on that first day. It is so painful to see a trimaran retiring. Specially with a crew like that.
- the stop at karas besar. Olalala, this was simply titanium class party. The only problem is: we need to start thinking how we can do an even wilder party at that place next year, AND keeping two key factors: not injuring ourselves, not damaging the boats.
- the wind directions and strength: it was so much better than the last two years for the long legs. Just one example: Karas besar to Nongsa without a single tack and in 3h41 min. Wow.
- plenty of ladies. This change a lot the atmosphere of the race compare to a 80% smelly men regatta. It looks nicer, it smells nicer, it avoids talking only about boats, beer and work, it does better massage (maybe subjective here). The only regret here: finishing the last night in Gael's room. Ho, I forgot one more point on the ladies subject: I love pushing them in waters. But Amy won, and I was the very first one in the pool. Thanks Amy!
- an organization that really goes really extra mile. Without them, I would have spent my Chinese New Year eating steam boat with sea cucumber (I hate that) and losing money by playing mahjong all night. Oho. No thank you, I prefer sailing.
Ok. That is part 1. I will write part 2 later."
Here's a book we created to mark the first inclusion of our Dash 750's.
Pulau Batam is the gateway to the Riau Archipelago of Indonesia and the rest of her 16,500 islands! It's a stones-throw from Singapore but a world of difference! In the 80's Galang Island was a refugee centre processing some 200,000 Vietnamese refugees before closing it's doors in 2005. Further back in history it was the centre of the Malay World!
For those in the Dash Fleet, the best part was the raft up at Pulau Keras, the overnight stopping point on the 'long way home' from Neptune back to Nongsa Point Marina. We are guessing that the 'French Team' became the centr eof entertainmet for the evening with everyone bringing a bottle of their best to the partie!