Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Nine countries participate in Borneo Yacht Challenge

MIRI: Twenty-eight yachts from nine countries set off on the Borneo International Yachting Challenge (BIYC) here yesterday.

The yachts from Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Switzerland and Malaysia are from 3 categories, namely 5 IRC class, 3 multi – hull and 20 cruising class.

The event, which started in 2003 just after the completion of the Miri Marina, enters its 10th anniversary this year.

Organising committee co-chairman, Datuk Lee Kim Shin who is also Assistant Minister of Sports said, “The organising committee has proposed that the event profile be further raised internationally.

“Being the one and only international yachting event in Borneo, there is great potential for its future growth,” said Lee in a speech delivered by Miri Resident Antonio Khati Galis to welcome the participants here yesterday.

Modelled after the famous Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, BIYC participants sailed from a city to an island (hence Miri to Labuan), covering a distance of about 160 nautical miles.

According to Lee, the inaugural race attracted 13 yachts from a number of countries.

Two of the yachts were local, namely the Sarawak Sea Horse and the Ulu Mulu. From then on, the event was held annually, with the exception of one year when there was the SARS epidemic.

The event has been growing and three years ago it was extended to Kota Kinabalu on the request of the Sabah Tourism Board and the Sutera Harbour Marina.