With Its 19th Edition Underway, the Royal Langkawi International Regatta Returns!

During the 17th RLIR, sailors competed in the Kuah Harbour races
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Following a tough calendar for the last two years, Langkawi’s long-running international regatta has once again taken over the picturesque seas around the popular island.

The Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) is finally back in full swing after a two-year break due, of course, to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 19th edition of the popular, long-running regatta is now underway!

With 25 registered boats this year – counting one newcomer amongst them – from six countries (Malaysia, Thailand, UK, Australia, Denmark, and Austria), a total of 177 participants will compete in five classes in a maximum of 10 races over a period of five days from January 10 to 14, 2023 in the beautiful waters around Langkawi and Kuah Harbour.

A local crew heads to their boat

Of the 25 sailing boats in the 19th RLIR, two are competing in Racing Class, seven in IRC1, five in Sportsboats, six in Multihull, and five in Club Class.

The first racing day, the ‘LADA Race Day 1’, started with some rather flaky winds, ranging only between 3 and 5 knots, resulting in the Principal Race Officer Simon James’ decision to postpone the first start. Finally the flag came down at 11.59am for the first race to take off.

Malaysia’s Navy regularly participates in the RLIR

After the first race, the wind slowed down again. For a while, it seemed a second race was in doubt, but the wind eventually picked up and all classes except Club Class were able to compete in a second race with up to 10 knots of wind which brought the first racing day to an enjoyable finish.

The first day’s winner in the racing class was regular RLIR participant THA72 skippered by Nappakao Poonpat and Kevin Whitcraft. Another regular in the IRC1 class, Mata Hari, skippered by Vincent Chan, won both races followed by Phoenix skippered by Niels Degenkolw.

Meanwhile, Rizal Mahadi bin Sazili topped the table for the RSYC Team in the Sportsboat class, winning both races and John Newnham secured first place with Twin Sharks in the Multihall class. Finally, Marikh, skippered by Jamil bin Ahmad Uruya took the honours in Club Class in only once race.

All in all, it was a good start for this year’s RLIR, the first international event on the annual Malaysian Tourism Calendar.

Day 2 was beset by even more finicky winds, but hopes remained high for stiffer breezes as the week continued! For a quick highlight, check out the video below from Icarus Sports.

Courtesy of YouTube and Icarus Sports

There has been a great sense of community, competition, and fun, and it’s great to see such popular international events as Langkawi’s regatta back on the calendar after a lengthy hiatus.


Following the conclusion of the RLIR over the weekend, we’ll be sure to publish the results and winners in all classes!

Sunset from the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club

For complete day-by-day updates and detailed race results, visit or follow on Instagram @langkawiregatta. #rlir2023

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