Drinking and driving is dangerous and unquestionably do not mix. But when it comes to single malt Scotch whiskies and sailing, that seems to be a whole different story.
Many have won mobiles phones and television sets; luckier ones received a weekend holiday for two; few have walked away with cars and condominiums. Yet, despite the myriad of lucky draws and contests surrounding us each day, those that truly cements a lasting experience are far and few between.
Hence, when International Beverage organised a contest for customers of its Old Pulteney single malt Scotch whisky with a voyage on a sail boat as the carrot, the overwhelming response was understandable. Activated across leading taverns throughout the Klang Valley over a six-week period, the Old Pulteney Maritime Series Party 2014 proved to be an effective campaign for the brand’s owner and for the selected outlets.
“We wanted to do something different from the norm. It’s an exclusive platform which enables the brand to communicate and engage consumers consistently throughout the contest period to drive key brand messages and to serve as a prelude to next year’s larger event activation series,” explains Lydia Yong, sales manager of InterBev Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Established in 2006 as the international arm of ThaiBev, International Beverage specialises in developing distinctive, premium Scotch whiskies, beers, spirits and whiskies for over 85 global markets. Amongst the prominent brands under the group include Chang Beer, Mekhong, Hankey Bannister blended whisky, Caorunn Gin and Old Pulteney single malt Scotch whisky. Its non-alcohol business is driven by the popular Oishi green tea and a portfolio of other water and soft drinks brands.
Voted “World Whisky of the Year” for 2012, Old Pulteney, which is crafted in the coastal town of Wick in Scotland, is widely known as the maritime malt for its long standing support of sailing and maritime adventures across the globe. Extending its reach to Malaysian shores, Old Pulteney was a sponsor of the Cabaret 6 that competed in the recent 2014 Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta (RMSIR).
“This event was perfect for us to as it mirrors the maritime heritage of the brand, as well as provided our customers with the opportunity to win a weekend getaway for two at a 5-star resort including an all-expenses paid trip to Langkawi, and most valuable of all, a memorable experience sailing on the Old Pulteney Cabaret 6 yacht at an international regatta event,” says Yong.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the offshore sailing race was established in 1990 and organised annually by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. This edition saw forty yachts, divided across seven classes, and 370 crew members sailing across 418.43km from Port Klang to Langkawi over three overnight passage races and three days of harbour racing.
“The beauty of this event is that it is a wonderful blend of open sea racing, a series of offshore passages combined with inshore races across the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia with stopovers at the three beautiful islands,” points out Old Pulteney Cabaret 6’s skipper Jeremy Camps.
In addition to the racing, which attracts a large variety of yachts, from top class racers to slow classic cruisers dating back over 100 years, the event also provided competitors and guests with nightly regatta dinners and onshore activities.
The RMSIR is the fourth point scoring regatta on the annual Asian Yachting Grand Prix (AYGP), where all the skippers and yachts are awarded points based on their overall placing that goes toward being crowned the 2014-15 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year.
Wind; now you see it, now you don’t
Competing in the Class 4 category, Camps had high hopes leading up to the start in Port Klang. Although his boat did not have the latest technology and top speed to compete head-on with some of the other leading contenders, the 71-year-old skipper was initially confident that his crew of experience hands would be able to help them stay in contention.
“We were looking to be amongst the top three in our class, but as it turns out, the weather was not favourable to us,” says Camps, who is also owner of the 35ft Swedish-made Maxi Mixer boat. “The toughest part of this year’s race was during the passage race from Port Klang to Pangkor where we were greeted with a major downpour, huge waves, lightings and some very chancy conditions. It was really frantic as we all worked like crazy just to keep us afloat.”
True to its reputation as one of the more demanding regattas around the region, the 120.38km route from Pangkor to Langkawi served up a complete different challenge with the wind disappearing at one point, leaving most of the fleet parked out in the water for almost five hours, turning it into one of the slowest passage races in the regatta’s 25-year history.
“There was absolutely nothing we could do, as we just sat, waited nervously and prayed that the wind would return to push us towards the finishing line. It was a very frustrating time for the whole crew as we were doing rather well and could have finished strongly. When the wind did pick up sluggishly, our boat was just too far back,” says Camps, who has been sailing since the age of 14.
Built in 1984, the boat comes across as a nice balanced between a racer and a classic as she proudly shows of its wooden fittings alongside some sleek modern gears. The Briton skipper and his crew of six, which includes 4 Malaysians, are regulars on the Asian circuit. He sees this collaboration with International Beverage as a good platform to further promote sailing to the local communities.
“As we travel across the country, besides promoting our sponsor’s brand, Malaysians are able to see for themselves the different variety of boats and to meet up with us personally to learn more about the sport,” says the 1964 Olympic trialist.
All hands on deck
Thankfully for the four lucky contest winners, they did not have to endure those horrid conditions when it was their turn to take to the seas on the Old Pulteney Cabaret 6. For Ogawa Group executive director Patrick Lim, it was an opportunity that he was dreaming off to accomplish for a very long time. He and his friends were at 32 Bistro Bar in Puchong when he was informed of the contest and ended up purchasing four bottles of Old Pulteney that night.
“When I submitted my details for the contest, I wasn’t confident of winning as I had never won any contest or lucky draws throughout my life. Hence, when the contest organisers informed me that I had won myself the trip, I was initially shocked and could not believe my luck!” remarks the 44-year-old from Petaling Jaya who was first acquainted with the whisky brand five years ago.
Lim, who was accompanied by his wife Cherlyn Seah, said that they both enjoyed the trip, which was very relaxed and although his wife was initially hesitant to board the boat, she was clearly thrilled by the end of the hour-long ride.
“The weather was sunny and the sea was very calm. We had the occasional strong winds but we also got to experience complete stillness when there was no wind at all,” states the father of three.
The couple was joined by another contest winner Datuk Dr Edwen Yew, a property investor who was harbouring plans to get himself a yacht or sail boat prior to the trip.
“I was recently looking around for the right boat so that I can bring my family out to sea and also at times to entertain business clients. But I haven’t had the time to find out more about sailboats and also to speak with boat owners. As such, this event was perfect for me to learn and speak with them,” explains the 36-year-old entrepreneur, who had entered the contest with his purchase of five bottles of Old Pulteney at Bluu Club & Bistro in Mont Kiara.
Having first tasted the malt a year back, Yew finds the brand well-suited to his taste as it was milder than many others and also has a distinctive aromatic flavour that he and his friends have come to enjoy.
“This outing enabled me to better appreciate sailing as it was great having the chance to steer the boat with my own hands. After this, I’m definitely going to get down to finalising the purchase of my own boat,” reveals Yew who brought along his long-time friend Jimmy Chong.
While it was clear skies and smooth sailing for the lucky four, the winds played to a complete different tune throughout the week-long race, culminated with irregular wind conditions on the final day, which produced some interesting challenges during the harbour races at Kuah Harbour in Langkawi.
In the end, it was local familiarity that enabled defending champion Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI to emerge as the winner of the Raja Muda Cup (Class One). Geoff Hill’s Antipodes won the Jugra Challenge Cup (Class Two) followed by the other classes’ winners Gordon Ketelby’s Fujin (Class Three), Mike Downard’s Piccolo (Class Four), Philip Auger’s Sophia (Class Five), Barry Wickett’s Kay Sira (Class Six) and Rolf Heemskerk’s Hurricane (Class Seven). Fujin was also awarded the Mount Gay Passage Race Award.
Year-long floating billboard
Old Pulteney had participated at this year’s Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, a record-breaking 40,000 nautical mile (64,000km) race around the world on 70-foot ocean-racing yachts for amateur seafaring enthusiasts.
Stretching over a one-year period from 28 August 2013 to July 2014, the arduous competition started from UK and passed through 16 ports on six continents including French Port of Brest, Rio, Cape Town, Australia, Singapore, Qingdao, San Francisco, Panama, Jamaica and New York, before finishing in London.
As the only race in the world where skippers are supplied with a fleet of 12 identical racing yachts, Old Pulteney, whose crew included retired engineers, taxi drivers and housewives, was amongst the participants at this year’s race, which featured 670 crew members from more than 40 nations.
Speak like a sailor
- Port – Facing forward, this is anything to the left of the boat.
- Starboard – Facing forward, this is anything to the right of the boat.
- Bow/Stern – The bow is the front of the boat, the stern is the back.
- Point of sail – The boat’s direction relative to the wind.
- Helm – Where you steer the boat. Usually this is a big wheel, but on smaller boats it can be a tiller, which is basically a long wooden stick used to control the boat’s rudder.
- Keel – The keel is a long, heavy fin on the bottom of the boat that sticks down into the water and it provides stability.
- Heeling – This is the term for when a sailboat leans over in the water, pushed by the wind.
- Lines: On board a boat, this is what you say instead of “ropes”.
- Mainsail – The big triangular sail just aft of the sailboat’s mast. As the name suggests, this is the boat’s largest and most important sail.
- Jib – The next most common sail on any boat. The jib can always be found forward of the mast.