“The Marina Bay Regatta, if realised next year, will become a fun yacht race that will involve the participation of local and international sailors.
“Not to mention the beautiful waters of Miri and the breathtaking views on the shore and off the coast, with the scattering of oil rigs – all these will certainly provide a unique experience to the participants and boost local tourism.”
Lee said this at a dinner reception at the Marina Clubhouse here on Saturday, in welcoming the arrival of over 50 yacht crew who had just attended the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2023 in Kuching recently.
The crew from the United States, Canada, German, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Indonesia will spend several days in Miri to visit Lambir National Park and Niah Caves before sailing home.
Lee, who is patron of Sarawak Sailing Association, also urged the visitors to make a trip to Mulu National Park while in Miri to explore the beauty of the Unesco world heritage site.
On the proposed Marina Bay Regatta, he recalled that Miri had once organised a long-distance yachting race known as the Borneo International Yachting Challenge (BIYC), which involved a distance of 167 nautical miles from Miri to Labuan to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
He hoped that BIYC can be revived to further promote the sport of sailing in Miri.
“After over 10 years of organising BIYC together with the Sarawak Tourism Board, I went from being a novice in sailing and organising yachting races to being ‘experienced’ and eventually learned a lot about it,” said the Senadin assemblyman.
The last time BIYC was held, he said, was its 14th edition in 2019, just before outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that put all social, economic and sport activities around the world to a halt.
BIYC which started in 2004 has been running for 11 consecutive years as an annual race event in Miri and Sarawak.
It was then postponed for two years, in 2016 and 2017, before it made a comeback in 2017 with a new format for the 12th edition of the race, followed by 2018 and 2019.
Also present at the event was the managing director of Sail Malaysia and chairman of Malaysia Cruise, Marine, Tourism Association, Sazli Kamal Basha.