Firefly Review–Episode 17: I’m HOT enough to get WET!
Sailing with world class professionals on board the Foundation 36 (F36) yacht, being up-close and personal experiencing the pros at work on an actual race flight, getting soaking wet in the midst of the race thanks to the monsoon rain, chill out with the pro right after a match race.
These are just some of the ‘once in a lifetime’ journey that I experienced last week in the Monsoon Cup 2009! Thanks to Firefly Airlines, I am still literally on cloud nine about the whole “Hot Seat” experience in Pulau Duyong Terengganu.
Its all begin a couple of weeks back when I was chosen as one of the 4 winners for the Firefly Airlines Monsoon Cup Hot Seat Contest. Being the contest winner, I had the privilege to be flown to Monsoon Cup to experience being part of the race on the Hot Seat, a special spot for an observer on board the F36 yacht during the race flight.
It would be impossible to capture the whole experience in words and photos but here are some snapshots of the experience of a lifetime! 🙂
December 3rd 2009- Thursday
An early morning Firefly flight on board 9M-FYA, ATR72-500. A smooth flight despite the overcast clouds and rainy weather.
Spent some time doing last minute revision on Monsoon Cup, thanks to this info card from the seat pocket.
As expected it was raining that morning in Terengganu, a usual sight in Monsoon Season.
Monsoon Cup is obviously a big thing in Terengganu. Locals are talking about it and almost everywhere, you can see something on Monsoon Cup, including this baggage carrousel.
and buntings throughout Kuala Terengganu. I find “Pakat Gi Ramai-ramai” wordings rather cute!
After a short drive I find myself at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa in Pulau Duyong, the venue of Monsoon Cup.
The home of the tenth and final event on the World Match Racing Tour.
Sights of a world-class sailing event!
Being able to witness live such a grand event with millions of people watching at home from all over the world made me very proud of Malaysia. It was definitely a great platform to promote images of Terengganu and Malaysia to the whole world not to forget the local brand names such as Firefly whose brandings can be seen throughout the venue. Well done!
It was a round-robin competition day with many race flights from morning till the evening. It was interesting to see the close one-on-one races including those involving Taring Pelangi our sole Malaysian representative.
While it was entertaining just watching the race live, I was there for a mission. To be on the HOT SEAT and part of the race!
A brief explanation of what’s The Hot Seat all about!
Meet Linda, one of the person in-charge of the Hot Seat. We had a big laugh that morning as she could not believe my weight! Since Hot Seat is part of an actual race, our weight were taken into consideration to ensure fair race to both parties. I blamed it on the muffins I took that morning on board Firefly! 😛
I was so heavy that the other boat has to take all three of this mineral water to match my weight!
I was randomly assigned to the Minoprio team on the Firefly F36 boat! Cameras were not allowed so no close-up photos during the race.
I was glad that I did not take my camera along as most of the time I had to fully concentrate on the race. While I factually have no function being on the Hot Seat, I still have to follow the instructions of the skipper.
The skipper, Adam Minoprio is a friendly yet very professional guy. Before our race flight started, we had a short chat with the rest of the crew and I told them a bit about my blogging assignments and Firefly Airlines and they only have good words about the airline!
The guys were super serious during the race and I was shifting side from one side to another throughout the race. In those 20 minutes at least 10 times we were switching sides to give the optimum balance to the boat. The tension and anxiety were super high with skippers from both teams giving instructions and coming out with the best strategy.
Halfway through the race, the monsoon hit us and we were drenched by the sudden downpour. The race went on and Minoprio won that particular flight after a great strategy that brought them ahead of the competitor at the last stretch of the course. Minoprio ultimately went on to win Monsoon Cup!
It was one heck of an experience witnessing the guys maneuvering the boat, strategizing to win the race. The guys are sharp and both psychologically and physically strong and not to mention have the look and appearance to die for. They were so fit that throughout the 30 minutes in the boat, I was the most ‘out-of-shaped’ guy and look like a pink panda on the Hot Seat in between the good looking guys!
Being on the Hot Seat alone was enough to make the trip worthwhile. As the contest winner, I also had the opportunity to access the Firefly hospitality lounge and enjoy the race at the comfort of the lounge. A great view of the race with free flow of food and beverages!
Monsoon Cup is not just about the race. It’s also a week long carnival at the race venue and around Kuala Terengganu. Throughout the race days, thousands of locals enjoyed the carnival. Local games, mini zoo, trishaw ride, mini concert, flight simulator, batik demonstration are some of the activities held at the race venue!
Being one of the main sponsors, Firefly had its presence felt by everyone.
Never in my life would I imagine myself on a racing boat in an actual race in Monsoon Cup. Through Firefly Airlines, I had this money-can’t-buy experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
All I can say is just that being pampered as the contest winner in such a nice way means a lot more than just “thank you” can say! Nevertheless thank you from the bottom of my heart.