In the bag for Pryde

As Hi-Fi takes the Racing Division at the Phuket King's Cup

Saturday December 5th 2009, Author: Tracey Johnstone, Location: United Kingdom
There was nothing gentle about the racing or the conditions on the 23rd Phuket King’s Cup courses today as the international fleet fought for podium finishes across the 11 divisions. Hiked out hard on the rail the racing divisions completed two windward/leeward races while the cruiser/racers completed one triangle course.

The stars of the day were the skippers and crews who were all worthy winners – Neil Pryde’s Hi-Fi (Racing), Anthony Hastings’s Baby Tonga Hideaways Club (Premier), Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban (IRC1), CPO Wiwat Poonpat’s Royal Thai Navy 1 (IRC2), Anthony Hasting’s Princess Sharda (Bareboat Charter), Peter Wood’s Windstar (Modern Classic), Rod Heikell’s Skylax (Cruising), Brent Gribble's Twin Sharks (Firefly 850), Henry Kaye and Fergus Wilmer’s Thor (Multihull Racing), Timothy Robins’s Nipper (Multihull Cruising) and Rene Tiemessen’s Alondra (Classic).

"Today there was no question - we killed them," Hi-Fi owner Neil Pryde announced as his crew joined him in on enjoying the fruits of their hard-fought Racing division victory. The last two King’s Cup Pryde has lost first place on a count back. This time he takes hold of the trophy with no doubts as to the ability of his boat, his crew and himself.

"This is a great result. We won by a pretty good margin in the end. It wasn’t as hard as we expected although it was a tough regatta from a nerves point of view. It was a tough regatta with difficult conditions." Even with stronger winds kicking in earlier in the regatta Pryde said he would have been confident of Hi-Fi still being in there. "Ray and Evolution Racing looked pretty good today. We were obviously sailing conservatively today. We didn’t push it too hard and we used a smaller jib, a number four. I think if we had really been going for it we would have been with them," said Pryde.

The fleet headed out today motoring past the Royal Navy flagship shouting three cheers for the King and long live the King in response to the formal salute, all in celebration of the King of Thailand's birthday. On the course they were met with similar conditions to yesterday of lumpy sea conditions and 17 plus knots breeze gusting to over 21 knots.

The carnage of yesterday also continued with one broken mast and several damaged sails. Even now there are protests to be heard, but none which will affect the top places.

Another very pleased skipper was Ichi Ban's Matt Allen who achieved a clean sweep of the IRC1 division successfully defending his 2008 title. "We are really happy. The boat is going well. The one time we got ourselves buried in the first longer race, we dug ourselves out. The rest of the time we seemed to be picking the shifts well. The boat was changing gears nicely. We seemed to be right down to pretty light airs and when we had the windier stuff, we were still leading the pack.

"A lot of people think these boats are light air fliers, but they go up to the higher wind range without too much trouble. It was nice to come out with a win again in the second last race. We then decided not to do the last race given the wind conditions.

"Our boat has done six regattas, so it is time to do a bit of repair and maintenance."

Allen now heads directly back to Sydney to start preparing his modified Volvo 70 for the Rolex Series and Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

In his first King’s Cup Regatta, Canadian Olympic silver medallist in the Flying Dutchman class in 1984 and helmsman winning helmsman in the Bareboat Charter division, Terry McLaughlin of Princess Sharda found the event an interesting experience. "I have been sailing with a crew that for the most part are not overly experienced and the boat is a charter boat with charter sails, just not what I am used to. There was a certain level of frustration that had to be dealt with. We got through it and had some fun. The crew got better and better every race. It was good racing and good winds and I would like to be back again."

A clearly delighted , Brent Gribble skipper of Twin Sharks, the Firefly 850 winner, said: "This is the first time Twin Sharks has won a regatta. It's had lots of seconds, but this is the first regatta the boat has won. We chose not to sail the last race as we had enough points to win and we didn’t want to break anything on the boat. Even in race eight we had our small jib and spinnaker, and a reef in the main to make sure we finished the race as we didn’t want to break anything and miss out on two race results.

"With the designer Mark Pescott on the boat and our crew we sailed a very calculated and safe regatta. We tried in the first two days to sail fast and in the second half we sailed conservatively. We beat the boats we needed to beat and didn’t break the boat.'

Top three places in each division:

Racing – 1. Hi-Fi (Neil Pryde), 2-4-1-1-1-2-2-dns; 2. Jelik II (Frank Pong), 5-1-2-5-5-4-1-2-3; 3. Evolution Racing (Ray Roberts). 6-5-4-3-3-3-3-1-1. Jelik II and Evolution Racing finished equal second on 28 points after their worst race result drop. On count back Jelik II held onto second place with Evolution Racing moving into third.

Premier – 1. Baby Tonga Hideaways Club (Anthony Hastings), 1-1-2-2-2-1; 2. Shatoosh (Robert Tanner), 3-2-1-2-1-4; 3. Australian Maid (Jon Wardill), 2-3-3-4-3-3.

IRC1 - 1. Ichi Ban (Matt Allen), 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-dns; 2. Koull Baby (Peter Wintle), 2-9-3-4-3-2-5-3-1; 3. Switchblade (Yasuo Nanmori), 5-2-5-5-2-4-3-2,dns.

IRC2 – 1. Royal Thai Navy 1 (CPO Wiwat Poonpat), 3-3-6-4-1-1-1-1-1; 2. Team Bentley (Peter Bentley), 2-4-1-1-2-5-2-3-3; 3. Skandia Endeavour of Whitby (Stuart Williamson), 1-9-4-2-3-4-5-2-6.

Bareboat Charter – Princess Sharda (Terry McLaughlin), 4-3-1-1-1-2; 3. Little Eva (John Ford), 2-5-6-3-2-5; Fidgi (Keisuke Nagamatsu), 7-4-2-2-3-8.

Modern Classic – 1. Windstar (Peter Wood), 1-1-1-1-2-2; 2. Emerald Blue (Nick Band), 2-2-2-2-1-1; 3. Pytheas Aura (Reinhard Haiber), 5-3-3-3-7-4.

Cruising – 1. Skylax (Rod Heikell), 2-3-1-2-1; 2. Simba (Bob Ashman), 1-2-2-1-2; Rainbow Dream (Simon Piff), 5-1-3-3-6.

Firefly 850 Sports – 1. Twin Sharks (Brent Gribble), 2-1-1-1-3-3-1-3-dns; 2. Voodoo (Hans Rhaman), 1-2-2-2-1-5-3-2-1; 3. SEA Property (Damian Ford), 3-2-4-3-2-1-2-1-dnf.

Multihull Racing – 1. Thor (Henry Kaye & Fergus Wilmer), 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1; 2. Miss Saigon (David Liddell), 8-4-3-2-2-2-2-2-2; 3. Shanghai Baby (Neil Ayre), 5-5-4-4-3-5-3-6-3.

Multihull Cruising – 1. Nipper (Timothy Robins), 3-3-1-1-1, 2. Sunfish III (Yoshaki Fujitani), 3-3-3-3-2.

Classic – 1. Alondra (Rene Tiemessen), 4-1-1-4-1; 2. Schwalbe (Christopher Edwards), 1-3-3-4-3; 3. Sirius (Simon Morris), 4-2-2-4-2.

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