Intrigue walks it

A report from the Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally

Tuesday January 20th 2004, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
After two gruelling offshore passage races between Phuket and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, the 2nd Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally champ was crowned. Competitive racing and a lot of fun were the hallmarks this year and in the end Intrigue of Stornaway walked away with the top prize.

Winds were a consistent 12 plus knots as this year’s fleet of 9 jostled for position at the Stage One start line in Kata Bay, Phuket. Careful manoeuvring and perfect timing saw Rusalka, sailed by husband and wife team Kevin and Sheila Perrins, first over the line, closely followed by the 47ft S&S Ketch Emerald Blue, skippered by Nick Band and El Samali, the 49ft Van Der Stadt Sloop, with Philippe Roolant at the helm.

The rest of the fleet, including the classic 72ft Van Der Stadt Ketch Stormvogel, skippered by Italian businessman Ermanno Traverso, was not far behind. Intrigue of Stornaway, the 59ft Warwick Sloop skippered by Gary Foster, was last over after having problems with the main sail.

The fleet raced in good breezes all the way to Port Blair, with the leading boats chasing the 48-hour record. First over the line was Stormvogel in a time of 48 hours and 52 seconds, a whisker too slow to set a new record. And after time correction Stormvogel finished a disappointing third, behind Intrigue of Stornaway, and Rusalka respectively.

After the excitement of what was the first offshore passage race for some, and the first time to the Andaman Islands, all boats headed off to explore the archipelago. An old British Colony, evidence of Port Blair’s past is all around - colonial-style buildings, old churches… A group of 572 islands (including the Nicobar group) 420nm from Phuket, the Andaman Islands is one of Asia’s last cruising frontiers with great diving and snorkelling and pristine beaches.

Boats lined up off Port Blair for the return race on the 15th January. Two harbour master boats and the Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands oversaw the start. The first 24-hours saw 15 knots plus of consistent wind, only to drop out to almost nothing. The next few hours proved difficult for all and tested tactical skills to the full.

46 hours and 55 minutes after the start, Intrigue of Stornaway crossed the finish line in Kata Bay. The 48-hour mark was smashed, and a new record set. Even with a spell of light winds Gary Foster and crew brought home Intrigue of Stornaway in record time. Despite this, after time correction Stormvogel finished first on Stage Two, with Intrigue of Stornaway second and El Samali a commendable third.

Congratulations to Intrigue of Stornaway were given by all at the party that evening, hosted by Kata Beach Resort, and presided over by the Governor of Phuket. After two passage races covering 420nm, the 2nd Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally champ was crowned. Intrigue of Stornaway took the honours in the sailing class, followed by Stormvogel and El Samali. And Mozart, skippered by Wolfgang Riessbacher took first place overall in the Multihull Class.

The Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally is sponsored by Kata Group of hotels and resorts, The Nation newspaper, Beer Chang, Far Away Sail and Dive Expeditions, Radio 100, Simple Computers and Noonsite. The event is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Phuket Chamber of Commerce and the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event is organised by Yacht Solutions Marine Operations.

Results

Overall

1st Intrigue of Stornaway
2nd Stormvogel
3rd El Samali
Multihull Class
1st Mozart


Stage 2 (Port Blair to Phuket)
1st Stormvogel
2nd Intrigue of Stornaway
3rd El Samali


Stage 1 (Phuket to Port Blair)
1st Intrigue of Stornaway
2nd Russalka
3rd Stormvogel

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