Photo: Guy Nowell

Freefire off to a strong start

Phuket King's Cup sets sail

Monday December 5th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Thailand

2011’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta featured one of the highest quality fleets in the competition’s history. Monday morning brought cool weather and good conditions with shifting winds that dropped off later providing competitors with tactical challenges in the second race of the day.

In the IRC Zero class, Sam Chan’s team from Hong Kong got off to a flyer with the handicap win on Freefire, staking an early claim for the title. The team placed third in the second race, yielding to Team Premier by just three seconds on corrected time. Frank Pong’s team suffered a torn spinnaker, resulting in Jelik II finishing fourth in both races.

In IRC1, Japanese skipper Yasuo Nanamori and Karasu were strong in the first race with a clear win but slipped to sixth place in the second race of the afternoon as they struggled in the lighter breeze. Nick Burns skippered EFG Bank Mandrake team to first place in Race Two by a mere three seconds on corrected time from Katsu.

Matt Allen, skipper of Ichi Ban, which was damaged when it ran aground on Kata Beach last week, said: "I’m so proud of the guys; we had only 24 hours to repair the rudder and carry out repairs to the keel whilst underwater. We were not sure if we would be able to start, and that was fifteen minutes before we started. We finished fifth and ninth, but when I consider what everyone’s been through, I’m fairly happy. The level of competition has not gone up a notch this year – it’s probably gone up three."

Royal Thai Navy 1 also put in a superb performance in IRC2, with Wiwat Poonpat’s crew winning the first race. The second race went to Peter Dyer’s Team Kata Rocks, which is looking strong. Dyer said: "Halfway through, you get this feeling as if you know you’re going to win. If the winds pick up, it will suit some of the other teams more. You can see what the boats in front owe in terms of corrected time; you can work out where you’re going to finish"

The 82ft Swan Chao Ren Plus One with an all-Chinese crew put on a majestic display in her first ever Phuket King's Cup and finished third on handicap, after fighting a close battle with Titania of Cowes. Eventually, the smaller Swan 68 won on correct time with Baby Tonga Strongbow second.

In the Cruising Class, Aquacraft Asia’s Odin crossed the line first with enough lead to ensure the handicap win ahead of Astraeus. In the Firefly 850 Sports Class, Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi took top spot, sealed by the team’s second victory in race two. The 11 competing entries in the Multihull Class offered close racing with the Thai-registered DaVinci just beating out Alan Carwardine’s Sidewinder team by 90 seconds. Sidewinder came back strongly in race two, taking it by over seven minutes on corrected time.

In the Bareboat Charter Class, Venture took the win from Sail Plane. In the Modern Classic Class 12 minutes separated the top four finishes; Windstar beat out Poco by just 20 seconds.

The International Dinghy Classes raced a three-day series which concluded today; Akapoj 'Tik' Kankaew claimed two first place Optimist finishes and a raft of runner-up spots, putting him ahead of nearest rival, Sutida Poonpat. In the Laser Class, Patteera Mee-u-Samsen had a tearaway victory, taking four wins from the six races.

Sponsors of the 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta include Kata Group Resorts Thailand, PTT Group, Siam Winery, Singha Corporation, AIA Thailand, PTT Global Chemical, PTTEP, Thai Oil, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Boathouse and Sunsail. Media Partners include 91.5FM, Helm Superyacht Asia Pacific, The Nation, Phuket Best Group, Phuket Gazette, Phuket Magazine,, SEA Yachting and YachtStyle Asia.

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