By AsianYachting MultiMedia
06 Dec 2013: The sun was out, parts of the sky were blue, a 12 to 15 knot North Easterly blowing and the sea returned to a darker shade of blue, are conditions we have grown to expect at the Phuket King's Cup in early December. After experiencing heavy overcast skies and scattered showers for most of the week, it was great to get rid of the many shades of gray and bring back some natural colours into the picture frame. The racing classes lined up for two windward/leeward races and the cruisers point to point races to finish of the series. A little nervousness amongst the class leaders was noticed on the beach but by the time they reached the racing area, with the fresh prevailing conditions, they were ready to pounce and put the series to bed as soon as possible. In most classes the results from the first race would determine the winner and leave it to the second race for the overall finishing order to be calculated.
Although Ray Roberts’ TP52 One Sails was on the brink of winning their fifth King's Cup, the pressure was on to beat them in the remaining races and settle the podium places once and for all. As they crossed the finish line in the first race, it was to close to call. When the times were calculated, Peter Ahern's TP52 Oi! came out on top and a mere 34 seconds separated the first five boats. Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi slotted into second place by two seconds and Roberts’ One Sails into third place four seconds latter. This reduced Roberts lead down to 2 points from Ahern's Oi!.
They turned up the heat in the final race. Roberts explained 'We have a slight edge upwind but a little slower downwind. As the breeze fills in from behind it gives an advantage to the trailing boat, which makes up for our speed deficit'. Once again Ahern's Oi! responded to the fresh conditions and posted their second win for the day. Second place for Roberts’ One Sails sealed the IRC 0 title with a one point advantage over Ahern's Oi! in second place. The constant juggling of places leaves Neil Pryde's Hi Fi in third overall and going back to the drawing board for some slight improvements. Along with winning their fifth title, Roberts will go down in the record books for winning the most King's Cups as skipper and Jamie Wilmot was quick to add he has won 8 King's Cups as tactician or on the helm.
Being on a roll, means Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 had to go through all the motions again to complete the rout. That's exactly what they did in the first race and wrapped up the IRC 1 title for the first time. Second place for Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40 Mod Windsikher followed it up by winning the final race, to hold onto second overall and their best finish to date. Third overall for Patrick Pender/Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40 Signal 8 is the best of the modern planning boats, that have been up and down the table and lacked the consistency over the displacement boats. After 10 King's Cup on five different boats and finished second on four occasions, Bremner and his crew 'Are absolutely stoked! All the best boats come here and the early starts mean the crew must be in top form every day to have a chance at winning and we have done it at last'.
Japan's Yasuo Nanamori's Beneteau First 40.7 Karasu, continued on their winning ways with two more wins, making it 9 out of 10 races and takes home the IRC 3 Class title. Not one to give up, Peter Sorensen's Beneteau 44.7 Fujin is the only boat to take a win against Karasu and in doing so stepped up to second overall. Denis Sarana's Beneteau First 40 No Applause kept the leaders honest for third overall.
Anthony Root's Archambault 35 Red Kite II bravely took the fight to Matt Allen's defending champion Ichi Ban and won fair and square on their first attempt. This victory will also reinstate Root and Red Kite II to the top of the 2013-14 AYGP pointscore, which they have firmly committed to this season, Allen's Ichi Ban was always pressing in the wings but a few mistakes like being over the start line ruined their chance of making a comeback. Peter Dyer's Humphry's 3/4 tonner Team Kata Rocks scored a few wins but a couple bad results mid regatta reduced them to third overall.
With the scoreboard looking like a picket fence, Thailand's Ithinai Yingsiri's X-55 Pine-Pacific is the only boat to keep a clean sheet with six wins to take out the Premier Cruising Class title. Gian Luca Braggiotti's magnificent Swan 76 Silandra V had a down day and strung together second places to end up second overall. After a slow start Christoph Ganswindt's Hanse 545 Pachmo fought back to finally capture third place in front of his close adversaries today.
David Boekemann's Hanse 400 Venture took over the lead on Day 2 and never looked back as they scored four wins in a row to secure the Bareboat Charter Class title. Evgeny Neugodnikov's Beneteau 40 Alexa came from behind, with third and second places on the final day to lift them to second overall. Nikolay Shkurin's First 45 Sita drops to third overall after being up and down the table during the regatta. Earlier Petr Kochnev's Sun Odyssey 44i Rambutan was in contention but settles in fourth after mixed results.
Two wins for Nikiforov's Sun Odyssey 32 Sarawadee stamps their authority on the Open Bareboat Class. Maxim Taranov's Bavaria 34 Little Eva climbs up into second overall, after Vladimir Oleynikov's Gokova Sailing Agata did not finish the final race, which relegates them to third overall.
With five wins, Peter Wood's Gaff Rigged Schooner Sunshine Schooner won the battle of the grand old ladies in the Classic Class. Sam Butler-Hogg's S/Y Argo couldn't match Sunshine Schooner's incredible pace and after all the huffing and puffing of 50 plus crew, ended up in the bridesmaid role at a ripe ole age. The result does not really matter to these classic boats and we can only be thankful to the owners for bringing them out to play in all their splendor.
First and third places for Chris Mitchell's Nat 40 Lady Bubbly is just enough to secure the Cruising Class title by one point from Chris Hillier's Cole 43 Rumrunner 11 that put up a good fight right to the end. Simon Piff's Lavranos 34 Rainbow Dream lacked in consistency to settle in third overall.
In the Sunsail Charter class, Rambutan skippered by Petr Kochnev and Sail Experts was overall class champion ahead of Team Nord. Despite a slow finish in the final race, they were consistently the quickest team over the week.
After starting the regatta with three bullets, Cruising Jim Ellis' S&S 42 Remington finished with three second places, to add the Modern Classic Class trophy to his already bulging trophy cabinet. Although Peter Waa's Farr 1104 Farrgo Express scored two wins, they have held second overall throughout the regatta. After a slow start, Thailand's up coming sailing star Patinyakorn 'Ging' Buranro's Commanche 42 Sansiri worked their way back into third overall.
John Newnham's Twin Sharks seems to have taken the speed of the Firefly catamaran to the next level. By keeping the platform flat and level fore and aft, pushes all the drive in a forward motion. Time after time they would slowly creep away from the chasing pack and seven wins out of ten races has earned them the Firefly 850 Sports Class title. Usually the top step of the podium is the domain of Hans Rahmann's Voodoo, but on this occasion the defending champion has to be happy with second place. Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi looked promising when they opened the series with a win but could not repeat the dose and settled on third overall.
Not only is Alan Carwardine the designer and builder of the Stealth 11.8 catamaran but he has taken his Asia Catamarans Hurricane and completely dominated a very competitive Multihull Racing Class. Mark Pescott's Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci started the series with a win but couldn't get a look in after that and ended up on the second step of the podium. Scott Duncanson skippered another Stealth 11.8 Multihull Solutions and improved as the regatta progressed to capture third overall.
Japan's Norikazu Arai's Lagoon 410 Minnie also dominated the Cruising Multihull Class and takes the title back home with them. Nikikov's Russian Sunsail 384 Ariana secured the silver medal, leaving Roman Shirokov's Lagoon 380 Star Fruit to the bronze medal.
Six wins out of ten races gives Japan's Makiko Matsuishi's IPPAI the Sportsboat title. For most part of the series, Lincoln Redding's Team Tornado and Toshio Furuta's Sakura mixed it around the course to be within shouting distance but had to settle on second and third respectively.
Young Thai sailors have cleaned up in the Optimist, Laser and Windsurfer Classes. Thailand's Navin Singsart is the Phantom 295 Men and Overall champion after beating the Thai Olympic star Ek Boonsawad. Siriporn Kaewduangngam is the Open Women Champion and French sailor Marcos Guedez is the Youth Men Champion.
Dinghy racing concluded yesterday with Nuttapol Srihirun named the Laser class winner, Supparak Niamraksa Optimist Boys winner and Praewa Kangkla Optimist Girls winner. The dinghy class, a regular feature of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, remains one of Thailand’s most important series for the enhancement of sailing skills amongst youth sailors in the country.
The organising team for Asia's premier event have been praised by competitors for running the best and fairest racing program, for the huge variety of boats that descend on Phuket each December. This involves dividing the yachts into 14 separate classes and duplication of resources to successfully stage on two racing areas. Apart from a few incidents where Plan B had to be activated everything seemed to be running smoothly. The nightly party scene was well received and apart from the local traders missing out on revenue from the sailors, dropping the lay day went unnoticed. Some very tired and weary sailors were begrudgingly boarding planes on Saturday and could have done with another day of rest and relaxation plus experience some friendly Thai hospitality while they are here. Long Live the King's Cup.