by Lulu Roseman
Australia’s Easy Tiger Racing Team are returning to Thailand this week to defend their 2012 Platu Coronation Cup crown with their new Platu 25, Easy Tiger IV. If successful, Skipper Chris Way and his crew will become the first team ever to defend the title, one of the most prestigious yachting trophies in Asia.
Easy Tiger IV
Held during the Top Of the Gulf Regatta at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club between 3-7 of May, the Coronation Cup is contested by a fleet of highly competitive Platu 25 one-design yachts. This year the there are 16 teams from France, Japan, Australia, Singapore, UK, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hong Kong.
An epic showdown is expected between Way and last year’s runner up Rolf Heemskerk who lost to Way on a very close count-back so the battle is expected to be both intense and fascinating.
Heemskerk also returns with a new boat, Team ViewPoint that just happens to be the sister ship of Easy Tiger IV. Both yachts were built side by side at the Xtreme Sailing Products boatyard in Singapore and launched at the Platu Open in Thailand in March where Easy Tiger IV was victorious.
'We love the sailing in Thailand and to return as the current Coronation Cup defenders is both exciting and a little daunting as everyone will be gunning for us. I’m happy with the new boat and how it’s performing and half our crew arrived ahead of time to prepare,' Chris Way said.
While Way is not one for superstitions he is returning with the exact same crew as in 2012 and can’t wait to take his place on the helm. The crew includes Peter Winter, an America’s Cup sailor on tactics, Peter Gregg (Trim), Malcolm Clark (bow) and Tom Spithill (main). The core Tiger team have been sailing together in numerous classes for a long time including the Farr 40s, Mumm 30s, Sydney 38 and Melges 32s.
'This year’s fleet is again one of the best and toughest I’ve ever seen. For example, the other four teams from Australia are stacked with some of the hottest talent around. I’m pleased to see the strength of the field increase and plenty of emerging talent having a go at taking the Tigers to task. Without divulging too much we will be implementing our strategy to stay focused while meeting our 2:00am curfew,' Way added.
Accompanying the team to Pattaya is French 470 Champion and professional coach Alexandre Pallu de la Barriere. He has been working with the Easy Tiger Racing Team throughout the 2012/2013 season and has become an integral part of the team’s preparation for this regatta.
Under his watchful eye, Pallu de la Barriere has helped the team achieve a win at the Platu Open in March and a second in the Melges 32 Australian Championship in April on Sydney Harbor. Team Tiger have been training on a Force 24 at Pittwater in Sydney’s North, a similar style boat to the Platu 25, in the lead up to this event.
'Alex has provided fantastic support to us in the lead up to our Coronation Cup defense and it’s awesome to have him here with us again in Thailand not only to help with the boat setup but as a great support during the event,' he added.
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