Sun greeted the Samui Regatta this morning as sailors left the anchorage with good breeze, blue skies and the anticipation of idyllic tropical racing. Shifting winds forced a start delay but all classes eventually got underway and competition was tight on the race-track.
Tight racing in the IRC Zero class sees Australian entry Hooligan currently leading the series. Samui Regatta 2012
The entire fleet were sent on Windward/ Leewards and multiple races were in order for all – the longer Course 16 for IRC Zero, IRC One and IRC Premier, and Course 19 for IRC Two/ Bareboat and Multihull classes.
The IRC Zero boats completed their first Windward/ Leeward of the day in a little over one hour with the 90-foot Genuine Risk skippered by Geoff Hill, taking Line Honours – the first of three today. His five minute lead in Race One wasn't enough and Neil Pryde's HiFi won on corrected time one minute ahead of Hooligan, skippered by Marcus Blackmoore in second and Sam Chan's Freefire in third.
Race Two saw Hooligan back on form with a clear win on corrected time from HiFi in second and Freefire in third. Hooligan went on to win the third race and take a three point lead in the series. Genuine Risk and HiFi were both OCS in Race Three, dropping HiFi to fourth. Freefire took advantage finishing second and Mui Mui, skippered by Frank Pong third. A battle royal is developing between the top three as they play snakes and ladders and with three more days of racing, the title is there for the taking.
Dubbed the '40-foot' class, IRC One consists of 10 closely matched boats with a strong international flavour. In the first race today Singapore's Foxy Lady 6 went one better than their best yesterday scoring a win by a mere two seconds on corrected time. EFG Bank Mandrake, skippered by Nick Burns/ Fred Kinmonth finished second ahead of Rick Pointon's Jing Jing in third. David Ross and crew on KukuKERchu suffered damage and retired from the remaining races for the day.
Foxy Lady 6 stayed on top with a first in the second and final race of the day, to keep the pressure on series leaders EFG Bank Mandrake who placed third behind Steve Manning's Walawala 2.
On the slightly shorter Windward/ Leeward course for IRC Two/ Bareboat class, Pattaya-based boat Reef Knot, skippered by Stuart Collins came out on top in the first race. With less than five minutes separating the top four, the predominantly Thai crew on Amanda, skippered by Lennart Fahlgren finished second with Greg Coops' Abraxas in third.
The second race went to form with Reef Knot making it two wins from two, followed by Amanda and Abraxas in second and third respectively.
Hong Kong-based Moonblue 2, skippered by Peter Churchouse, arrived late to the Regatta after suffering damage in transit and spent Day 1 on anchor making repairs. They made it to the startline today and revelled in the conditions to take first place in IRC Premier Race One from El Coyote, skippered by Gary Baguley in second and Brad Kirk's Dynamite in third.
In the second race, Moonblue 2 lost out to Dynamite who showed great crew work to take the win by over two minutes on corrected time with El Coyote in third.
The multihull competitors are enjoying some close racing and on Day 2 the series looks to be anyone's for the taking. After a strong performance yesterday beating Sweet Charriot for the daily-double, Fantasia was out-paced in the first race by the Thailand-built twin-masted Crazy Horse, skippered by Kunta. Fantasia, skippered by Andrew Stransky placed second ahead of Radab Kanjanavit and his all Thai-crew on Cedar Swan in third. Sweet Charriot, skippered by Henry Kaye, found it hard going and finished seventh on corrected time.
Sweet Chariot re-discovered their form in the second race to finish second behind Fantasia with Crazy Horse in third.
Racing continues tomorrow off Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach, Samui Island.
The 2012 Samui Regatta is organised by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff.