Going into the last day everything was still to play for with many classes wide open. The strongest winds of the week were forecast for the final day and they turned up perfectly on cue.
The conditions played into 'Team Premier's' hands today as skipper Hannes Weimer and crew took a win from the first race and a second in the final race to conclude the series as IRC Zero Class winner on 13 points, ahead of Neil Pryde's 'Hi Fi' and Sam Chan's 'Freefire' in second and third respectively. Today's racing was sponsored by PTT Group.
Hannes said, 'We’ve raced in 10 King’s Cups now, but this is the first time we competed as our own team under the name of 'Team Premier.' I was feeling fairly comfortable going into the last race because I believe we have the fastest boat; she is a good all-round performer, so we get results whether the wind is light or 17 to 18 knots. We won in 2003, but not as 'Team Premier', so it’s extremely satisfying to win after trying many times before.
IRC 1 Class has been thrilling throughout the week with so many strong entries from around the world. Yasuo Nanamori and his all-Japanese 'Karasu' team delivered a consistent performance taking first in the class. Steve Manning’s 'Walawala 2' scored a second and a first on the final day to take second place overall, from Singapore entry 'KukuKERchu', skippered by David Ross, in third.
The IRC 1 Class was arguably the most competitive of all with 13 boats and sailors of 17 different nationalities. Winning entry 'Karasu' is the first-ever all-Japanese team to win their class at the Phuket King's Cup Regatta.
Thailand scored a magnificent victory in IRC 2 Class, as Chief Petty Officer First Class Wiwat Poonpat’s team on 'Royal Thai Navy 1' honoured His Majesty the King of Thailand with a clear class win.
Wiwat said, 'We are very proud to be able to take overall victory for His Majesty the King’s birthday. I’m sure all Thai people will be very appreciative of this result, and hopefully we can encourage more people into the sport of sailing. I was quite confident coming into the last race, maybe 80% confident, but until we crossed the finishing marker, we were never totally sure if we could do it. I’m very happy with our performance in this regatta; the team has trained hard and has been very well disciplined.'
Second place went to Singapore entry 'Foxy Lady V', skippered by Bill Bremner with Russian entry 'Ruby Tuesday', skippered by Arbuzov Andrey, finished third.
Firefly 850 Sport Class racer 'Moto Inzi', skippered by Britain Roger Kingdon, put in a strong final day performance with a first and a second to claim class victory by a single point over their nearest rival, 'Voodoo', skippered by Hans Rahmann.
In the Multihull Class, Alan Carwadine’s 'Sidewinder' was unmatched in consistency and finished the runaway winner with two wins today to take the class title. Second place was claimed by 'Da Vinci', skippered by Mick Coleman, with David Liddell's 'Miss Saigon' in third.
'Titania of Cowes,' a British team which delivered consistent wins throughout the week performed strongly in the final stages to take the Premier Class. Despite the best efforts of rivals 'Baby Tonga Strongbow' skippered by Peter Sorrenson, Richard Dobbs’ 'Titania of Cowes' team sealed victory with third and first place finishes on the last day of the Regatta. Third place was secured by the stunning 82-foot Swan from China, 'Chao Ren Plus One', skippered by Wang Bin.
'Venture', lead by Mike Crisp, dominated the Bareboat Charter Class, and claimed second place finish in the final race of the series today. The team have been largely uncontested throughout much of the competition; a testament to the outfit’s professionalism and preparation in a class which attracts entries from across the world.
Second place went to 'Sail Plane' skippered by Oliver Heer with 'Tonicola 2', skippered by Mikhail Beloborodov in third.
Modern Classic Class was won by Bo Standergaard’s 'Patrice III' by two points from Peter Wood's 'Windstar' in second and Nicholas Smith's 'Free Wind', in third.
In the Cruising Class, 'Odin', manned by Aquacraft Asia, finished with a win today and a win overall. Second place went to William Sax's 'Astraeus' with Jack Cristensen's 'Linda' in third.
In the Kiteboard Class, an exciting exhibition event at this years Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, France’s Olivier Dansin won four out of five races in the Series to be the runaway winner. Thai star and two-time Asian Champion, Narapichit Pudla, finished second overall with Turkey's Salih Alexander in third.
2011 was the 25th anniversary of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. The event attracted the largest fleet in the competition’s history with 91 keelboats and multihulls, 38 dinghies and 19 Kiteboards, and over a thousand sailors from 33 countries across the globe. Conditions have been good for much of the week, and comments centred on the enjoyable racing and spectacular beach side parties each evening.
Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Organising Committee, said, 'This anniversary year has been an event of particular poignancy. To see a great number of keelboats and multihulls, strong levels of ability in the International Dinghy Class and the introduction of Kiteboards, this has been one of the most exciting Regattas in years. Our sponsors have also supported us strongly each and every day, and everybody has had an enjoyable week. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is renowned throughout Asia, and with good wind and beautiful conditions, the racing has not disappointed. We continue to push the Regatta, to innovate and to improve it, so it has lived up to its billing as the best Regatta in recent years.'
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, Thaioil, 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, Sail-World.com, SEA Yachting and YachtStyle Asia.