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Phuket King’s Cup 2012- the Glittering Prizes

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 12 Dec 2012
Phuket King’s Cup 2012. Frank Pong (foreground, 2nd from right) and a very happy Jelik crew. Winners of IRC 0. Guy Nowell
Once again, it’s all over bar the shouting. The fat lady has sung and sat down again, the trophies have been distributed, and the photographs taken. 75 boat crews (not forgetting the dinghy sailors and windsurfers) have partied their way from the Kata Beach Resort to the Kata Thani, the Phuket Orchid, Centara Resort, the Boathouse and back to Kata. A couple of multihulls got parked on the beach (not too serious) and one monohull (rather more serious). One rig came down.

The weather co-operated all week – there were a number of ‘AP-ed’ starts, but nothing yawningly long, the sun shone almost relentlessly (pass the sunscreen please, again) and the breeze blew around the 10-12kt mark with occasional enthusiastic bursts of more. 28 protests from 95 starts gave the Jury something to do, but there was only one DSQ and a number of protests were disallowed either on grounds of out-of-time or improperly lodged. Two threatened 69s resulted in an apology and a warning. Interested parties can check out all the action in The Room here: http://www.kingscup.com/showfile.cfm?id=1331

One way or another, the Phuket King’s Cup is still The One to Win in Asia. Whether it’s the Royal Patronage, the fact that PKC has been running for 26 years (first/original always beats any subsequent product) or whether the assortment of European, British and Russian sailors prefer the Andaman Sea to the Baltic, the North Sea and the English Channel at this time of year is hard to tell. Undeniably there’s something about the King’s Cup.



This year the absentees were as noticeable as the newcomers. No Free Fire, no Hi Fi, no Team Premier. But the evergreen Jelik was there, with a new keel and bulb and ready to take on all comers. The Royal Malaysian Navy put in their first (and long overdue) appearance at the King’s Cup, and Kevin Whitcraft’s GP42 Won Ma Rang finally found her feet and put in a sparkling performance. ‘It’s taken us four years to get this boat sorted out,’ said Whitcraft, ‘and it’s been hard work. But I am very very pleased with our performance this week.’ It was a second place for Won Ma Rang, after a good fight with Frank Pong and the Jelik crew, with the Hong Kong entry coming out on top and carrying off the IRC 0 division King’s Cup for the second time (last time was in 2007). There were only two points in it going into the last day, but Jelik took the gun and the handicap honours for the very last race to lead by three points overall.

At the beginning of this regatta we took a look at the King’s Cup scoreboard, and noted that while three skippers (Bill Gasson, Neil Pryde, Ray Roberts) have won a King’s Cup four times, nobody has ever succeeded five times. To that august ‘4x Club’ we now have to add Scott Duncanson who has won King’s Cups in three different divisions (Multihull, Sportsboat and now Plato OD), but even more importantly after further scrutiny of the records we are proved mistaken and now have to elevate Hans Rahmann to the ‘5x Club’ – of which he is the only member – having won titles in 1992 and 2000 (Cruising, Master Blaster), 1998 (Ocean Cruising, Master Blaster), and 2010, 2012 (Voodoo, Firefly 850 OD). Rahmann has competed in 19 King's Cups in three different boats - '19 times lots of fun!' he says.



Last year the King’s Cup included kiteboards. Five minutes later ISAF dumped windsurfing from the 2016 Olympics in favour of kiteboards. More recently, windsurfing reappeared on the King’s Cup race card – and then found its way back onto the Olympic menu. If you want to know what’s happening, and what’s about to happen, in ISAF - just watch what’s happening at the King’s Cup!

Over a quarter of a century, the Phuket King’s Cup has become an institution. It is an event that is showing no signs of fading (entry numbers come and go, but that is to be expected), and in its own rather loosely-organised fashion it manages to combine venue, racing and social activities in a very special mix. Sure, we can think of a number ways that might make it bigger and better, but then it just might not be the King’s Cup if someone ‘improved’ it too much.

Yes, another hugely successful event. See you at the next Phuket King’s Cup, 2-7 December 2013.

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