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Top of the Gulf Regatta 2012, day 3 – this is what we came for!

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 8 May 2012
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2012 - Pornstar Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf
Hot, hot, hot with sunshine and blue skies, and 12kts from 200? to make everything look good. The breeze held for most of the day, but took a short holiday in the middle of the afternoon, making for some slow finishes for the boats on the long courses. RO Jerry Rollin has been itching to send boats north up past the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and then on to Koh Chun, Koh Krok and all the way around Koh Lan, and today was the day. So, for everyone (except the Platus and Sportsboats) it was a leg south to a windward mark and then a long spinnaker run up north before some criss-crossing between marks and islands and then home. 27nm for the ITC 1 division, and a little shorter for everyone else who didn’t go to seaward of Koh Lan.

Long legs were always going to favour the boats with waterline length, and the marginal planing conditions were good for the light boats. So there were no surprises when Hi Fi romped home to line honours and handicap wins. Wan Marang, Kevin Whitcraft’s ever-improving GP42, cruised home in second place, and third went to a very happy Rick Pointon on Jing Jing. 'It was a great ride until the breeze dropped to a scratchy three knots approaching the finish,' he said. Kukukerchu fell off the pace after a spinnaker halyard jumped the sheave and wouldn’t go either up or down, and Sell Side Dream (Simon Powell) scored only ninth after a day in which 'the crew absolutely sailed their tails off, but we were never going to be able to catch the planing boats,' said Powell. 'It was a fair course, and a good race, but I think we need to be looking at a bigger, lighter boat for the (southern) Asian regattas,' he added. Watch this space.

Current series leader, Karasu, recorded a fifth place, putting her at the top of the leaderboard – unless you count discards, in which case Hi Fi is in the lead with two races remaining tomorrow.

In spite of being called OCS, the SMU crew on Hi Jinks enjoyed the long race, recording a win and pushing the two Thai Navy boats down to second and third in the IRC 3 division. The Ocean Multihulls also enjoyed the chance to stretch their legs, especially John Higham’s Sea Cart 26 Sweet Chariot, which tore away to complete the course in 3h 02m, a full 58 minutes ahead of Andrew Stransky’s Fantasia on the water – and almost 25 minutes on handicap.

Back at base, meaning out in front of the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, the Sportsboats completed two windward/leeward races and the Platus, three. Crime Scene, Noel Leigh-Smith’s Shaw 650 has already walked away with the regatta, but banged in another two firsts just to make sure. In made-for-sportsboats conditions, Hello Kitty blew away the Pornstar to claim second place in the first race of the day, but it wasn’t enough to keep Paul Murphy’s Brace Brace Brace out of the frame overall. Hello needs just a half point to catch BBB and stay out of the kitty litter, and today all boats agreed to extend the class’s programme by one race tomorrow to make 10 races for the series.

Last but not least, the Platus arguing the toss for the Coronation Cup. Series leader Chris Way, Team Easy Tiger on The Ferret, and another boat (118) were called OCS in the first race of the day, but The Ferret failed to go back. They claimed that they didn’t hear the radio call, and that they saw they ‘X’ flag come down and therefore assumed that all boats were clear. The Jury found that the ‘X’ flag had been dropped prematurely, and handed The Ferret a 4-place penalty, being the same number of places that 118 estimated they had lost by restarting correctly. Nataya (Rolf Heemskerk) and The Ferret now go into the last day’s racing on equal points and with a 14-point buffer to third place. Expect some ‘tactical racing’ tomorrow - the Coronation Cup is always a close-fought event, and obviously the 2012 edition is no exception.

Racing on the ‘inside’ courses was completed today, with Sarawut Phetsiri (THA) winning the Thai National Optimist Championships with 10 points from eight races. Last year’s champion, Chaninat Poolsirikot, placed third overall and won the Girls’ title. Navee Thumsontorn and Tanapong Kamolwat won the Double-Handed Dinghy title, Supakorn Pongvichien collected the silverware and the Single-Handed Dinghy title, and Damrongsak Vongtim and crew became the Multihull champions.

Weather forecast for tomorrow promises scattered thunderstorms and rain, with 8kts from the SSW.

Full results:

Short Results, Overall:

1 Karasu (14)
2 Hi Fi (20)
3 Walawala (22)

1 Magic (7)
2 El Coyote (9)
3 Dynamite (16)

1 Navy 1 (7)
2 Hi Jinks (12)
3 Navy 2 (13)

1 Kirafiki (4)
2 San Sanook (8)
3 Reef Knot (13)

Ocean Multihulls
1 Fantasia (12)
2 Sweet Chariot (14)
3 FreeWheeler (17)

1 Crime Scene (6)
2 Porn Star (16.5)
3 Brace Brace Brace (21.5)

Platu (Coronation Cup)
1 The Ferret (21)
2 Nataya (21)
3 Naiad (35)

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