Despite overnight storms and surf rolling onto Kata Beach causing the start to be delayed, the North East tradewind arrived on queue, enabling multiple windward/leeward races to be run on both courses. Some crews seemed confused with which course they were supposed to be on and others appeared a little rusty but when the starting horn sounded it was all on in earnest for the young and old. The windsurfers and dinghy's continued with their series close to shore and produced a colorful backdrop for the numerous sun bathers and reclining deck chair crowd on the beach. Slick performances by the well prepared and drilled crews produced top results and got the opening rounds off to a good start.
The slick crew work on Frank Pong's R/P 76 Jelik produced an impressive performance around the track and came up trumps in the third race scoring the daily double. The other wins were shared by the President of the King's Cup, Kevin Whitcraft's GP 42 Won Ma Rang and the Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47 Utarid skippered by Mohamad Razali Mansor. The mixed placing's leaves Utarid on the top of the table, Won Ma Rang in second and Jelik in third overall. After starting well Ben Copley's RP45 Katsu dipped to 4th place in the pecking order.
Although Steve Manning's Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 and David Ross' Ker 40 KukuKERchu set a cracking pace at the front of the IRC 1 class it was David Fuller's chartered Beneteau 44.7 Ichi Ban, Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 and Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake that posted victories on the board. Two second places for Foxy Lady 6 gives them top billing at the moment but have a battle on their hands fending off Ichi Ban and EFG Bank Mandrake that came within a few seconds of toppling them. Both Walawala 2 and KukuKERchu are capable of changing gears which should come in handy on the passage races.
Matt Allen's Adams 10 Ichi Ban fired a warning shot over the bows of the Royal Thai Navy 1 skippered by CPO.1 Wiwat Poonpat in the IRC 2 Class. Two wins by only a few seconds and second place for Ichi Ban leaves the defending champions in second place. One win for Peter Dyer's Humphrys 3/4 tonner Kata Rocks gives them third spot and breathing heavily down the neck of the Thai Navy. Commander Peera Sagurtam's Royal Thai Navy 2 is providing backup and points separation by slipping in and out of the podium places.
The reigning Firefly 850 Sports champion, Hans Rahmann's Voodoo started with a win but his string of victories came to an end with two second places. Despite this result Voodoo leads in the overall stakes. Peter Dyer's Dyer Straits and the Chinese Advanced Racing Team on Advanced shared the victories and accumulatively slip into second and third overall. John Newnham's Twin Sharks and Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi have had a slow start but sure to make amends in the coming races.
An interesting battle is shaping up in the Multihull Class. Andrew Stransky's Seven Seas 50 Fantasia came from behind to correct out in first place in Race 1. Peter Wilcox's Schionning Gforce 1500 Mojo found top gear and rammed home two first and fastest's to top the leaderboard. Staying on the pace, Stransky's Fantasia muscled in with two second places to settle on second overall. Two third and one fourth place for Alan Carwardine's new Stealth 11.8 Asia Catamarans Hurricane is enough to hold third overall but faces a strong challenge from Henry Kaye's Sea Cart 26 Sweet Chariot skippered by Mark Thornborrow and John Punch's Stealth 12.6 Sidewinder of Darwin when conditions suit and they get their act together.
Being on time for the first start and picking the right wind shifts helped Junichi Ishikawa's The Beaver to score two victories and lead the one design Platu 25 scoreboard. Scott Duncanson's Thai champions on Tuay Lek finally broke through to win Race 3 and stay in the running. Toshio Furuta's Sakura and Makiko Matsuishi's IPPAI round out the order and keep the Japanese push for glory on track.
On the Northern course, Thailand's Ithinai Yingsiri X-55 Pine-Pacific managed to get one over Richard Dobbs defending champion Swan 68 Titania of Cowes by a mere 29 seconds. Not to be outdone Titania of Cowes came back to take the daily double in Race 2 and resume service at top of the Premier Cruising pointscore. Third and second places for Peter Forsythe & Jing Lee's X-55 Xena makes it a big boat benefit and for the time being secures third overall.
In the Bareboat Charter Class the Russians came storming home. Kirill Sakhattzev's First 47.7 Sail Plane claimed the daily double in Race 1, in front of Nikiforov Evgenii's SunOdyssey 32i Sarawadee. It took the Aussie Graeme Sheldon's Hanse 400e Agility International to take Race 2 and separate the Russians on the top of the leaderboard. The different size and design of the 23 boat class saw them spread around the course and sailing in different wind speeds which helped the big boats come out on top.
Peter Wood's Commanche 42 Windstar scored two wins and went directly to the top of the Modern Classic Class. Nick Band's Tartan 48 Emerald Blue and Bo Sondergaard's S&S 47 Patrice III traded second and third places to respectively hold second and third overall.
Kirill Stashevskiy Gokova Sailing and Jack Cristensen's Bavaria 49 Linda shared the wins in the Cruising Class and although they finished down the order in the other races, Linda holds a slim lead over Gokova Sailing in the overall stakes. Second and third places for William Sax's Fraser 41 Astraeus is tied on points with second place and settles in third overall.
Simon Morris Sirius 1935 is the only competitor in the Classic Class so it goes with out saying that they won both races and lead the class.
Racing continues tomorrow with Race Day 2 hosted by Katathani Phuket Beach Resort & Spa.
More info and results at www.kingscup.com