Thailand high season... azure waters, achingly blue skies, gentle tropical breezes, bone-warming sunshine? Sorry, not today. Turn to the next page of the brochure for unremitting grey, gloomy haze, rain, and strangely low temperatures. Sorry, but it doesn't do much for the photos, does it?
However, starting with the bright side, today was the birthday of His Majesty Bhumiphol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, for whom the Phuket King's Cup is named. With Royal Thai Navy Ship Pattani taking the salute, the PKC fleet of 100+ boats 'sailed past' in (loose) formation before peeling off to head to their respective starting areas. The sail-past was capped off by a fly-past from a solitary but very energetic Thai Air Force fighter jet, and then a little later by a rather more pedestrian reconnaissance aircraft. Vroom vroom, and Long Live the King!
Racing classes today smacked through three windward-leeward races in conditions that ranged from 14 to 5 knots of breeze, swinging as much as 40 degrees. In one race. Bill Bremner and the crew on Foxy Lady VI have had a stranglehold on IRC 1 division since strting the regatta with two bullets, and added another three today to lead the division handsomely with a total of 7 points ahead of Sarab Jeet Singh's Windsikher on 18.5. 'It was shifty stuff, to be sure,' said Bremner, 'and we got some lucky breaks as well as making some good, solid, correct calls.'
Ray Roberts can be excused for thinking they have IRC 0 in the bag, too, holding a 4-point lead over Peter Ahern's Oi! going into the final day. Many of the divisions are stitched up now - but they'll still be out there tomorrow to either prove a point or consolidate the point-score.
The Cruising classes took off on a scenic trip around the islands, Koh Hi and Koh Aeo to port and then home again, with the Premier division paying a visit to the Ao Chalong Safe Deepwater mark as well. Looking for a bit of 'scenery', your scribe went north to Koh Aeo. The scenery was there, but the weather didn't make for much in the way of sparkling photos - sorry about that. Sunshine Schooner, Peter Wood's gorgeous retro creation, spread a little sunshine of her own along the way (and, incidentally, is leading the two-horse race in the Classics division).
For full results, see http://www.kingscup.com/index.cfm?ntid=1223 It's all there bar the pictures. See you on the water tomorrow for the final showdown.
by Guy Nowell, Guy Nowell Photography
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4:15 PM Thu 5 Dec 2013GMT
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