by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
Top of the Gulf 2011 – Yesterday produced just one race for all classes, and an early return to the marina under grey skies when the wind ‘passed out’ completely in the early afternoon. This morning dawned bright and clear, with the prospect of a building sea breeze as soon as the land got a chance to warm up, and that about sums it up. Give a fleet of boats the chance of a suntan and a good sailing breeze, and they’re all going to be happy. It was back to cliché conditions – after a soft start to proceedings, the Race Officer was able to send all divisions away in light breeze that then built to a useful 12+ kts and stayed that way. A single ‘islands’ race for the Cruising division, and a windward-leeward followed by an islands course for everyone else.
Hi Fi (Neil Pryde) walked away with the first windward-leeward race of the day, leaving the rest of the IRC 1 division in her wake – literally – and leading from start to finish. The breeze was strengthening all the time. But on the second start line HiFi got shut out, and was forced to the wrong side of the course – and it showed. Team Premier and Evolution Racing trucked off and stayed in front, and HiFi never got back into the frame.
After racing, HiFi’s hopeful start to the day was further spoiled when yesterday’s protest was re-opened, and this time found against HiFi, disqualifying her from race 3. An appeal has been lodged.
Matt Allen’s Ichiban added 1, 2 results to her near-unassailable position at the top of the IRC 2 division. Once again Jing Jing got up to speed and led Ichiban round the track, but Rick Pointon’s Beijing Sailing Centre crew were unable to hold off the Australians on corrected time. Shoun Toh and crew from SMU on board Hi Jinks kept cool heads at the top of the IRC 3 class to win the first race and place second in the second. Thai Navy 1 will be regretting a lapse in concentration that dropped them down to fifth in the second race, and pushed them down to second in division despite having won three out of five races.
Cruising class has to be the way to travel: start at 1145, take in some scenery en route to Ko Klet Kaeo and Ko Rang Kwan, finish at a little after 1400 hrs and nip smartly back to the marina for cold beer and hot showers. Andrew Watt’s San Sanook claimed line honours today, but it was Amanda (Lennart Fahlgren) that bested them on handicap to lead the division overall after three races. Alan Carwardine’s Corsair C28R Bladerunner finished the day with a win in the Multihull class that also took her to the top of the division.
It has been a mixed-up three days for the Platu class competing for the Coronation Cup, with pre-regatta favourites The Fox (Rolf Heemskerk) and defending champion The Ferret (Scott Duncanson) languishing down the order in fifth and fourth positions respectively. After three races today (and with four more needed tomorrow to make up the 10 required for the series), top of the leaderboard is Maximilian Soh’s SMU crew on Magic Dragon. Kenta Inaba (Lucky Lady) is tied on points overall, and K Wiwat Poonpat’s Naiad trails in third by a single point. Good breeze and a couple of shifts tomorrow is all that’s needed to shake up the order entirely, so nobody is counting their chickens yet.
One more day’s racing for Top of the Gulf 2011, and another weather forecast for ‘more of the same’. Sail-World Asia was scheduled for a trip in a microlight to take some aerial photos tomorrow, but failed the Weight Test – just thought we’d own up to that before someone else mentioned it! So, back on the water, with fingers crossed for more sunshine and breeze to round out the regatta on a high note.
First start tomorrow: 1100 hrs.
1 Team Premier 1,2,2,2,1 (8)
2 Evolution Racing 2,1,3,3,2 (11)
3 HiFi 3,3,6*,1,3 (16) *subject to protest appeal
1 Ichi Ban 1,1,1,1,2 (6)
2 Jing Jing 2,2,2,2,1 (9)
3 Katsu 3,4,3,3,3 (16)
1 Hi Jinks 2,2,2,1,2 (9)
2 Navy 1 1,1,1,2,5 (10)
3 Magic 3,3,3,4,4 (17)
IRC 4 (Cruising)
1 Amanda 1,2,1 (4)
2 San Sanook 4,1,2 (7)
3 Free Wind 2,4,3 (9)
1 Magic Dragon 1,4,1,3,3,5 (17)
2 Lucky Lady 2,7,3,1,2,2 (17)
3 Naiad 3,1,4,2,4,4 (18)
1 Bladerunner 1,3,2,3,1 (10)
2 The Sting 2,4,1,1,5 (13)
Sonic 8,2,4,2,3 (19)
Full results at http://www.topofthegulfregatta.com/results.shtml
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2011 - a perfect line up for an IRC 1 start - Zanzibar, HiFi, Evolution Racing, Team Premier - Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf Click Here to view large photo
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4:25 PM Mon 2 May 2011 GMT
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