Koh Samui Regatta 2011 day two saw Team Premier stretching its lead and Ichiban damaged before the action took place.
Day two action got underway early today. Samui’s Chewang Beach again welcomed the crews in scorching sunny conditions as the racing fleet headed out to sea.
As the heavy overcast sky prevented the morning breeze from pushing through, PRO Ross Chisholm sent the mark boats in all directions in search of wind. A patch was found to the East of the Koh Samui and Koh Pangan passage and the 'Follow Me' instruction came crackling over the radio. The starting sequence began with the Racing Class away in 7-8 knots of Westerly breeze. During the IRC 1 start a crunching sound was heard coming from the pin end and shortly after the class favourite Ichiban radioed in their withdrawal from the race and intention to seek redress. Several boats were caught off guard and desperately tried under spinnaker to get to the start line. Shortly after starting the breeze faded and the skippers had to contend with a strong Northerly flowing current after rounding the top mark. Another announcement that all courses will be shortened at the bottom mark, bought some relief, but the minefield still had to be delicately crossed. Tactical decisions to gybe down current towards the wind line or stay in the light stuff and stem the tide. Initially it looked good down tide, but as time wore on, their hopes washed away in the current. The four 52 footers elected to stay up current and completed a huge arc on one tack to cross the finish line in front of Frank Pong's 76ft Jelik II.
Johannes Waimer's TP52 Team Premier stayed on the pace and by taking advantage of the situation scored the daily double and added another win to their tally. Only one second on corrected time and Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing would have scored the win but had to settle on second place. Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi gybed off and allowed Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire through for third place, only 51 seconds behind the leader.
The start line bungle and shifty conditions turned the IRC 1 result sheet up side down. The two Hong Kong Archambault 40's came to the fore with Simon Powell's Sell Side Dream claiming the handicap honours in front of Marcel Liedts Elektra by seventeen seconds. Yazid Ramli's Beneteau 42s7 Rip Jaw, with the Singapore youth team onboard, came from behind to score third place. Despite the light wind and approaching the finish line with the new wind, Peter Forsythe and Jing Lee's heavy displacement X-55 Xena managed to edge in front of the line abreast fleet to take line honours. Late news just coming in from the protest room is that Kevin Whitcraft's GP42 Won Ma Rang are disqualified for infringing Matt Allen's Beneteau 44.7 Zhik Ichiban, who will probably be awarded average points for Race three and remains on top of the leaderboard.
In the IRC 2/Cruising class, Jean Rheault's Johnstone One Tonner Souay 1 claimed the daily double in the light conditions. Despite propeller problems delaying their arrival at the startline, Greg Coops X 372 Abraxas toughed it out and a with few good tactical calls managed to get back into second place and stay on top of the overall pointscore. Paul Degan's Oceanis 461 Andrew Short Constanza avoided the wind shift into oblivion to secure third place.
Radab Kanjanavanit KT-ZMICO Cedar Swan successfully found their way through the minefield to score their third win in a row. Kirati Assakul (Nim) heavy displacement Bandara Sonic continues to out perform the lightweights with second place on handicap. Kunta's (Samui Ocean Sports} bi-planed rigged Radical Bay 8000 Team Zazen crept into third place in front of Henry Kaye's Firefly 850 Sports Pagatoon that took line honours, but that was once again relegated down the order after handicaps were applied. After further canvassing the wind situation and setting up the course in a new wind line - and just as the starting sequence was about to get underway - the wind died out and changed direction, so that PRO Ross Chisholm had no alternative other than canceling racing for the day. Despite the committee's persistence the wind did not want to play the game today.
As the skippers headed off to a VIP Reception at the ‘Kala Samui’, it was clear in all classes that a number of boats could still take top honours and that there was still everything to race for.
The Regatta continues through to Saturday 4th June, with racing set off tropical Chewang Beach. Koh Samui Regatta website