Yasuo Nanamori and his team “Karasu” put off to a flying start at the 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta and continued with a string of high placings in the IRC 1 Racing Class to become the first-ever Japanese entry to be a class winner at at Phuket King's Cup. The team kicked off the 2011 Regatta with a win in the very first race; after that initial victory, few who saw them take a mediocre sixth place in Race Two could have predicted how strong the Japanese team would be across the rest of the Series.
The team brought “Karasu,” a 40-foot Summit King, via boat from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was the boat’s first outing in the classic Asian race, but the team have raced here in one form or another for four years. Yasuo Nanamori is the owner and skipper of “Karasu”.
Mako Usui of “Karasu” team’s shore crew explained, “We’ve come here with a regular crew of nine, and we’ve been competing together since 2006. We competed last year on a boat called “Babe.” On the first day, we recorded the fastest time in our class against some very quick competition. The next day, the boat was beached and we could not race. It was disappointing but the event, the beach parties which accompany the races and Phuket in general are so enjoyable; we just want to have fun. I sail a boat because I love it, and that feeling is duplicated throughout the team. I was a boat-builder in the past, and we have a sail-maker amongst the crew too. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta attracts regular competitors each year, so you get to see some familiar faces and that raises the personal aspect of competition.”
Team “Karasu” are winners of the Japan Cup which the team view as the ultimate prize. Mako explained that entry into the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was a reward in itself; “Being able to race in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is the boat owner’s Christmas present to us for winning the Japan Cup. The event is a lot of fun. By way of thanks for our domestic victory in Japan, we can race here and enjoy the famous party scene, go into town and make the most of Phuket’s nightlife. It’s very enjoyable, and that’s why we raced here this year too. The team loves Thailand because the people are so warm and we enjoy the lively entertainment.”
“Karasu” raced in a class against three-time winner and defending champion, Matt Allen on “Ichi Ban”; in all respects, this was the vessel to beat. And Yasuo’s team did so in convincing fashion. “Karasu” took three wins from ten, but crucial to its 2011 success was a further four runners-up spots, giving the team a five point winning margin. Steve Manning’s Singaporean team, “Walawala 2”, finished second ahead of Singapore team “KukuKERchu”, skippered by David Ross in third. “Ichi Ban” finished in fifth.
Sponsors of the 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta include Kata Group Resorts Thailand, PTT Group, Siam Winery, Singha Corporation, AIA Thailand, PTT Global Chemical, PTTEP, Thaioil, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Boathouse and Sunsail. Media Partners include 91.5FM, Helm Superyacht Asia Pacific, The Nation, Phuket Best Group, Phuket Gazette, Phuket Magazine, Sail-World.com, SEA Yachting and YachtStyle Asia.