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Second event in Omega Asian Yachting Circuit

by Omega Media on 4 Dec 2003
The 17th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta began today (Monday 1 December) off Kata Beach, Phuket.

This is the largest sailing event in Asia, the second event on the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit – and an event that is now famous around the world. A fleet of 73 yachts and a thousand competitors from 30 countries will battle for five days to win the prestigious King’s Cup.

In the first race of the regatta defending champion Peter Ahearn aboard Yo! finished ahead of Neil Pryde’s Hi Fidelity.

For the past few days the fleet has been gathering on the warm waters of the Andaman Sea.

Each day a few more boats were moored off beautiful Kata Beach and the atmosphere has been developing.

Finally registration closed yesterday and 73 boats had registered for this, the 17th Phuket King’s Cup and the second event on the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit.

Over the next six days the fleet would be battling it out in a combination of windward/leeward races and round-island “day races”.

The large fleet will be divided into eight divisions so that “like” can race against “like” – and rightly or wrongly, most of the attention will fall again on the “rock stars” in the elite Racing Division.

Defending Champion is Malaysian yacht Yo! skippered by Peter Ahearn. Yo! scored her first ever victory at the King’s Cup in 2002 and she will be looking to repeat that feat.

In her way will be Hong Kong yacht Hi Fidelity skippered by Neil Pryde. Hi Fidelity won the regatta in 2001. And fresh from his victory in the previous Omega Asian Yachting Circuit event in Malaysia (the Raja Muda International Regatta) is Australian Yacht Hollywood Boulevard skippered by Ray Roberts.

This recent victory, and the beautiful fast new boat, will make her the boat to beat. Others to watch will be Ray Ordoveza’s Clariden Karakoa from the Philippines, another Farr 52 from Spain Plis Play and Passaya from Malaysia.

Both Plis Play andPassaya are carrying America’s Cup veterans from Prada and Alinghi respectively.

Said Ray Ordoveza before the racing had begun “it’s just good to be back here in Phuket for the King’ Cup.

We all enjoy the social side of the event, and the warm welcome from our Thai hosts – but it’s the racing I come for.

And in the racing fleet we have the best there is in Asia. It’s going to be tough. You can’t identify a clear favourite but you have to watch for Yo! and Hi Fidelity. But we’ll be there”.

The first race was the Thai Marine Leisure South Island Race and by 830am all the division were off and sailing south to travel around Koh Aeo and Koh Hi.

The start favoured the pin end and all the boats were crashing down towards the mark as the clock reached zero and the Phuket King’s Cup was off to a flying start.

Spain’s Plis Play carries some great sailing experience with veterans of the Prada America’s Cup Challenge. This got them line honours in the first race of the event but on corrected time they were beaten into third by Yo! of Malaysia and Hi Fidelity from Hong Kong.

Spanish boat Plis Play was the first across the line and didn’t look back as the rest of the fleet followed her. The winds at the start line were a good 10 knots and as the fleet moved south some moved away from the shore in search of better wind while other stayed closer to shore.

Said Ray Ordoveza after the race “we stayed close to shore and got stuck in a couple of holes, while Hollywood Boulevard tried the opposite and headed away.

We both lost out and it was those in the middle of the course that got the best and most consistent winds. Once you lose ground you are always playing catch up.

After we rounded Kho Aeo the wind strengthened further to 15 knots and we feel we were gaining ground so we’re encouraged by that”.

It was Plis Play that took line honours but after time correction (where the bigger, faster boats are given a handicap so they can compete on an equal basis with the smaller boats) it was Yo! who took the “bullet” from Hi Fidelity by just 50 seconds.

Plis Play was a further 25 seconds back in third and Ray Ordoveza in Clariden Karakoa had to settle for a fourth and Hollywood Boulevard was languishing back in sixth.

Across the other divisions Big Buzzard (Thailand) got first in Premier Cruising, Ruby Tuesday (Hong Kong) in IRC1, Royal Thai Navy 1 (Thailand) in IRC2, Patrice III in IRC3, Gladys Guttenburg in Ocean Rover, Long White Cloud in Classic and Cyrene in Ocean Multihulls.

The fleet is out on the water again tomorrow (Tuesday) for another early start.

The Phuket King’s Cup is a legendary event in it’s own right and it fits into the larger Omega Asian Yachting Circuit that groups together the premier sailing events in the region.

1) Raja Muda International Regatta, Malaysia (November 2003)

2) Phuket King’s Cup, Thailand (December 2003)

3) Singapore Straits Regatta, Singapore (January 2004)

4) China Sea Race, Hong Kong to Philippines April 2004)

Through the season the yachts that compete in the elite Racing Division at each regatta earn points. The best three “final results” for a yacht from the four regattas count towards an end of season total; these totals produce the winner and a new Asian Champion is crowned.

The Phuket King’s Cup (and all the events on the Omega AYC) is being filmed for international television and in all, the event will reach an audience of over 200 million households around the globe.

The World will be watching as the 17th Phuket King’s Cup sets sail from Kata Beach.

The Omega Asian Yachting Circuit is sponsored by Omega Watches and Malaysia Airlines.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is sponsored by the Royal Phuket Marina, Kata Beach Resort, Mom Tri’s Boathouse, American Express, TML, Hilton’s Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa, Teka, Sunsail, Chang Beer, Phuket Magazine, Image Asia and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

For more information on the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit contact Proteus Sports at info@proteus-sports.com or turn to www.asianyachtingcircuit.com

Current Results (Top ten places in Racing Division)

Below are the results after one race. The lowest number of points wins.

Yacht Nationality Skipper Points

Yo! Malaysia Peter Ahearn 1

Hi Fidelity Hong Kong Neil Pryde 2

Plis Play Spain V Garcia 3

Clariden Klarakoa Philippines Ray Ordoveza 4

Stella - Minter Ellison Hong Kong Fred Kinmouth 5

Hollywood Boulevard Australia Ray Roberts 6

Passaya Malaysia A. Beinz 7

Scallywag Singapore Jeremy Muller 8

Pla Loma Malaysia Keith Moore 9

Panic! Malaysia Stuart Harrison 10
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