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Phuket King’s Cup 2018, day 3. As good as it gets - really.

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 5 Dec 2018 09:12 PST 2-8 December 2018
Welcome to the Ska Bar. Phuket King's Cup 2018 © Guy Nowell / Phuket King's Cup

What do want you for a perfect day’s racing, in Asia? 18kts of breeze, flat water (but a little bit of chop allowed), blue skies, deep blue ocean, 25 degrees, t-shirts and shorts ‘wet weather’ gear (in case you get splashed), and the tactician doubling up as the fridge trimmer? That’s a pretty good description of the third day of the Phuket King’s Cup. If there really is such a thing as “classic King’s Cup weather”, then this is it.

Quite apart from the prestige and the protocol of a regatta with a Royal blessing, and the fact that still, after 32 years, the event continues to attract the best racing divisions in Asia, heading out from Kata Beach in December for a day’s sailing on the Andaman Sea on the west coast of Phuket has tobe a whole lot better than snugging up the foulies for thebSolent, layering up the thermals for Vladivostok, or dusting off the sou’wester for some racing in the Baltic. So - and we have asked this before – where the hell are you?

Three windward-leeward races on Course Area Alpha today (IRC 0, IRC 1, Firefly Sports 850) and A-to-A coastal races for IRC 2, Premier Cruising and Multihull Racing. 16-18 kts off the startline opposite Nai Harn Bay, and the breeze from 085 degrees turned into 12-14 kts when you got closer to the coast.

This was day three out of five racing days, and the overall positions are becoming consolidated – with some notable exceptions. Twin Sharks (John Newnham) continues to dominate the Firefly division, except for the first race today. “Voodoo was bang on the line, at speed, and led the race from wire to wire. In fact, I think Hans Rahmann probably sailed the perfect race this morning… so we had some catching up to do later.” Two first places was a fairly decisive ‘catch up’, and Twin Sharks leads the division going into tomorrow’s lay day.

An ORMA 60 is impressive when it’s standing still. It’s even more impressive when it is shifting along at 32 kts (top speed recorded today by Team Scallywag) and downright frightening when it tacks in the direction of the Media Boat - thankfully, not too close and not too fast. However, and as noted yesterday, when you are sailing off an OMR handicap nearly 50% higher than the opposition, you have to get up very early. Scallywag completed today’s course in 1h26m, followed by Fugazi in 1h48 m – and Fugazi was 10m ahead on corrected time. The ride on Scallywag would have been impressive, but the hose-down on Fugazi was a ride to remember.

Antipodes (Geoff Hill), pulled out all the stops on the first race of the day, and used the big blue boat’s 72’ waterline to full advantage on the reaching legs along the coast and back. Then they went and did it again in the follow-up windward/leeward to jump into the top spot in the Premier division. Antipodes now shares 11 points overall with Andy Cocks’ Firstlight, so there’s plenty to play for at the end of the week.

IRC 2 went off up the coast for a single race today, which was won by Morten Jakobsen’s VX One, Over Here. “Over There” would have been a more appropriate name today, as the slippery sportsboat – presumably racing in IRC 2 for want of anywhere else to put her - finished more than five minutes ahead of the next boat on the water (Jessandra II, Andrew McDermott).

Mandrake III (Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth) was leading IRC 1 at the start of the day, and hung on to her lead after three windward/leeward races – just. It’s tight at the top of the division, with Mandrake III on 13 points, hounded by East Marine Emagine on 13.5 and then Aquarii with 14. Ray Roberts and the Men in Red took away two first places to start the day – but then the wheels fell off and Team Hollywood recorded a division last place in the final race.

Cruiser and Charter classes on Course Area Bravo raced just once, with the exception of Bareboat Charter A who raced twice. Really, someone is going to have to paint these boats different colours, as one Sunsail 40-something looks pretty much like the next one. At past regattas, the plethora of Russian entries have often been distinguishable by the young ladies decorating the cabin top, but that does not seem to pertain this year. In short, these divisions are a points race between Russia and China, with exception of the Cruising division dominated by Eric Alfredson’s elegant and well-sailed Oyster 56, Lisanne, from Sweden.

The proper name for a lay day is ‘Reserve Day’. That’s gets inserted into the programme in case there is any catching up to do, but the first three days of the Phuket King’s Cup 2018 has provided good sailing conditions every day so far. This evening’s party and prizegiving took place at the Ska Bar at the south end of Kata Beach: many sailors will tell you that this is the real ‘spiritual home’ of the King’s Cup these days, being very much reminiscent of the beach-bar-and-toes-in-the-sand feel of the regatta in the late 80s and early 90s. Tonight, sailors happily took over the end of the beach, and nobody seemed much concerned about drinking beer while standing knee-deep in the incoming tide. Just like today’s sailing, this is as good as it gets! Pass the Singha!

Full results available at www.kingscup.com

Standing by on 72.

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