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Phuket King's Cup Regatta 2019 - Day 4

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 6 Dec 2019 10:25 PST 2-7 December 2019
Team Hollywood off the line. Phuket King's Cup Regatta 2019. © Guy Nowell / Phuket King's Cup

In the big scheme of things it's a heartbeat, but when you are waiting around, or a sponsor, it can be an eternity. Today was Belt and Road Regatta Day, meaning the day's racing and evening party at Kan Eang 2 was sponsored by the BRR, and the breeze was not co-operating. Not that there was any lack of it - Sail-World Asia has been covering the Phuket King's Cup since 2003, and we cannot remember a day being canned for too much wind. But there's always something new.

Blue skies and sunshine at breakfast time, a hooting blow with white caps everywhere, and the prospect of some fairly grunty racing, but when we got out on the water there was 28kts gusting 30 plus, and the RO team thought that might be a sliver too much, especially for the less-experienced crews on the B Course area. Racing for the Cruising divisions was abandoned before too many charter boats had bashed their way out of the anchorage.

Then the dinghy fleet went to sea, but it was an offshore breeze coming over the hill from the Big Buddha, and all the little boats quickly found that upwind work was too much, and some started being blown out to sea. What started as a Racing Day quickly turned into a Rescue Operation, with nine RIBS and assorted inflatables rounding up the little sheep and returning them to the paddock. Meanwhile, it was still pumping 30kts and more from 070 degrees down towards Nai Harn. PRO Ross Chisholm hoisted AP over H; everyone retired to the anchorage/beach/Beyond Kata coffee shop/Ska Bar, and the waiting game began.

11.00 passed with an update promised at 12.00. Then 13.00. At last, at 14.00, the AP was dropped, and dinghies and longtails started streaming out of Kata. A start sequence was got under way shortly after 15.00, for a substantially reduced 'A' area fleet. Three out of five in IRC 0. No Multihull Racing at all: the MHR Union had declared a strike, and anyone on the racecourse was going to be a scab. Only two Firefly 850s out of four. Three absentees from IRC 2. Four out of nine Premier Cruisers failed to show. Some had valid reasons for sure, but for the remainder the question is this: if you have entered, why weren't you there? We do hope that we never hear anyone complaining about entry fees, ever again.

Compared to the morning's buster, conditions at 15.00 were positively benign. 12-14 kts only, and some pleasant afternoon sunbeams left over from the 09.00 blow. It was steady breeze - just a lesser version of what had been blowing all day. There were no 'incidents'. Team Hollywood nipped smartly round the track to score both line honours and a handicap win, and make themselves pretty much unbeatable at the top of the division. Kazuki Kihara's Char Chan survived a protest to with the IRC 1 race, but goes into final day (tomorrow) with a 6-point deficit behind Megazip that will be hard to overcome. Morten Jakobsen/Neil Semple's VX, Over Here, had been straining at the leash (the mooring line) all morning, and was happy to be let off the leash. It's the smallest boat in the regatta, but punches well above its weight, as proved this afternoon by another bullet in IRC 2. Over Here and Big Boys Sailing Team go into the final day on equal points. Game on.

There's a tie at the top of Premier Cruising, too, with Antipodes (Geoff Hill) and Shahtoosh (Peter Cremers) on 10 points apiece. Pine-Pacific won today's race, and has two more points (12) to carry into the final day but is still in the frame.

Twin Sharks (John Newnham) and Voodoo (Hans Rahmann) are one point apart at the top of the Firefly 850 ladder, which means it is anyone's game tomorrow. They have shared all the first and second places over the last seven races. Rahmann has won more Phuket King's Cup divisional prizes than anyone else over the years - but not IRC 0 (or whatever the top division was called in the past).

This evening's prize-giving constituted an introduction to the newly inaugurated Belt and Road Regatta (BRR), presented by the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, PRC, "with the aim of further developing the sport of sailing in Asia." The first BRR will set sail from Beihai, to the north of Hainan, on 13 December 2019. We are not quite sure where the BRR goes (we haven't been told), but Lu Yiwen, Deputy Director of Administration of Sports of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, reveals that "by launching the Belt and Road International Regatta, Guangxi is building a bridge between China and countries along the 'Belt and Road' for exchanges involving not only sport, but also culture, education, tourism, the economy, and much more." It sounds like a travelling road show with some sailing in the front window.

We have heard that a race from Beihai to Singapore (about 1,300nm) is on the drawing board, maybe with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia - or maybe not. Details are sketchy. Good luck chaps, and please let us know in due course who is sailing, in what, and where. Meanwhile, we like regattas and races organised by sailors, for sailors. In fact, we prefer them to political statements cooked up by grandstanding administrators with little or no understanding of the sport.

The Phuket King's Cup is definitely organised by sailors, and for sailors. Tomorrow will close out the 33rd running of the event that started as a nod to His Late Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej, 'The Sailor King', on his birthday in 1987, and has now carved out for itself a special place in the Asian sailing calendar. See you on the water tomorrow.

Standing by on 72.

Full Results at www.kingscup.com/result

Results after Day 4:

IRC 0
1. Team Hollywood 2,3,1,1,1,2,1 (8)
2. THA72 3,2,2,2,2,1,2 (11)
3. Windsikher 1,1,3,3,3,3,3 (14)

IRC 1
1. Megazip 2,1,3,1,3,2,2 (11)
2. Char Chan 5,5,2,6,6,1,3,1 (17)
3. Karasu 1,2,5,3,6,6,3 (20)

IRC 2
1. Over Here 2,3,1,2,3,1,1 (10)
2. Big Boys Saing 1,1,2,1,2,3,3 (10)
3. Highlead Encouragers 4,2,3,3,1,4,2 (15)

Premier Cruising
1. Shahtoosh 1,2,4,4,1,2 (10)
2. Antipodes 3,1,1,2,4,3 (10)
3. Pine-Pacific 2,3,3,3,DSQ(10), 1 (12)

Bareboat Charter A
1. Jing Jing Too 2,4,2,1,2,1 (8)
2. Megan 3,2,3,6,1,2 (11)
3. Moonshine 1,5,1,2,3,5 (12)

Bareboat Charter B
1. Iyarada 4,3,1,1,2,4 (11)
2. Inlova 2,2,2,5,3,2 (11)
3. Hippocrates 1,1,DNF,7,1,3 (13)

Multihull Cruising
1. Da Vinci 2,1,1,4,3 (7)
2. Klook Star Trek 1,2,3,3,2 (8)
3. Raptor 4,4,2,2,1 (9)

Multihull Racing
1. Fugazi 1,1,1,1,1,1 (5)
2. Team Blood Red 3,2,4,2,2,3 (12)
3. Frankenstein 4,5,2,4,3,2 (15)

Cruising
1. Kata Rocks Sea Escapes 2,1,1,7,4,3 (11)
2. Night Train 1,4,5,2,2,5 (14)
3. Kinnon 5,3,4,3,3,10 (18.5)

Firefly 850
1. Twin Sharks 1,1,1,1,2,2 (6)
2. Voodoo 2,2,2,2,1,1 (8)
3. Mamba 3,4,3,3,4,3,DNC (20)

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