The final day of racing in this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta posed the challenge of very light conditions, making every Skipper’s decision and change of tack a crucial decision at the close of this legendary race.
Ray Roberts and OneSails Racing have turned in strong and consistent performances throughout the Regatta, but it was rival IRC0 class Australian boat “Oi!” and her crew which saved their best runs until the last; Ahern Bailey Wilmer’s team took two first places on the final day – an incredible finale and so typical of the King’s Cup. The result at the finish was Ray Robert’s crew winning the class by a single point; their second and third place finishes today were enough to see them emerge as overall winners following their good tactical decisions.
Ray Roberts, Skipper of OneSails Racing, spoke of his delight: “It’s great to be back here and winning our fourth King’s Cup. It was very light wind today with one squall, and so we kept focus on calm decisions and consistency; The weather contributed to a good, fair race, one in which you could not relax, and I would like to express my thanks to the Race Committee who did a terrific job managing it in changing conditions all week. Some of the winning gaps have come down to just four seconds or so – very challenging. Technology is changing in sailing all the time and we came up with a cutting-edge sail design at OneSails, and that was our key to success.”
IRC1 class saw Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI team finally defeated for the win in race ten, where a boat from Singapore, Windsikher, came in first place; but not until the class leaders had recorded another win in race nine. Foxy Lady made the class look like a cakewalk, but in reality their victory was a result of strong team discipline and great decision-making throughout the King’s Cup.
Bill Bremner, Skipper of Foxy Lady VI, talked about their King’s Cup win: “Today was a real challenge because we had 100-degree wind shifts which were difficult to read; a great course though, with knocks and lifts to ride all the way up the course, and then squalls on the way back with gusts of 20 knots before dropping again – it was like a vacuum – classic Phuket! A dream come true, and a long time coming.”
Steve McConaghy, Tactician, Foxy Lady VI, said, “We’ve sailed together a few times in the last five years, and won our first Samui (Regatta) together. I signed on with Bill this year and we’ve been undefeated since. The King’s Cup is the hardest Regatta in Asia; we feel fantastic.”
In IRC2, Yasuo Nanamori and the Japanese team “Karasu” powered through to two more wins on the final day, obliterating all competitors in their class. Their performances have been extraordinarily consistent all week, and it is consistency that wins regattas.
IRC3 class played host to a dogfight between Anthony Root’s Red Kite II racer from Hong Kong and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban. Allen skippered his crew to win the first of today’s two races, but Red Kite came back in the second race to beat their rivals into second. This tooth-and-nail class battling is something for which the King’s Cup is renowned. Red Kite II emerged as victors in the class, with Ichi Ban on second place after leaving their title challenge just a little too late this year.
In Premier class, Pine-Pacific has dominated their class all week, and took two more victories again today. The team have been in a ‘class of their own’ all week, and finished well ahead of nearest rival Silandra V.
The class-leading IPPAI team in Sports Boats could only manage two second place finishes today, creating a nervy ending to this small class of racers. Their points score throughout the week however gave them a clear lead at the finish, and today’s two runner-up spots were more than enough to power them home.
In the Sunsail Charter class, Rambutan skippered by Petr Kochnev and Sail Experts was overall class champion ahead of Team Nord. Despite a slow finish in the final race, they were consistently the quickest team over the week.
Venture skippered by David Boekemann took the Bareboat Charter class fairly easily with a successful finish again on the final day and a wide margin between themselves and any competitor.
In the Open Charter class, Nikiforov Eugeny’s “Sarawadee” crew had an excellent day, recording two wins on day five. It was enough for them to seal the class standings and put them top above rivals Little Eva.
In the Firefly 850 Sports class today, a very exciting series, John Newnham’s Twin Sharks Team claimed another victory in race nine, whilst the final race went to BlueNoze, another British team. Twin Sharks’ main rivals, Voodoo, were runners up in the final standings.
In Multihull Racing class, Asia Catamarans Hurricane overpowered all-comers to dominate the class, winning eight out of 10 races, and ending with an exceptional points score. Their nearest rivals, Da Vinci, performed well all week but lacked the pace of the “Hurricane.”
Of the Multihull Cruisers, it was Japanese entrant Minnie that outscored Russian rival Ariana. Norikazu Arai’s crew won four of five ahead of their rivals, striving to deliver consistency in each race, and being ultimately rewarded with the class trophy.
For the Modern Classics, Jim Ellis and his Remington team were uncatchable, and have been since the start of the Regatta. They finished top with literally an ocean between them and rivals.
Amongst the Cruisers, a very tight division, Lady Bubbly skippered by Chris Mitchell won the class with a single point gap between them and Rumrunner11 which has also raced superbly.
In Classic class, Peter Wood skippering Sunshine Schooner outperformed its only rival, SY Argo, in every race.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Windsurfing Championship concluded today also, with Navin Singsart named as overall winner after a total of seven races. Thai rival Ek Boonsawad was second in the final standings, with Siriporn Kaewduangngam winner of the women’s class. Thai competitors performed exceptionally well throughout, emphasising the nation’s supreme reputation in Championship windsurfing.
Dinghy racing concluded yesterday with Nuttapol Srihirun named the Laser class winner, Supparak Niamraksa Optimist Boys winner and Praewa Kangkla Optimist Girls winner. The dinghy class, a regular feature of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, remains one of Thailand’s most important series for the enhancement of sailing skills amongst youth sailors in the country.
The winds may have relented a little on the final day’s racing, but blue seas and skies made for a beautiful finish to a week of intense action. The 2013 Regatta, the 27th Phuket King’s Cup, has delivered an exceptional fleet and high levels of professionalism and sportsmanship throughout, and has lived up to its reputation as the premier sailing event in all of Asia.