5:37 am - Sunday September 25, 2016

Phuket King’s Cup 2010: Saturday’s combined races to become showpiece


kings cup regatta

'Race Director Simon James with the IRC and OMR combined races trophies. Next year there will be perpetual trophies for the OMR and IRC divisons - Phuket King’s Cup' Tracey Johnstone ©

The idea of a combined race for monohulls and another one for the multihulls is innovative as it is attractive to the King’s Cup Regatta sailors. The day will start with the annual Sail Past to honour the King’s birthday. Then the large cup fleet, along with local yachts entering just for the day, will split into two. The monohulls will be pitted against each other as they come together in a spectacular race competing for the honour of winning the IRC Combined Fleet Race trophy. The multihulls will also combine in their own spectacular fleet race for the OMR Combined Multihull Fleet Race trophy.

Race Director, Simon James, explains the background to decision to include this event in the King’s Cup Regatta program.

‘Because of the way we have racing grouped, in order to get good racing in similar sized boats, people don’t always have a chance to have a crack at the other boats. They all have handicaps, so this will be an opportunity for people to race against each other, provided we have similar conditions. It is impractical during the week to put a big range of boats in a class so we can have multiple races per day. However, the combined race will give everyone the opportunity to have a go. The IRC1 boats can have a crack at the other classes and it will be interesting to see how they will come out of it.

We have aimed for it to be on the last day. People have said why isn’t it part of the King’s Cup series ? The problem is it wouldn’t be the IRC or OMR race as on the last day every other division is covering every other members of their division to get that overall trophy therefore the races wouldn’t work.

kings cup regattaWe used to have the blue ribbon race to Phi Phil. The facilities aren’t there anymore to take in a 100 plus boats as the King’s Cup has grown dramatically in the last 10 years. We have been looking at a way to replace that race. I am now in a situation where I am dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t do something else. I believe we should try something, have something a little different.

It is worth noting that everyone has said you have reduced the number of races. Well, we haven’t. We are doing about eight races which is probably more than we have done in most other years. Traditionally we have done only five races, one of which was a beat to an island and one which was a reach back. We are now doing a lot more competitive races. And, we are giving the majority of people what they want at the end of the day.

We are always listening. We don’t just sit in an ivory tower and come up with an idea and say, this is what everybody wants. There have been ongoing talks with people from Hong Kong, people from Singapore. At all the regattas we have held meetings with people to come up with ideas and ask what do you want ?

We have had a good turn-out in the Racing Class with the TP52s, but there is has been a great development in the 40-foot class boats it the region. Look at the IRC1 class with the Beneteaus. We have a phenomenal group of very consistent, similar boats and there are more 40-foot boats coming through.

Everybody says we don’t want this or that boat in our class. But, it will be interesting to have them out on the water to see how they do compete together. Instead of everyone being negative in the bar after the race, we are giving them the chance to put their money where their mouth is and see how they perform.

From talking to other regatta organisers, everybody will be watching us, including the R,ORC in the UK, to see how it works. I think what we might see, hopefully if it works and I believe it should, a number of this similar design races appearing in other regattas in the region even in regattas outside the coveted Asian Yachting circuit, to create an overall IRC and OMR regional champion.

Because of the logistics of where everyone is, we have different seasons. Here we only have to go 300 miles away and we have a totally opposite season.

If you took for instance the Audi championship in Australia; they take four events and they use a multiplier to work out the number of points you carry from the event to an overall champion pointscore. However, because we don’t have the number of boats and consistent classes and regattas, as we don’t have so many one-designs, it is very hard to come up with a sensible mathematical formula. England has a similar system, but they have consistency in the number of boats. We don’t have that consistency in the classes as we may have three boats in one class in one event and then 10 boats in that class in another event.

In the last year, behind the desk, we ran the results systems they run in Australia, England and some of the European countries and the States IRC championships to come up with a winner. We just found that the systems currently being used wouldn’t work with the range of boats, number of regattas and size of regattas. So, the first compromise is let’s put our toe in the water, let’s create this one-off, combined class race and see where we go from there.

There are 100 or more boats out on the water that come back to support us. If you give them the incentive, they will come back, even the charter boats. We are starting to have a situation where the charter boats, if they do well, they guys in Germany or Japan say, hey we have the IRC race.

We even now have from the IRC Owners Association of Japan a special IRC trophy for the best Japanese boat and that will be built into their series.’

When considering the placement of the combined races within the King’s Cup regatta program, James said, ‘it’s got to be on its own. If we put it on in the middle of the week and we had good winds and we had a good race and then the wind died in the next couple of days, everybody would come back saying why did you do that, we couldn’t complete our series.

The reason the races are on the weekend is because we are doing the Sail Past for the King’s birthday in the morning. Also, the idea of holding it on the weekend is that we open it up to anybody with boats on the island. This could become an island event.’

James believes that the big boats will want to participate in the combined races as much as all the smaller ones.

Regatta website, www.kingscup.com

by Tracey Johnstone



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