Protest and counter appeal hearings over rounding the windward mark, went long into the night and caused tempers to flair between Neil Pryde’s Hi Fi and Hannes Waimer’s Team Premier.
The International jury reversed their initial decision to award Hi Fi and Freefire time and in doing so the results reverted to the original posting where Team Premier held a four point advantage going into the final day. The race committee announced early in the morning that the racing classes will have a short windward/leeward race followed by a passage race around the islands to the SE of Phuket. A slim chance existed for Hi Fi to overtake Team Premier and win the title. Fireworks were expected at the start line and the media boats crowded in to watch the action.
The North East tradewinds returned with a vengeance and was a great finish to the regatta with gusts in the 25 knot range. A little to much for some as Joep Kleine Staarman’s X-342 Minx reported dismasting and taking on water, Jon Wardill’s Cassidy 55 Australian Maid a broken boom, Sam Chan’s TP52 Freefire mainsail damage, China’s Shihai Lagoon 500 Snail collided with the gate boat and several other yachts retired from the days racing. The kite boards were back in action and completed three races before heading back to the beach completely exhausted.
As expected the action in the IRC Zero class started from the preparatory flag. A hard luff by Neil Pryde’s Hi Fi sent them head to wind at the boat end and pinned Hannes Waimer’s Team Premier between them and the start boat, with no where to go. Protest was hailed and red flag unfurled. No collision but some tense moments before the horn sounded. Its not often tactician Gordon McQuire gets caught offside and a quick 360 degree turn to exonerate got Team Premier off the hook. Hi Fi went on to win the race but with Team Premier in second place, Pryde’s hope of a revival were slowly slipping away. Similar starting boat action was shaping up for the second race but this time Team Premier got the upper hand and sailed away despite the calls from Hi Fi to stay up. As Team Premier held a good lead at the top mark, Hi Fi notified the race committee that they were retiring from the race which sealed the deal on Team Premier becoming the 2011 champion.
Scoring podium places in nine out of ten races, Japan’s Yasuo Nanamori’s Summit King 40 Karasu are crowned the IRC 1 champions. Coming on the back of their Japan Cup victory the crew have been sufficiently rewarded for their efforts. Steve Manning’s Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 and David Ross’ Ker 40 KukuKERchu set a cracking pace at the front of the very competitive fleet to finish in second and third respectively. The slightest mistake and the yacht can be punished severely. Often less than a minute on corrected time separated the leading yachts which bodes well for this fast developing size range going into the future.
By winning the only race today, Royal Thai Navy 1 skippered by CPO.1 Wiwat Poonpat have won IRC 2 class and with five regatta wins under their belt, they have entered the record books with the most King’s Cup victories. Despite a determined effort and leading example Bill Bremner’s Ker 32 Foxy Lady 5 could not rattle the navy and settled on second place. Enjoying the strong breeze Arbuzov Andrey’s Russian team on Ruby Tuesday have surfed into third spot and relegated Peter Dyer’s defending champion Team Kata Rock down to fourth overall.
From the very beginning Richard Dobbs Swan 68 Titania of Cowes dominated the Premier Cruising Class and by winning today have cemented their name firmly on the trophy. Never far behind, defending champion Peter Sorenson’s Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga – Team Strongbow concedes defeat and ends up with second place. The biggest boat in the fleet Wang Bin’s Swan 82 Chao Ren Plus One kicked up their heels in the strong breeze to claim second place today which elevates them to third overall. They have had so much fun here that they will forgo another regatta next year, just to be here again racing the other big Swan designs.
After dipping in form yesterday, Aquacraft Asia’s Hanse 545 Odin skippered by Rob Williams rebounded with a win today and take home the Cruising Class trophy on their first attempt. William Sax’s Fraser 41 Astraeus and Jack Cristensen’s Bavaria 49 Linda ended up tied on points, which is broken in favour of Astraeus as they won yesterdays race.
Five out of seven wins for Aussie Mike Crisp’s Hanse 400e Venture gives them the Bareboat Charter Class title by a country mile. Although Oliver Heer’s Beneteau 47.7 Sail Plane started with a flourish they eventually succumbed to experience and finished in second place. The battle between four Russian boats was settled when Mikhail Beloborodov’s Bavaria 45 Tonicola 2 won the only race today and jumped up into third overall.
Ramming home first place today Bo Sondergaard’s S&S 47 Patrice III retains their composure to triumph in the Modern Classic Class. Peter Wood’s Commanche 42 Windstar has consistently been on the podium to end up in second overall. Despite crashing out in Race 3, Nicholas Smith’s Ericson 38 Freewind came good yesterday and after the drop race climbs back into third place and relegated Kevin Gillow’s S&S 30 Poco down to fourth.
Covered in a cloud of spray Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi and Hans Rahmann’s Voodoo staged the most exciting races in the one design Firefly 850 Sports class. Coming into today Moto Inzi held a one point lead over Voodoo and all to play for. Moto Inzi triumphed in the short windward/leeward race with Voodoo close behind. This rivalry carried on into the passage race and was only settled in the last couple of miles to the finish. One surged ahead, then the other until finally Voodoo taking the inshore line got the gust first and ripped across the line. As they shared the first and second places the points difference remains the same and Moto Inzi is victorious on this occasion. As the battle was taking shape in front of them Neil Ayre’s The Frog applied the pressure from behind and secured third overall.
Stringing together seven wins out of nine races, Alan Carwardine’s Stealth 12.6 Sidewinder has been unstoppable this season and won the Multihull Class title on their second attempt. Never out of the top three places David Roberts Andaman Cabriolet Davinci skippered by Mick Coleman plays bridesmaid again with second place. David Liddell’s defending champion Miss Saigon may have slipped of the mantle but were best of the rest with third overall.
On the 25th anniversary there is no doubt that this regatta is getting bigger and better. When the NE tradewind is blowing the regatta sticks out as a memorable occasion. International participants flood in and support the vibrant Phuket charter industry which in turn increases the entry list. The social scene is as much a huge part of the regatta as the on the water activity. About 80% of the entries are here for the party scene with a little bit of sailing thrown in. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a tropical holiday and have always encouraged more overseas participants to come and try it out.
More info and results on the 2011 King’s Cup at: http://www.kingscup.com
By AsianYachting MultiMedia