A stiff breeze of 15 to 20 knots off south-western Phuket on Wednesday morning provided near perfect conditions for the large fleet of boats contesting this year’s King’s Cup Regatta, allowing the organizers to hold three races in some classes.
While some boats in the slower sections of the 11 classes only managed one race, the two fastest keelboat classes and one of the multihull classes squeezed in three races, largely because of their speed around the ocean courses.
In the hotly contested IRC Zero Class for racing keelboats, experienced Australian skipper Ray Roberts’ boat Team Hollywood won the first two races, but finished fourth in the final outing. THA 72 ended the day in second place after finishing behind Team Hollywood in the first two races and getting a third place in the final race of the day.
Sarab Singh on his boat Wind Sikher took the honors in the third and final race in the IRC Zero Class. Little separates the top three TP 52-design boats on the water with Ray Roberts new campaign proving the solid leaders.
In the second-tier IRC 1 Class for keelboats, Australian Craig Nichols finished first on his boat Aquari after the three races contested on Wednesday. Aquari won the first two races and finished fifth in the final race. Scott Bradley’s East Marine Emagine ended the day a close second overall after two third placings and a second place.
In the multihull section, the mostly Phuket-built Firefly 850 Sports Class boats also squeezed in three races, with Great Britain‘s John Newham taking first place overall on Twin Sharks. Very little separates the field in this tightly contested class of almost identical racing catamarans, with Germany‘s Hans Rahmann finishing second overall on Voodoo. Brit Neil Ayre on Mamba ended the day a close third.
Dan Fidock maintained his lead in the Racing Multihull Class on his small but speedy trimaran Fugazi, again seeing off the challenge from the large 60-foot speed machine SHK Scallywag Fuku Bid. Few boats can even go close to matching the speed of the much larger Scallywag in strong breezes, but Fugazi proved to be no slouch and came out on top after handicaps were taken into consideration.
Closer to shore on Wednesday, racing was underway in the International Dinghy Classes, with a large number of junior sailors testing their skills off Kata Beach. Almost 100 junior sailors are contesting the various dinghy classes, with the racing held off Kata Beach on Wednesday.
Experience King’s Cup keelboat sailor Commander Peera Sagultan of the Royal Thai Navy is the Dingy Race Officer, overseeing the 97 young sailors on the water. “We had good wind today of 15 to 20 knots and some exciting racing,” he said. “We had four races today (Wednesday) and will have a total of 12 races by the time we finish up on Saturday. We have Optimists, Lasers and 420s racing.”
One result that surprised no one was a first place finish in the Optimist Class on Wednesday by 13-year-old Panwa Boonak, an Asian Sailing Championships winner and a member of the Thai World Championship team. Up-and-coming sailor M.L. Weka Bhanubandh Na Ayuttaya showed great skills despite his young age in the Optimist Class with a second place finish, followed by Patihan Vorrasart in third place.
While the International Dingy Sailors will be racing on Thursday, it will be a rest day for the rest of the fleet at this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, giving crews a well-deserved rest and skippers and owners time to fine tune or repair their boats. The keelboat and multihull action gets underway again on Friday off the southern tip of the resort island.