Are we having fun yet?
By AsianYachting MultiMedia

11:02:2011 Why does this regatta have a reputation for being the 'FUN Regatta', compared to the usual 'gung ho' racing events that we have grown accustomed to? Well you only have to take a look around the moored yachts. There are families with children bonding together, groups of old friends, drinking buddies reacquainting themselves, familiar racing crews and foreign charter guests sharing the experience with some old fashioned camaraderie. If you are going to spend so much money on a boat its good to see the owners fully utilise the vessel for what it is designed to be used for.

Instead of racing for a couple hours and going home be prepared to live aboard for four days and use the galley, toilet and inbuilt luxury interior for what its worth. At the same time the crew can develop some seamanship qualities and other boat handling skills not found on the race course. Make no mistake though, whether its a racing or cruising boat, monohull or multihull the racing element is alive and well. When the starting signal sounds its sheet on and go for it. After the racing, its off to the overnight anchorage area and prepare for another prize giving party at some of the finest resorts on offer in Thailand. Then get ready to do it all again the next day. To get through it all, calls for an exercise in endurance and that's why it appeals to the serious, the not-so-serious and the not-at-all-serious 'racing' sailors.

The early morning North Easterly saw the fleet away on Course 7 taking them deep into the northern extremities of Phang Nga Bay. Everyone was keen to get going and once again the top crews got the jump off the start line. An hour after the start the wind lightened up and veered around to be straight on the nose. A slow beat to windward followed and as skippers went out to the extremities of the course the fleet spread out to take advantage of the next expected change. This decision would eventually determine the winners. By mid-day the wind completely disappeared and the Cruising B and Bareboat Classes were shortened at the first gate. Relief came in the form of the sea breeze which allowed the Racing, Cruising A and Multihull Classes to make their way to the turning mark were the race was shortened for them as well.

Another tight struggle developed between Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Quantum Fusion M and Andrey Arbuzov's Beneteau First 40.7 First in the Racing Class. This time Arbuzov's First came to the fore and scored the daily double over Duncanson's Quantum Fusion M, making it one race each. In these conditions Alex Takhovski's Jeanneau 50DS LeRo cannot keep up with the lighter boats and scored third place in the four boat class.

In the Bareboat Charter Class Steven Gear-Evans Hanse 400e Venture found some wind on the outer extreme to jump up into first place, two hours ahead of the others. Yesterdays winner Paul Kendall's SO 44i Sunsail Lychee managed to snag second place and take the overall lead. Stepping up to the plate today Neil Addison's Cyclades 39 Rachawadee filled third place.

Niels Degenkolw's IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix continues on their winning ways to score back to back daily doubles and go directly to the top of the Cruising A scoreboard. Jean Rheault's One Tonner Souay 1 did one better than yesterday to secure second place. Slow off at the start Mick Kealy's X-342 Minx came back with a flourish to score third place.

A battle is developing between the two S&S 42's, Jim Ellis Remington and Peter Woods Windstar. Today Woods' Windstar got the better of Ellis Remington that enjoy going to windward in light airs. Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy Rascal slots into third place and the best of the heavy displacement cruisers.

With the help of Aussie yacht designer Mark Pescott calling tactics, Alan Carwardine's Sidewinder disappeared into the distance and again scored the daily double in the Multihull Class. David Liddell's Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon has trouble keeping up with light displacement Sidewinder and once again had to settle on second place. Although finishing over two hours behind the leaders Grenville Fordham's Andaman Cabriolet Nina did enough to claim third spot to be the best of the rest.

The party tonight is sponsored by The Paradise Koh Yao Boutique Resort & Spa, Koh Yao Noi. Racing tomorrow snakes its way through the picturesque limestone karsts and secluded islands to the southeast side of Phang Nga Bay and eventually ends up in Krabi on the mainland. Presentations and party will be held at the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort, Krabi.

Along for the ride is Christoph Swobada's recently launched Terengannu crafted 95ft Pinas designed Naga Pelangi. Serving as the media boat again is Shane Granger's 120 year old, 80 foot Norwegian galeass class Vega and sailing together paint a lovely picture.

Photo credit Rolien Photography

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