The final showdown...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia

13:02:2011 Overnight the North East trade wind returned, which was a welcome relief for the sailors that have struggled in the light conditions. Courses 11 & 12 were chosen for the final showdown. A short windward beat, then weave their way between Ko Daeng and Ko Samet, slightly offshore from Krabi before heading off on a downwind flyer to the Hin Mu Sang Nua gate/finish line. The leading yachts devoured the 12 and 17 nautical mile courses in under two hours and all of a sudden the competitive side to the regatta was over, bar the shouting. All that was left to do, was return the yachts to their respective marina berths or anchorage grounds and crews make their way to the Ao Chalong Yacht Club for the final presentation and post regatta celebrations.

Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Quantum Fusion M, was specially designed to race in these conditions and disappeared into the distance to score the daily double and win the overall Racing Class title. A late start for Andrey Arbuzov's Beneteau First 40.7 First, left them floundering at the back of the fleet and eventually retired but did enough in the earlier races to hold onto second overall. Alex Takhovski's Jeanneau 50DS LeRo and Suwan Poopoksakul's X512 Lawana filled the breach left behind by Arbuzov's demise and take second and third places respectively, but have to settle on third and fourth overall.

After slipping down the order Paul Kendall's crew on the SO 44i Sunsail Lychee came out fighting and more than ever determined to clinch the Bareboat Charter Class on their first attempt. That's just what they did and by claiming the daily double today, recaptured the overall lead and rapped up the title all in one go. Second place for James Alsop's Hanse 400 Kinnon has them climbing the order to take third place on the podium. By dropping down to third place today Steven Gear-Evans Hanse 400e Venture has relinquished the overall lead but by scoring two early wins they finish with the silver medal.

So far Niels Degenkolw's IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix has completely dominated the Cruising A Class. Out practicing late yesterday afternoon Mick Kealy's crew on his X-342 Minx managed to break Phoenix run of victories when they crossed the finish line less than a boat length behind and in doing so secure second overall. Jean Rheault's One Tonner Souay 1 threw themselves into the mix and by scoring third place today have elevated Souay 1 into third overall.

The brisk conditions saw the heavy displacement yachts in the Cruising B class kick up their legs and come alive around the course. Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy Rascal hit the front on the long downwind slide and was closely followed by a hungry chasing pack. Graham Tuckey's Jeaneau 49 Optoloi slid past on the inside for line honours but could not stop Welman's Rascal from claiming the handicap honours. Only four minutes on corrected time separated the top five places. Third place for mumbling Jim Ellis on his classic S&S 42's Remington is enough to seal the deal and romp away with the overall title. Rascal climbs up into second overall and Peter Woods S&S 42 Windstar hangs on for third overall.

Since launching last year Alan Carwardine has steadily worked on perfecting his Stealth 12.5 Sidewinder performance and by winning three of the four races has bagged the Multihull Class title on their first attempt. Second place today for Grenville Fordham's Andaman Cabriolet Nina secures them third place overall. Last nights victory celebrations maybe responsible for David Liddell's Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon dropping to third place today but helped them secure second place overall.

Another resounding success and all credit must go to the Ao Chalong Yacht Club team for taking over the reigns at the last minute and carrying on the sailing tradition in fine style. As Phuket is considered the yachting mecca in South East Asia and this event caters for the majority of yachts in the region, the show must go on. Speaking to the Russian, British and
Barbados crews that have enjoyed themselves immensely and promise to come back again next year, is the biggest compliment the organisers can hope for, were word by mouth promotion reigns supreme. I'm sure with a little tweaking each year and now that cruising/racing live aboard events are the talk of the town we are entering a new level of sailing development the region so rightfully deserves.

Photo credit Rolien Photography

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