Ao Chalong lottery swings into action
The seven Firefly 850 One Designs lined up on a separate start and sped off into the distance. After the first round scattered showers descended on the fleet causing numerous wind direction and speed changes. Numerous place changes occurred as one boat or another picked up gusts or sat becalmed with limp sails. Eventually the course divided into light wind at the top mark and completely glassed out at the finish line. A couple of boats failed to round the bottom mark and were carried away with the current.
As the leaders ghosted into the finish the Ao Chalong lottery really came into play. The leading Firefly's managed to sail around the Performance Multi's stuck in the middle of the course. The healthy lead Alan Carwardine’s Stealth 12.5 Sidewinder had established, disappeared as they drifted off the course and when a zephyr of breeze materialised, swept David Liddell's Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon amidst a bunch Firefly's across the finish line. The drift-athon and the juggling of the places continued for agonising minutes and skippers could do nothing other than watch their chances disappear with the wind.
Paul Larsen's Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci closed the gap to secure second place and Neil Ayres Shanghai Baby slipped into third place. Alan Carwardine’s luckless Stealth 12.5 Sidewinder eventually had to settle on fifth place.
Andy Pape eased the Firefly The Frog into the lead and triumphed in Race 1 with John Newnham's Twin Sharks close behind. Roger Kingdon Moto Inzi slipped into third place to complete the podium places.
Meanwhile huge black clouds were building over the land and descended on the course with 20-25 knots of wind and all hell broke lose. As the visibility reduced to zero in the lashing rain the finished boats went into survival mode and the heavily reefed boats completed the course. PRO Simon James had no alternative other than cancel racing for the rest of the day and send everyone home to fight another day.
Racing continues tomorrow and as huge rain storms continue to roll across the racing area we can expect some more fun and games as the series progresses.
Full details and results on the ACYC website: http://www.acyc-phuket.com
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