pressure is building...
After being overrun in the final stages of the Raja Muda regatta and opening this regatta in fourth place, Ray Roberts must have given the crew on his TP52 Evolution Racing the hair dryer ultimatum, as they have not lost a race since. Arch rival Neil Pryde seemed to have his Welbourn 52 Hi Fi sorted coming into this event and started with a vengeance. Although most skippers would happily accept one first, two second and two fourth places at this stage in proceedings, by Neil's standards it is disappointing to say the least and the crew will have to work hard to overcome the 5 point deficit to claw back into title contention. Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's EFG Bank Mandrake are enjoying the lighter conditions and by scoring third and second places today, have lifted their spirits and puts them in contention for a podium finish. Despite shredding a spinnaker, Frank Pong's 75’ Reichel Pugh, Jelik III continues on the line honours trail and by converting to handicap placing's they also are looking good for a close finish. Xiaqun Song and her all Chinese crew on Frank Pong's TP52 Jelik V is in and out of the action and along with Sam Chan's TP52 Ffreefire are hell bent on improving their overall rankings.
First and third places for Ben Copley's Swan CS 42 Katsu has lifted them to second overall and comes at a crucial stage in proceedings. The tricky conditions once again saw Matt Allen's IRC 1 defending champion Beneteau First 44.7 Zhik Ichi Ban had a small hiccup in Race 4 but rebounded on the long coastal race to keep them on course to make it a hat trick of victories. Unfortunately Japan's Yasuo Nanamori's chartered Sydney 40 Babe dragged anchor last night and substantial damage has forced them to retire from the regatta. Rick Pointon's J130 JingJing representing the Beijing Sailing Centre slipped a little but still hold onto third overall with a one point margin over Peter Wintle's Kerr 37 Koull Baby that are piling on the pressure and together with Rick Overton/Kenn Eyears chartered Kerr 32 Kukukerchu give no mercy on the bigger boats in the class.
A right royal battle has developed in the IRC 2 class. Jamie Watts skippering the chartered Humphries 3/4 Tonner Team Sea Bees got the better of defending champion CPO.1 Wiwat Poonpat’s Farr MRX Royal Thai Navy 1 in third place, on the long coastal race to draw level on five points. Cdr. Pornprom Sakultem's Royal Thai Navy 4 wedged into second place today and although this result lifts their game, it has reduced their Navy 1 counterparts lead. After a fast start to the regatta Brent Morgan’s Men At Work has slowly been eased back into fourth place.
Peter Forsythe & Jing Lee's X-55 Xena survived the hole at the finish line to once again take out the daily double of line and handicap honours, to hold onto top spot in the Premier Cruising class. Aussie racing legend Peter Sorenson on the chartered Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga, threw everything he could at Xena but just couldn't advance beyond second place. Jon Wardill's thirty year old Cassidy 55 Australian Maid continues to shine and holds onto third place despite the pressure from the modern sleek yacht designs they are up against.
First place for Ilya Ermakov's Russian SunOdyssey 32i Sarawadee added onto yesterdays third place, to elevate them to top spot in the Bareboat Charter Class. Seventh place for Darren Shipard's Feeling 1090 Bourgeois Tag drops them down to third overall. Third place for Mike Crisp's Hanse 400e Venture holds them steady in second place. Rod Mulcahy's Baveria 46 Uhuru is the big mover and shaker with second place that lifts them into fourth overall.
Two wins in a row for Paul Brunning's Pape 12.8m Dondang Sayang has them sitting pretty at the top of the three boat Classic Class. Second place for Simon Morris' staysail schooner Sirius 1935 and third for Rene Tiemessen's Rhodes 17.38m Alondra is the same order as Race 1 and steady as she goes.
Once again Barry Elsbury's Swan 15.6m Apsara claimed line honours but Richard Macfarlane's Oceanis 411 Aida eclipsed them for handicap honours to stay on top of the Cruising Class pointscore. Jack Woodrow's Baveria 49 Linda slotted into third place but fourth place for Roger Harris' SunOdyssey 52 Simone is enough to keep them in third overall.
The Modern Classic Class saw Canadian Jean Rheault's IOR One Tonner Souay 1 take out the daily double again to solidify top spot. Reinhard Haiber's legendary Meridien 47 Pytheas Aura lifted their game to take second place and by trading places with Thailand's Bo Sondergaard's S&S 47 Patrice III have ended up tied on five points.
In the Firefly 850 Sports class, John Newnham's British chartered Twin Sharks temporarily knocked Hans Rahmann's Voodoo off the perch in the short windward/leeward Race 4. It was not looking to good for Voodoo at the beginning of the island race but over the duration of the long race they rebounded with first place to stay on top of the table. Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi and Andrew Marshall's Pink Lady have traded places through out the event to be tied on 12 points and at the moment fighting over the third podium position.
Some confusion surrounded the placing of the finish line in the Multihull Class. Defending champions Henry Kaye and Fergus Wilmer's Seacart 30 Thor led by the proverbial mile but missed some changes to the Sailing Instructions that the race committee communicated by radio. By the time they realized their mistake and exonerated themselves, David Liddel's Corsair 37 Miss Saigon, Radab Kanjanavanit's KT-ZMICO Cedar Swan and Neil Ayre's Corsair 28 Shanghai Baby (Skylight) had closed in and collected the podium places. Fourth place for the German ace Andy Pape skippering the Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci, keeps them at the top of the leaderboard with Miss Saigon slipping into second and Thor dropping to third and seeing their chances of defending the title disappearing into the distance.
Racing continues tomorrow with Day 3 hosted by Kata Group Resorts at the Phuket Orchid Resort, Karon Beach.
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