Racing by a whisker...
As only a couple points separated Evolution Racing and Hi Fi, the cat and mouse game started early. Making there final run into the line, both boats were called up beyond the start boat. Neil Pryde lifted early to slow Hi Fi's approach, just as Ray Roberts was forced to tack away, allowing Pryde to maneuver Hi Fi in behind them and get away with the rest of the fleet. By the time Evolution Racing recovered, they were way behind and finding it difficult to advance in the lee of the other boats. Desperate times requires taking different actions from the leaders. Neil Pryde managed to get Hi Fi around the top mark first with Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire close behind. Usually found at the front of the fleet, Frank Pong's 75’ Reichel Pugh Jelik III must of choose the slow lane as they weaved their way amongst the 52 footers. A game of snakes and ladders ensued as the boats rotated three times. Eventually at the finish Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire took the daily double in front of Neil Pryde's Hi Fi and Hannes Waimer's Dubai based TP52 Team Premier coming good with third place. Looking very sad on the first couple of laps, Ray Roberts finally found top gear on Evolution Racing and squeezed up into fourth place, which was enough to win the King's Cup for the fourth time.
In the IRC 1 class, Matt Allen's Beneteau First 44.7 Zhik Ichi Ban didn't even have to leave the mooring today, as they've done enough to comfortably win the class with a day to spare and make it three class wins in a row. First place for Peter Wintle's Kerr 37 Koull Baby keeps them in second overall. Although Sarab Singh's Sydney 40 WindSikher claimed second place today, the slow start to the regatta leaves them well down the order. Third place for Rick Overton/Kenn Eyears chartered Kerr 32 Kukukerchu has them tied on 28 points with Ben Copley's Swan CS 42 Katsu, which is broken in favour of Katsu as they won Race 4 earlier in the regatta to hold onto third overall.
The right royal battle in the IRC 2 class came to an epic conclusion today. Jamie Watts chartered Humphries 3/4 Tonner Team Sea Bees nailed the startline and extended their lead around the course, over CPO.1 Wiwat Poonpat’s Farr MRX Royal Thai Navy 1 in Race 7, to not only win the race but no matter how bad they sailed Race 8, to make it mathematically impossible for the navy to beat them for the title. Ray Waldron's Phuket 8 Surf Patrol has taken line honours in most races and was finally rewarded with second place in Race 8 today. After a dip in form mid regatta Brent Morgan’s Men At Work rebounded with second place in Race 8 to clamber back into third overall.
Although Peter Forsythe & Jing Lee's X-55 Xena claimed line honours today, it was Peter Sorenson's chartered Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga that secured the handicap honours and in doing so, ended up tied on points with Xena but as Sorenson triumphed in the last race, they have won the Premier Cruiser trophy and Baby Tonga has defended the title. Consistently scoring four 3rd places, Jon Wardill's Cassidy 55 Australian Maid holds onto third overall.
Japan's Naoki Wada's Sunlight 30 Fidgi might be the smallest boat in the Bareboat Charter Class but slayed 22 bigger boats today to win Race 5. Second place for the Russian's on Ilya Ermakov's SunOdyssey 32i Sarawadee secures the title on their first attempt. Despite finishing down in 14th place today Aussie Mike Crisp's Hanse 400e Venture did enough in the earlier races to hold onto second overall. The other Russian team on Novoderezhkin's SunOdyssey 44i Lychee scored two wins during the regatta but a couple of bad races have relegated them down to third overall.
Simon Morris' staysail schooner Sirius 1935 sailed into first place today but three wins in a row for Paul Brunning's Pape 12.8m Dondang Sayang secures them the Classic Class title. Consistently scoring third places Rene Tiemessen's Rhodes 17.38m Alondra finished up with third overall.
Richard Macfarlane's Oceanis 411 Aida did the best of the rest in the difficult conditions to win Race 4 and thereby take out the Cruising Class title on their first attempt. Although Barry Elsbury's Swan 15.6m Apsara have taken all the class line honours, they have not managed to convert them into handicap wins and settled on second overall. Jack Woodrow's Baveria 49 Linda has been up and down the results table and ended up in third overall.
By posting another first place Canadian Jean Rheault's IOR One Tonner Souay 1 has run away with the Modern Classic Class title. Thailand's Bo Sondergaard's S&S 47 Patrice III holds steady in second place and Reinhard Haiber's legendary Meridien 47 Pytheas Aura has survived an ordeal to hold onto third place.
Although Andrew Marshall's Pink Lady won the race today, it is Hans Rahmann's Voodoo that wins the Firefly 850 Sports title in impeccable style. Andrew Marshall's Pink Lady climbs up into second overall, displacing John Newnham's British chartered Twin Sharks, down into third place.
The hotly contested Multihull class title went down to the wire. Henry Kaye and Fergus Wilmer's Seacart 30 Thor, went out and blitzed the fleet in Race 7, to be back in contention if Race 8 could be sailed. David Liddel's Corsair 37 Miss Saigon slotted into second place, a mere 20 seconds in front of Alan Carwardine's Stealth 12.6 Team Lewmar. This knocked Andy Pape's Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci off the perch and if no further races were held David Liddel's Miss Saigon would be the champion. A lengthy and patient wait followed before the sea breeze materialised and a shortened Race 8 got underway. This time there was not enough runway for Thor to get away and Alan Carwardine's Team Lewmar / Sidewinder claimed first place by six seconds to deny the defending champions any chance of retaking the title. This left Andy Pape's Da Vinci in second place but still coming up short for the title. The new enlarged square mainsail on David Liddel's Miss Saigon has lifted their game and despite scoring fourth place in the final race it was enough for them to cling gamely onto first overall and win the title by one point over Thor and Da Vinci. The nail biting finish to the series is in line with the suitability of Multihulls to the Asian region, that has produced competitiveness in designs both on the water and in the sales office.
Although racing for the King's Cup concluded today, racing continues tomorrow with combined fleet races for the IRC and OMR classes. First up is the Sail Past to celebrate the King's birthday before the start of the IRC Challenge Trophy and Multihull Challenge Trophy races. Two IRC monohull starts and one for the Multihulls will see all competing boats timed around the same trapezoid course, which is expected to produce an exciting spectacle to end this years regatta. In the evening the Royal Awards Ceremony and series prize presentations will be held in the ballroom of the Kata Beach Resort & Spa and the final race Challenge Trophy prize-giving and Closing Party to be held poolside of the host sponsor.
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