10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta
Racing Day 4

What starts well, ends well...
By Alan Parkhouse
The final day of the Puravana Phang Nga Bay Regatta featured a long race from Phi Phi island back to Nai Harn Bay in Phuket with nine of the 50 boats retiring when the wind dropped halfway through the long leg to the mainland. The day's racing started in good conditions off Phi Phi with light but steady winds of about seven knots when the five classes contesting the regatta began, but by the halfway mark the wind dropped to zero for about an hour before picking up with a vengeance. Most of the fleet drifted with the tide for an hour before the wind returned, but nine frustrated skippers decided to call it quits and motor on to the party venue at Nai Harn Bay, the Puravarna Yacht Club, which was formerly known at the Phuket Yacht Club. Word had leaked out that the sponsors were flying in 150 models for the final party on Chinese New Year and many skippers and crew were determined not to be late.

Those who persevered when he wind dropped were rewarded when the wind came back in at about 10 to 14 knots and there was some exciting racing over the final stages. At the end of the final race experienced local skipper Scott Duncanson finished almost 30 minutes in front on corrected time on his boat Somtam Express, but his win wasn't enough to give him the overall honours in the Racing class. Ben Copley, who was second in the final race on Asia Spirit, took first place overall after two first places and two second places. Somtam Express was second overall in the Racing class while veteran Kiwi skipper John Vause sailed his boat Ruby Tuesday into third place overall.

Nils Dgenkole's Phoenix rose to the occasion and won four from four in the Cruising A class to take the top prize, while Kevin Gillow's Minx bought up second place after three seconds and one third. Another veteran, Robert England, sailed his boat Emerald Blue into third place overall.

The almost all-girl crew on Michelle Pippen's boat Tropicbird had a win on the final day which was enough to take them to first place overall in the Cruising B class. Bill Crump's Fistral managed to hang on for second place, while Kevan Perrins' Rusalka took third place overall.

David Wales' The Sting was too good in the Multihull class and took first place after two wins and a second place, while Kim Mitchell's Alpha Centauri 2 claimed second place and boat designer Mark Pescott skippered Sumersalt into third place overall.

The hotly contested Firefly 850 class was won by yet another veteran of the Asian sailing circuit, Henry Kaye, who steered his boat Mamba to victory. Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi was a close second, while Bill Phelps' Twin Sharks claimed third place.

Race organizers decided to call it quits at 4.30 in the afternoon and a few unlucky boats sailed in just too late. The party after the final day's racing was one of the biggest seen on Phuket with the sponsors catering to not only the regatta contestants but also using the occasion to promote their venue. A group of Thai celebrities plus 150 models were flown to Phuket by private jet for the party, which was also held to celebrate Chinese New Year. There were also international DJs to provide the music and a spectacular fireworks display as the sailors and other guests partied into the early hours of the morning.

Regatta organizer John Everingham was a happy man at the end of a hectic five days and paid tribute to his big team of volunteers who helped make the Phang Nga Bay Regatta a special event in its 10th year. "All the people on the water, the people helping set up the parties and all the others that have helped run this regatta in their own time and for no reward have done a fantastic job," he said. "I can't thank them enough. In previous years we've had a few things go wrong, but his year everything has gone very smoothly."

Event website http://www.bayregatta.com

10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta
Racing Day 3

Next stop is Phi Phi island...
By Alan Parkhouse
Day three of the Puravana Phang Nga Bay Regatta saw good but inconsistent winds push the big fleet of 50 boats from Krabi to beautiful Phi Phi island and some of the favourites consolidated their leads. At the start of the day's racing a steady breeze of seven to eight knots got the fleet started, but the breeze died down to almost nothing when the boats were halfway along the course. One group of sailors took advantage of the lull by dropping anchor and going for a swim. After 30 minutes the wind returned and he fleet headed for the finish line off Phi Phi island in a good wind of eight to 10 knots.

There are five classes of boats contesting the four-day regatta which has been racing through some of southern Thailand's most spectacular scenery. In the top flight Racing class, Ben Copley's Asia Spirit clocked up its second win in three races to take the overall lead, while New Zealander John Vause on Ruby Tuesday cemented second overall with a second place. Former junior world sailing champion Scott Duncanson - who skippers Somtam Express, a Phuket 8 boat designed by his father - finished third in but is fourth overall.

In the Cruising A class, Nils Dgenkole completed a hat-trick of wins on Monday to lead overall with three wins from three races. Mia Gillow sailed Minx into second place on Monday and now has three second places from three races, while George Eddings' Tag finished third but is fourth overall behind Nick Band's Emerald Blue.

In the Cruising B class Bill Crump mounted a strong challenge on his boat Fistral to take the honours on corrected time, while Michelle Pippen sailed Tropicbird into second place and Gavin Welman's Rascal finished third. However, Tropicbird leads the class overall from Fistral and Rusalka.

There was an upset in the Multihull class when Terry Crisp's Ridgee Didge won the day from Kim Mitchell's Alpha Centauri 2 and Mark Pescott's Summersalt. However, David Wales' on The Sting still leads the class overall with two first places and a fourth. Following The Sting in the overall placings is X-Cat Riot and Summersalt.

Veteran Henry Kaye on Mamba claimed a win in the hotly contested Firefly 850 class, with Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi second and Bill Phelps' Twin Sharks third. Moto Inzi has the overall lead from Mamba and The Frog.

The final day's racing will be on Tuesday followed by a gala party at the Puravarna Phuket Yacht Club. The Phang Nga Bay Regatta is celebrating it's 10th year and a huge party is planned for the final day.

10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta
Racing Day 2

Day 2 in paradise...
By Alan Parkhouse
Former junior world sailing champion Scott Duncanson left the 50-boat fleet in his wake on Sunday to claim first place in the Racing class on the second day of the Phang Nga Bay Regatta in southern Thailand. Duncanson took full advantage of the light seven to eight knot winds at the start of Sunday's racing in Phang Nga Bay and by the time the fleet was halfway to their destination in Krabi province, his small but very fast Phuket 8 Somtam Express had built a huge lead. Duncanson and his crew used trapezes for the first time on Sunday and the move paid off as he crossed the line more than 30 minutes in front of his closest rival.

But it was not all smooth sailing for two of the larger boats in the fleet - Cordelia and Kiara, which are contesting the Cruising B class, had trouble getting over the start line in the strong tide and eventually entered the fray two hours after the rest of the fleet. Sunday's race was held in one of the most spectacular settings in Asia as the boats made their way through a maze of small islands from Phang Nga to Krabi.

The picturesque course was set by veteran Australian photgrapher and regatta organiser John Everingham. "This is the only regatta in the world where a photographer sets the course so he can take beautiful pictures," said Everingham, who also had two Russian models included in some of his shots as the fleet sailed past.

Mike Downard's Switchblade finished second in the Racing class on Sunday - the second race of this year's regatta - while Fergus Wilmer skippered his boat Foo into third place. In the Cruising A class Phoenix took the honours on corrected time with Minx a long way back in second place and Aleph back in third place. The slightly slower Cruising B class was won by Rusalka, while Remington finished second and Fistral was third.

David Wales' boat The Sting made it two wins from two races after winning Sunday's race in the Multihull class by 15 minues on corrected time, while boat designer Mark Pescott skippered Summersalt into second place. Alpha Centauri 2 finished a credible third.

In the hotly contested Firefly 850 class Henry Kay steered his new boat Mamba into first place, winning by 15 minutes on corrected time, while Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi came second and Bill Phelps' Twin Sharks was third.

There were good winds at the start of Sunday's race, but like the first day the wind dropped midway through before picking up to seven knots as the boats made their way closer to the finish in Krabi. Racing continues on Monday with the 50-boat fleet making their way to Phi Phi island from Krabi.

10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta
Racing Day 1

Record Fleet are off and racing...
By Alan Parkhouse
Asia’s most scenic regatta started in spectacular fashion yesterday with a fleet of 50 boats sailing from Phuket and weaving their way through a maze of islands to Phang Nga Bay, where they dropped anchor for the night. There are five classes of boats contesting the four-day regatta, which moves to a different location every day, starting in Phuket and then moving to Phang Nga and Krabi and passing some of the most beautiful scenery in Asia. Leading the top fight Racing class is Asia Spirit, skippered by Ben Copley, but breathing down his neck and only five seconds behind on corrected time is John Vause’s Ruby Tuesday. Third in the racing class is Foo, sailed by Fergus Wilmer, only 12 seconds behind Ruby Tuesday. Race day 2 promises to be another close contest as good winds are predicted.

Phoenix rose to claim first place in the Cruising A class, followed by Minx and Emerald Blue. The Cruising B class has Tropicbird well out in front after the first day’s racing with Fistral second and Russalka third. The Sting ran away with the first day’s honours in the Multiull class, while X-Cat Riot won the battle for second place, just beating Summersalt, which was relegated to third.

The Phuket designed and built Firefly class was the most hotly contested on the first day of racing with Moto Inzi finishing less than one minute in front of Mamba, while The Frog leapt into third place. “The wind was good at the start, then dropped off a bit midway through before picking up later in the day,” regatta organizer John Everingham said yesterday when the fleet dropped anchor at Paradise Resort on Koh Yao Noi, a small island in Phang Nga Bay. “There’s been good wind all week and we have our fingers crossed that it keeps up.” The regatta continues today with the fleet winding its way through sheers of limestone cliffs and tropical islands to Krabi.

10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta

Record Fleet for 10th Phang Nga Bay Regatta
By Alan Parkhouse
Puravarna Phang Nga Bay Regatta now Asia’s 2nd biggest sailing event. A record number of boats have entered this year’s Phang Nga Bay Regatta, one of the world’s most picturesque sailing events. The regatta, now in its 10th year, is sailed around some of southern Thailand’s most beautiful islands and the four days of racing takes the fleet to Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces from February 16-20. The annual Phang Nga Bay Regatta is now Asia’s second biggest sailing event after the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, and the good news for the organisers is that a new naming sponsor has come forward. Puravarna, an ambitious, high-end villa and resort development in Nai Harn Bay, Phuket, has signed on as the major sponsor of this colourful, lifestyle regatta. The event is now called the Puravarna Phang Nga Bay Regatta.

The regatta became Asia’s second biggest sailing event in 2006 when 46 yachts sailed the four-day course spanning three provinces of southern Thailand. The organisers were taken by surprise when the regatta grew so quickly, expanding from an average of 30 boats in previous years. The organisers had earlier planned to limit the event to about 30 boats, for unlike other big sailing events which are run from one place, the Puravarna Phang Nga Bay Regatta moves to a new anchorage each day, making it much more difficult to manage.. Last year the volunteer committee managed 46 boats and 300 plus crews around the islands of the Andaman Sea, and the regatta’s reputation for fun and casual sailing in beautiful and spectacular scenery continues to spread rapidly. By the end of January – more than two weeks before this year’s sailing – some 49 yachts had already registered for this year’s regatta, which will be sailed from February 16-20.

The reputation of this regatta continues to pull in more and more boats – so many that the organisers tried – unsuccessfully – to cap this year’s fleet at 45. Worrying about getting too many entries is an unusual problem. National regattas in nearby countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines struggle to get 25 to 30 yachts together to form a respectable fleet. This year’s record fleet is a testimony to the huge potential of sailing along Thailand’s amazing Andaman coast.

This year’s regatta begins on February 16 with the Raimon Land opening party at the Chandara Resort, Ao Po. The next morning five classes will sail around mountainous pillars of rock protruding from the calm seas of Phang Nga Bay – perhaps the most stunning backdrop for any regatta in the world. The event was initiated in1997 specifically to bring sailing right into the midst of this spectacular marine scenery. The older, more famous Phuket King’s Cup Regatta – by far Asia’s biggest regatta – had become more serious, with participants eyeing trophies, reputations and serious sailing in expensive, high-tech boats. They shied away from islands, preferring to race around buoys out in the open ocean.

This fleet will begin in Phuket, then head out into Phang Nga Bay. This year the first over-night stop is at Koh Yao Noi, with the evening party held in The Paradise Resort. The second day’s racing, the SEA Yachting Around The Islands Race, should really test the crews’ skills, winding in and out of a group of beautiful islands off Krabi. The evening party will be held in Krabi Resort. The third day sees the boats head downwind to Phi Phi island, where four adjacent resorts on Phi Phi Don’s northern tip have joined to welcome the hundreds of sailors with a beach party. The final day, the Puravarna Sea Race, takes the fleet back to Phuket where it will finish in southern-most Nai Harn Bay, right off the Puravarna Phuket Yacht Club Hotel. Puravarna has planned a huge final party, a combination regatta finale and Chinese New Year bash for which they have chartered a special plane to fly in stars, models and press from Bangkok. The famed Bed Supper Club of Sukhumvit Rd in Bangkok has been engaged to organise a huge beach party with DJ music, dance, shows, fireworks and a fancy dinner banquet, creating one of the most memorable party events on Phuket’s calendar.

With this huge party planned for the regatta finale, this year’s Puravarna Phang Nga Bay Regatta promises to surpass even its own reputation as Asia’s most fun sailing event. The Puravarna Phang Nga Bay Regatta will be sailed in the waters of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi from February 16-20. 2007. This is the 10th year. The event's title sponsor is Puravarna – a high-end villa and resort development company – and major sponsors include Raimon Land PLC, QBE Insurance, Yacht Supply, Artasia Press and the Ao Chalong Yacht Club. Many other Phuket businesses continue to provide invaluable support for the regatta.

Note: Photos of the event can be selected at http://www.bayregatta.com with hi-res copies available by emailing info@bayregatta.com

AsianYachting Ventures Sdn. Bhd. (Co. No. 627106-T)
A 308 PD Perdana Condo Resort, Jln Pantai, 71050, Pt Dickson, Malaysia
Tel: 6 06 6477701 Email: info@asianyachting.com

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