Inaugural Phuket Race Week 2004

Hosted by

Evason Phuket Resort

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AY Race Report 4 & Summary
By Capt Marty Rijkuris

Phuket 8's to the fore...
After a short wait the final showdown got away in 6 to 8 knots of breeze and the gloves were off as yachts vying for overall honours covered each other up the first windward beat. The amassed media watched on with abated breath as Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Securicor Somtam Express crossed in front of Stuart Harrison's Mum 30 Panic. Yendys skippered by Richard Grimes with the Malaysian owner onboard on this occasion led around the top mark but needed to get further ahead as Viroj Nualkhair's Octopussy and John Vause's Ruby Tuesday where hot on his heels. The tight windward/leeward course set by Race Officer John McLennan proved to be the perfect choice as the breeze increased to 10 knots half way round and peaked at 15 knots on the final downwind leg. The Multihull and Club classes were sent around a triangle course where allot of jostling for position was going on as the final placings would determine the eventual winners.

The conditions were ideal for the Phuket 8's as they could easily get up and plane downwind with their huge asymmetric spinnakers powering them along. Scott Duncanson's Securicor Somtam Express crew did everything they could to take a commanding lead over Stuart Harrison's Panic his closest rival who came into the final deciding race tied on points.

As the wind increased good sail handling and crew drills through the gybes became a necessity and a number of broaches occurred plus running over the spinnaker on launching temporarily hampered some yachts progress allowing Somtam Express to take advantage and get further in front. After putting in a near perfect sail Scott Duncanson's crew had a run away win to clinch the series and prove just how dynamic the Phuket 8's performance can be. Stuart Harrison's Panic had to settle for 2nd overall and although Keith Moore's Skiff Asia Pla Loma ended up second in the final race they finished the series 3rd overall.

In the IRC Class John Vause's crew on Ruby Tuesday put in a determined effort to record their second win in succession to draw equal on points with Mick Kealy's Minx and together topple Viroj Nualkhair's Octopussy who was leading by one point coming into the final round. Unfortunately Ruby Tuesday's late charge was not enough as after discarding a race and on count back, Minx's two firsts and two seconds gives them the overall victory.

In the Club Class Stuart Crow's crew on Cinders new what they had to do to break the tie with Al Boone's Blue Moon and went out and executed a near perfect performance to win the day and take the overall series honours. Blue Moon finished up second and John Fenn's consistent third placing on Four Winds not surprisingly earns them 3rd place overall.

Mark Pescott's fifth win on Ceberus gives them a clean slate in the Multihull Class. Although Mathew and the Phuket youth team on Chimera took 2nd today it was not enough to topple Chris Sieber's early run of second places on Kilo which scores them 2nd overall in front Chimera.

Summary
With the ever increasing number of regatta's being organised in the Asian region the inaugural Phuket Race Week can be used as an example by other budding event organisers to keep some semblance of order and bring simplicity to their operation.

Allot of needless pomp and ceremony goes on during many of the established regatta's that can create a financial burden for future and often voluntary committees to deal with, that does not necessarily benefit the competing sailors in any way. Running a professional and successful event that pleases the sponsors and most of all the competitors should be the priority and that is what Image Asia have achieved here.

Having the event decided on the water instead of in the protest room also brings a welcome relief to the competitors, organisers and media alike, which can leave an everlasting impression that can either make or break an event and hard to shake off. Many thanks must go to the Evason Resort and Fosters beer for taking on this event and ensure its success in future years. Pencil in the 28th to the 31st July for next year dates.

Full results can be found at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com/seriesresults.htm


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Race Report 3
By Capt Marty Rijkuris

Race Day 4
Close racing for 3 classes on the layday and the sharing around of places during the scheduled Race Day 4 today sees the overall positions closing up with only one point separating the leaders in three classes. The introduction of a drop race will also even up the score some what, leaving a few boats within grasp of a series win going into the final Race Day 5 on Saturday. Increased over night storm activity in the region had the yachts starting in a fresh 6 to 8 knot breeze that increased up to 10 knots during the race and provided a spectacular days racing for everybody.

In the Racing Class Stuart Harrison's Mum 30 Panic second win in a row has them tied on points with Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Securicor Somtam Express and Keith Moore's Skiff Asia Pla Loma coming in a close third. The final race will be the decider and with numerous position changes taking place through out the races held so far predicting the overall winner is to hard a call.

The mixed results so far in the IRC Class has Viroj Nualkhair's Octopussy leading by one point from Mick Kealy's Minx and after John Vause's win today on Ruby Tuesday sharing second place on 12 points. Although the bigger Yendys has led the fleet around the course the changing conditions has not allowed them to get far enough in front to convert their time into better handicap placing's.

Stuart Crow's first place on Cinders lifts them to share first place with Al Boone's Blue Moon in the Club Class. John Fenn has consistently taken third spot on Four Winds and Dr Bobby Golding's Forest has rejoined the frey after their initial fiasco and will end up a distant forth. With the leaders scoring a first and second apiece the final last race showdown is also to close to call.

Mark Pescott's four wins on Ceberus to date in the Multihull Class gives them an unbeatable lead over the rest. After withdrawing in the first race Chris Sieber's Kilo has scored three second places and shares 2nd spot on 11 points with Mathew and the Phuket youth team on Chimera. Judging by the results so far and after the discard is applied the present placings will probably stand.

All eyes will be glued on the top three classes during the grand finale off this inaugural regatta that has managed to draw attention and lift a few eyebrows in high places on how a sailing event should be run.

Full results can be found at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com/seriesresults.htm

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Mid Week
Race Report
By Capt Marty Rijkuris

Race Day 2
The light and variable wind conditions continued to trouble the race officers and competitors alike. Over the last 2 days, waiting up to 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the breeze to fill in, has seen the start delayed and the often fickle nature caused by passing rain showers has advantaged some boats and significantly affected others in the final standings.

Race 2 finally got away in 10 to 12 knots of wind which saw the battle for line honours between Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Securicor Somtam Express and the Malaysian owned Yendys skippered by Richard Grimes (Colonel Grubovich) with the legendary all star afterguard of Fraser Johnstone and Nig Nog start all over again, this time Yendys winning by a narrow margin.

As the breeze momentarily picked up to 15 knots on the back reaching leg the Phuket 8's got up on the plane and provided a magnificent spectacle for the media to capture. Although the slower conventional keelboats could run deeper they managed to hold their places as they closed in on the top mark. After the leading yachts entered Ao Chalong bay some huge wind shifts in the lee of Ko Mai Ton on the final 2 miles saw the trailing yachts significantly advantaged to come home in a rush on one tack to win the day.

The Multihulls and Club classes also managed to finish after a disappointing long day in the sun during race day one. Stuart Crow's local lads on Cinders managed to edge out the veteran skippers Al Boone on Blue Moon and John Fenn on Four Winds. Dr Bobby Golding's Forest became the biggest loser of the series after hitting the start boat then being over the line early plus not responding to the recall and to cap it all off the crew mutinied leaving him no option other than to pay for the damage and retire from the regatta.

Aussie multihull designer Mark Pescott on Ceberus continued on their winning ways to win what turned into race 1 for them to be closely followed by Mathew and the Phuket youth team on Chimera. Chris Sieber's Kilo broke the jib halyard and was forced to retire on the first windward beat.

Race Day 3
After another lengthy delay a windward/leeward course was eventually laid for race 3 which got under way in 5 knots of breeze and a passing rain shower causing some concern whether to go left or right. Initially the ones that went right got dumped but managed to come back on the downwind leg to close back up on the leaders. After the first lap the breeze settled back into the SW and stayed around 5 knots enabling the yachts to complete another lap before Race Officer John McLennan called it a day.

Stuart Harrison's Panic came to the fore over the 3 Phuket 8's who jostled for position throughout the race with Scott Duncanson's Securicor Somtam Express recovering from an initial setback to take second and Keith Moore's Skiff Asia Pla Loma eventually third.

Mick Kealy's Minx capped off his race 2 victory with another bullet for race 3 to take the overall lead in the IRC class. John Vause's Ruby Tuesday got an early jump on the fleet but had to settle for second and Viroj Nualkhair's Octopussy held onto 3rd place despite the early lottery like conditions.

Al Boone on Blue Moon turned the tables on Stuart Crow's Cinders in race 2 leaving John Fenn on Four Winds with two thirds.

Mark Pescott's Ceberus picked up their second win of the series and Chris Sieber's Kilo returned to the frey with a second place after yesterdays retirement leaving Mathew and the Phuket youth team on Chimera in third place.

Full results can be found at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com/seriesresults.htm


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Race Report 1
By Capt Marty Rijkuris

Despite a number of late withdrawals, 17 quality yachts divided into 4 classes (Racing, IRC, Club & Multihull) are fronting up for this inaugural event to be held in the middle of the SW monsoon season. In this tropical region sailing can be conducted all year round and although being the, so called low season, it never ceases to amaze me the number of visitors that choose this time of the year to visit the region. We always enjoy coming to Phuket as the organisers (Image Asia) run a right royal yacht racing event with all the pomp and ceremony, followed by great social activities. This event is no different with the 5 star Evason Resort playing host for the entire event and Aussie Fosters beer will be ensuring the crews throats are well lubricated after racing.

By the start of racing the notorious SW monsoon had not materialized and for the early part of the week, light and variable localised breezes are expected to increase during the regatta. A light NE breeze and outgoing tide carried the fleet down to Ko Bon were they concertinaed in the lee of the island. Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Somtam Express seemed to carry on round relatively comfortably and left most of the fleet in his wake as they sat motionless with limp spinnakers. Yendys skippered by Richard Grimes in the IRC class was the next to break free from the lackluster pack to head slowly upwind against the tide. As the breeze fluctuated between 3 and 5 knots most yachts spent the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon trying to keep their yacht moving between the many off lying islands towards the lead mark of Phuket's shipping port and then into Ao Chalong where the race was shortened.

Provisional results in the Racing Class, saw Securicor Somtam Express first, Stuart Harrison's Panic second and Keith Moore's newly acquired Phuket 8 Skiff Asia Pla Loma third. In IRC, the winner was Yendys skippered by Richard Grimes, followed by Viroj Nualkhair's Octopussy and John Vause's well known Ruby Tuesday third. The remaining two classes, Club and Multihulls, did not finish. Racing continues throughout the week and regular updates will be posted with photos here.
Ends

Full results can be found at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com/results.htm

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