Senses Phuket Raceweek 2008
goes around, comes around...
Seven classes will be contesting for individual titles. IRC Racing Class 1 & 2, Club Class, Racing Multihull, Ocean Multihull, Firefly 850 One-design Catamaran and the Classic Class. Image Asia's MD, Grenville Fordham the regatta organisers said ' What's really exciting this year is the standard of competition - especially amongst the IRC Racing boats and the ever increasing number of multihull's. Regular Raceweek winners are going to have to work much harder this year to keep those podium positions'.
The IRC Racing Class will see defending champion Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Somtam Express reopen their battle, when Aussie Peter Ahern comes up from Perth to race his extensively refitted Farr 40 Yo!2 for the second year running. They will be joined by Stuart Williamson with his Malaysia-based Beneteau 34.7 Endeavour of Whitby, Antony Hastings Beneteau First 53F5 Baby Tonga 99 Degrees East, Toshio Furuta’s Japanese flagged Mumm 36 Emma, and Peter Jones’s BH41, Moya Hin (former King’s Cup winner Jenny III).
Last year in the IRC Racing Class 2 a close three way tussle developed between Peter Dyer's 3/4 tonner Madam Butterfly, Niels Dgenkolf's Phoenix showed their racing prowess and Mike Downard's nippy Platu 25 Laguan Tua Lek. Going down to the last race Peter Dyer's Madam Butterfly eventually came out the overall winner. However they won't have it all their own way as when the cut comes to divide the classes there are a number of past winners lurking in the background.
The ever growing number of multihulls enjoying the tropical Asian climate has them divided into three classes - Racing, Ocean and Firefly One design. At the heart of multihull sailing in Phuket are the home built and extremely fast Firefly fleet with five cats making an appearance. Raceweek is also the final regatta for The Firefly of The Year Trophy. After four regatta's Henry Kaye's Mamba and Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi are tied on equal points for the overall prize. Nudging the two leaders is Twin Sharks, helmed by the yacht designer Mark Pescott. Racing has been very tight and all owners are convinced of the benefits of one design sailing.
Five grand old Classic ladies will be out there again, doing their best to wrest the Seraph Perpetual Trophy from Gunter Nutt’s Carter Friendship Sloop Kerida, that has won every year since the trophy's inception.
Competition is also rife about which regatta in Thailand has the best parties each year. Raceweek is no exception with four days of racing scheduled and six parties making up a hectic social scene. All but one of the official parties are to be held at the 5-star Evason Phuket's newly renovated lower beach terrace 'Into the Beach'. The increased sponsorship levels means a massive upgrade in the quality an quantity of party food, unlimited free-flow of drinks, an early afternoon 'Rodenstock Happy Hour' each day and live music from Bangkok's top all-girl band, Unicorn. Offsite is the Raimon Land extravaganza at the cliff side Ratri Jazztaurant with its stunning views of Kata beach and the Andaman Sea.