AY Pre-Regatta Report
2014/15 AY Grand Prix Event
The Cape Panwa Hotel staff have been busy preparing the race village for four nights of entertainment and along with free-flow of Mount Gay Rum Golden Mojito's and Mont Clair wines, are aiming for a regatta party worth remembering.
Local and International sailors are attracted to this event, as its the first of 12 events, that make up the 2014-15 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) and an excellent opportunity to rack up some points early in the season. More info on the format, regatta line-up and pointscore is on the AYGP Micro-site.
A quality fleet is lining up for the 11th running, with serious racers ready for some high-octane racing on Phuket’s southeast coast and the cruiser racers on fun filled courses around nearby islands.
Twenty four keelboats are divided into IRC, Racing, Cruising, Charter and Classic Classes. Twelve Multihull's are contesting the Firefly One Design and Racing classes.
Topping the scales is the Ahern/Wilmer/Bailey's TP 52 Oi! are back to defend the IRC Racing title, but will have to overcome four of the best "Flying 40's" before taking the trophy home. Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 are on a seven regatta winning streak and hot after winning the 2013-14 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.
Going up a class, the Sorensen/Tilden/Ketelbey/Brown Beneteau 44.7 Fujin won eight races in a row last year and handed out a sailing lesson to the IRC 2 Class. Paul Winkelmann’s HH42 Island Fling has undergone an extensive optimization program and several rock stars have been noticed at the yacht club bar. David Dimmock's Dubois 40 Blue Note has improved with every outing and could be the dark horse in the group.
Seven evenly matched yachts make up the IRC 2 Class. Over the years, John Vause's Young 11 Ruby Tuesday, Stuart Williamson's Beneteau 34.7 Skandia EOW, Keith Garry's X-412 BeauX Esprits and Niels Degenkolw's X3/4 Ton MK2 Phoenix have all tasted success here before. Ray Waldron's Phuket 8 Surf Patrol and Greg Reynolds Farr 30 Foreign Affair are looking for sports boat conditions, to live up to their IRC ratings. New to the fold is Roland Dane's Corby 36 Jessandra II, comes with a string of victories in Australia and aims to throw a spanner into the works here.
An interesting tussle is expected in the IRC Cruising Class. Thailand's up and coming sailing star, Patinyakorn 'Ging' Buranrom's S&S 42 Sansiri (Windstar), is evenly matched with Bill Sax's Fraser 41 Astraeus, Richard Barnhurst's Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Hedonist and Jack Christenson / Harry Usher's Baveria 49 Linda. They will have to be in top form, as two Farr 1104's, Mike Downard's Sail in Asia Pinocchio and Paul Baker's Farrgo Express come with good IRC ratings and racing pedigrees from previous regattas.
In the Charter/Bareboat Class, Simon Oliver's Sunsail Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Rattana will be up against fellow Aussie's on Philip Grove/Ian Lodewyckx's Hanse 400 Venture, David Cole's Hanse 315 Sudsakorn Too and the Brit's on Jonathan Kingdon's Baveria 34 Little Eva.
The Multihull and Firefly One Design classes are fully primed for racing after contesting the Multihull Solutions Regatta last weekend. During the close quarters battle, John Coffin's Stealth 11.8 Java came out on top of Alan Carwadine's sister ship Asia Catamarans Hurricane, who aims to reverse this trend. They have to contend with Greenville Fordham/Bob Mott's Andaman Cabriolet Niña that finished third and Henry Kaye's Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot are sure to exert some pressure if the conditions remain favourable. The rivalry is expected to continue between Kirill Stashevskiy's Stealth 13 Galeforce, Shane Grover / Zam Bevan's Corsair Sprint MK2 Bullet, Peter Boyd's Corsair 31 Zig Zag and if Mark Horwood can keep the Formula 40 trimaran Adrenalin together, could possibly be in the hunt for silverware.
Four of the top Firefly 850 One-Design catamarans will be fighting it out and if its like last weekend, we can expect some fast and furious action for the sailors and spectators alike. Neil Ayre's Advanced Racing Team (Mamba) came out on top at the Multihull Regatta (Goto AY Photo Gallery), after John Newnham's Twin Sharks and Hans Rahmann's Voodoo suffered damage that impeded their progress. Roger Kingdon's Moto Inzi doesn't give up easily and hopes to gain some crew consistency, to end up on the podium.
Two grand old lades are fronting in the Classic Class. Tom Howard's 100+ year old gaff rigged schooner Seraph, skippered by Thai Captain Bao is taking on Michael Zircon's Aventure. With a huge array of sails, these age old classics look fantastic when they are set and clipping along with a bow wave. They will also be competing for the Seraph Classic Trophy donated by Tom Howard.
The Regatta is organised by Media Business Services Co., Ltd. under the auspices of the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and is staged under the authority of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sports Authority of Thailand and Sports Association of Phuket.
More news, photos and results at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com
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