AY Pre-Regatta Report
2015/16 AY Grand Prix Event
Local and International sailors, always look forward to this event, as it clears last seasons rankings and kick starts the first of 12 events, that make up the 2015-16 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP). It also is an excellent opportunity for SE Asian based teams, to rack up some AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year points, early in the season. More on the AYGP regatta line-up, dates and pointscore is posted on the AYGP Microsite.
The quality fleet lining up for the 12th running of Raceweek, includes 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 one keelboats are divided into IRC Racing I & II, Cruising and Charter / Bareboat classes. Fifteen Multihull's are contesting the Racing, One Design Firefly 850 Sports and new Corsair classes.
Ben Copely's newly acquired TP52 (Ex Team Origin), renamed Kodo (Heart Beat in Japanese) will be making their first appearance in anger and going head to head, with the Ahern/Wilmer/Bailey's TP 52 Oi!, are aiming to regain the IRC Racing title, they won in 2013. This will be one to keep an eye on.
This separation of classes, paves the way for eight smaller and evenly matched yachts, to fight it out amongst themselves, in the IRC Racing II class. Mike Tilden's syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin, John Vause's Young 11 Ruby Tuesday, Stuart Williamson's Beneteau 34.7 Old Mutual International-EOW and Keith Garry's X-412 BeauX Esprits have all tasted success here before.
David Dimmock has chartered the competitive Swan 42 Foo 4 and defending champion Roland Dane's Corby 36 Jessandra II, are still smarting after winning the season ending Samui Regatta, will be a threat again. Two Farr 30's, Greg Reynolds Foreign Affair and Jonathan Kingdon's Judy, are looking for sports boat conditions, to live up to their IRC ratings.
In the IRC Cruising Class, Thailand's up and coming sailing star, Patinyakorn 'Ging' Buranrom's S&S 42 Sansiri (Windstar) and Bill Sax's Fraser 41 Astraeus, are returning for another tilt at the title. Brian Hume's Brenneur Ketch 68 La Flute Enchantee was designed and built for the 1973 round-the-world Whitbread Race, in which she finished third under the name Kriter and Libby Boyd's Standfast 40 Mas Alegre, representing China are unknown and could spring a few surprises.
They will all have to be in top form, as two Farr 1104's, Mike Downard's Krabi Boat Lagoon Piccolo has won here before and an all girls team skippered by Liz Schoch on Sailescapes Farrgo Ladies come with good IRC ratings and boat pedigrees from previous regattas.
Four Australian teams are entered in the Charter/Bareboat Class and will be taking on Kantus’ Bride entering for the first time is (skippered by Tirapongse Pangsrivongse, owner and CEO of the Cape Panwa Hotel's owning group, Cape & Kantary Hotels) are keen to see what racing is all about. Simon Oliver returns with a Baveria 46 Cruiser Uhuru, is up against Ian Lodewyckx/Keith O’Donnell Hanse 400 Venture, that just missed out last year on the final race. David Cole has chartered the Sunsail 41 Phailin and Con Macarlino's Baveria 32 Fei Yu are making their first appearance at Raceweek.
The Racing Multihull and Firefly 850 One Design classes are fully primed for racing after contesting the wind blown Multihull Solutions Regatta last weekend. A close quarters battle between, Alan Carwadine's Stealth 11.8 Asia Catamarans Hurricane and John Coffin's sister ship Java, resulted in Carwadine's Asia Catamarans Hurricane coming out on top, on a last race count back.
They have to contend with Greenville Fordham's Image Asia Nina, Kirill Stashevskiy's Stealth 13 Gokova Phuket Galeforce and Henry Kaye's Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot that occupied third to fifth places. Repairs have been completed on David Liddell's new Stealth 14m WOW and are ready to take their place amongst the other Stealth catamarans. Mark Horwood's Formula 40 trimaran Adrenalin are looking forward to the longer races and would be happy with line honours.
Five 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. John Newnham's highly polished crew on Twin Sharks, skippered by Brent Gribble won every race and can be considered the favourites. George Eddings Blue Nose edged out Neil Ayre's Advanced Racing Team (Mamba) on the final day and are looking to repeat the dose. After breaking the mooring, the damage on Hans Rahmann's Voodoo has been repaired and the crew are eager to get amongst them again. An Aussie team from Perth are crewing on Shaun Jackson's Dyer Straits and could inflict some pain into the local scene.
Four recently launched Corsair Pulse 600’s are making their first appearance at the Regatta. They have ironed out the teething problems from the Multihull event and have their own one-design Corsair Class.
The friendly 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, Finca de Malpica wines and Italian Peroni beer are aiming for a regatta party worth remembering.
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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