Goto Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek Goto 2016-17 AYGP Championship
13th Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek 2016

AY Race Report 3

2016/17 AY Grand Prix Event

What does it take to succeed in sailing?
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
July 23rd: Unbeknown to the general public at large, over 500 sailors have descended on Phuket to ply the ancient trade of sailing on modern racing yachts. They range from novices just learning the ropes, to fully seasoned professionals and everything in between. Some have come from different parts of the world with their racing teams, while a big percentage are foreigners based in Phuket and others are Thai nationals taking up the sport in home waters. Some boats only have two sailors while others have up to 15 crew that have individual tasks to perform and operate as a team during all the maneuvers. Sails have to be hoisted and doused, winches have to grinded for the sails to be set, while others perform the crucial tasks of steering, calling tactics and navigating the yacht in safe waters. Bit like conducting an orchestra with specific roles to play at certain times to produce the music in harmony.

The ages also vary from 15 year old school boy to experienced veterans showing how its done and passing on the trade to others. There are America's Cup winners, Sydney Hobart champions, Olympic competitors right down to the club racers ready to go through the paces.

There is also an army of volunteers that make up the race management team, that control the racing, set the courses, mark laying and crucial timing from start to finish, that determines the winners and placing's. There is serious business going on out there by determined people on their flying machines.

Despite all the expertise, mustering up a skilled crew on their expensive yachts, there is one thing they cannot control and that is the weather. Today it looked promising and the postponement was only for one hour. On the way to the start line a gray cloud appeared over Phuket and Murphy's Law came into effect. Just as PRO Simon James went into the starting sequence the cloud passed overhead and the Easterly breeze turned into a Westerly. Course adjustments came over the radio and ready to roll again. As the sequence continued through the classes the wind faded and looking down the course the fleet were struggling in the glassed out conditions. Then it was the smaller yachts turn and a similar pattern emerged including a downwind start that lasted for about five minutes until another 180 degree shift threw everything into disarray again.

Originally the three island course got whittled down to two, then as the conditions deteriorated and the adverse current increased, it became round Koh Bon or mark and back to the finish. The sailors call it a drift-a-thon and urged their boat along with every passing zephyr of breeze. Ray Roberts Millenium Racing I won the TP52 lottery by just under six minutes, from Peter Ahern's Oi! and extends their lead in the overall stakes.

Nearly every IRC Racing II yacht led the class at one time or other and was dependant on which way the yachts went and where the wind filled in from. At the end Scott Bradley's Sydney 40 Emagine had established a healthy lead to take out the daily double by 16 minutes and earn top spot on the class leader board. Second place for David Dimmock's Swan 42 Loco drops them to second overall only one point off the pace. Gordon Ketelbey's syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin came through the minefield in third place but might be to late in proceedings to get on the podium.

The small boats also had their course cut short, to round the first mark a mile and half away, then return to the finish. While others struggled to get away at the start, Niels Degenkolw's X3/4 Ton MK2 Phoenix found a patch of breeze and sailed away into a healthy lead and never looked back. Peter Waa's Farr 1104 Sailescapes Farrgo Express also took advantage of the passing opportunities to slot into second place, in front of Ian Lodewyckx/ Keith O’Donnell's Farr 30 Foreign Affair and slips into third overall. This result relegates Foreign Affair into second overall as Phoenix takes over the lead.

Go right or go left, is the question? The unthinkable has happened, Alan Carwadine's Stealth 11.8 Asia Catamarans Hurricane has finally lost a Multihull race to John Coffin's sister ship Java. Peter Wood's new Stealth 13s Top Cat also edged them out into third place, but they still retain top spot on the leaderboard, be it by only one point from Java. Most the heavier displacement multi's struggled in the light changing conditions and the fight for the podium places remain with this leading trio.

It's no surprise that defending champion John Newnham's Twin Sharks scored another win and cement their place on top of the Firefly 850 One-Design class leaderboard. Second place for Hans Rahmann/Ian Coulson's Voodoo stay steady in second overall but have a mountain to climb in the present conditions to overhaul Twin Sharks. After scoring three sixth places, Japan's Natsuki Motoyoshi on Mil Grace jumped up into third place and indicative how tricky the conditions were. Fourth place for George Eddings Blue Nose keeps them in third overall and further consistency will keep them there.

Although Aussie Mick Tilden's Pixalux Sudu Blue struggled at the start in the changing conditions, they came back on form to make it four wins in a row and the only class to keep a clean sheet. Second place for the ever improving Charles Robinson's Su Du Yellow takes over second overall in the Corsair class and now tied on points with Zam Bevan's H30 and intends to fight it out till the end.

After a slow start to the series Kev Scott's Absolute One Design came to the fore with victory today, in the one design Platu 25 class. Liz Schoch and the all girl crew on Phuket Boat Lagoon Fox came from behind to snatch second place and retain second overall. Third place for Singapore's Clement Lim Phuket Boat Lagoon Weasel is enough to keep them an top of the leaderboard by one point but the others have closed in on them and they can't afford any more mid fleet results, if they intend on bagging the inaugural title.

With the changing wind direction a running start was attempted for the combined IRC Cruising/Charter Class. As soon as the spinnakers were hoisted the wind faded and they hung limp like drying laundry. Within minutes a 180 degree wind shift had crews dousing the spinnakers and frantically rolling out the headsail's. Amidst all the confusion Jim Ellis' classic S&S 42 Remington jumped into the lead and local knowledge gave them a different line into the island, which paid off with victory and take the overall lead in their own right. Second place for Keith Garry's X-412 BeauX Esprits keeps them in second place, only one point behind the leader. At one point in proceedings Chris Mitchell's Naut 40 Lady Bubbly looked to be completely out of the running but they picked up a private puff to secure third place and put them within one point of Jim Oosterweghel's Hanse 400 Venture in third overall.

Racing concludes tomorrow and if one more race is completed the drop race comes into play and could alter the present standings in some classes.

More news, photos and results at: http://www.phuketraceweek.com

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