2011 -12 AYGP
May 28th: Despite gray sky and scattered storms there was plenty of wind to keep the sailors occupied. PRO Ross Chisholm sent IRC 0 & 1 classes on a two lap windward /leeward course to get the crews warmed up before joining the rest of the fleet on a 26nm coastal race. North to Ko Phangan and around Mae Namin in the passage separating Ko Samui and Phangan, then returning to the start/finish line laid offshore from Chaweng Beach. Most crews relished the lengthy shy spinnaker leg half way to Phangan and the four TP52's jostled for every inch of the way. A couple boats have not turned up and Peter Churchouse's Warwick 64 Moonblue 2 has had engine problems on the delivery from Hong Kong and only arrived late last night.
Geoff Hill's Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, comfortably took line honours in both races but will have to go a lot harder if they expect to convert them into handicap wins. The four 52 footers race in close company and fight over every puff of wind to gain an advantage. Marcus Blackmore struck gold on Hooligan in Race 1 by 36 seconds from Neil Pryde's Hi Fi, starting where they left off in Langkawi earlier this year. Sam Chan's TP62 Freefire came from behind to snatch Race 2 victory by 28 seconds and once again relegate Neil Pryde's Hi Fi to second place. Frank Pong's TP52 Mui Mui had its moments but eventually settled on two fourth places. After juggling the placing's Freefire, Hi Fi and Hooligan are all tied on four points, which is a clear indication of things to come.
A similar battle is shaping up in the hotly contested IRC 1 class where only a few minutes separates the top six boats. David Ross' Kerr 40 KukuKERchu claimed line honours on both races but dropped to fourth and third place on handicap. The main part of the argument is about spinnakers - symmetric versus asymmetric. On the windward /leeward race Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake slotted into first place by 42 seconds from Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6. Both yachts carry symmetric spinnakers and power downwind roughly in the middle of the course. In third place Rick Pointon's J130 Jing Jing carries an asymmetric spinnaker and is crucial to get the angles and speed right. On the long passage race Steve Manning's Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 benefited from the asymmetric spinnaker to slip into first place. This time dropping Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth EFG Bank Mandrake down to second and David Ross' Kerr 40 KukuKERchu in third. At the end of Day 1 Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth EFG Bank Mandrake holds a three point lead over Steve Manning's Walawala 2.
In the depleted Premier Cruising Class, Gary Baguley's H&P 52 El Coyote held firm to overcome Brad Kirk's Farr IOR Dynamite after they were bumped up into the class. The late arrival of Peter Churchouse's Warwick 64 Moonblue 2 into Samui, resulted in repairs on the mooring and expected to join in tomorrow.
Defending champion Greg Coops X 372 Abraxas continued on their winning ways in the IRC 2 Class. The remaining four Thai based boats had a stop and go affair with positions changing at every mark. The smallest boat, Lennart Fahlgren's Tasker 32 Amanda managed to slot into second place in front of the fast finishing Stuart Collins Bavaria 39 Reef Knot.
With blistering pace the Multihull Class disappeared over the horizon. On their return Henry Kaye's Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot held a healthy lead over Andrew Stransky's Seven Seas 50 Fantasia. The approaching storm played havoc with the wind speed and direction, allowing Stransky's Fantasia to reach in at 20 knots and pip Kaye's Sweet Chariot by 18 seconds at the finish line and take out the daily double. Kaye's Sweet Chariot ended up in second place with Radab Kanjanavanit's Cedar Swan in third.
Racing continues tomorrow and the number of races and course selection is dependant on the wind conditions in the morning.
- AY Race Reports
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