for Jelik, Foxy Lady 6, IchiBan, Freewind & Miss Saigon
Once again PRO Ross Chisholm favoured the North East coast of Samui and found an 8 to 10 knot Westerly breeze to conduct the final showdown. All eyes were focused on the IRC 1 class, where Steve Manning's GTS 43 Walawala 2 ended up tied on points with Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 and all to play for in the final two races. Five time winning tactician, Steve McConaghy replaced Bill Bremner on the helm of Foxy Lady 6 and the pressure was on the crew to win the class in Bremner's absence.
Once again Frank Pong's Reichel/Pugh 75 Jelik, blitzed the course to claim the daily double on the final race and in doing so, wraps up the Samui IRC 0 title in fine style and becomes the 2012-13 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year. Obviously very pleased with the boats performance after the latest round of Kevin Dibley keel modifications and no doubt during this event, has found some more refinements to become a force to be reckoned with, going forward into the future.
Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire slotted into second place and staged a battle royal with Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes throughout the week that provided the media photographers with quality magazine cover shots. The Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47 Miri Marina Uranus skippered by Mohamad Razali Mansor snagged third place, to bring them into podium contention and tied on points for third place with Ben Copely's Aquila 45 Katsu. The tie was broken in favour of Copely's Katsu as they have scored more second places than Miri Marina Uranus but the difficult duel between them will last long in the crews memories.
Only seconds have separated the IRC 1 fleet all week and all five top contenders have scored at least one race win during the series. Coming into the final day, Steve Manning's GTS 43 Walawala 2 and Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 have exchanged the overall lead during the week and ended up tied on points with two races to go. All eyes were on the tightly bunched yachts on the start line and followed them closely around the course. Marcel Liedts Sydney GTS 43 Elektra jumped out into the lead and extended around the course to come up trumps in the first race. Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 helmed by Steve McConaghy, was also quick off the start line and up the first leg to be in contention with their adversaries. They hung on in to score second place by 31 seconds, in front of Sarab Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher and Manning's Walawala 2, that finished with the same corrected time and ended up tied for third place.
After another tightly packed start, Marcel Liedts Elektra got away cleanly and looked like they were going to repeat the dose. The other skippers and crew remained firmly committed on the upwind tacking duel and determined to push for the fastest boatspeed on the spinnaker runs. As they crossed the finish line, no one knew who the winner was, as only seconds would count. Calculators were running hot in race central, producing the corrected times and overall placing's.
Eventually it was Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 helmed by Steve McConaghy taking the win by 8 seconds from Singh's Windsikher and Liedts Elektra a further 15 seconds adrift in third place. This result hands Steve McConaghy his 6th win as tactician and Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 the IRC 1 title, to add onto their 2007 victory, when they both sailed together on Foxy Lady 4 (Now Windsikher). Marcel Liedts Elektra exemplary performance gives them a leg up into second overall and thereby relegated fellow line honours contender, Steve Manning and sistership Walawala 2 down into third overall.
Mat Allen's Adams 10 IchiBan, has clean sweeped the IRC 2 class, by winning all 9 races and ably assisted by replacement helmsman Scott Duncanson to go into the Samui Regatta record books. The only boat capable of taking the fight to IchiBan was Gary Baguley's Holman & Pye 52 El Coyote, that ended up with a sting of second places and in the bridesmaid role. Mixed in behind them, a variety of displacement cruising boats were spaced around the course that produced some interesting results as the week wore on. Coming into today's races, Brian Coianiz's Sayer 13 Siren held third overall but a slow day and Nick Smith's Ericson 38 Freewind slotting into 3rd & 4th places, allowed Freewind through to take over the podium spot from the Bareboat/Cruising Class.
The crew on Nick Smith's Ericson 38 Freewind have been pushing all week and come out on top, never finishing worse than second place to take home the Bareboat/Cruising Class title. Despite breaking the forestay and withdrawing from the race, Mick Grover's Elliot 7 Moon Shadow has rebounded with two firsts and a couple of podium finishes to take over second overall. Second and third places for Patinyakorn Buranrom's Hood 23 Sansiri secured them third overall.
Although Henry Kaye's Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot showed signs of brilliance and won some races, it is the consistency displayed by David Liddell's Corsair 37 Miss Saigon that wins the day and goes home with the Multihull title. Despite Kunta's twin rigged Crazy Horse "No show" over the last few days, they are rewarded with third place.
Frank Pong's masterful handling of Jelik throughout the season has earned him the 2012-13 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year award and judging by the way the crew were celebrating, it is one of the proudest moments of their sailing careers. (More on the AYGP next week) Organisers Regattas Asia must be commended for their tireless efforts to bring everything together and make a roaring success of it. Even more important is to jot down May 24th to 31st in your diary for next year. Don't miss out, see you there...
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