The Kata Beach Resort and Spa, recently rebranded The Beyond Resort Kata, has long been the spiritual home of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, and this past December was no different as it hosted the 31st Phuket King’s Cup Regatta from 2-9 December, 2017.
Over 83 keelboats and multihulls from 20 countries split via 11 classes (and 71 dinghies) joined the 31st Anniversary race, with more than 700 sailors and support crews joining the opening evening event following the ceremony.
The regatta featured full-sized keelboat & multihull classes, and inter-national Dinghy racing sponsored by the Government Lottery Office, divided into the following classes: Optimist Boy & Girl, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Laser Standard and Topper.
The 2017 regatta welcomed the return of some familiar teams and boats which have already proven their pace, pedigree and performance in regattas past. Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood and Sarab Singh’s Windsikher II went head-to-head in IRC 0 along with Kevin Whitcraft’s THA 72 & Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive skippered by Duncan Hine. Team Mandrake, which has dominated in previous years, was up against a highly charged pack consisting of Karasu (JPN) and Madame Butterfly (GBR) in IRC 1, while Premier class sees the return of the pace-setting Pine-Pacific (THA) Both the Bareboat Charter and Cruising classes sailed large fleets, and the Cruising Multihull fleet continued to grow. A smaller but ever-more-tightly competitive Firefly 850 grouping saw familiar names Twin Sharks and Voodoo, while the One-Design class saw the Pulse 600 design boats competing
“We have a special focus on growing the dinghy components of our overall regatta, as we in the sailing community in Thailand can feel the positive effect this is having over the years as the sport of sailing continues to grow in popularity here”, said Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Re-gatta Organizing Committee. “The International Dinghy fleet is a fast-growing racing program designed to promote and encourage youth sailing in Thailand. The program continues to be highly successful in furthering the sustainable growth of the Thai marine industry in the years to come. Many of the young sailors competing will go on to join the crews of full-size keelboat racing teams, and compete in the larger Phuket King’s Cup Regatta in future regatta years.”.
35Wrap-up from the files of Captain Marty Rijurkis (www.asianyachting.com)
Kevin Whitcraft's TP52 THA 72 won 9 of the 12 races and walked away with the IRC 0 title for the second year. Last year, Whitcraft said "I've been trying for 30 years to win the King's Cup and finally did it". This year THA 72 defended the title in style. Like always, Ray Roberts TP52 Team Hollywood put up a good fight for 2nd overall and broke THA 72's win-ning streak during the week. Optimized for light weather, Sarab Singh's Welbourn 52 Windsikher II has never broken so much equipment at one regatta and paid the consequences finishing 3rd.
While Fred Kinmonth/ Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 Otonomos Mandrake III made a clean start at the pin end on the final race, the Japanese on Yasuo Nanamori's Beneteau 40.7 Karasu and the Aussie's on David Fuller's chartered Beneteau 44.7 Fujin were being squeezed out at the boat end. Otonomos Mandrake III had a clear lead on the first lap, but they missed a wind shift on the second upwind and Mati Sepp's chartered Swan 42 Club Loco went on to claim line honours. Since being disqualified and suffering equipment failure, Nanamori's defending champion Karasu has been on the comeback trail and by correcting out in first place on the final day, they leapfrogged Loco into 2nd overall but couldn't quite catch the leaders Otonomos Mandrake III who have been on fire all regatta and were the most consistent scorers in the IRC 1 class and deserved the title.
By adding another win to their tally on the final day, Peter Dyer's IOR 3/4ton Kata Rocks - Madam Butterfly took victory in the IRC 2 class by winning 8 out of 11 races. Although Thailand's Nareuwat Chevanun-tapornchai's Venture took 2nd place on the final day, they finished down the order in 5th overall. Third place for China's Shen Sheng's Farr 1104 Big Boys Racing (Farrgo Express) was enough to hold onto 2nd overall, and 4th place for James Downard's sister ship Krabi Boat Lagoon Piccolo in the final race kept them in 3rd overall.
The battle of the heavyweights boiled over into the Premier Cruis-ing class on the final day. With only one point separating Aussie Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes and Thailand's Ithinai Yingsiri's X55 Pine-Pacific it was decided to attack, with match racing tactics to delay the boats and hopefully one of the others might take the win. It didn't quite work out that way and the jury deliberated over five counter protests to decide the outcome, including the controversial Rule 69 for misconduct. As it turned out, all the protests were dismissed and Yingsiri's Pine-Pacific defended the title for the fourth time, with Hill's plans on Antipodes backfiring for 4th place and having to settle on 2nd overall. Former Whitbread racer Gijs van Liebergen's King's Legend secured 3rd overall, while Fabio Becattini's A80 Apsaras claimed line honours, in front of the dueling leaders and finishing in 4th overall.
The Japanese on Natsuki Motoyoshi's Mil Grace/Frog were full of joy when they won the Firefly 850 Sport race despite being tied on points with Hans Rahmann's Voodoo were reduced to 3rd overall, when tallying the number of wins. After having a collision and not competing in the following race, John Newnham's Twin Sharks embarked on an almighty comeback trail and by winning the next 6 out of 8 races, went on to defend their title. Rahmann's Voodoo claimed 2nd overall.
Only two Pulse 600 One Design trimarans made it out for the final races. Andy Pape's Multihull Solutions H30 struck gold in the race and in the overall stakes. Although not far behind, Mick Tilden's Pixalux /Java ended up in 2nd overall, while the non-starters Liz Schoch's Sudu Yellow and Neil Ayre's Java Yachting took 3rd and 4th spot, respectively.
Even though they didn’t have to race on the final day, Henry Kaye's Seacart 30 Thor went out and captured their 10th victory out of 11 races, completely dominating the Multihull Racing class and running away with the title. Mick Coleman's Stealth 11.8 Asia Catamarans Java was 2nd over-all and Bob Garner's Daim 24 Blade Runner IX captured 3rd place.
Rick Fielding's Mojo Multihull Solutions claimed the Multihull Cruising class title, while Igor Ginzburg's Sun Odyssey 409 Phailin won the Bareboat Charter class, Xiong Ting's Standfast 40 Mermaid (Mas Allegre) cleaned up in the Modern Classic class and Urii Firsov's IOR Farr 43 Umi-noko won the Cruising Class.
Mr. Kevin Whitcraft, summed up the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta this year, saying, “This year, the first three days featured strong winds and very good weather conditions, with lighter air returning later in the week. This has allowed sailors from 20 countries to use their skills and tactical knowledge to best leverage advantages where they present themselves. It’s been a fantastic week, and especially so for our Dinghy fleet, which has grown over four years from 20 sailors to 109 this year. It is an invaluable cornerstone for growing the sport of sailing in the future”.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun graciously assigned H.E Air Chief Marshal Chalit Phukbhasuk as Personal Representative of H.M. the King to preside over the 31st Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Royal Award Ceremony held at Kanda Hall, Beyond Resort Kata in Phuket.
Last year, the Phuket King’s Cup won the prestigious “Best Asian Regatta” at the Asia Boating Awards. The award recognizes the extraor-dinary efforts of the organizers of Asia’s premier regatta in terms of its exceptional organization, promotion, course quality, entry size, competi-tiveness and social aspects.
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