Prior to the opening ceremonies of the 15th Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek (CPHPR), crews from 36 participating boats spread across seven classes waited with trepida-tion and wind-lust for their sailing instructions from PR0 Simon James, who told the sailors that continual 22 knot winds would see him put the racing on hold. He also told the sailors to take heed of section 26 in the sailing instructions, saying that is was ultimately their decision to sail in rough weather.
With instructions given, and winds gusting, it was time to officially open the regatta and that is just what regatta organizer Byron Jones did, thanking all participating sailors, warning, “Don’t underestimate the weather conditions, sail safe, and take care of yourself and your crew.”
VIPs attending the opening dinner included Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, along with Montri Manator, Deputy Director of TAT Phuket; Virat Patee, the Director of the Sports Authority of Thailand, Phuket Division; Poomiphat “Tom” Na-vanukroh, the Group Director of the Travel Industry for the Cape Kantary Hotels; and Thomas Hain, the general manager of Cape Panwa Hotel. The Gover-nor gave a short speech and was joined on stage by the other dignitaries for a photo opportunity.
Every regatta has its unique selling points and advantages and for CPHPR it has to be its host venue, the Cape Panwa Hotel, which offers a sumptuous buffet on four different nights. From the salad bar to the pizza, spaghetti, Kebab and Pasta corners, the wide variety of seafood and sushi, the noodle stand, and the wide range of desserts, there’s something for every palate.
The location is so spectacular that heaven forbid there is an AP on shore, or a race cancelation, sailors will gladly lounge on the private beach swap-ping tales and taking in the pristine environment that is Cape Panwa. But after all the worry and trepidation about damage to crew and vessels heading into the 15th CPHPR, nothing happened — everything went smoothly and PRO Simon James did a masterful job of staging two races each for five classes on day one while the Cruising Multis and Pulse 600s got in one race each.
Fierce winds and had been blowing across Phuket preceding the regatta and gusts up to 19 knots met participants as they lined up at the first start for day one. But the winds and swell died down as the day dragged on and everyone got in a good day of sailing.
Mig Wehrle was the MC hosting the awards for day’s one racing and did a great job summarizing the day’s activities on the water, noting the fleet was split evenly between monohulls and multis, while sailors had come from as far as Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and Wales to take part in the regatta. Australia with 24 boats entered had, by far, the greatest representation by far. Mig’s wife Meike, btw, was sailing on Blue Noze during the regatta.
Getting back to the racing, day two saw another wonderful day of sailing as PRO Simon James gave IRC 1 a windward-leeward race south of Koh Lon and then another longer race, which took them out around Koh Bon and Koh Hae. The other classes started south of Koh Lon as well but turned back into Chalong Bay after the first mark to give them more sheltered sailing
Guy Nowell took to the stage as Sat-urday’s MC, proving his skillset extends far beyond the world of photography. Guy first in-vited Somjai Teera-Umpornpunt, the General Manager of Kantary Bay Phuket, to give out the passed away, after a very short illness, earlier this year.
In paying homage to Tom, Grenville said, “The foundation of the Phuket Raceweek Classic Class was Tom’s 100-year-old schoo-ner, Seraph. On the strength of that platform, combined with his love for classic yachts, Tom cajoled people from all over the world – as far away as Alaska – to take part in a real classic trophies for day’s two racing, which was held on Friday. The awards were sponsored by host Kantary Bay Hotel.
Grenville Fordham, the Image Asia publisher, and founder of this regatta, then came on stage to honour the late Tom Howard, who played a pivotal in Phuket Raceweek’s Classic Class. Grenville stayed on stage to give out the prizes for racing on day three. As a tribute to the man who created and kept the best Classic Class in Phuket regatta history going, Saturday was designated “Tom Howard Raceday”. Tom class yacht race, year after year.
“The difference between Tom’s classic class and ‘The Rest’ was that the Phuket Race-week classics actually raced – very competitively – striving to win the Seraph Perpetual Trophy, itself a work of art which now graces the Phuket Yacht Club trophy cabinet.”
Strong winds continued to greet racers as they lined up for day three and lack of wind was certainly not a problem in this regatta. A couple boats suffered halyard damage, but that was the extent of the trouble, despite the high winds.
The regatta came to a close with Wicky Sundrum, the Executive Director of Phuket Boat Lagoon, acting as the Master of Ceremo-nies for the final party overseeing the awards presentation for race day four (sponsored by the host Cape Panwa Hotel) and the final overall awards.
VIPs in attendance on the night in-cluded Vice Admiral Somnuk Preampramot, Commander, Third Naval Area Command and Radm Jaruke Samkaphut, Deputy Commander, Third Naval Area Command.
Pongparut Pangsrivongse representing Cape Panwa Hotel gave a short speech noting that after an eventful day on the water, it was necessary to recover and relax and it was his hope that Cape Panwa provided the sailors with the ideal place to do just that.
The final scorecard saw Ray Roberts’ boat Team Hollywood sweep its class to earn IRC I honours. On stage, Ray paid tribute to the CPHPR saying it was the best regatta in the region, its organizer Byron Jones was a genius and that PRO Simon James did an excellent job of planning the race courses. Loco, East Marine Emagine, Ramrod and Megazip rounded out the class, finishing in that order.
The IRC 1 – 40 Division class saw Craig Nicholl’s experienced team on Aquarii beat out Loco, East Marine Emagine and Ramrod.
Dane Niels Degenkolw continued to display his sailing wizardry as Phoenix won seven straight races to capture the IRC II class despite a DNF on their last race. Phoenix was followed by Krabi Boat Lagoon Pinocchio, Prime Factor, the Sailescapes Farrgo Ladies team. Platu and Jing Jing.
Keith Garry’s Beaux Esprits narrowly beat Chris Mitchell’s Lady Bubbly by one point to take the Cruising (NHC) class, Venture, Lin-da, Sand Groper, Kantus Bride, Astreaus, and Fei Jian all fought hard and sailed well to make this the closely-contested class.
The biggest upset of the regatta saw Scott Galle’s Blade Runner IX take first overall on handicap in the Racing Multis over Dan Fidock’s Fugazi, which had line honours in every race and was a sight to behold as they flew through the course. Aland Cawardine’s newest Stealth Cosmo and Twister 2 took third and fourth spots in this division, respectively.
In the Firefly 850 class, John Newn-ham’s Twin Sharks and Hans Rahmann’s Voodoo renewed their storied rivalry but Newnham’s international crew just proved too strong as Twin Sharks won every race except the last one, which they did not finish. Voodoo did take second overall though, followed by Blue Noze, Mamba Surf Patrol, and Moto Inzi, which made a nice recovery after its nosedive at the Multihull Solutions Regatta the previous week. As Guy Nowell said, “the Fireflies have been bouncing around like they been bounced around before.”
The first Firefly was Voodoo Child, built in Mark Horwood’s yard in 2005. It was sold to Olaf Reese, who launched it at Phuket Race-week, winning the first two races it sailed in on second day of the 2005 regatta. Moto Inzi, the second Firefly was launched for King’s Cup 2005, which skipper/owner Roger Kingdon, won on OMR.
In the Pulse 600 division, Mick Tilden’s Pixalux and Simon Oliver’s Sudu Red finished tied in points but Pixalux took the title because it had more first-place finishes. Multihull Solu-tions H30, SuDu Grey and SuDu Yellow rounded out the class.
Gary Slattery’s DaVinci didn’t have any competition so by default won the Cruising Multis. They did get in four good days of racing though which was a bonus for the high school chums on board who had reunited after four decades.
The international protect committee of Andy Dowden, Henry Kaye and Scott Dun-canson, who sailed on Loco during the regatta, handled the few protests fairly and when it was all sailed and done there was just a lot of excel-lent sailing with very little damage to boats and crew despite the heavy wind.
The perpetual Phuket Raceweek Rec-ognition Award for “Service to Sailing” went to Andy Dowden for being one of the key figures in the growth of the leisure marine industry in Phuket. Andy co-founded PIMEX and Phuket Raceweek with Grenville Fordham. Past winners of this award include Grenville, Mick Kealy, Simon James and June Cawardine.
In closing, organizer Byron Jones paid tribute to his wife “the only rock at Phuket Raceweek.” Khun Rung, works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure this event runs smooth-ly and frankly, without her, it wouldn’t happen. Byron also made homage to Krittaya Bootla-korn, the Senior Sales Coordinator at CPH, the link between the regatta and Cape Panwa Hotel. It was her organizational savvy that made everything come together.
Two Farr 1104's Farrgo Express and Krabi Boat Lagoon Pinocchio were chartered by all female crews save one male crew member on Farrgo Express. Boats like Phoenix (4 female crew) and Moto Inzi (3 female crew) also had strong female representation.
And Astreaus had an all-female crew save one (Andy McDermott) including local skipper Liz Schoch with her crew Ali Gates, Toon Samran, Kirsty Bauckham, Tracey Cun-ningham & Lies Sol.
Lies explained, “We were not a wholly female team but our bow woman, Katya had to return to Russia suddenly and Andy was so kind to step in. He had been sailing with us during several Ao Chalong Yacht Club's club races, so we knew each other quite well and he's an excellent bow man! We called him Mandy at times, just for fun.
“Any woman on the island who wants to experience sailing is very welcome to join us for club races, and if there are free spots, men are welcome too. For yacht club races schedule and information on learning how to sail contact Liz Schoch of the Phuket Yacht Club Sailing School: [email protected] http://phuketyachtclub.com/rya-courses-2018/ or check out the 'Ladies Sailing Team Phuket' FaceBook page.”
Max Palleschi, Prime Factor’s skipper, summed it up best as participants filed out of the final party, saying, “Getting a prize is a bonus. We are here to have fun.”
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