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  1. #1
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    Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today.

    Jelik draws first blood in King’s Cup



    PHUKET: Frank Pong of China skippered his 75-foot yacht Jelik to first place overall in the hotly-contested Racing class in the opening race of the 20th King’s Cup Regatta today.

    “We had a great day and crossed the line well in front of the rest of our class, but even with our heavy handicap we managed a first place on corrected time,” said Pong.

    Second overall in the Racing class was Great Britain’s Steve Dodd on Island Fling with former King’s Cup winner Neil Pryde third on Hi Fi.

    A record number of 101 boats divided into 13 classes boats started the regatta in reasonable winds, which picked up to 10 to 13 knots off the Kata Beach Resort.

    “The wind was light at the start, which was good for a lot of the newcomers in the fleet as many of them are racing for the first time,” said Principal Race Office Howard Elliot.

    “We had a good, clean start in winds of six to eight knots which picked up later to between 10 and 15 knots. Towards the end of the day’s racing the winds dropped and we shortened some of the courses.”

    Drama came early in the regatta when George Foose’s yacht Freewind broke her boom after it became entangled with the anchor line of the Royal Thai Navy boat being used as one of the marks on the course.

    Crew on the Navy boat and Freewind worked frantically to free the yacht, though the broken boom spelled early retirement for Freewind.

    It was a disappointing day for the locally-designed and built Firefly 850 catamarans, which have been the center of attention with five of the super-fast boats racing in their own class for the first time.

    “The Fireflys didn’t do well today as they prefer more wind,” said Elliot. “The current was very strong out there today and the light winds didn’t suit the Fireflys.”

    One of the Fireflys holds the record as the fastest boat in Thai waters, and if the wind picks up as expected in the next few days, some exciting racing is expected between the five entries.

    Hong Kong-based owner/skipper Marc Cudennec finished first in the Firefly 850 class on his boat Chi Machine, followed by Bill Phelps on his new boat Twin Sharks with veteran Henry Kay third on Mamba.

    Another very fast catamaran racing this year is Benoit Lasaffre’s Atmosphere, which is competing in the Multihull Racing class. It finished almost 90 minutes in front of its nearest rival and will take some catching over the next fours days of racing.

    Henry Kaye’s old boat The Sting, which is being sailed by Phillip Day, finished a distant second with Chimera, sailed by Christopher Edwards, in third place.

    A large number of Thai sailors are also taking part in this year’s regatta and Lt Peera Sagultem skippered Royal Thai Navy 1 into first place in the highly-competitive IRC2 class.

    Rob Taylor’s Minx finished almost eight minutes behind in second place. Third place went to Russian-skippered boat Master Blaster, with Andrey Novoderezhkin at the helm.

    Click here for today’s full race results.
    phuket gazette

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    Regatta fleet pays homage to HM The King with spectacular sail-past



    KATA: There was a spectacular start to the second day of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today when the record fleet of 101 yachts lined up and sailed past the Royal Thai Navy starting boat to pay tribute to His Majesty the King of Thailand – the regatta’s Royal patron – on his 79th birthday before the start of the day’s racing.

    The than 1,000 skippers and their crews wore yellow shirts – His Majesty the King’s color – and lined up on the side of their yachts as they sailed past the Navy boat and all gave three cheers for the regatta’s patron. The sailors on the navy boat, all in full uniform, returned the sailors’ salute and it was an impressive sight.

    “The sail past was the biggest gathering of sailing boats ever in Thai waters,” said King’s Cup President Santi Kanchanabundhu. “Tonight all the regatta participants will join the rest of the nation in a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the King.”

    A candle lighting ceremony is held on Kata Beach outside Mom Tri’s Boathouse every year during the King’s Cup on December 5 to celebrate National Day, Fathers’ Day and His Majesty’s birthday.

    When today’s racing, which was sponsored by Mom Tri’s Boathouse and the Thai Beverage company, finally started well offshore on a calm sea, very light winds averaging about five knots ensured a slow and leisurely pace.

    Race Officer Tony Denham described the conditions as light and unpredictable. “We had 10 to 12 knots of wind at the start of the first of the two races yesterday, but it later died right down to two knots at one stage,” he said.

    “The breeze did return, but from another direction at about five to 10 knots.”

    The top flight Racing 1 class managed to squeeze in three races today when the breeze picked up again late in the afternoon, but the rest of the fleet only had two races.

    Toby O’Connell’s Dhevatara Drumstick finished first in the provisional results after the first race, but former winner Neil Pryde was a close second on his boat Hi Fi with Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling third.

    In the second race in the Racing 1 class, Nick Burns recovered from a last-place finish in the first race to take the honors on his boat Mandrake, Winkelmann moved up to second place and Pryde dropped back to third.

    The Racing 1 class was the only class to complete three races and in their final outing O’Connell had his second win of the day aboard Dhevatara Drumstick, while Winklemann’s Island Fling had another second place and Pryde’s Hi Fi finished third.

    This top flight class is now set for some exciting racing during the rest of regatta week and the betting is still wide open on who will lift the coveted King’s Cup on the regatta’s 20th anniversary.
    phuket gazette

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    Tricky regatta conditions handled by Pryde

    KATA: The unpredictable weather again played tricks with the record fleet at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today, with light winds, rain squalls and strong tides making racing difficult on the third day of Asia’s biggest sailing event.

    But former King’s Cup winner Neil Pryde proved that experience counts as he skippered his boat Hi Fi into first place in the top-flight Racing 1 class in the Kata Beach Resort Andaman Sea Race.

    The overall standings were not available at press time, but after Day 2 Pryde was second overall and his first place may have been enough to put him in first place overall and on target for another coveted King’s Cup.

    However, fellow Hong Kong resident Nick Burns may spoil Pryde’s plans of adding another trophy to his cabinet after finishing a close second to Pryde his boat Mandrake.

    Chinese skipper Adam Ng had his best result so far with his boat Konka Hummingbird finishing a very credible third. A huge contingent of Chinese media is following Konka Hummingbird and sending daily reports of his progress back to the Mainland. They finally have some good news to report.

    Also in the hunt for the silverware is Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling, which didn’t do so well in the tricky light conditions and finished sixth. But Island Fling had been leading overall in the Racing 1 class after the second day’s racing, and at the end of the week skippers can discard one result, so perhaps Winkelmann will be able to drop today’s result.

    Only four in the Sports Boat class managed to finish their race today, with another five not making it to the finish line. Former world junior sailing champion Scott Duncanson, a Phuket resident, used his local knowledge to advantage and pulled off a first-place finish on his boat Somtam Express, getting over the line almost two minutes ahead of Vino, another locally-made Phuket 8 boat, skippered by Phil Wardrop.

    Japan’s Kenichi Takahashi finished third in the Sports Boat class on another boat designed for Thai waters, the Platu.

    Four of the five Firefly 850 catamarans – designed and built in Phuket – finished their race today. Hong Kong publisher Marc Cudennec’s Chi Machine kept a perfect record with another victory to take his record to four winds from four races. Cudennec now has a big lead on the rest of the Firefly fleet and his colorful blue cat is starting to look unbeatable.

    Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi, which in Swahili means “firefly”, finished second today, while King’s Cup veteran Henry Kaye came third on Mamba.

    Many of the boats in the other classes pulled out early after drifting in the strong tides and light wind. The rain squalls that followed the fleet all day led to one unknown sailor singing over the regatta’s radio frequency I wanna go home.

    Tomorrow is a lay day for the regatta’s 1,000-plus sailors and the big contingent of more than 100 media covering the event, and many are expected to travel to PIMEX, the annual Phuket Boat Show, at Phuket Boat Lagoon,
    phuket gazette

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    Wind breathes life into Phuket Regatta

    KATA: After three days of light winds and difficult conditions, the wind finally arrived off Kata Beach today, breathing new life into crews aboard the record fleet of 102 boats and giving them cause to enjoy the best racing so far in this year’s King’s Cup Regatta.

    Three-time King’s Cup winner Neil Pryde is on target to win another King’s Cup to add to his already crowded trophy cabinet at his home in Hong Kong. Pryde now has the overall lead in the Racing 1 class on his boat Hi Fi despite a fifth place and a second place in today’s two races.

    Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling is giving Pryde a run for his money and is second overall in the class after winning the first of the two races today. However, a sixth place in the second race of the day allowed Pryde to slip into first place overall.

    Despite scoring two first places, Frank Pong is in fourth place overall on his 75-foot yacht Jelik and is still within striking distance of upsetting Pryde’s plans for a victory. “We had a good breeze today which shifted a bit, but we moved very well,” said Pong, who is helping China’s team prepare for the America’s Cup.

    “The competition here is very tough in our class and Island Fling is a great boat and has a good crew – and of course Neil Pryde’s boat is very good too. There is also Mandrake in our class, so the competition is very tough.”

    Australian boat Strewth, skippered by Geoff Hill, has the overall lead in the Coutts Premier class after a second place in the one race contested in the class today.

    Hong Kong-registered boat Moon Blue II, skippered by Peter Churchhouse, won the hotly contested Premier class race by less than a minute from Strewth. Both boats are on eight points at the top of the overall standings for the class, though Moon Blue II has a two-point advantage after factoring in the “drop”.

    Bringing up third place in the class is Moon Blue, skippered by Hong Kong’s Andrew Richards. However, Moon Blue is a distant third and almost out of contention for the top two places.

    There has been a lot of interest in the new Firefly catamarans, which are designed and built in Phuket. Five of the quick cats, dubbed “Formula One” machines of the sea, are racing in their own class for the first time. Hong Kong publisher Marc Cudennic’s Chi Machine has won four of the six races contested so far, giving it a six-point lead on Moto Inzi with only one race to go.

    Moto Inzi, skippered by Pattaya-based Brit Roger Kingdon, has 12 points, while King’s Cup veteran Henry Kaye is in third place on his boat Mamba, with 14 points.

    Principal Race Officer Howard Elliot was a happy man after today’s racing, and has his fingers crossed that the wind will be just as good tomorrow – the final day of the King’s Cup.

    “We had good wind of around 10 to 12 knots at the start today, and it was steady all day,” said Elliot. “We have our fingers crossed that we’ll have the same conditions or better tomorrow.”
    phuket gazette

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    Drumstick wins King’s Cup after protest

    KATA: After five days of racing, Toby O’Connell’s Dhevatara Drumstick won the 20th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today after a protest.

    Three-time King’s Cup winner Neil Pryde protested against the race committee after the wrong flag was put on one of the marks on the course as the Racing 1 class results went down to the wire.

    Pryde’s boat Hi Fi finished level on points with Toby O’Connell’s Dhevatara Drumstick, but according to regatta race rules the winner is decided on the last race result.

    Pryde and his crew on Hi Fi finished fifth in the last race today, while O’Connell finished second, leaving Drumstick as the overall winner before the protest was lodged.

    However, Pryde’s protest was dismissed by the jury, giving O’Connell overall first place and the coveted King’s Cup.

    Ray Roberts skippered Drumstick to victory in the Racing class last year.

    Peter Winklemann’s Island Fling, which crossed the finish line two seconds behind Hi Fi today, finished second in the class. Frank Pong on Jelik finished fourth.

    The final day started with good wind followed by flat spots of no wind, which led to some boats jumping to a big lead only to stop dead in the water while the rest of the fleet caught up.

    There were some upsets in the rest of the classes as the patchy and light winds threw some of the favorites off course.

    Geoff Hill’s Strewth had no trouble taking top honors in the Coutts Premier class after two first places and two seconds from the six races contested. Peter Churchhouse’s Moon Blue II finished in second place. Andrew Richards on Moon Blue finished third.

    Peter Dyer had his boat Madam Butterfly floating over the line and into first place overall in the Racing 2 class, while Niels Dgenkolf on Phoenix finished second. Skipper Jonathon Mahony was, well, happy when his boat Happy Endings finished in third place.

    Japan’s Kenichi Takahashi pulled off one of the biggest upsets by sailing Motornet into first place overall in the Sports Boats class. Class favorite Scott Duncanson on Somtam Express was relegated to second place overall.

    Shuji Hagihara finished third in the class on Just.

    To underline the strength of the Japanese contingent this year, Ryuji Nakata sailed Rhythm Stick into first place overall in the IRC1 class. Thai boat Octopussy, skippered by Jaray Tipsuk, finished second overall, while Peter Wintle’s Sita finished third.

    There were no surprises, however, in the Firefly 850 class with Marc Cudennec’s Chi Machine finishing first overall after winning four of the seven races. Bill Phelps’ Twin Sharks finished in second place, while Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi finished third.

    King’s Cup veteran Henry Kaye may have finished fourth in the Firefly class on Mamba, but his old boat The Sting, with Philip Day at the helm, won the Multihull Racing class.

    Tim Milner’s Seekronghuk finished second, while class favorite, Benoit Lasaffre’s Atmosphere, was relegated to third place.

    Veteran Thai skipper Radab Kanjanavanit finished fourth in the class on his boat Cedar Swan, which has contested more King’s Cups than any other boat.

    phuket gazette

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