Phuket Yacht Club, 1st of this years Dinghy Regattas

The Phuket Yacht Club or PYC on Ao Yon Bay near Cape Panwa held their 1st of this years Dinghy Race Series last Sunday 25th January.

There were 4 classes of races with different courses for multihulls, large & small dinghies, and tiny Optimists boats for the juniors.

We started watching the 10 juniors first as they are the future optimistic stars of the sport, now growing in popularity with the PYC training courses run here. Philip here, already with 6 years of experience, was leading the race as we chatted during a lull in the wind:

"Are you winning? ....... plain sailing
What are you going to do now? Tack.. show us.."
A Thai boy nicknamed Tik or was it TikTak, also seemed a natural sailor, coming as he does from Ko Sirey School near the Sea Gypsy community.

He was like a duck to water as he ducked under the swinging boom which would give most of us a headache!

Another Thai boy 10 year old Nasaron, perhaps destined to be a NASA astronaut, was blasting away in the weak winds.

Jonas, half Thai & Swedish, was in 2 minds whether to sit on the side of the boat to get more leverage or stand up and rock the boat forward. Neither seemed to help as it limped towards the finish line with Philip well ahead already in the class.

In the 3rd class of 7 small dinghies, a youthful Thai woman, Ae, was labouring a bit in a Laser boat and slack sail as she told us:
"What do you think of the boat?.... Need wind! Can you help me?"
A group were milling around trying to find the best breezes on a balmy hot afternoon.

The race committee officials were anchored on a yacht in the middle of the racers watching for any funny business going on.
In the 2nd class of 6 boats, Mia and Bu, 2 experienced winning sailors, were having fun for their first time on a Taser boat:
"Its great good fun .....1 more race."

Pelle, Leonard & young Adrian, the only threesome crew, were regretting their extra weight on board:
"Whats it like? .....90 kilos."

Andrew & Mick were winning this class leaving the others in their Slipstream:
"Topaz 30 year old design. ......creates the slipstream."
The big boys of the day in class 1 of 4 boats, like this trimaran helmed by Merv & John, were like giants compared to the small dinghies.

Katy was sunning herself with Simon, on a Hobie Cat:
"Tell us about your boat ....... more breeze"
62 year old Robert & veteran Phil were on a 59ER, certainly younger than them:
"This boat is a 16 foot skiff ......Im the mature one."

Despite all the banter and jokes, they were still here for racing,
leaning out to gain some leads, bending round the buoys or boo-ies as Americans say, spinning up the spinnaker sails like this appropriate red on Chinese New year weekend, & shifting their ballast or heavy bodies around to stretch their sails.

It was just small regatta at Phuket Yacht Club but a good warm up for some now off in the Phang Nga Bay regatta this week. Life is certainly a beach for these lucky sailors.