Read more about the event here: Asia’s Biggest Sailing Regatta Returns to Phuket
Photos: Chaloem Loysamut
The second day of racing in the 32nd Phuket King’s Cup Regatta on Tuesday was a testing one for the skippers and their crews as the wind dropped but the competition on the water hotted up.
With light winds of about 10 knots at the start – much less than the opening day’s start with 17 knots – tactics and teamwork played a greater role than the previous day. The 11 classes of keelboats and multihulls in this year’s regatta contested two races on Tuesday.
With the breeze dropping to 4-5 knots towards the finish of the second race, organizers shortened the courses in three of the classes.
“We had to shorten a couple of the courses but overall it was a good day of racing,” said Race Director Simon James. “This year’s field is very competitive in all the classes and we’ve seen some very close racing.”
The lighter winds led to some tight racing, particularly in the top flight IRC Zero Class, which is contested by the fastest keelboats in the regatta. Tactics as well as skill and teamwork were crucial as very little separates the leading three TP 52 design racing yachts, often described as the Formula 1 class of sailing boats.
Veteran Australian sailor Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood again edged out defending champions Kevin and Tom Whitcraft on their Thai-registered THA 72 in the first race, but very little separated the two at the end of both races.
However, Sarab Singh’s Wind Sikher, another TP 52, pulled off a well-deserved win in the second race, relegating Team Hollywood to second place and THA 72 to third. In the overall standings after four races in the IRC Zero Class, Team Hollywood leads, with THA 72 second and Wind Sikher a close third. More tight, hard-fought racing is expected in this class on Wednesday and up to the final day of the regatta on Saturday.
The second fastest keelboat class in the regatta is IRC 1, and Hong Kong sailors Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth finished first overall on Mandrake III after Tuesday’s two races thanks to two second places. Thai boat East Marine Emagine sailed by Scott Bradley finished the day second overall despite winning the second race. A fourth-place finish in the first race pushed him out of the top position.
With a large contingent of competitors from the Mainland at this year’s regatta, two Chinese boats dominated the IRC 2 Class in Tuesday’s two races. Highlead Ecouragers (Judy) won the first race and finished second in the next race to lead the class overall on Tuesday.
Finishing second overall after Tuesday’s two races was Chinese entry Luthwigsthai (Getaway Ichi), thanks to a fourth place in the first and second races in the 10-boat field. Boats from six countries are contesting this class.
Almost a dozen boats with Chinese skippers and crews have entered this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta as sailing has rapidly grown in popularity in the Mainland and Hong Kong and Chinese sailors are testing their skills in events around the region.
The largest multihull to ever contest the regatta, the 60-foot trimaran SHK Scallywag Fuku Bid, once again put on a dazzling display of speed despite the light breeze, but like the opening day, its biggest rival was its handicap.
Australian Des Fidcock’s much smaller trimaran Fugazi won both outings in the Racing Multihull Class on Tuesday after handicaps were taken into account, relegating Scallywag to second place with Australian David Fuller on Java bring up third position.
Racing continues on the Andaman Sea off the southwest tip of Phuket on Wednesday with the final day’s racing in the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta on Saturday. Many of Thailand’s promising junior sailors also start racing on Wednesday when the dinghy classes take to water.