Plenty of action in Samui regatta
PHUKET: Thirty-two boats lined up for Day 1 of the 2012 Samui Regatta off Chaweng Beach yesterday (May 28). With crews from more than 20 countries, the international fleet of sailors have come to race some of Thailand’s leading sailors at the ‘Tropical Island Regatta’.
Tuesday 29 May 2012, 11:46AM
The opening ceremony the night before, hosted by Zico’s Brazilian Grill & Bar, was presided over by Suthep Thaugsuban, former deputy prime minister; Chalorsak Vanichareon, Deputy Governor of Surat Thani Province; and Danny McCafferty, general manager of the Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.
Samui Regatta is well-known for attracting top boats and sailors from around Asia. 2012 sees 60 per cent of the fleet coming from overseas to challenge a strong locally-based fleet including past winners and regatta legends.
A number of strong Thai crews are looking to exploit home advantage, including Phuket King’s Cup regular Radab Kanjanavit on Cedar Swan, Kirati Assakul on Bandara Sonic, and Saad Panyawan on Kindred Spirit, all in the Multihull Class; and Amanda in IRC2, skippered by Lennart Fahlgren who leads an all Thai crew.
All classes got underway in eight knots of wind, and were greeted with two squalls during the racing, testing crew work and boat handling skills.
IRC0 class includes four Hong Kong boats who are up against Team Hooligan, skippered by Australian Marcus Blackmore. The first race started on time with the fleet racing windward/ leewards.
In a little over one hour, Genuine Risk, skippered by Geoff Hill and with Syd Fischer on board, took line honours by eight minutes. That wasn’t enough to take the win on corrected time, which went to Blackmore and Hooligan who beat Neil Pryde’s HiFi into second by just 35 seconds, with Sam Chan’s Freefire in third.
The second race for IRC0 was a 26-nautical-mile course north across the channel towards Phangan Island, rounding off Had Rin, through a gate off Mae Nam, round Ko Kong Ok to starboard and a finish at the northern end of Chaweng Beach.
Freefire upped their game and took first place from HiFi in second, with Hooligan slipping down to third. At the end of Day 1, it’s a three-way tie at the top of the class.
Principal race officer Ross Chisholm sent the IRC Premier class on a 26-mile race north to Pha’ngan Island and back, giving the fleet a chance to stretch their legs. The distance and conditions played into the hands of El Coyote, skippered by Gary Baguley who took the win on corrected time from Dynamite, skippered by Brad Kirk.
Close racing among the 10-strong IRC1 fleet looks set to be the theme of the week, with less than two minutes on corrected time separating the top four in the first race – windward/leewards.
David Ross and crew on KukuKERchu took line honours but managed only fourth on corrected time. The Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake, skippered by Nick Burns/ Fred Kinmonth, secured first place in race one, from Foxy Lady 6, skippered by Bill Bremner. Third place went to Jing Jing skippered by Rick Pointon.
In the second race – the 26 nautical mile Course 5 – Walawala 2, skippered by Steve Manning came out on top with Mandrake in second and KukuKERchu third. Mandrake leads the class at the end of Day 1.
The six-strong IRC2 class enjoyed some close competition with Greg Coops’ Abraxas finishing first ahead of Amanda, with Reef Knot, skippered by Stuart Collins, in third.
Eight boats are challenging for the Multihull Class title this year with a strong line-up of regulars up against two newcomers to Samui – Fantasia and Sweet Charriot. Fantasia has performed well on the Southeast Asian circuit since arriving last year, with a number of wins to her credit, and while it may be the first time in Samui Regatta for Sweet Charriot, she is sailed by an experienced crew and skippered by regatta regular Henry Kaye.
The 26-mile race suited Andrew Stransky and crew on Fantasia who took the line honours and the handicap win. Second place went to Sweet Charriot who beat Thai favourite Cedar Swan by less than a minute on corrected time.
Racing continues today (May 29) off Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach, Samui Island.
The 2012 Samui Regatta is organised by Regattas Asia.