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Aussie Oi! breezes in to Phuket Raceweek win

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PHUKET: Winds gusting to 20 knots made for a perfect end to what has turned into one of the best Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek regattas yet. The weather conditions delivered fast and exciting racing throughout, leaving the sailors of more than 15 nationalities tired but happy.

Two races for all except the Classic class made for a hectic schedule of racing on the final day yesterday, and with some classes still up for grabs, there was plenty still to race for.

Wan Ma Rang in IRC Racing I, improving throughout, had their best day yet closing out the regatta with two second places. However, it wasn’t enough to overhaul Katsu, who has sailed consistently well and held onto second place by three points.

Class honors went to Australian Peter Ahern and his all-star crew on Oi! who with seven wins from eight races, were untouchable.

Formerly Team Premier, Peter Ahern, Scott Bailey and Fergus Wilmer recently bought the boat, renamed her Oi! and Phuket Raceweek is their first competitive event. Having got some early points on the board in the 2013/14 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, Oi! now heads to Hong Kong to compete on the Asian yachting circuit.

IRC Racing II has been dominated by fellow Australian Peter Sorensen and his crew on Fujin, and that domination continued through to the final race. Eight wins from eight races speaks for itself and as sailing star Steve McConaghy, who was racing onboard the former Ichi Ban, said, “you could sail this thing backwards and still win.”

The battle, however, was for second and third in the class, between Stuart Williamson’s Skandia Endeavour of Whitby and Neils Degenkolw’s Phoenix. Despite struggling with their starts and being called OCS on more than one occasion, a good performance on the final day for Williamson and his crew (a 2,3 scoreline), saw them secure second overall and relegate Phoenix to third.

Having completed one race per day, the great winds today saw Principal Race Officer Simon James set two races for IRC Cruising and Irish entry Windstar, helmed by Peter Woods, revelled in the conditions to finish the last day with two more wins, and win the class by four points.

The doggedly-determined Aussie team, Rob Azzopardi’s Dreamtime, with two second placings on the final day, could not overhaul the leaders and had to stay in second place overall, four points back. Mike Crisp, helming Sail in Asia Venture, who was introduced to a rocky outcrop on the third day – to be hauled off by the obliging press corps – finished third overall on 11 points.

The super-fast Firefly 850 sport catamarans, all built in Phuket, have thrived in the strong winds this week, with competitors recording speeds in excess of 20 knots (37 km/h). Reading the conditions best and sailing consistently has been Twin Sharks, skippered by Briton John Newnham, who didn’t contend the last race having already won seven from seven and is the clear class winner.

However, second and third was a much closer battle, between Hans Rahmann’s Voodoo and Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi. Voodoo came into the final day with a slight edge and a 2,1 scoreline on-the-day saw them complete a strong Series and place second ahead of Moto Inzi by a single point.

The Multihull Racing class saw a remarkable come-back by Phuket sailor and yacht designer Mark Pescott, with a second and a first in the last races, to go into the clear as Multihull Racing class winner, helming DaVinci (12 points), and defend their title by just one point ahead of the week’s leader, Alan Carwadine’s Asia Catamarans Hurricane who had to settle for second overall. Then came another early leader, John Coffin’s Java, third, on 16 points.

The end of the Classic class was as expected, continuing the week-long pattern, with Simon Morris’ Sirius (three points) at the front, Laurie Piper’s Atlanta (seven) in second and the German maxi classic Letizia, skippered by Capt Bernd Gundel (eight), third. Perennial regatta entry, Captain Bao’s Seraph was relegated to fourth place, although equalling Letizia on eight points.

While the Aussies took home a lot of silverware at this years regatta, what was noticeable is the large number of top boats from Ao Chalong Yacht Club, both winners and high scoring performers.

A lavish Gala Dinner hosted by Cape Panwa Hotel brought to a close a highly successful 10th Anniversary Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek.

Top three finishers in each class

IRC Racing I: Oi!, Peter Ahern/Scott Bailey/Fergus Wilmer (7); Katsu, Ben Copley (15); Wan Ma Rang, Kevin Whitcraft (18).

IRC Racing II: Fujin, Peter Sorensen (7); Skandia Endeavour Of Whitby, Stuart Williamson (18); Phoenix, Neils Degenkolw (21).

IRC Cruising: Windstar, Peter Wood (4); Dreamtime, Rob Azzopardi (8); Sail in Asia Venture, Mike Crisp (11).

Firefly 850: Twin Sharks, John Newnham (7); Voodoo, Hans Rahmann (16); Moto Inzi, Roger Kingdon (17).

Multihull Racing: DaVinci, Mark Pescott (12); Asia Catamarans Hurricane, Alan Carwadine (13); Java, John Coffin (16).

Classic: Sirius, Simon Morris (3); Atlanta, Laurie Piper (7); Letizia, Capt. Bernd Gundel (8).

For full results, visit www.phuketraceweek.com

— Infinity Comms / media release

 

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