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Here they come! Big guns line up for Phuket King’s Cup Regatta



PHUKET: Neil Pryde’s Hi-Fi and Frank Pong’s Jelik, both out of Hong Kong, are lined up to go head to head in the leading racing division of the King’s Cup Regatta 2014, which begins in earnest on Monday.

Looking to cause an upset are Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste and Ahern, Bailey, Wilmer’s Oi!, both from Australia.

Fellow Aussie Ray Roberts, who won the fiercely contested IRC Zero class with his OneSails Racing team last year, at latest report will not be back to defend his title.

Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling will take on Kevin Whitcraft of Thailand’s Wan Ma Rang in the IRC 1 class, with Alexey Takhovski of Russia on Lero3 and Norhafisam bin Ahmad of Malaysia on Uranus rounding out the field.

But all eyes will be on the IRC 2 class, where Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI will take on Roland Dane’s Jessandra II.

Foxy Lady scored a two-second win in the last race at Samui earlier this year to be crowned the 2013/14 Asian Yachting Grand Prix (AYGP) Yacht and Skipper of the Year.

The crew are on a record regatta winning streak, and dominated Phuket Raceweek in July, carding four straight wins in the IRC 1 Racing class, bringing their winning streak to eight regattas in a row.

Jessandra II, skippered by Roland Dane, principal of Red Bull Racing Australia, won the Audi Australian IRC Championship in 2012 and remained unbeaten in competition, until they arrived in Asia.

Phuket’s resident Firefly sports catamaran fleet are expected to provide some excellent close racing, as nearly all the entrants are regular racers in the Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC) race series, which concluded just last week (story here).

The skippers and crews are all familiar with the racing condition of their competitors’ boats, and the skills of the crews they are racing against.

In the Multihulls – Racing class, five of the six entrants are regular ACYC racers, including Mark Horwood on Adrenalin, Henry Kaye on Sweet Chariot, Alan Carwardine on Asia Catamarans Hurricane, Kirill Stashevskiy on Galeforce and the pairing of Mick Coleman and John Coffin on Java.

To date, Phuket’s resident Kaye has raced in every King’s Cup since the regatta was inaugurated 28 years ago.

The only “outsider” in the class fleet is Radab Kanjanavanit on Cedar Swan, though Radab has raced in so many King’s Cup regattas local sailors are considering calling him a “local”.

Proving that the King’s Cup is not just for professional crews, this year 23 boats are entered in the Bareboat Charter Class, with 12 entries skippered by Russians. Other nationalities represented in the class include Japan, China, Netherlands and Germany, together highlighting the international flavor of the event.

The regatta gets underway with official sail measurement opening on Friday (November 28) followed by the opening party at the Kata Beach Resort tonight.

Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of HM the King, the event has been held every year since. Under Royal Patronage, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is organized by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Province.

Sponsors of the 2014 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta include Kata Group Resorts Thailand; PTT Global Chemical; FINCA de MALPICA by Siam Winery; Haadthip PLC; and Sunsail.

This event is proudly sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV’s nationwide ‘Phuket Today’ show, which broadcasts daily on True Visions channels 85 and 59.

— Chris Husted


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