King’s Cup ends on a breezy note
PHUKET: The 14th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta – the biggest yet – came to a close on Saturday with skippers and crews reinvigorated by good winds after a week of light breezes had turned much of the racing into a frustrating exercise for crews and regatta jury alike. As the last day of racing dawned across Phuket, the largest fleet of sailing boats ever brought together for a King’s Cup set out from Kata. In the spirit of the Cup, the jury – besieged by protests over course confusion earlier in the week – decided to award rankings to all boats that turned at the wrong marker. The 15 cruisers whose skippers had determined the correct course still took the top positions, but the rest of the field at least received a ranking. It was that same spirit that had fuelled the jury’s decision on Monday’s incomplete races – shortening the course to the windward mark to enable most yachts to register the additional result necessary to give them a fair chance. By the completion of Saturday’s racing, there were only a few grumbles left. The week’s racing was beset by winds that many believed to be the lightest in the Cup’s 14-year history (though some long-timers believe 1994 saw worse), making racing an exhausting trial for all the crews, and a disheartening one for those who failed to finish. Day by day, here’s how the regatta went: MONDAY: The House of Kangaroo Round-the-Island Race was a battle of inches over hours as the six classes in the race dragged themselves around the southern end of Phuket and on towards their goals of Koh Ao and Koh Hai. The faster, lighter racers and the big boys of the Premier Cruising class struggled across the line with bare minutes left on the clock, while the Cruisers, Classics and Multihulls – on the shorter, 20-nautical-mile route – all failed to complete in the allotted six hours. A judges’ decision later shortened the route to the windward marker to give results for all classes. TUESDAY: A day of slight, baffling winds that confounded tacticians and frustrated skippers on the QBE and Boathouse racing circuits. A run-in between Performance Cruisers Slice of Heaven and Diah Tantri left the latter lacking a bowsprit and the former in the doghouse. WEDNESDAY: This was to be the big one. The Volvo Andaman Sea Race – at 40 nautical miles, the most arduous race in the Cup – started out with white-capped waves and a sprightly breeze. However, by the time boats were rounding Koh Racha, the breeze had all but evaporated and the boats ended up limping back to Kata. Not a single boat in the Classic class was able to complete in time, leaving them with much to do in the last two days of racing. THURSDAY: Lay Day. FRIDAY: Things were already shaping up for a showdown between the fastest of the Racing, Premier Cruising, and Performance Cruising classes. But Cruising was another story; with the re-computation of Monday’s race results, no one was entirely sure where they stood by the beginning of Friday’s coastal race to Patong. It was perhaps the confusion over the Monday results that caused many of the yachts in the field to turn at the wrong mark – calling, once again, on the jury’s skills in balancing diplomacy and fairness. SATURDAY: On the final day winds freshened to give everybody some fun. Crews returned from the Kata Group Olympic Sprints in high spirits. PLATU SERIES: The King’s Cup’s daily Platu races provided some of the most exciting racing of the week. Bruce Farr’s lightweights – designed especially for Thai waters – were able to make the most of the light winds and moved nicely around their short courses. The series was highlighted by the drive and ability of Chip Winternitz’s crew – Global Net Access – who came first in all but one of the races. – Simon Hand FINAL RESULTS Racing Class Beau Geste – 12 Hi Fidelity – 20 Stella – 24 Yo – 27½ DK42 – 28 Premier Cruising Class Hocux Pocux 2 – 7 Big Buzzard – 16 Freefire – 18 Maligaya – 19 Hocux Pocux – 20½ Perfromance Cruising Class Gotcha Lagi! – 6 Octopussy – 14 Diah Tantri – 18 Big A – 32 Emerald Blue – 37 Cruising Class Master Blaster – 8 Isobar – 12 Fi Tuen – 12 Simpatico – 20 Amanda – 24 Classic Class Xyphias – 3 Sanook – 7 Eveline – 8 Ocean Multihull Class Lee Marine Fine Pitch – 4 Cedar Swan – 9 Summersalt – 11 Platu Global Net Access – 8 104 (Mark Haswell) – 22 105 (David Harris) – 27
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