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Phuket Yachting: ACYC race series goes down to the wire

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PHUKET: What a difference a couple of weeks make. After the light winds of the previous two Ao Chalong Yacht Club’s (ACYC) race series, this past Sunday was wet and windy. The happy result was lots of smiling, soaked sailors returning to the clubhouse absolutely over the moon that they had a serious sailing breeze of 20-plus knots to compete in.

With a windward start and lots of breeze, the fleet headed off to the Baan Nit safe-water mark and onwards to the Ao Makham safe-water mark off the Deep Sea Port. From there, the three cruising monohulls rounded Koh Lon to starboard and headed for the finish. The faster multihulls rounded Koh Bon and then back to the finish.

The waves were pushed up to over one meter by the wind against tide, making for extremely choppy sea conditions. Frequent squalls blew over the race course and at times a complete whiteout left the racers with zero visibility, which is always disconcerting where there is hard stuff called land nearby to run into.

Nina scored first in the Mulitihulls on handicap with a lead of four minutes ahead of Hurricane and seven minutes ahead of Adrenaline. The handicap system helps to level the playing field so that cruising boats with varying and new crews can hit it out with the hot-shot boats more set up for racing with experienced crews. The system seems to work, as the front three are very tight on the scoreboard.

The win for Nina may have been just enough to seal the championship for the series. Hurricane will miss the last race of the season – and the year – on November 23 as the boat will be competing in the Raja Muda Selangor Regatta in Penang (click here).

Meanwhile, Adrenaline may miss the last race due to King’s Cup commitments (click here). The crew is hoping to get necessary race preparations for the Cup completed in time to enter the crucial last ACYC race of the year in order to hold onto – or improve on – her third overall position.

Ging Patinyakorn on Sansiri Windstar scored first in the Monohull Division, romping home some 13 minutes ahead of Bill Sax’s Astraeus and 22 minutes ahead of Aqua, who had a novice crew aboard.

Mig Wehrie, the owner of Aqua, was happy that the crew didn’t get seasick in the conditions and cautiously had two reefs in his mainsail while rounding the course.

“We’re all amateurs, often with totally inexperienced crew, but the bay is simply perfect for sailing, so we enjoy giving the ‘big dogs’ a little competition – and sometimes, it works quite well,” he happily pointed out.

The last race of the ACYC series will be on November 23. Anyone interested in joining should be at at the club by 9:30am.

Visit www.acyc.asia (click here) for further information on the club and activities, including the Sunday Carvery that kicks off at about midday.

For the full results of individual races and overall standings in the ACYC race series, click here.

— Bob Mott

 

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