KATA: There was a spectacular start to the second day of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today when the record fleet of 101 yachts lined up and sailed past the Royal Thai Navy starting boat to pay tribute to His Majesty the King of Thailand – the regatta’s Royal patron – on his 79th birthday before the start of the day’s racing.
The than 1,000 skippers and their crews wore yellow shirts – His Majesty the King’s color – and lined up on the side of their yachts as they sailed past the Navy boat and all gave three cheers for the regatta’s patron. The sailors on the navy boat, all in full uniform, returned the sailors’ salute and it was an impressive sight.
“The sail past was the biggest gathering of sailing boats ever in Thai waters,” said King’s Cup President Santi Kanchanabundhu. “Tonight all the regatta participants will join the rest of the nation in a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the King.”
A candle lighting ceremony is held on Kata Beach outside Mom Tri’s Boathouse every year during the King’s Cup on December 5 to celebrate National Day, Fathers’ Day and His Majesty’s birthday.
When today’s racing, which was sponsored by Mom Tri’s Boathouse and the Thai Beverage company, finally started well offshore on a calm sea, very light winds averaging about five knots ensured a slow and leisurely pace.
Race Officer Tony Denham described the conditions as light and unpredictable. “We had 10 to 12 knots of wind at the start of the first of the two races yesterday, but it later died right down to two knots at one stage,” he said.
“The breeze did return, but from another direction at about five to 10 knots.”
The top flight Racing 1 class managed to squeeze in three races today when the breeze picked up again late in the afternoon, but the rest of the fleet only had two races.
Toby O’Connell’s Dhevatara Drumstick finished first in the provisional results after the first race, but former winner Neil Pryde was a close second on his boat Hi Fi with Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling third.
In the second race in the Racing 1 class, Nick Burns recovered from a last-place finish in the first race to take the honors on his boat Mandrake, Winkelmann moved up to second place and Pryde dropped back to third.
The Racing 1 class was the only class to complete three races and in their final outing O’Connell had his second win of the day aboard Dhevatara Drumstick, while Winklemann’s Island Fling had another second place and Pryde’s Hi Fi finished third.
This top flight class is now set for some exciting racing during the rest of regatta week and the betting is still wide open on who will lift the coveted King’s Cup on the regatta’s 20th anniversary.
Click here for today’s full race results.
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