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Serious class warfare on final day of King’s Cup



PHUKET: On the final day of the 29th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2015 there was some serious class warfare played out in Kata Bay. Keelboats and multihulls hit the water for one last run, as teams fought for the honor to claim Phuket King’s Cup victory in the name of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In IRC0, Windsikher II skippered by Sarab Jeet Singh of Singapore made a great fist of challenging for King’s Cup glory with a string of first and second place finishes. Windsikher II carried an advantage in both points and momentum going into the last day, and seemingly only an unexpected upset could derail their run. They took both race 10 and race 11, two bullets, as if underlining the completeness of the week’s massive performance.

Mr Singh was delighted to finally win a Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, after coming in second and third place in many past runs since 1997.

“We had the points advantage going in, but anything can happen, any equipment failure or other issue en route. Second place is a threat, and so we decided to sail the same way, no messing about, with keen roundings,” said Mr Singh. “This is my sixteenth King’s Cup since 1997, and my first win. Our Welbourn 52 custom boat had the same crew as my other boat (Sydney 40), and we’ve basically enjoyed ourselves and done really well.

“Courses were well organized but the light breezes are always challenging here. The team did well and the only reason I bought this boat was that I knew we had a team that could step up.”

Among the IRC1 entrants, Kenn Eyears and Rerefine (formerly Windsikher) led the class ahead of Kevin Whitcraft’s Wan Ma Rang, chasing by a single point. Wan Ma Rang took line honors in race 10, but placed 90 seconds behind Rerefine on corrected times. In race 11, Rerefine won again to finally nail their regatta trophy.

Japanese team Karasu, skippered by Yasuo Nanamori, lead IRC2 with a total of four race wins, just one point behind was Roland Dane’s Jessandra II, but Mick Tilden’s Fujin team threw a spanner in the works by claiming race ten, leaving the two leaders to fight it out for second place.

An incredible battle ensued with Jessandra II beating Karasu by 24 seconds on elapsed time and a skinny 9 seconds on corrected. In race 11, Karasu struck back, the resulting final day’s points scramble seeing Karasu sitting pretty and three points clear. A classic Phuket King’s Cup finale.

Pine Pacific had already won the Premier Class after another two victories – although, true to form, still took line honors (and then another win, just for luck). Audeamus skippered by Kim Ramen & Adrian Fini took a consolation win in race 7.

Andrey Novikov skippering Alexa in Bareboat Charter put in another predictable first, securing a King’s Cup Regatta win for the Russian team. Their run of 6 wins out of 7 races put them miles ahead of any rival in final scoring for the class.

Vladimir Oleynikov’s Open Charter entry Popeye had a marvelous run. The Russians took another seemingly sweat-free run, finishing fastest on both elapsed and corrected time – twice. Their victory had been emphatic, dominating the class by winning their first four races at the beginning of the week – and never looking back.

The Royal Thai Navy entry, Thai Navy 1, skippered by Chief Petty Officer First Class Wiwat Poonpat, achieved regatta glory in Modern Classic Class. The team finished well ahead of the rest of the fleet again to win both of their races.

IRC Cruising Class race six was won by Thai-registered Slipstream skippered by Rod Mulcahy. Slipstream and Mustang Sally were tied up after the last race, and on countback, Slipstream‘s race win from the previous day proved invaluable; an edgy final day decider.

Cruising Class race six fell to a Chinese entry named Atom, skippered by Jian Quan Tong. Tony Byrnes and Mohawk, who won the first four races in spectacular fashion, had done enough by midweek, and were named winner of the Class.

Of the two Classic entries this year, Cedric Rimaud skippering Selma took every race in the regatta apart from on the first day’s racing. The boat did well, completing every course in allotted time limit.

Firefly 850 Sports had been absolutely owned by John Newnham skippering Twin Sharks all week, with seven wins before the final day. Hans Rahmann’s Voodoo team took a consolation win in race 9 but were 8 points adrift at the close.

In the Multihull Racing Class, Alan Carwardine and his team led the Class by three points ahead of Team Java. Asia Catamarans Hurricane claimed a narrow victory over another very well sailed boat, Three Itch, in race 9. Race 10 completed their two bullet performance and well-earned Regatta honors.

In Cruising Multihulls, Japanese entry Minnie, which has performed brilliantly this regatta, came second behind Star Fruit, but the team had done enough to win the class by four points.

Performance Multihulls was won by Australian Elizabeth Schoch on Sudu3, and she had been on exceptional form throughout the regatta. She enjoyed first and a second on the last day of the King’s Cup, completing a magical run in this new Class.

As is Phuket King’s Cup tradition, the week ended with a fantastic beach-side party at Kata Beach Resort & Spa.

“We are proud to continue to support the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for the last 17 years, as it is one of the most internationally significant regattas in the world of yachting,” said Pramookpisitt Achariyachai, president of Kata Group Resorts Thailand. “This event is a great opportunity to support Phuket’s policy to make this province a world-sports paradise through which it attempts to attract notable sporting events. The Phuket King’s Cup remains the biggest highlight of the calendar.”

While Kevin Whitcraft, president of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee noted, “Over the past three decades, there is no question that the King’s Cup, with HM The King’s imprimatur, has been the catalyst for the enormous advance of water sports in the Kingdom, resulting in many world class competitions coming to our shores, the latest being the international Optimist class, approving a world championship next July to be raced at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya.

“I congratulate all the winners and all who have competed in a fair, friendly sail fest and urge all to return to Phuket for next years’ 30th Phuket Kings Cup Regatta.”


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