PHUKET: With podium places on the line, the nervous excitement and anticipation of a great day’s sailing was clear to see by the feel at the breakfast tables around the Phuket Yacht club.
What made it even better, Mother Nature decided to grace Chalong Bay with a westerly breeze of 10 to 12 knots, which promised to grow throughout the day.
Principal race officer Simon James motored out to a position in the northeast corner of the bay and bang on 10.30am, the racing was underway. First off were the racing multihull class, and all eyes were on the three boats battling out for the podium positions. The fresher breeze suited Henry Kaye’s Sea Cart 30 Thor, and they jumped to an early lead. It looked like a ‘first and fastest’ was on the cards, but a small technical problem allowed the three chasing stealth cats to close the gap. Hurricane put their stamp on the regatta with a resounding win, followed by Java, while Thor hung on for third.
In race two for Racing Multihulls, the breeze increased to 16 knots and some great photos were taken, along with stories of top speeds to bring everyone home with smiles. Thor again jumped out to lead, and this time with no mistakes, romped home to take a deserved ‘first and fastest’. The Hurricane crew sailed very well with awesome speed and flawless sailing to take second with Top Cat coming in third.
Overall winners were Asia Catamarans Hurricane led by Alan Carwardine clearly dominating the class, while second went to the new and improving Top Cat skippered by Peter Woods. Third went to Java Yachting led by John Coffin, who showed glimpses of wining speed, but not often enough to pressure Hurricane.
Second startaway were the Fireflies, whose racing and speed were a joy for everyone to watch. The fresher breezes suited the very consistent and well-sailed Twin Sharks, but out of the pack emerged a new contender for the top position in Advanced Racing, Team Mamba, which showed fantastic speed around the three-lap windward and leeward course, and then the longer coastal race that followed.
Second and first places were just rewards of her speed and smarts on the race track. It was the very consistent Twin Sharks, however, who placed first and second over the two races to comfortably sew up the 2016 title. A couple of other boats also showed out during these windier races, with Blue Noze and Moto Inzi grabbing third placings each day. When all the points were tallied it was Twin Sharks first, Advanced Racing Team second and Voodoo in third.
The one-design Corsair Pulse 600 fleet reveled in the conditions and eagerly jumped at the chance to plane around the race course and enjoy high speeds providing onlookers with quite a spectacle. The fleet raced two, three lap windward and leeward courses and the windier conditions also threw a few different results in the fleet.
In the first race of the day, Pixalux showed great speed and tactics to race away to an impressive all the way win, which also tied up first place in the regatta. Chasing hard was Multihull Solutions to score a second and third, clenching second overall. Third place went to Phuket Island radio helmed by Qu Jaimin.
Race two around the windward and leeward course saw the breeze increase, favoring the crew of Pulse Red helmed by Paul Baker. Second was Pixalux and third was Pulse Yellow, which was a great reward for the perseverance of the crew. Overall it was Pulse Blue Pixalux helmed by Mick Tilden in first place, Multihull Solutions helmed by Andrew deBruin in second, and Pulse Red helmed by Paul Baker in third.
This year’s record fleet was a grand show of strength for multihull sailing in the region and also the organizing body, Phuket Yacht Club. Special thanks must go to the sponsors of the regatta, without whose contributions the regatta may not have been the great success it was. Finally, a big thanks to all the volunteers who donated their time and efforts to make the 2016 Multihull Solutions Regatta the best ever.
This article appeared in the July 23-29 issue of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper.
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— Greg Reynolds