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12 December 2004, 10:17 am
The Final Countdown
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Phuket Kings Cup
Phuket

The sailors initially approached the final race with caution, maybe feeling a bit weary from last nights Raimon Land festivities which was the best party so far. As the starts got underway in the classes with tied or close results allot of covering tactics between the leaders were being used in a effort to get the better of each other up the first windward work.

The breeze soon picked up to 15-18 knots and as crews put in a determined effort some had their hopes dashed when sails began to rip, spinnaker launches became tangled and a few almighty broaches saw their confidence dwindle and chances go by the way.

Racing
Right from the very beginning Neil Pryde's Hi-Fidelity got the better of Peter Ahern's YO! and went on to put in a very polished performance to finish up only 27 seconds behind the Burns/Kinmonth pacesetter Mandrake. After applying handicaps Hi-Fidelity scored a resounding win by almost 4 minutes to even up the score withYO! who just scraped into second place by a mere 4 seconds from Mandrake. The score ended up tied on 12 points apiece so after a count back Neil Pryde added another King's Cup to his collection.

Premier Cruising
A late charge by Richard Grimes on Yendys saw them pick up 2 wins and jump to the top of the leader board. Brian Hayden's early leader Vida finished 2nd after 2 mid-fleet finishes and Marcel Liedts powerful Hocux Pocux 2 ended up 3rd after not being able to convert his line honours victories into handicap wins.

Sportsboats
The new Buzz 8 skippered by Geoff Backshall scored 6 bullets in a row to win a King's Cup on their first serious outing since being launched in Pattaya last month. CEO of DK Yachts, Hannes Waimer sailed into 2nd place and leapfrogged David Bell's Fremantle 8 Pink Pussy Cat for second overall after the latter finished well down the order today. Despite some huge broaches Stuart Harrison's Panic ended up third today which was not enough to overtake Pink Pussy Cat's third spot on the overall leaderboard. Allot has been said about the Buzz 8's walkover victory but my observations on the water saw them sail very well to be up with the leaders or even in front of the faster Mum 30's at the top mark and run deeper downwind with a conventional spinnaker to cover less ground than the Phuket 8's with their asymmetrical kites.

IRC 1
Despite John Vause's Ruby Tuesday recording a 3rd place today they have done enough in the earlier races to clinch the overall title. After being involved in a few mishaps earlier in the week Japan's Joji Motoyoshi's Blue Juice and Kawin Nualkhair's Octopussy finally came through for the Thais to finish 1st and 2nd respectively in today's race. In the overall placing's Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady claimed 2nd place after dropping a disqualification and Yachtpro's Di Hard skippered by Rob Williams finished up third.

IRC 2
The Royal Thai Navy 1 finished up undefeated with 5 wins to beat their counterparts on Royal Thai Navy 2. The only yacht to make any inroads on the navy boats was David Lindahl's La Samudra who managed a couple of 2nd places but had to settle for 3rd overall at the end of the day.

IRC 3
Tracy Williams Patrice III won today's final race to confirm her a 3rd spot in the overall class results. By scoring a 2nd place today Greg Coops on Abraxas broke the tye to narrowly win the class from young Mia Gillow steering Minx with a group of youth sailors studying in Phuket.

Sunsail
Princess Anna skippered by Christian Eschenburg scored a run away victory with 5 wins in a row. Nick Cox's Princess Arieta ended up 2nd after a consistent performance and Per Svendsen's Princess Athena replaced Mark Hamill-Stewart's Princess Sharda in third place after finishing the last 2 races on the podium.

Ocean Rover
After consistently finishing in the placing's and a win today has earned Hellmut Schutte's Aquavit III a King's Cup. A second place today for Alex Joyce's Cordelia sees him finish in 2nd overall despite a disappointing 7th in yesterdays race. Yachtpros Tarawadee finished up 3rd overall despite finishing 4th in today's race and the irrepressible Dr Bobby Golding finally made a mark on Forrest by claiming 3rd today.

Multihull
Mark Pescott pulled out all stops on Tim Milner's Charro to try and beat Peter Plant's newly launched Coco Blues but alas their efforts were thwarted when the smaller twin rigged cat crossed the finish line only six minutes after them. Henry Kaye's Ceberus finished up with a creditable third place today and third overall. This gives Coco Blues the honourable distinction of winning a Kings Cup on her first outing and food for thought for anyone looking for a easy to sail flying machine built in Koh Samui.

Classic
Claus Karthe's Greensleeves continued on his winning ways in the triangle courses beating Peter Wood's well sailed 80 ton Sunshine and Julian Hill's Phuket Sail Sanook in todays race. This result gives Greensleeves the overall title this year with Phuket Sail Sanook in second and Sunshine third. All credit must go to Dr Jens Ehrhardt's 42m Sylvia for maneuvering the 260 ton vessel around the short crowded courses with impeccable style.

Summary

For the first time in the 18 year history of the King's Cup there has been no protests lodged by the racing class yachts which must indicate the success of fine tuning the courses this year. It seems that when there is plenty of wind the sailors are happy to race their boats and find very little to complain about. Having short windward legs on the passage races has got rid of the problems of past years and the race committee must be commended for laying true windward/leeward courses. The only complaints have been about the soldiers course out and back to Koh Ratcha which no doubt will be worked on during the year. The parties have been fantastic and as sponsorship has increased the level of local acceptance of the marine tourism industry is showing signs of a bright future. Amazing Thailand!

Full PKCR 04 results and Overall Summary can be found at on the event website at the address below.

Asian Yachting (As Amended By ISAF NEws Editor)
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