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22 January 2004, 10:02 am
Fair Winds Bless the Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally as Records Tumble
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Andaman Sea Rally
Phuket - Andaman

After two gruelling offshore passage races between Phuket and Port Blair, the 2nd Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally champion was crowned. Competitive racing and a lot of fun were the hallmarks of the event and in the end 'Intrigue of Stornaway' was victorious.
Winds were a consistent 12 plus knots as this year's fleet of 9 jostled for position at the Stage One start line in Kata Bay, Phuket. Careful maneuvering and perfect timing saw 'Rusalka', sailed by husband and wife team Kevin and Sheila PERRINS, first over the line, closely followed by the 47ft S&S Ketch 'Emerald Blue', skippered by Nick BAND and 'El Samali', the 49ft Van Der Stadt Sloop, with Philippe ROOLANT at the helm.

The rest of the fleet, including the classic 72ft Van Der Stadt Ketch 'Stormvogel', skippered by Italian businessman Ermanno TRAVERSO, was not far behind. 'Intrigue of Stornaway', the 59ft Warwick Sloop skippered by Gary FOSTER, was last over after having problems with the main sail.

The fleet raced in good breezes all the way to Port Blair, with the leading boats chasing the 48-hour record. First over the line was 'Stormvogel' in a time of 48 hours and 52 seconds, a whisker too slow to set a new record. And after time correction 'Stormvogel' finished a disappointing third, behind 'Intrigue of Stornaway', and 'Rusalka' respectively.

After the excitement of what was the first offshore passage race for some, and the first time to the Andaman Islands, all boats headed off to explore the archipelago. An old British Colony, evidence of Port Blair's past is all around - colonial-style buildings, old churches… A group of 572 islands (including the Nicobar group) 420nm from Phuket, the Andaman Islands is one of Asia's last cruising frontiers with great diving and snorkeling and pristine beaches.

Boats lined up off Port Blair for the return race on the 15 January. Two harbourmaster boats and the Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands oversaw the start. The first 24-hours saw 15 knots plus of consistent wind, only to drop out to almost nothing. The next few hours proved difficult for all and tested tactical skills to the full.

46 hours and 55 minutes after the start, 'Intrigue of Stornaway' crossed the finish line in Kata Bay. The 48-hour mark was smashed, and a new record set. Even with a spell of light winds Gary FOSTER and crew brought home 'Intrigue of Stornaway' in record time. Despite this, after time correction 'Stormvogel' finished first on Stage Two, with 'Intrigue of Stornaway' second and 'El Samali' a commendable third.

Congratulations to 'Intrigue of Stornaway' were given by all at the party that evening, hosted by Kata Beach Resort, and presided over by the Governor of Phuket. After two passage races covering 420nm, the 2nd Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally champ was crowned. 'Intrigue of Stornaway' took the honours in the sailing class, followed by 'Stormvogel' and 'El Samali'. 'Mozart', skippered by Wolfgang RIESSBACHER took first place overall in the Multihull Class.

The Kata Group Andaman Sea Rally is sponsored by Kata Group of hotels and resorts, The Nation newspaper, Beer Chang, Far Away Sail and Dive Expeditions, Radio 100, Simple Computers and Noonsite. The event is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Phuket Chamber of Commerce and the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event is organised by Yacht Solutions Marine Operations.

Overall Result

Monohull Class

Pos Yacht Name Skipper
1 Intrigue of Stornaway Gary FOSTER
2 Stormvogel Ermanno TRAVERSO
3 El Samali Philippe ROOLANT

Multihull Class

Pos Yacht Name Skipper
1 Mozart Wolfgang RIESSBACHER

Stage I (Port Blair to Phuket)

Pos Yacht Name Skipper
1 Stormvogel Ermanno TRAVERSO
2 Intrigue of Stornaway Gary FOSTER
3 El Samali Philippe ROOLANT

Stage II (Phuket to Port Blair)

Pos Yacht Name Skipper
1 Intrigue of Stornaway Gary FOSTER
2 Russalka Kevin and Sheila PERRINS
3 Stormvogel Ermanno TRAVERSO

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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