Unique is a word that springs to mind in describing the annual Phuket Phang Nga Krabi Regatta held over the Chinese New Year. The official registration and opening party at Raleigh Beach, saw 38 entries which proved the regatta to be rapidly increasin...
The cruising division comprised 20 yachts with Mike Downard's Tag and Jim Ellis' Remington dominating the leading positions consistently throughout the three day regatta both across the line and on handicap. With the combination of the rather light airs and design extremes of the racing class, from the classics such as Storm Vogel and Isobar, to Big Buzzard, Hocux Pocux and Yo! it was no surprise to see the grey hull and distinct mast of Yo! take out line honours and 1st on handicap in all three races.
Multihulls competing this year numbered only three with Fine Pitch, Summersalt and Full Steam slogging it out across Phang Nga Bay. The first day's race, The Phuket Island Lager Race, took the fleet from Raleigh Beach, Krabi on a course winding around the islands and finishing south-east of Ko Yao Noi. The morning easterly for the start swung predictably further to the north as the day progressed and finished the day blowing out from the north west. In the racing division, Richard Steinke's Isobar and the all-girl crew of four aboard Simpatico had some fun and games with trimming and concentration from the Hong group of islands, Krabi. Simpatico was finally rewarded by crossing the line ahead of Isobar.
The Phuket Magazine Around the Islands Race, certainly challenged the crews' light airs sailing skills. At one stage the fleet could be seen meandering amongst the Hong Group of Islands, Krabi, with enough breeze to keep their spinnakers filled. However, with the yachts on a course heading south and the tide in a northerly direction it placed the entire fleet in what looked like suspended animation - great photographic opportunity! The fleet made it's way up to the picturesque and calm KO Chong Lat where the night's celebrations and prize giving was once again hosted aboard the Nakalay Junk.
The QBE Sprint took the fleet west across Phang Nga Bay and finally, for a few boats, to a finish line east of the channel between Phuket and the Thai mainland. From the light airs at the start line to a no air situation, the race had many choosing to retire as it became evident that the course was not to be shortened east of KO Panak. The call of the hospitality facilities at the Phuket Yacht Haven became a much better option. The majority of the fleet steamed up the channel to freshen up for the closing party, with a great buffet and live band to set the ambience as the sun set over the hills of Phuket Island. It seemed the light airs hasn't deterred owners and skippers from planning to join the regatta again next year for the 4th Phuket Phang Nga Krabi Regatta 2002.
3rd Fat Cat
1st Fine Pitch
3rd Full Steam
2nd Hocux Pocux
3rd Emerald Blue