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25 May 2005, 01:20 pm
White Horses - Whitecaps And Little Sheep
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Koh Samui Regatta 2005
Koh Samui, Thailand

On a glassy morning off Chaweng Beach the sailors lolled under the palm trees, waiting for breeze after an official postponement. All in all it was a slow start to day three of the Koh Samui Regatta in Thailand.
At 1000 hours local time, the AP flag came down and the sailors took to the zap cats and ribs ferrying them out to the row of moored boats. It seemed almost like a Le Mans start, as the engines fired and the fleet set out for the breeze line a few miles off shore.

As the Committee vessel leading the charge approached the darker water patches, it seemed to move like a mirage. Twice the fleet prepared to start, only to have the zephyrs fade. Twice the startline was moved towards the mirage, then at 1136 a start - at last.

A steady six knots from the southeast. Frank PONG's Jelik, so cruelly robbed of victory by the fickle finger of fate yesterday morning, boomed away from the line.

As she swept past Hin Ang Wang six miles to the south, the breeze had increased to nine knots another three miles on and as she hoisted her big white spinnaker at Ko Mat Sum, it was almost 13 knots.

Then as the breeze lifted more, suddenly there were small white horses, also called white caps, or as the New Zealanders' say, little sheep. A sailors breeze at last on the Gulf of Thailand.

One last hurdle though for most of bigger boats, while they ran up the course with a southerly, the finish boat was sitting in a northerly breeze. At the front of the fleet Jelik suddenly bore away 90 degrees, did a quick kite drop and a beat the last two hundred metres.

Behind her, Ffree Fire sailed wide hoping to avoid the soft patch, but sailed into 0.00.

Up behind her came Hocux Pocux 2 and Moonblue 2 and by the time the multi-coloured Ffree Fire hull was moving again, she was at the bottom of the handicap list.

There were lots of smiles from the crews as they came ashore, but probably the biggest smile came from Principal Race Officer David BROOKES, who this morning was concerned that the breeze would not come in.

On provisional handicap it was a win for Peter CHURCHOUSE's Moonblue 2, ahead of Jelik, third was Hocux Pocux 2, then the series leader Umlumulu, sitting with a comfortable buffer on the rest of the fleet overall.

Event Media. Image, Yo!:© Guy Nowell
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