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24 May 2005, 04:37 pm
Ulumulu Leads In Thailand
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Koh Samui Regatta 2005
Koh Samui, Thailand

Ray ROBERTS drove the Sydney 46 Ulumulu to her third victory in race three of the 2005 Koh Samui Regatta this afternoon.
It was an excellent comeback after an ordinary start for the Sarawak star. After the light winds of the first race, the sea breeze began filling in, much to the relief of the Race Committee and the sailors. Ulumulu started a little early on the pin and had to duck back, while Hocux Pocux 2, Moonblue 2 and Yo! were away fast.

Up near the Committee Boat, Jelik was fast while Ffree Fire was on a second row of its own. Just as they did yesterday, Ulumulu headed towards the beach, with more gains.

Up front Jelik was fast to the top mark and her large white spinnaker dominated the sky as she pulled well clear of her rivals. Behind her, Ffree Fire just crossed Ulumulu who even mid-race looked like a winner. Hocux Pocux 2, Yo! and Moonbue 2 converged on the mark with them, but Ulumulu rounded first.

Jelik was a clear line honours winner. Ffree Fire managed to sail through Ulumulu, with Yo! almost two minutes back. On handicap, in race three, Ulumulu won ahead of Jelik and Yo. It was a double celebration, the second win of the day.

This morning had started perfectly for lazing by the pool or drifting half asleep on a li-lo on the warm Gulf of Thailand. The first race of the day had started in a gentle five knot breeze, which faded to nothing on the first leg of the windward-leeward.

Frank PONG's Jelik stayed inshore off the startline and managed to round the windward mark, still with a little breeze. Behind her ROBERTS crept Ulumulu round the mark with Sam CHAN's Ffree Fire a few minutes back.

And then nothing. First it seemed that Peter CHURCHOUSE's performance cruiser Moonblue 2 had stopped for a glass of wine, but then it seemed like they were settling in for a 'long, long lunch'. She sat, some 300 metres from the mark, for more than hour.

Three boats from the second division, Happy Endings, Foxy Lady and Magic Roundabout ghosted around the mark and set limp spinnakers down the run. Hocux Pocux 2 finally managed to sail around the becalmed Moonblue 2.

Down at the leeward mark Principal Race Officer David BROOKES sensibly shortened the course. The finish would now be at top windward mark.

Down the first beat, the leaders managed to find some breeze. Jelik came on the left hand course, seriously overstood the mark with a drifter, then faded into a hole. A little breeze line came up the course, carrying Ulumulu, Yo! and Ffree Fire. There was heartbreak as Jelik was stranded motionless. The (slightly) smaller boats sailed across the finishing line within seconds of each other. Five minutes later, Frank PONG drifted Jelik across the line.

It was another hour before Moonblue 2 'finished lunch' and made it home.

Event Media. Image, A close finish with Ffree Fire (left) and Ulumulu:© Guy Nowell
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