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26 May 2003, 07:22 pm
Sun Sand and Breeze in Thailand
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Day One on the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Samui International Regatta

A fresh 15 to 18 knot breeze saw the yachts make quick work of the short windward leg after the start set in Chaweng Bay and experience an often hair raising down wind ride as they headed out into the South China Sea.
The committees decision to stage the regatta at the end of May has proved successful as the SW tradewinds have set in and are likely to last for the rest of the race week.

A 10 nautical mile slog to windward after rounding the offshore mark sorted the men from the boys and Andres Soriano's big Swan 80 Maligaya showed her pedigree form up wind in the building 20 knot plus wind and revel on the return downwind sleigh ride to take Line and Handicap honours. The 50 footers of Ray Roberts Farr 52 Hollywood Boulevard, Frank Pong's Mills 51 Mandrake and Peter Ahern's MBD 50 Yo! staged a close tussle all day to respectively finish in that order. Unfortunately the finish line was laid in the lee of the hills surrounding Chaweng Bay so as the yachts approached from seaward the breeze became patchy and they saw their chances on corrected time progressively fade away.

Racing Class 2 saw Melissa Olivit return Big Buzzard to a familiar place at the top of the result sheets and only a couple of minutes on corrected time separated the X372's of Greg Coops Abraxas and Steve Walkers Next Page.

In the Sportsboat class Mark Jewell and his crew from Singapore on The Dogs II continued on their winning ways to record first place over David Bell's Fremantle 8 Marara on their first outing and Scott Duncanson's Phuket 8 Somtam Express who may have suffered in the short choppy sea conditions.

Many of the beach catamaran sailors had their egos bruised and battered during today's race which saw numerous capsizes and breakages forcing over half of the 34 boat fleet to retire. Daniel Kerekhof and crew on a Taipan 4.9 sp put in a impressive performance to overtake the entire keelboat fleet despite starting 5 minutes later only to be pipped by Maligaya on the approaches to the finish. Scott McCook and Alice Lim have teamed up again this time on a Taipan to take second spot and Thailand's Damrongsak Yongtim's third place is the best of the Nacra 5.8's.

After an exciting first day of racing the friendly rivalry is expected to hot up during tomorrows back to back bay races to be held offshore from Koh Samui's popular Chaweng Beach.

Full results from day one are available on the event website at the address below.
Capt Marty Rijkuris (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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