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29 May 2003, 01:51 pm
Wet and Wild Downwind Sleigh Rides!
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Beach Cat Action

Koh Samui International Regatta
Koh Samui

The tropical depression Linya near the Philippines is sucking in wind from over the South China Sea and probably the cause of the windy conditions (up to 25 to 30k) presently being experienced.

This is playing havoc with the catamaran sailors who are not familiar with strong wind and the race committee spending most of their time righting upturned boats.

Coincidentally Andres SORIANO's Swan 80 Maligaya from the Philippines has benefited the most from the fresh conditions by adding another first and fastest to their Race 1 win. The ever consistent Ray ROBERTS on Hollywood Boulevard recorded his forth 2nd place being piped by a mere 56 seconds to be level pegging with Maligaya at the top of the leader board. Although only taking 3rd spot Peter AHEMN on Yo! described Race 4 as one of the best races he has ever raced in Asia and all the boats recorded speeds up to 18 knots as they surfed down wind between Koh Samui and Koh Phang Ngan.

Melissa OLIVIT's Big Buzzard recorded another first and fastest in Class 2 and is better suited to the long passage races and lumpy seas than the smaller sized competitors in this class. Greg COOPS's Abraxas and Steve WALKER's Next Page the two X372's placed second and third respectively to keep in touch with Big Buzzard in the overall pointscore race.

Another win for Mark JEWELL's Reflex 28 The Dogs II makes it 4 bullets in a row to take a unbeatable lead in the Sportsboat class. David BELL's Fremantle 8 Marara reversed the positions with Scott DUNCANSON's Phuket 8 Somtam Express who has taken line honours by the proverbial mile in every race but suffers from a very high handicap rating after corrected times are calculated.

Racing for the off the beach catamarans was cancelled as the strong winds and long course would have added further carnage and mayhem to the over worked race committee. As it turned out several rescues where needed for the cats that did venture out as they were returning to the beach. This nautical scribe surprised many on the press boat by diving into the water and helping to right a capsized cat from Singapore then sailing it all the way back to the beach in extra quick time. Bringing back some of the skills and memories from my childhood days at the Darwin Sailing Club.

Thursday is a scheduled lay day and when racing resumes on Friday the cats will race 2 back to back windward leeward courses set in Chaweng Bay and if the present conditions prevail the keel boats are expecting some exciting rides on the long passage race set to the north of the island again.

Capt Marty Rijkuris
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