A overnight thunderstorm produced blustery conditions which suited the sailors but unfortunately the gray overcast sky did not suite the large group of assembled media photographers and TV cameramen.
Vicente GARCIA'S new Spanish Farr 520 team on Plis Play who are still celebrating Valencia being selected as the next America's Cup venue had more to celebrate as they took Line Honours on their first ever outing over Ray ROBERTS older Farr 52 OD. Peter AHERN'S YO! narrowly won the day on handicap by 50 seconds from Neil PRYDE'S Hi-Fidelity and Plis Play ended up third trailing by a mere 25 seconds. Juan MESEGUER from Valencia who sailed on Prada in the last cup is trimming the main here, expressed the teams joy with the boats overall performance and praised DK Yachts for having prepared the boat in time.
In the Sportsboat class Jeremy MULLER'S Sydney 32 Scallywag had a clear win over Stuart HARRISON'S Mumm 30 Panic and Scott DUNCANSON'S slippery Phuket 8 Securicor Somtam Express who led throughout the race and finished over 10 minutes in front but incurs several design penalties in the handicap system.
George OLIVET'S Big Buzzard ended up in a familiar top place on the podium in the clash of the big boats in Premier Cruising class from Jon WARDILL'S well traveled Australian Maid. Marcel LIEDTS Hocus Pocus 2 finished up in third after taking a handy lead on the passage across to Ko Hi and Ko Aeo.
In the IRC 1 class John VAUSE'S old favourite Ruby Tuesday came out on top by 49 seconds from David LINDHAL'S Phuket based Swan 45 La Samudra and Rob WILLIAMS well known racer Di Hard that formerly represented New Guinea.
The Royal Thai Navy also have something to celebrate after finishing first and second in the IRC 2 class and continued on their winning ways from last year. The all girls Dewi Bayu Team from Malaysia on Gotcha Lagi! managed to fill third spot after a close tussle with the Thai navy boys.
Patrice III, Tracy WILLIAMS well known yacht from the past has risen to fore again today by winning IRC 3 class from last years winner Simba skippered by Bob ASHMAN. Graham LIND'S Sumatra which has won here before ended up third of the 15 competing yachts and the biggest class racing here this year.
Aussie multihull designer Mark PRESCOTT on the locally built Cyrene managed to pip Thailand's Radab KANJANAVIT'S Cedar Swan in the Multihull class. Phil ATKINSON'S Securicor Fine Pitch that has won here 3 times before finished up third with less than a minute separating the first 3 yachts after handicaps have been applied.
There was even enough wind for the majestic yachts in the Classic Class to perform in style with Stephen PEPPERELL'S beautiful Herreshoff designed Long White Cloud taking the honours from Julian Hill's Sanook who narrowly missed out last year and Marc MASSARI'S magnificent 42m Sylvia managing to complete the course in third place.
Only 3 yachts are competing in the Ocean Rover Class where Ray BRADSHAW'S Gladys Guttenburg finished first from John FENN'S The Four Winds and George M JOHANNES OK-LA.
What a wonderful start to this years Kings Cup. Plenty of wind for all to be able to complete the course in record time and back at the Kata Beach Resort bar a little after mid-day. Today sees the start of the first 2 rounds of windward / leeward's for the racing classes and short passage races for the remaining IRC and cruising classes. If the fresh conditions continue there should be some very close racing and establish the order at the top of the leaderboard.
Complete Kings Cup 2003 results are available from the event website at the address below.