Yesterdays Royal Phuket Marina Andaman Sea Race turned into a real corker. Not since the mid nineties have we seen so much wind that turned the 35nm course into a close reach on the way out to Ko Racha Yai and a slightly broader reach on the way back.
A mass start for all the racing classes proved very tricky at the biased and crowded pin end of the start line which saw many yachts tried to duck for cover as Neil PRYDES Hi-Fidelity and Doc NICOLSONS Intrigue made a brave approach on starboard tack catching most the fleet offside. The ensuing protests will determine the results which may prove to a big factor on the overall leaderboard.
The long waterline and heavier displacement yachts came to the fore over the lighter racing yachts on the long slide out to Ko Racha where Thailand's Radab KANJANAVIT'S multihull Cedar Swan was the first to reach the gate and Richard KAHM'S 28 meter Diablesse the first of the monohulls.
Initially is was Karakoa, Hi-Fidelity and Yo! in the Racing Class provisional results but after hearing Neil PRYDE'S protest the Jury decided that Karakoa and Yo! are to be given 20% penalties. At the time of going to print several counter protests and a redress were being prepared. Although Ray ROBERTS on Hollywood Boulevard managed to avoid the startline debacle he is in the running for the AsianYachting "Unluckiest Sailor of the month" award when his mainsail ripped across at the 2nd batten down at Ko Racha but despite this managed to continue racing overtaking Karakoa and catching up with Plis Play on the way back.
The smaller Sportsboats managed to avoid the startline difficulties and Stuart HARRISON'S Mumm 30 Panic turned the tables on Jeremy MULLER'S Sydney 32 Scallywag by 25 seconds after playing bridesmaid for 3 races. Scott DUNCANSON'S Phuket 8 Securicor Somtam Express ended up 3rd and not particulary suited to the 2 sail reaching conditions.
The Premier Cruising Class also face a round of protests and expecting redresses from the International Jury on a mistaken 1st mark placing and direction from the start as a number of yachts are deemed to have totally missed rounding the mark. Initially Marcel LIEDTS Hocus Pocus 2 placed first with George OLIVIT'S Big Buzzard second and after a brave move of attacking the other starters on starboard Dr Ian NICOLSON'S Intrigue of Stornaway third.
In the IRC 1 class John VAUSE'S Ruby Tuesday added another win to his first day victory over David LINDHAL'S Phuket based La Samudra who are vying for the overall lead. Last years winner Viroj NUALKHAIR'S Octopussy rebounded into third after a few dismal mid fleet finishes so far.
The Royal Thai Navy revelled in the brisk conditions with number 2 skippered by NC Rachid SANPAKEAW winning the day over # 1 helmed by Lt Bunpot JAIBUNJONG who had a bad day yesterday finishing amongst the back markers. Tracy WILLIAMS Patrice III stays in the hunt with a third and the final two days of racing will determine the overall winner as the mixed placings has produced a very close pointscore in the IRC 2 class.
Karl-HEINZ GEBHARDT'S Destiny clambered onto the podium to collect first place in the IRC 3 class today over Bob ASHMAN'S Simba who has scored two race victories to date..Paul NICHOLAS'S Amadeus has also made his first visit to the podium with a third place and are expecting better performances in the remaining races.
The Classic Class yachts all had a good-day with Marc MASSARI'S 42m Sylvia, weighing in at 162 tons put on a incredible 20 person spinnaker retrieval in front of the modern racers just after the start before going on and winning the class. Stephen PEPPERELL'S Long White Cloud ended up second this time after recording two earlier wins and Claus KARTHE'S Greensleaves snuck into third place as the strong breeze suited these heavyweights of the fleet.
The Multihulls took the opportunity to show a clean pair of hulls to the much fancied monohulls this time around with Thailand's Radab KANJANAVIT'S Cedar Swan arriving first at Ko Racha before Phil ATKINSON'S Securicor Fine Pitch overtook them and screeched back to the Kata Beach finish way in front of the others. Mark PRESCOTT'S Latitude 8 Cyrene put in a solid performance to take the handicap honours from Cedar Swan and Bill EBY'S Lighten Up entered the frey with a well placed third.
The three competitors in the Ocean Rover Class finished in the same places as the two previous races with the unusually named Gladys Guttenburg skippered by Ray BRADSHAW finishing first from John FENN'S The Four Winds and George M JOHANNES OK-LA.
Complete Kings Cup 2003 results are available from the website below.