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1 June 2003, 11:52 pm
2002/03 Asian Yachting Regatta Season Ends On a High
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Koh Samui International Regatta

Despite some overall class results being decided on Friday all competitors where back out on the water in force for the final days racing yesterday.
Their eagerness was converted to close racing which showed on the time sheets as only a few seconds separated some of the eventual placings.

After a string of second places and a first in race three after a recalculation, Ray ROBERTS on Hollywood Boulevard firmly grasped this years trophy with a first place on the final race. Andres SORIANO'S Swan 80 Maligaya hung on by 15 seconds to take second place today and second overall from Peter AHERN'S Malaysian based Yo! who eventually finished up third.

The tie on points between Greg COOPS Abraxas and Melissa OLIVIT'S Big Buzzard was broken by a mere 4 seconds on corrected time in favour of Big Buzzard. Steve WALKER'S Next Page hung on to take third overall.

Mark Jewells Reflex 28 The Dogs II finished up with 6 wins to completely dominate this class despite some faster yachts consistently beating them around the course. Scott Duncansons Somtam Express ended up second overall and David Bells Fremantle 8 Marara 3rd overall despite withdrawing and letting Catherine Fong's Attitude 8 into third place today.

Despite a spectacular nose dive in front of Maligaya the biggest yacht on the course Daniel van Kerckhof's 4.9m Taipan clung onto 1st place to become the convincing overall winner in the off the beach classes. Thailand's Damrongsak Yongtim took 2nd place today after a couple of bad races to rebound back up the leaderboard and after a count back displace Scott McCook and Alice Lim back to third overall.

Summary

Although the successful running of the second Koh Samui Regatta marks the end of the 2002/03 Asian Regatta Season the future looks bright indeed for world class yachting events in Asia. The Thai CIQ officials should all be thanked for their cooperation in swiftly clearing the yachts and the Royal Thai Navy for performing the start / finish boat role in style plus the transportation of catamarans to and from the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Bangkok.

This regatta has had it all - strong wind, wild downwind rides, ripped sails, dismastings, numerous capsizes, shredded spinnakers, close racing and finishes, just to mention a few. The wonderful relaxed location of Koh Samui mixed in with the pleasant Thai hospitality and top racing makes this venue one of the best in Asia.

The appearance of many new yachts and players on the racing scene puts sailing as a participatory sport in a good position to go to the forefront of marine and sporting tourism over the next few years. The numerous sponsors supporting yacht racing in the Asian region must be thanked and we look forward to your future support and assistance.
Capt Marty Rijkuris (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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