December 9, 2022
BANGKOK – Blue skies, warm water and nice breeze greeted sailors today as they gathered off of Cape Promthep to compete in the second day of sailing at the 34th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.
While the International Dinghy Classes finished four days of racing today, it was the second day of racing for the keelboats and multihulls. Race Officer Simon James sent the IRC Zero, and IRC One classes on a windward-leeward for their first race and a coastal race for their second while sending the IRC Premier Cruising, Charter Cruising and the Multihull classes off on a separate passage race.
The two TP52s (Team Hollywood and THA 72) are staging their own mini-Super Series in this regatta as Ray Roberts’ boat sailed to two victories today giving it five points and a one-point lead over Kevin Whitcraft’s THA 72 going into race day three. Windsikher managed a second in the first race but trails the TP52s with eleven points overall. Sarab Singh and Nick Burns’ crew seem to be feeling the effects of victory euphoria as they won and dominated the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta just over a week ago.
The IRC One class had Garry Holt’s Let’s Get It On and Kazuki Kihara’s Char Chan flip flop first and second place in the two races the class sailed today. As such Let’s Get It On and Craig Douglas’ Ramrod sit tied at the top of the leader board with eight points with Char Chan trailing by a point. Morten Jakobsen’s smallish VXOne Hanuman XXXIX is holding its own against the bigger boats and sits in fourth spot with 10 points. Fifth place belongs to Matti Sepp’s Judy (19pts) with Craig Nichols Alright in last spot (25pts) as they did not finish the first race of the day.
The Thai vessel Pine Pacific expertly skipped by Ithinai Yingsiri won the three-boat Premier Cruising class narrowly beating Peter Cremers Shatoosh by less than two minutes on corrected time with Simon Piff’s Firstlight coming in 45 minutes later on corrected time. Pine Pacific and Shatoosh are tied for the lead in this class with three points followed by Firstlight with seven. Firstlight along with Ramrod and Windshihker made the trip up from Langkawi to compete in this regatta after recently sailing in Malaysia’s Raja Muda regatta, which is annually held two weeks before the Phuket King’s Cup.
The Charter Cruising Class saw a repeat placing of day one with Torben Kristensen’s Kinnon winning the race and leading the class with two points. Jakod Handte’s Fei Jian was second and remains in second overall with four points. Masami Yamashita’s Sunsail Inlova was third and stays in third with six points.
The Multihull OMR class saw Hermann Schwarz’ 2Fast4you win again beating Hang Chen’s ZOE by close to six minutes on corrected time, so 2Fast4you leads the class by two points.
A veteran of many King’s Cup campaigns, Sydney-based Craig Douglas, the co-owner of Ramrod, a Farr 40, reflects on what sets the Phuket King’s Cup apart from other sailing competitions: “It’s a fantastic event and very competitive. All the other regattas are like a rally: people are there for the journey, hotels and the food. But at King’s Cup, the sailors really thrash it out and take it to the next level. It’s a badge of honour to win it.
“The regatta is also very challenging: you can’t come into it in cruising mode because the handicap and the IRC rating will get you. If you are having a bad day, it’s not forgiving, you are either on good pace, or you will get punished. You need to race with a good and experienced crew.
“And the conditions: you usually get good wind, and if get splashed by water, it’s 25-28 degrees. If it rains, the rain is warm and you dry quickly. Once you hit the shore, you walk fifty metres up the beach to your hotel and you are surrounded by great food and people. Not many places can say that, it’s a great formula.”
Craig’s co-owner Gordon Ketelby owns another Farr 40 called Zen, which he keeps at the Middle Harbor Yacht Club in Sydney. The idea being to seamlessly swap sails, parts and crew between the two and it’s worked.
The International Dinghy Classes (Optimist Boys, Optimist Girls, Open ILCA4, ILCA6, ILCA 7, 420, 470, Skiff Boat and Open Skiff) finished racing today as 182 dinghies from Thailand, United Kingdom, Singapore, India, Japan, Malaysia and China saw action with an awards ceremony taking place at the north end of Kata Beach in the evening.
Thais did very well in the dinghy competitions as Chanatip Tongglum won the Optimist Boys and Prin Subying won the Optimist Girls class. In the Skiff Boat class Narisara Satta and Nichapa Waiwai of Thailand lead the pack. The Open ILCA4 was won by Kenan Tan of Singapore with fellow countrymen Khoo Zachary taking the Open ILCA6 division. The Open ILCA 7 saw Thai national Prakasit Hongpradab win with fellow Thais Paliga Poonpat and Chakkaphat Wiriyakitti winning the 420 class. The 470 class was captured by Navee Thamsoontorn and Panida Suksomporn of Thailand and the Open Skiff championship went to Anandi Chandavarkar of India.
The return of the King’s Cup has been a breath of fresh ocean air to the Kata Beach business community who perennially depend on Thai and foreign sailors to boost the local economy every December. But it’s been three long years since that happened so hotels, restaurants and shop owners are ecstatic to see sailors of Asia’s most prestigious regatta roaming the streets and cruising the waterways again.
Keelboats and multihulls spread over five classes are competing in the Asia’s longest-running and most prestigious regatta, held over five days racing through scenic courses amidst the beautiful Andaman Sea islands. Combined with the 182 participating dinghies it brings the total of participating boats to just below 200. A great bounce back as the regatta was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Royal Awards Ceremony will be on 10th December 2022 at Beyond Resort Kata, Kata Beach, Phuket.