PHUKETÂ â€“ Winds gusting to 20 knots made for a perfect end to what has turned into one of the best Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek’s yet. The weather conditions delivered fast and exciting racing throughout and after four days, the sailors of more than 15 nationalities were tired and happy.
Two races for all except the Classic class made for a hectic schedule of racing on the final day and with some classes on the edge, there was plenty still to play for.
Wan Ma Rang in IRC Racing I, improving throughout, had their best day yet closing out the regatta with two second places. However, it wasn’t enough to overhaul Katsu who has sailed consistently well and held onto second place by three points.
Class honours went to Australian Peter Ahern and his all-star crew on Oi! who with seven wins from eight races, was untouchable. Formerly Team Premier, Peter Ahern/ Scott Bailey/ Fergus Wilmer recently bought the boat, renamed her Oi! and Phuket Raceweek is their first competitive event. Having got some early points on the board in the 2013/14 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, Oi! now heads to Hong Kong to compete on the circuit.
IRC Racing II has been dominated by fellow Australian Peter Sorensen and his crew on Fujin, and that domination continued through to the final race. Eight wins from eight races speak for itself and as sailing star Steve McConaghy, who was racing onboard the former Ichi Ban, said, â€œyou could sail this thing backwards and still win.
Today’s battle, however, was for second and third in the class, between Stuart Williamson’s Skandia Endeavour of Whitby and Neils Degenkolw’s Phoenix. Despite struggling with their starts and being called OCS on more than one occasion, a good performance on the final day for Williamson and his crew (a 2,3 scoreline), saw them secure second overall and relegate Phoenix to third.
Having completed one race per day, the great winds today saw Principal Race Officer Simon James set two races for IRC Cruising and Irish entry Windstar, helmed by Peter Woods, revelled in the conditions to finish the last day with two more wins and win the class by four points.
The doggedly-determined Aussie team, Rob Azzopardi’s Dreamtime, with two-second placings on the final day, could not overhaul the leaders and had to stay in second place overall, four points back. Mike Crisp, helming Sail in Asia Venture, who was introduced to a rocky outcrop on the third-day to be hauled off by the obliging press corps finished third overall on 11 points.
The super-fast Firefly 850 sport catamarans, all built in Phuket, have thrived in the strong winds this week, with competitors recording speeds in excess of 20 knots (37 km/h). Reading the conditions best and sailing consistently has been Twin Sharks, skippered by Briton John Newnham, who didn’t contend the last race today having already won seven from seven and is the clear class winner.
However, second and third was a much closer battle, between Hans Rahmann’s Voodoo and Roger Kingdon’s Moto Inzi. Voodoo came into the final day with a slight edge and a 2,1 scoreline on-the-day saw them complete a strong Series and place second ahead of Moto Inzi by a single point.
The Multihull Racing class saw a remarkable come-back by Phuket sailor/ designer, Mark Pescott, with a second and a first in the last races, to go into the clear as Multihull Racing class winner, helming DaVinci (12 points), and defend their title by just one point ahead of the week’s leader, Alan Carwadine’s Asia Catamarans Hurricane who had to settle for second overall. Then came another early leader, John Coffin’s Java, third, on 16 points.
The end of the Classic class was as expected, continuing the week-long pattern, with Simon Morris’ Sirius (three points) at the front, Laurie Piper’s Atlanta (seven) in second and the German maxi classic, Letizia, skippered by Capt. Bernd Gundel (eight), third. Perennial regatta entry, Captain Bao’s Seraph was relegated to fourth place, although equalling Letizia on eight points.
While the Aussies took home a lot of silverware at this year’s regatta, what was noticeable is a large number of top boats from Ao Chalong Yacht Club, both winners and high scoring performers.
A lavish Gala Dinner hosted by Cape Panwa Hotel brought to a close a highly successful 10th Anniversary Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek.
Top three finishers in each class
IRC Racing I
Oi!, Peter Ahern/Scott Bailey/Fergus Wilmer (7)
Katsu, Ben Copley (15)
Wan Ma Rang, Kevin Whitcraft (18)
IRC Racing II
Fujin, Peter Sorensen (7)
Skandia Endeavour Of Whitby, Stuart Williamson (18)
Phoenix, Neils Degenkolw (21)
Windstar, Peter Wood (4)
Dreamtime, Rob Azzopardi (8)
Sail in Asia Venture, Mike Crisp (11)
Twin Sharks, John Newnham (7)
Voodoo, Hans Rahmann (16)
Moto Inzi, Roger Kingdon (17)
DaVinci, Mark Pescott (12)
Asia Catamarans Hurricane, Alan Carwadine (13)
Java, John Coffin (16)
Sirius, Simon Morris (3)
Atlanta, Laurie Piper (7)
Letizia, Capt. Bernd Gundel (8)