Good gusts welcome start of keelboat racing in 34th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta

3rd-10th December, 2022, Kata Beach, Phuket

5 December 2022, Phuket  Sailors did not have to wait long to get underway at the 34th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta as good wind gusting to 20 knots, held allowing Race Officer Simon James to get in three windward-leeward races for the IRC Zero, and IRC One classes. The IRC Premier Cruising, Charter Cruising and the Multihull classes were each sent on a single passage race.              

17 keelboats and multihulls spread over five classes are competing in the Asia’s longest-running and most illustrious 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.             

All eyes are on the three-boat IRC Zero class as all three entries have won the King’s Cup before. Kevin Whitcraft’s TP52 THA72 is up against another TP52 Ray Roberts Team Hollywood as well as Sarab Jeet Singh and Nick Burns’ Welbourn 52 Windsikher. All three yachts have finely-tuned crew and cunning & knowledgeable skippers – this will be a battle for the ages.      

On day one, THA 72 captured the first two races with Team Hollywood winning the final race of the day, after finishing second in the first two contests. Windsikher had to play bridesmaid today, finishing third in all three races. So, THA 72 leads the class with four points followed closely by Team Hollywood with five and Windsikher in third spot with ten points.   

The majority of the crew on THA 72 raced as the Vāyu team in the TP52 Super Series this past summer in Europe. Don Whitcraft, who helmed THA 72 today, spoke after the race: “It was great to be back on the water. We had a couple of practice days, but today was a big day, hard racing, with three races, nine laps in total. It was really good, windier than previous days, a baptism by fire. The first two races went well for us, the third race we didn’t have a great start and Team Hollywood took advantage of that.”      

The six-boat IRC One class has Craig Douglas’ Ramrod, a Farr 40, take home wins in races two and three after finishing third in race one. They stand in first place with six points. A first, fourth and second-place finish in that order have    Morten Jakobsen’s Hanuman XXXIX, a VXOne, second spot with seven points heading into day two. In third place with eight points is Garry Holt’s Let’s Get It On, a Corby 37, as it had one second-place finish and two thirds today. You might remember this yacht as it used to called Jessandra II when it was owned by Andrew McDermott, and most or its crew was female. 

Kazuki Kihara’s Char Chan, a First 40.7, sits in fourth spot in the IRC One class with 13 points, based on a fourth, and second-place finish today, even the boat did not start the final race. Matti Sepp’s Judy, a Farr 30, was next with 14 points earning two fifths and a fourth-place. Craig Nichols Alright, a Sydney 40 (formerly owned by Scott Bradley and called Emagine), brought up the pack as it had a tough day with 20 points based on two DNFs and a sixth spot in race two.         

The three-boat Premier Cruising class saw Peter Cremers Shatoosh, a Warwick 75, win on both elapsed and corrected time. The Thai vessel Pine Pacific, an X-Yacht 55, skipped by Ithinai Yingsiri, followed closely behind. Simon Piff’s Firstlight, a Beneteau First 50, unfortunately, did not finish the race.  

The Charter Cruising Class saw Torben Kristensen’s Kinnon, a Hanse 400, take home the honours today over the other two boats in the class with Jakod Handte’s Fei Jian, a Bavaria 33, coming in second and Masami Yamashita’s Sunsail Inlova, a Sunsail 41, placing third in the class.         

The two-boat Multihull OMR class saw Hermann Schwarz’ 2Fast4you, a Mumby Cyber 4800, pip Hang Chen’s ZOE, a Bahia 46 by twenty minutes on corrected time.     

The International Dinghy Classes race from 3-6 December at Kata Beach, divided into the following classes: Optimist Boys, Optimist Girls, 29er, 49er, Open ILCA4, Open ILCA6, Open ILCA 7, 420, 470, and Open Skiff. 182 dinghies from Thailand, United Kingdom, Singapore, India, Japan, Malaysia and China are competing. 

In the 29er class, after seven races, Chaichanawut Deenak and Suthon Yampinit of Thailand lead the pack. Fellow countrywomen Narisara Satta and Nichapa Waiwai lead the 49er class after 7 races as well. The Open ILCA4 has ISAAC GOH of Singapore leading after six races with fellow countrymen Khoo Zachary leading the Open ILCA6 also after six races. The Open ILCA 7 has Thai national Prakasit Hongpradab leading after six races with fellow Thai Paliga Poonpat and Chakkaphat Wiriyakitti leading the 420 class after 7 races. The 470 class has Navee Thamsoontorn and Panida Suksomporn of Thailand leading after Seven races. Open Skiff has Anandi Chandavarkar of India leading after six races. Optimist Boys Chanatip Tongglum and Optimist Girls has Prin Subying leading after seven races.

The Royal Awards Ceremony will be on 10th December 2022 at Beyond Resort Kata, Kata Beach, Phuket.

Sponsors of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta include Kata Group, RMA Group, Haad Thip PCL. and Workforce International.

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