Kevin Whitcraft’s TP52 THA 72 ended the regatta with nine wins and discarded third place, to defend the IRC 0 title they won in similar fashion last year. This is an incredible feat and a stern warning to other teams entering the top racing class. The only yachts to beat them, was Marcel Liedts well sailed and smaller Ker 46 Zannekin and Sam Chan’s TP52 Free Fire on one race. The podium fight between Zannekin and Free Fire, ended with Zannekin taking second and Free Fire in third. Frank Pong’s Custom Dibley 75 Jelik continued with line honours but ended down the order in 4th place and once again re look at the boat optimisation program.
All eyes were on the closely knit IRC 1 racers as they rotated and the assembled media played ‘Pick the winner’. Hot favourite in the light air, Gary Baguley’s Beneteau 44.7 Fujin rounded the windward mark and promptly wrapped the spinnaker around the forestay, to loose valuable minutes unraveling it and all but blew their title hopes out the window. Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns GTS 43 Mandrake III made up ground in the second race, to overtake Fujin for second overall. Steve Manning & Anthony Root’s Ker 42 Black Baza struck gold in the last race but the damage was done in yesterdays debacle, to end up in fourth overall. Although David Dimmock’s Club Swan 42 Loco fell to fifth place in the last race, they have been the most consistent scorer in the top three places and held their nerve for the final two days, to take overall victory in the IRC 1 class on their second attempt.
Late starting by Aussie Chris Mitchell’s Naut 40 Lady Bubbly allowed the sail trainees on Tim McMahon’s X99 SailQuest Hi Jinks, to notch up another win but Lady Bubbly rebounded in the next race, to make it seven wins out of nine races and capture the Cruising Class title at a canter. They also maintain second overall in the 2016-17 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year rankings which is an unprecedented, master stroke from the Cruising Class.
Apart from yesterdays Did Not Finish (DNF), Nut Thongtoam’s H3O Multihull Solutions has won every race by the proverbial mile, to take home the Multihull Class title on their first attempt. Mick Tilden’s Pixalux kept them honest but lacked the pace to put up a fight and settles on second, with severe retuning required before their next encounter.
Our moment of glory came at the combined gala prize presentation party, on the magnificent lawn setting in front of Centara Grand Beach Resort on Chaweng Beach. After winning the 2017 Hong Kong to Hainan Race, the San Fernando Race and the IRC 2 Subic to Boracay Race and Cup during the 2016/17 AsianYachting Grand Prix season, Steve Manning & Anthony Root’s Ker 42 Black Baza, were crowned the 2016-17 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year with the Perpetual AYGP Cup filled with champagne, hand crafted take home trophy and donned the specially tailored Trend Fashions Navy Blue Blazer is the highlight of the AYGP season, which claims to be the “hardest sports trophy to win in Asia”.
Despite the downturn in regatta entries this season, the show must go on and organisers Regattas Asia have vowed to continue into the future and build on the longest running International event on Samui Island. Many thanks must go to the sponsors, especially Centara Grand Beach Resort for hosting the regatta for the last 16 years, since its inception. Most the yachts will have completed 3000 nautical miles, by the time they reach their home ports and the excellent race management, racing area and social engagements on a Thai tropical island, make it all worth while. After winning on their first attempt, Mick Coleman expects to bring a fleet of six Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran’s and make them available for charter next year. This seems like a logical solution at regattas that rely on foreign boats to make up the entry list and a methord to renew local interest in sailing and racing pursuits. See you next year from 26th May to the 2nd June for another rip roaring, fun filled encounter, on the sun drenched island of Samui.
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