Final 2017-18 AYGP showdown at 17th Samui Regatta…
This is also the season ending 2017-18 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) scoring event and although Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burns on their GTS 43 Mandrake III, have already been declared the winners of the 2017-18 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year titles and will be awarded at the combined Samui Regatta prize presentation. The other teams are taking the last opportunity, to finish higher up the order, in the Overall AYGP Rankings this season.
While Aussie Philip Turner’s well traveled Reichel-Pugh 66 Alive, skippered by Duncan Hind are making their debut in Samui, they are up against some tough competition in the form of four TP52s. Kevin Whitcraft’s defending champion THA72 are aiming for a three-peat, Li Honguan’s Chinese Ark 323 are also making their debut with an all-Chinese crew; Troy Yaw’s Team Ulumulu from East Malaysia return for another tilt at the title. Along with regional stalwarts, Sam Chan’s Freefire from Hong Kong are joined by Sarab Singh’s past winner Windsikher II out of Singapore. They are both very familiar with Samui conditions, having contested most Samui regattas to date. While the big boats go about their tasks, Marcel Liedts Ker 46 Zannekin, has a knack of beating the TP52’s by finishing 2nd last year, and put the title within reach in the handicap stakes.
Running hot after victory at the Top of the Gulf Regatta earlier this month, David Dimmock’s Club Swan 42 Loco, are suitably warmed up and aim to defend the IRC 1 title. They will have to be on top of their game as, AYGP Champions, Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burns GTS 43 Mandrake III have won 5 regattas this season and aim to make it 6 for a double celebration. Timothy Fox has chartered the regatta winning Beneteau 44.7 Fujin and plans to be in the mix at the end of the regatta. Ran Yang returns with the China Cup Beneteau 40.7’s Ocean Knight and combined with Gary Baguley’s H&P 52 El Coyote, that came second to Loco at the TOTGR, could spring some surprises in the variable weather conditions expected, when the showdown gets underway, off Chaweng Beach on Monday.
The only Samui based yacht to enter the regatta, Mick Grover’s Elliot 7 Moon Shadow has competed with distinction before and are looking forward to the battle with Jean Rheault’s much bigger One Ton J41 Souay 1 and Tim McMahon with the sailing school crew, onboard his X99 SailQuest Hi Jinks, keeping them honest.
Four Corsair Pulse 600’s trimaran’s have been trailored across across the peninsula from Phuket and turning the Multihull class into a one-design shootout. Mick Tilden makes a return on Pixalux and hopes to go one better than Nut Thongtoam’s defending champion H3O Multihull Solutions, as the others prepare to even up the playing field.
That’s not all the sailing activities this year, the 2-day Samui Youth Challenge dinghy racing is already underway, with the first rounds today on Saturday and the final races and trophy presentation on Sunday 27th. Also starting on the traditional Thursday lay day, is the first round of the Asia – Oceanic Hydrofoil Kiteboard Tour, will race over three days, from the 31st till Saturday 2nd June.
Earlier in the month, the South West Monsoon pushed through across the peninsula and into the South China Sea, but in recent weeks the convergence zone has receded, leaving variable local conditions to deal with during the week. Organised by Regattas Asia, a good mix of windward-leeward’s and passage races are planned, that rely on good crew work to succeed.
Race Director, Simon James added “Samui Island is known for its excellent sailing and onshore hospitality. Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui is the perfect host for the regatta, providing an unmatched venue for on the beach post-race celebrations and the ever-popular final night Gala Dinner, while on-the-water sailors will be in for some very competitive sailing”.
The action starts with the Opening Ceremony, Dinghy Awards and Cocktail Party on Sunday night and continues along with glamour, pace and high expectations for the rest of the week.
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