The entry list for this year's Samui Regatta, also known as the "Tropical Island Regatta", was impressive with thirty-two boats, representing over 20 countries and nearly 500 participants entering in five classes. Although formed in 2001, the regatta this year was in serious jeopardy until Simon James and his crew from Regattas Asia swooped in to save the event and what a marvelous job they did indeed of hosting and organizing the regatta, guaranteeing that moving forward this will be one of Asia's leading regattas.
The opening ceremony was hosted by Zico's Brazilian Grill & Bar, and presided over by Suthep Thaugsuban, Member of the Thai House of Representatives; Chalorsak Vanichareon, Deputy Governor of Suratthani Province; and Danny McCafferty, General Manager of the Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.
Samui Regatta is well-known for attracting top boats and sailors from around Asia. This year, sixty percent of the fleet came from overseas to challenge a strong locally-based fleet including past winners and regatta legends. A number of strong Thai crews participated including Radab Kanjanavit on Cedar Swan, Kirati Assakul on Bandara Sonic, and Saad Panyawan on Kindred Spirit, all in the Multihull Class; and Amanda in IRC Two skippered by Lennart Fahlgren who led an all Thai crew.
The entries in IRC Zero class read like a who's who of Hong Kong sailing with four of the five boats coming from the former British colony. Largest in the class was the 90-foot Dubois Genuine Risk, who went up against four 52-footers: three TP52's and the 2011 Samui Regatta class winner Neil Pryde and his Welbourne 52 Custom HiFi. The only non-Hong Kong entry, Marcus Blackmore and his predominantly Australian Crew on Hooligan (chartering the TP52 Team Premier) brought with it an almost unblemished record of regatta successes in Australia and were determined to make their mark at their first Samui Regatta, having won the Royal Langkawi International Regatta earlier this year.
The IRC Premier class saw three entries: Peter Churchouse and his crew on the Warwick 64, Moonblue 2 (Hong Kong) were pitted against two Pattaya-based boats Brad Kirk's Dynamite and Gary Baguley's H & P 52, El Coyote.
The continuing growth of 40-footers in the region saw a large fleet converge on Samui and the IRC One class was set for a tight battle. 2011 class winner Elektra, an Archambault 40R skippered by Marcel Liedts, was back to defend its crown against the likes of Walawala 2, a GTS 43, and winner of the 2012 Singapore Straits Regatta; David Ross' Kerr 40, KukuKERchu (third place 2012 ToG Regatta); as well as perennial top-performer Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake from Hong Kong. This class saw an international mix of boats and crews from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand including Rick Pointon's J130 Jing Jing, Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher, Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6, Simon Powell's Archamault 40R Sell Side Dream.
A mixed assortment of seven different boat designs made up the IRC 2 Class. Defending champion Greg Coops X 372 Abraxas sailed against CPO 1Royal Thai Navy 1, skippered by CPO 1 Wiwat Poonpat, won the 2012 ToG Regatta at the beginning of May. The biggest boat was Sail Quest's Sun Odyssey 43 Paprika II with sailing students onboard and the smallest boat was Lennart Fahlgren's Tasker 32 Amanda.
"The pre-registration entries were very strong this year and included a multinational mix of boats and crews from Asia and beyond. Of particular note, was the large IRC One fleet and the large number of Thailand-based boats spread across the classes taking part," said Simon James, Samui Regatta Race Director.
The Multihull Class underwent resurgence with eight entries. Six catamarans and two trimarans with different levels of performance based solely on wind strength made this class open for the taking. Andrew Stransky's 50-foot selfdesigned-built multihull Fantasia has taken the Southeast Asian regatta scene by storm since arrival last year, but Stransky and his predominantly family crew would have fierce competition from 2011 class winner Bandara Sonic, skippered by Kirati (Nim) Assakul, and the tuned-up SeaCart 26 Sweet Chariot, skippered by 70-years young Henry Kaye, hoped to carry their winning form from the ToG Regatta to Samui, while former winner Radab Kanjanavit and his crew on Cedar Swan also had plans to be a repeat winner.
And Samui's own Kunta's Radical Bay 8000 Team Zanzen Crazy Horse knows the local waters and winds better than most, while Pierre Forsans Firefly 850 Sports Pagatoon and Kim Thomas KT 33 Turbo Cat will also give it their best shot. And although a little heavy in displacement Saad Pangawan's Belize 43 Kindred Spirit would just love to get the better of its Samui rivals.
The 2012 programme included five days of racing with a reserve day, and six parties, including a lavish beachside gala dinner at host sponsor, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.
Samui Regatta continues to go from strength to strength. Eleven years since inception, the regatta has established itself as a leading sports event on Samui, with a strong track record of contributing to the island. A 2011 survey found that regatta participants' spend over Bt13 million on accommodation, food and beverage on the island during regatta week. Further expenditure on inbound travel and organization on the island pushes the net benefit to Samui in excess of Bt30 million.
Local community support is integral to the Regatta's success, and the organizers provide Thai youngsters with education scholarships and continue to support grass roots youth sailing.
"Since the Regatta's inception, the event has received strong support from organizations and businesses on the Island. We work closely with our partners and continue to support and develop community initiatives," said Kae Wattana, Samui Regatta Event Director.
The 2012 Samui Regatta was organized by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff. Folding Sail
Racers headed out for the last day of racing with plenty to play for in some of the classes, but the Multihull and IRC Zero titles were sewn up the day before. Steady breezes at the startline belied what was to come; a storm rolled off the northern tip of Samui Island and out to the race area delivering 30 knots and gusts, leaving a trail of tied sailors, breakages, shredded sails and one "woman overboard".
IRC Zero was first off with a single windward/ leeward to finish their 10-race series. Despite already winning the class the day before, Marcus Blackmore and his crew on Hooligan were on the startline, their competitive nature undiminished. But a blown spinnaker and woman overboard unfortunately added a DNF to their six firsts.
The battle was on for second and third places between HiFi and Freefire (Sam Chan) who came into the final day with equal points, and after some close racing and screaming runs HiFi came out on top winning the last race on corrected time. Freefire came second ahead of Mui Mui (Frank Pong) in third.
While Hooligan took their inaugural Samui Regatta title, the 90-foot Maxi Genuine Risk (Geoff Hill) was a sight to behold throughout the week. Despite being unable to compete with the 52-footers on handicap, the 24-man crew had a great time and secured 10 line honours from 10 races (a new regatta record!)
Two races were schedule for IRC One and with only one point separating the top two, and the race-track looking tricky, no-one was celebrating just yet. Foxy Lady 6 needed to keep ahead of EFG Bank Mandrake on the scoresheet to score the series win. In Race One, things didn't go to plan. The building winds played into EFG Bank Mandrake's hands, who sailed a flawless race to finish third on-the-water behind KukuKERchu and Walawala 2, and take the win on corrected time ahead of Walawala 2, who took second while KukuKERchu placed third. Foxy Lady 6 finished fifth in the first race putting a serious dent in their chances of the class title.
Pressure was building on Foxy Lady 6 who needed to finish four points (or more) ahead of EFG Bank Mandrake in the last race of the series. KukuKERchu continued their improving form and finished the regatta impressively with line honours and a handicap win in the last race of the Series, with Walawala 2 in second and Foxy Lady 6 improved to finish third.
However, for Foxy Lady 6 it was not enough. EFG Bank Mandrake's fourth place in the final race was enough to earn them the Series title, two points clear of Foxy Lady 6 who had started the day one point ahead.
After retiring from yesterday's race in IRC Premier, Dynamite was back on the race course on the final day. El Coyote revelled in the winds and enjoyed victory on corrected time in race one ahead of Moonblue 2 who placed second with Dynamite in third. In the Race Two, the tables were turned with Moonblue 2 taking the win ahead of El Coyote in second, while Dynamite posted a DNC. At the end of the Series Moonblue 2 and El Coyote finished tied on nine points, with an equal number of firsts and seconds. Having placed first in the final race, Moonblue 2 took the Series win.
The top three in IRC Two/ Bareboat were separated by just two points going into the final two races of the Series. Reef Knot (Stuart Collins) took to the front and lead through to the finish taking Line Honours and the win on corrected time. Swedish entry Lennart Fahlgren with his Thai crew on Amanda finished second and Abraxas (Greg Coops) in third.
In the final race, only two made it to the start and Amanda kept close on the heels of Reef Knot, managing to secure the win on corrected time, with Reef Knot second. This wasn't enough to knock Reef Knot off her perch who finished with nine points overall to take the series title.
Andrew Stranksy and his crew on Fantasia had wrapped up the Multihull class title the day before with three wins and an unbeatable scoreline, but nonetheless headed out for the last day of racing and put in a stellar performance to add another first and another line honours to their collection in race one. Despite being second to finish on-the-water, Sweet Chariot slipped to fourth on corrected time leaving the door open for Crazy Horse to take second. All-Thai entry Cedar Swan, who has blown four spinnakers this week, finished an impressive third. Three DNFs and one broken mast in the race was testament to the strong winds that regatta sailed in.
In the second race, only two made it to the startline, Fantasia and Crazy Horse, with Fantasia taking the final win of the Series. Crazy Horse finished second in the second race, and second overall.
Participants and VIPs gathered for the final prizegiving – a lavish Gala Dinner hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui. This regatta is the final event in the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, a series of 5- star racing events held throughout Asia. Following the Series presentations, the 2011/12 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship "Skipper of the Year" and "Yacht of the Year" prizes were presented to Neil Pryde and HiFi, respectively.
Overall Series Results
About Regattas Asia
1st Hooligan, Marcus Blackmore (13)
2nd HiFi, Neil Pryde (19)
3rd Freefire, Sam Chan (20)
1st EFG Mandrake, Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth (19)
2nd Foxy Lady 6, Bill Bremner (21)
3rd Walawala 2, Steve Manning (23)
1st El Coyote, Gary Baguley (9)
2nd Moonblue 2, Peter Churchouse (9)
3rd Dynamite, Brad Kirk (16)
IRC Two/ Bareboat
1st Reef Knot, Stuart Collins (9)
2nd Amanda, Lennart Fahlgren (10)
3rd Abraxas, Greg Coops (15)
1st Fantasia, Andrew Stransky (9)
2nd Crazy Horse, Kunta (17)
3rd Sweet Chariot, Henry Kaye (23)
Regattas Asia is a brand name of Phuket and More Co. Ltd., established in 2001 with over 15 years involvement in the organization of leading marine events in Asia. Formed by Simon James and Kae Wattana, Regattas Asia has become a prominent player in Asia's regattas industry, with an innovative approach to the management of major sailing events in the region.
Core team members have been involved with the Samui Regatta since its inception in 2003, and have provided on-water race management for the past five years.
Regattas Asia provides services to the following marine events: Phuket King's Cup Regatta, The Bay Regatta, Phuket Raceweek, Sabang International Regatta (Indonesia), Royal Langkawi International Regatta (Malaysia), and are sole organisers of Samui Regatta.
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