he Phuket Multihull championship, the 5th
since its conception, sailed from the 12th - 15th of July with the Rawai-Nai Harn Business Association being the main sponsor of the event. The main member sponsors from the Business Association were Da Vinci Yacht Charters, The Palm Gardens Resort, and Serenity Resort and Residences. As such, the new prizegiving/party venues were Palm Garden Resort in Chalong, which hosted the Friday 13th July event and Serenity Resort and Residences, Rawai, which hosted the final awards ceremony/ party on Sunday the 15th July. The Saturday night 14th July prizegiving was handled at the Ao Chalong Yacht Club.
Many of Phuket's regattas started life at or because of the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, but they all moved on to new homes. But the first time Mick Kealy was Commodore of the ACYC he decided he wanted to hold a regatta based out of the ACYC permanently. Mike Downard of Sail in Asia knew a new chap in town named Peter Dyer, who he thought could do the job, and that same Mr Dyer is the driving force behind the South Coast Racing Experience (aka Phuket's Multihull Regatta) five years later.
The first regatta saw only seven entries, that number tripled last year when a record total of boats entered the regatta. Unfortunately, tough economic times and poor weather combined to drive the number of entrants down to nine this year split between two classes with Da Vinci, Miss Saigon, Nina and Sweet Chariot entering the Racing Class and Voodoo, Dyer Straits (an Aussie crew with Phuketbased Scott Duncanson), The Frog (a combined English and Aussie China-based crew), Moto Inzi (name means "firefly" in Swahili) and Twin Sharks (an English crew) sailing in the Firefly 850 division. "Only nine boats," you might say, but take a closer look at the skippers on those boats (some of Phuket's finest): Mark Pescott, David Liddel, Grenville Fordham, Henry Kaye, Hans Rahmann, Shaun Jackson, John Priestly, Roger Kingdon and John Newnham and you'll agree that participants and spectators alike were in for three days of exciting racing.
Peter Dyer said another five boats would have taken part but bad weather prevented them from being put together, having their repairs completed or having their final coat of paint applied. And the uneven economic times saw a number of hardy sailors stick to their day jobs unwilling to take the time off needed to compete in the regatta. It wasn't the Bt3,000 entry fee that kept them away, just steady work in tough times.
Why a multihull regatta? Peter felt it was only natural as Fireflys were built at Latitude 8 on Friendship Beach. Phuket is also home to Composite Catamarans, builder of Andaman Cabriolets Nina and Da Vinci, while regionally Corsairs are being built in Vietnam. In fact, eight out of the nine boats competing in the regatta were built in Asia and seven of those in Thailand. Peter would ideally like to see three categories of eight boats each compete in the regatta, and that's what's he hoping to achieve long-term. Talking to both organizers and participants you got the feeling that the low numbers were indeed a hiccup, that the regatta was here to stay and that entries would indeed pick up next year.
The regatta is always held the weekend before Grenville Fordham's Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, making both events more attractive for sailors coming from abroad as they can get in seven days of great sailing spread over 10 days. The multihull-only regatta is growing in its reputation for being highly competitive as not much separates contestants on the leader board.
Principal Race Officer Simon James, and his onwater team, oversaw the action from the race committee vessel, the DaVinci Sunseeker provided by DaVinci Yacht Charters.
In the Racing class, five wins in five races left DaVinci atop the Racing Class, enabling it to shed its bridesmaid moniker and finally take home a title. After finishing second in many local regattas, despite the presence of some top-notch sailors, it was clear that Mark Pescott's local knowledge made the difference in this one. Miss Saigon finished second overall, and Nina took third as halyard trouble forced Sweet Chariot out of the final race dropping her down to fourth overall in the series.
In the Firefly 850s, Voodoo was almost as impressive as Da Vinci, winning every race but one. Dyer Straits, which was to be called Premier Cru (the name was changed by Scott Duncanson at the last minute), seemed to almost have too much grey matter at work at times with its crew of exceptional sailors including Duncanson and McConaghy. A first, two seconds, a third and a fifth-place finish enabled it to place second overall, winning the only race that Voodoo didn't. Third spot went to Moto Inzi with two fourths, two seconds and a third-place finish. The Frog then placed fourth overall with Twin Sharks bringing up the rear in fifth overall.
For detailed race action of this regatta, please check out Duncan Worthington's excellent site http://www.marinescene.asia.
Also, check out the ACYC's website for complete race results: http://www.acycphuket.com
The Rawai Nai Harn Business Association
This is a group of independent companies in the South of Phuket who have joined together to promote the South of Phuket Island and in particular Rawai & Nai Harn. This association has nine main sponsors, The Mangosteen Resort & Ayurveda Spa, Serenity Resort & Residences, The Vijitt Resort Phuket, Atmanjai Detox & Wellness Center, The Davinci Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, Sea Bees Diving and BlueD.Zine. In addition to these nine main sponsors, other independent businesses in the south of the island have joined the association to promote their business and the Rawai Nai Harn area. One of the main advantages of the association is the Rawai Nai Harn Benefits Card which offers a minimum of 15% discount at all of the participating businesses.
Additional discounts with the Benefits card can be found on each company's individual websites. The Rawai Nai Harn Business Association will work with all of the participating businesses to promote the Rawai Nai Harn area, which is one of the most traditional and unspoiled areas in Phuket. http://www.rawainaiharn.com