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Samui Regatta goes down to the wire
Written by Administrator    Friday, 01 August 2014 09:03    PDF Print E-mail
Samui Regatta goes down to the wire

Lead-in
Despite a recent military coup, some of the top skippers competing on the Asian circuit made their way to Samui for the 2013-14 Asian Yachting Grand Prix's (AYGP) final showdown. To cap it all off, the runaway leader in the AYGP Anthony Root and his Archambault 35 Red Kite II had a change of heart and made the 3,000nm round trip from Hong Kong, feeling strongly that since they were in contention for the AYGP "Skipper and Yacht of the Year" titles, it was only fitting to make an appearance at the season-ending regatta. Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 was the only boat that could threaten Red Kite II; pitted in the same class, the showdown was expected to go down to the wire, which it did. While they fought over the IRC 1 title, four 52-footers lined up with reigning champion Frank Pong's Dibley custom 76 Jelik to duke it out for the IRC Zero title.

Sam Chan's Freefire, Neil Pryde's Hi Fi, and Troy Yaw's all-Malaysian Team Ulumulu, skippered by Jeremy Koo, took on the Ahern/ Bailey/ Wilmer trio on Oi!, which has ruled the waves at recent Southeast Asian regattas. As the IRC ratings evenly split the entries into classes, they were joined by Ben Copley's Aquila Reichel Pugh 45 Katsu and the Malaysian Armed Forces DK47 Uranus, skippered by Norhafisam Bin Ahmed; both capable of keeping the big boats at bay, especially if the conditions were right.

Samui Regatta goes down to the wire

The closest competition was expected to come from the eight yachts in IRC 1 or the extended "Flying 40 Class". Renowned for some aggressive start-line action and tight racing around the track, Root's Red Kite II and Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 would face stiff opposition from David Dimmock's Dubois 40 Blue Note, Singapore's Sarab Singh's Sydney 40 Windsikher and the Sorensen/Tilden/ Ketelbey/Brown Beneteau 44.7 Fujin, which has won the Samui Regatta before with previous owners.

Samui Regatta goes down to the wireNew to the Regatta, but with the familiar face of Michael Spies onboard, was the Corby 36 Jessandra II (formerly Rockall III & Rosie). Skippered by Roland Dane, the principal of Red Bull Racing Australia, the team won the Audi Australian IRC Championship in 2012 and remained unbeaten in competition. After resting the boat last season, they finished second overall to Black Jack 2 (ex Telefonica V70) in the Surf to City race earlier this year and have come to Asia to compete on the popular Asian circuit.

Both Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake and Marcel Liedts Sydney GTS 43 Elektra had good runs at the Commodores Cup in the Philippines in April, and were hoping the southwest tradewinds would prevail, so a good mix of windward-leewards and passage races can be completed as they rely on their crew work to give them their edge over other boats. As some Pattaya-based boats dropped out at the last moment and the local charter fleet was busy with Korean weddings, the remaining keelboat entries, usually reserved for the Premier, Sportsboat and Bareboat/Cruising Classes were combined into the IRC 2 and Bareboat/ Cruising Classes. They were duel scored and prizes awarded for results under the IRC Rating System (IRC 2) and the NHC - National Handicap for Cruisers performance based system (Bareboat/ Cruising). The four yachts in this combined class had the opportunity to win prizes in both scoring categories.

The yacht size range varied from Mick Grover's locally owned Elliot 7 Moon Shadow to Gary Baguley's Holman & Pye 52 Custom El Coyote, which has performed well in Samui in the past. Joining them was Thailand's up and coming sailing star, Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom with his and S&S 42 Windstar, his all-Thai crew and his Sansiri sponsorship. Making their debut this year was Chui Shing Kin's all- Chinese crew on the Beneteau Oceanis 45 HTRIP, which is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the cruising classes after cutting their teeth at recent regattas in the Philippines.

Wrap Up
The regatta started with two days of weather-interrupted racing, then the northeasterly flow arrived and the regatta was back on track, plus the race committee was game enough to run passage races and finish up in grand style. It's amazing how it all comes down to the last race at the last regatta. All the crews were out early and full of anticipation for the final showdown. While IRC Zero was still open for the taking, Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 had wrapped up IRC 1 on the second last day, with seven wins in a row and were gunning for their eighth win to claim the 2013-14 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title from Anthony Root's Archambault 35 Red Kite II, who had been in the driver's seat for most of the season. PRO Ross Chisholm decided on trapezoid shape courses, to even out the difference between flying symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers.

The second last day had ended with Frank Pong's Dibley custom 76 Jelik, tied on points for the IRC Zero title with Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi and theAhern/ Bailey/ Wilmer trio on Oi! closing in on one point behind the leaders with all to play for in the final showdown. Although the NW breeze struggled to reach 10 knots the race was on in earnest. Being optimized for light wind, Pryde's Hi Fi led the TP 52s around the course and the big question being asked on the media boat, was "Was Pong's Jelik far enough in front to win the race?"

As the numbers crunched, it turned out in favour of Pryde's Hi Fi followed by Oi! and Jelik. Although a second race was fired away, it was soon abandoned as the breeze faded away and so did the chances of toppling Hi Fi, who was suffocating in the second row at the start of the second race. The final overall standings were: 1st Hi Fi, with Jelik and Oi! tied on 18 points and decided in favour of Jelik.

Also on the second last day, Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 miraculously made it seven wins in a row and sealed the IRC 1 title with one day to spare. On the final day it was all about the remaining podium places and whether the all-conquering crew on Foxy Lady 6 could win one more race and fulfill their season's ambition ofclaiming the 2013-14 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.

As the yachts circulated, Foxy Lady 6 was on pace but it was hard for the spectators to judge if they have enough in reserve to win the race. Finally the radio announced that they have won the race by a mere two seconds over Roland Dane's Corby 36 Jessandra II with Anthony Root's Archambault 35 Red Kite II coming in third. The final overall standings gave victory to Bremner's Foxy Lady 6, second to Marcel Liedts Sydney GTS 43 Elektra and on their first outing in Asia, Dane's Jessandra II came third.

Last year Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 started their "Assault of the Gulf" and won both the Top of the Gulf and Samui Regattas. They continued the winning streak into the 2013-14 season by convincingly winning the Raja Muda, King's Cup, and Royal Langkawi regattas, returning for the second assault at the Top of the Gulf and now the Samui Regatta again.

This seven regatta winning streak was masterminded by Bill and Janis Bremner and superbly conducted by a mixed crew of Canadian, Singaporean, Philippine and Aussie sailing legends, including Cap'n Bill on the helm, Steve McConaghy calling the shots, sail trimmers Janis Bremner, Andrew Chan, Stuy Lee and Scott Minton with Chas Mitchell on the bow, Benny Mawson in the pit, Dale Johnston on the mast and navigator Ko Chuan Yang. For five years, Anthony Root has been fostering and executing the Red Kite II racing program in Hong Kong before launching a determined challenge for the 2013-14 AYGP title. In Anthony's words "The programme has been on a great run. The season's statistics tell the story - 9,000 miles, 60 days at sea, 57 races, nine regattas in six countries, that has produced seven regatta/offshore wins, including six consecutive China Sea wins. Only to miss out by two seconds and ½ point on the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title, at the last regatta, on the last day, in the last race of the season. RK II was in the lead for the entire race until the wind died at the last mark."

Was it all worth it? Anthony reply was, "Apart from amassing terrific teammates and supporters near and far, the best part of the RK II experience has been making new friends and keeping in touch with old ones. A special thanks go to: Kevin Peet for his rock-star tactics, Andy Pilcher and Doyle for cutting-edge sails, Reden Tabangay for his dedication, seamanship and boat skills, Paul Bayfield, Olivier Decamps and David Salembier for creating and sustaining the team's spirit, Warwick Downes for the guidance and encouragement that got the program started, Adaro who generously sponsored the program at a critical stage and above all to Hongyu (Anthony's wife) for her unwavering support and quiet determination that kept the program going through all the ups and downs of nearly 300 races over five years."

Gary Baguley's Holman & Pye 52 Custom El Coyote dominated the IRC 2 class stringing together six wins and two second places. Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom's S&S 42 Sansiri settled on second place with Mick Grover's locallyowned Elliot 7 Moon Shadow rounding out the class in third. But it was a different story in the Bareboat/Cruising Class, when the NHC Performance Handicap System was applied to those same boats in IRC 2 as the handicaps were changed daily based on the corrected times from the previous race. Mick Grover's Elliot 7 Moon Shadow won the final race, but the overall victory went to Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom's S&S 42 Sansiri. Grover's Moon Shadow held onto second overall, while Baguley's El Coyote has to settle for third overall under this system. The regatta's closing party recognized the winner of the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards, as the Foxy Lady crew celebrated with the Perpetual AYGP Cup filled with champagne on ice, and Bill Bremner donned the specially-tailored Trend Fashions Navy Blue Blazer.

ABOUT THE SAMUI REGATTA
Since its birth in 2002, Samui Regatta has grown to attract the best yachts in Asia and a large spectator following who come to Samui for great sailing, great parties and to experience all that the Island has to offer. 2014 is the Regatta's 13 th year and again it is proudly hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, which is widely regarded as the "Home of the Samui Regatta". The Regatta is organized by Regattas Asia in conjunction with the Samui Yacht Club Regatta, under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Municipal of Koh Samui and the Sports Authority of Thailand.

Samui Regatta goes down to the wire The Regatta has 4 key objectives:
» Increase tourists to the island of Koh Samui.
» Increase awareness and participation in watersports in Asia.
» Establish Koh Samui as a leading Sailing Destination.
» Support youth education and sporting activities on the Island.

Starting with just 11 boats, mainly made up of beach catamarans, the event gained a reputation for offering great hospitality and competitive sailing. The fleet has now grown into one of the most competitive in Asia and is the final event of the prestigious AsianYachting Grand Prix, a series of 5-star racing events held throughout Asia. The winners of the 2013/2014 season are awarded at the final night Gala Dinner held at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.

Samui Regatta goes down to the wire Following a number of management and name changes, Regattas Asia took over the organization of the event in 2012 and has brought the Regatta back to its roots, bringing back the name "Samui Regatta" and returning the social events to their rightful place, on the beach. We continue to develop this theme with a range of activities for all the crews to join in as part of the daily Regatta Tavern activities. Despite these challenging economic times, the event has grown every year to become a truly international event with around 500 competitors joining in annually from more than 22 different countries, generating an estimated 30 million baht worth of media coverage and over 18 million baht to the Samui Island economy annually.

ABOUT REGATTAS ASIA
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 2002. Regattas Asia provides services to the following events: the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, the Sabang International Regatta (Indonesia), the Royal Langkawi International Regatta (Malaysia), the Hainan Around the Island Regatta (China), and the China Cup International Regatta. Regattas Asia is also the sole organizers of both The Bay Regatta and the Samui Regatta.

For more information:
Website: www.samuiregatta.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SamuiRegatta
Twitter: twitter.com/samuiregatta