|Samui Regatta 2015 closes out the 2014/15 regional sailing circuit|
Asia's top yachts came together at the Thai tropical island of Samui to battle it out for the 14 th Samui Regatta honours – the curtain-closing event of the prestigious 2014/15 AsianYachting Grand Prix championship. Held 23 rd to 30 th May off Chaweng Beach, the Samui Regatta is made up of five days of racing with six nights of beachside parties. The high-calibre fleet featured many of Asia's best; including Jelik (HKG), FreeFire (HKG), Oi! (AUS) and the former HiFi, Windsikher 2 (SIN), battling it out in IRC 0, while the Regatta welcomed back a Premier Class after a few years hiatus with El Coyote (AUS), Uranus (MAS) and the all-new Spirit 65 named Chloe Giselle (GBR) competing against each other.
New to the Asian circuit, Chloe Giselle was the first Spirit 65 out of the UK shipyard and shipped to Asia to compete in the regional circuit. Designed as a performance orientated sailing sloop that combines classic lines with the use of modern materials and construction technology, the Spirit 65' will be one to watch and was on display at the recent Singapore Yacht Show.
Hong Kong and Singapore entries dominated the "40-footer" class including EFG Mandrake (HKG), Siren (HKG), Blue Note (SIN), Foxy Lady VI (SIN), Fujin (AUS) and Jessandra II (RQ), all competing for IRC 1 honours, while in IRC 2 Samui-based Moon Shadow (THA) duked it out with Windstar (THA) and Sail Quest's Paprika (THA). Looking to defend their 2013/14 AsianYachting Grand Prix Skipper and Yacht of the Year crowns was Bill Bremner and his Foxy Lady VI. Baring a below par regatta, Foxy Lady VI looked difficult to beat for "Yacht of the Year" while Bill Bremner, not at the helm of Foxy Lady VI during the recent Top of the Gulf Regatta, could still mathematically take the "Skipper of the Year" crown though he would need to outscore the Nick Burns/ Fred Kinmonth combination on EFG Mandrake.
Organizers brought back the midweek party, which was held at the KC Beach Club on Wednesday 27 th May, allowing the sailors to let off some steam and relax the following day, which was the Reserve Day. On-the-beach prize-presentations take place each day after racing while the official Opening Party was as usual at Zico's Brazilian Restaurant & Bar on Sunday 24 th May, while the final party, prize-presentations and Gala Dinner, hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, was held on the resort's lawns under the stars on Saturday 30 th May.
"For some, the onshore part of the Regatta is almost as important as what happens on-the-water and this year the local support from Samui businesses has been overwhelming. A number of new resorts offered their support, we welcomed back many long-term supporters and were excited to be working with Nikki Beach again. The Regatta has really become a true community event. Making the sailors stay refreshed, we will be serving Mount Gay Rum, Finca de Malpica wine and Asahi beer, and for the first time there will be Samui Regatta Signature Cocktails at the parties," said organizer Simon James of Regattas Asia. Results in IRC One would determine the winner of the 2014/15 AsianYachting Grand Prix "Skipper" and "Yacht of the Year" as entering the regatta Nick Burns/ Fred Kinmonth (EFG Mandrake) and Bill Bremner (Foxy Lady VI) were chasing current "Skipper of the Year" leader Paul Winklemann, who was absent from the Samui Regatta this year.Final Day warp-up from Captain Marty (http://asianyachting.com/)
Once again, the race committee had to contend with light, variable wind and glassy patches before they could safely lay the course and get racing underway. To keep themselves amused, some crews tried wake-boarding behind the boat or swinging around from the main halyard before taking a dip. Eventually the Easterly strengthened to a steady 5 knots and everyone swung into action before it faded for the final showdown. The likelihood that there would only be one race, was on everyone's mind and the top contenders were ready and willing to give their best shot at the title.
Despite starting in the second row and looking dead and buried, Sarab Singh's Windsikher II slowly worked their way back into contention, overtaking Sam Chan's FreeFire and closing in on Peter Ahern's Oi! at the finish line, to win the final race and seal overall victory in the IRC 0 Class. Peter Ahern's Oi! led the class, halfway through the regatta but yielded to Windsikher II over the last two races and had to settle for second overall. A few silly mistakes onboard Sam Chan's TP52 FreeFire, and lacking light air speed, left them in third overall. Despite several new keels to optimize boat speed, Frank Pong's Jelik also suffered in the light wind and found themselves in unfamiliar territory, amongst the TP52s at the top mark, but gybed away to give them clear air and regain line honours though they were reduced to fourth place and third overall when the handicap was factored in.
The IRC 1 Class also experienced changes since the beginning of the regatta due to the light wind. The Malaysian Armed Forces DK47 Uranus skippered by Norhafisam claimed line honours and looked set for the handicap honours but on both occasions settled for second place. Roland Dane's Corby 36 Jessandra II started the regatta in fine style but a Day 2 catastrophe saw them hand over the lead to Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady 6. Since then they fought back to within one point of the leaders and on the final day their mission was completed by winning the race and going on to win the overall title. By slotting into third place David Dimmock's Dubois 40 Blue Note provided the needed separation for Jessandra II to take the title and reduce Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 to fourth and Blue Note ended up in second overall. A bad day for Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's EFG Mandrake s aw them finish in fifth place and reduced to third overall in the standings. Bill Bremner and Foxy Lady 6 repeated as the 2014-15 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year. This is the first time since the allinclusive class era was introduced, that someone has defended the title. Winning four regattas and two second places is what earned them the title and respect from their competitors.
Another win for Bryan Coianiz's Sayer 13 Siren elevated them to second overall in the combined IRC 2 Class. Second place for Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom's S&S 42 Windstar put them back on the podium in third spot. Notching up four wins at the start of the regatta kept Gary Baguley's Holman Pye 52 El Coyote on top throughout the event. With five wins on the board, Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom's S&S 42 Windstar topped the IRC 2 (NHC) Class, with Mick Grover's Samui-based Elliot 7 Moon Shadow's two wins allowing them to secure second overall. More wind was needed if Captain Tim McMahon's Sail Quest's Paprika is to do better than third place.
Under the National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) system, Gary Baguley's Holman Pye 52 El Coyote held the lead in the Premier Cruising Class since the beginning. After notching up three wins Bryan Coianiz's Sayer 13 Siren trailed the leader by one point and secured second overall. Michael Hough's modern classic Spirit 65 Chloe Giselle w as admired all week and came third overall after missing one day with a ripped sail.
Despite the light-air ending, the high standards set both on and off the water were maintained throughout. The "Around Samui Island" race was put back in the race cupboard for another year. The IRC racing classes fought a close battle, with the final results decided on the last race, on the last day. It doesn't get much better than that.
The Presentation of the 2014-15 AYGP "Skipper" and "Yacht of the Year" title and awarding the winner with the perpetual AYGP Cup filled with champagne and the embroidered Trend Fashions navy blue blazer to take home, is one of the highlights of this regatta. The 300+ sailors celebrated a great week of sailing in Samui at the closing party and Gala Dinner hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.About 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. 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.
2015 was the Regatta's 14th 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 Samui Regatta, headquartered at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, 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. Jean Obry graciously offered up his catamaran Serenity as the regatta's start/committee boat.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 leisure 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 provide services to the following events: Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Phuket Raceweek, Sabang International Regatta (Indonesia), Royal Langkawi International Regatta (Malaysia), Hainan Around the Island Regatta (China), Kiteboard Tour Asia and China Cup International Regatta. Regattas Asia is also the sole organizer of The Bay Regatta and the Samui Regatta.