|Platu Cup & Platu Championship decided|
Chris Way's Easy Tiger takes Platu Cup;
Scott Duncanson's Kingdom Property takes Platu Championship
The Platu Cup, the last round of the One Design Platu Championship of Thailand saw seven entrants: Scott Duncanson, Team Kingdom Property; Rolf Heemskerk, Team Viewpoint; Chris Way, Team Easy Tiger; Colin Simonds, Team Doolallie; Pote Suyasinto, Team Le Vent 2; Tim Browne, Team Weasel; & Clement Lim, Team SMU. The weather forecast was terrible for a week before the event with no wind forecast. After the welcoming speech and the skippers briefing the sea was flat with the predicted lack of wind. And so the AP went up ashore and crews settled down to a long wait and many cups of coffee.
However, at 10.07 a breeze started to form, the AP came down and at 11.30 the first of four races got underway. Chris Way showed his intent and finished first with Colin Simonds making a statement of own by finishing second and Rolf Heemskerk third. Scott Duncanson was uncharacteristically slow by his high standards and finished fourth.
It is a credit to The Weasel that they were racing at all. They learned the day before the race that their helm and tactician trimmer would be unable to race and it was a mad scramble to find two crew. Their results may have suffered over the weekend but their spirit and determination were a real credit to the team.
It was good to see Khun Pote racing with his all Thai crew and his second position in race four brought great cheers from the partisan Thai crew on the committee boat. The young guns from the Singapore Management University brought their usual smiles and enthusiasm to the event. The organizer was also pleased to see their entry in the controlled sails division and sees this as a welcome addition to the sport. Controlled sails create a truly One Design racing situation as well as keeping sail costs down by 80%. Watch out for this division to grow in 2016.
The wind on day one was not making it necessary to hike to the limit but it was consistent and did provide the opportunity to run the planned four races. Plenty of shifts up the course also gave the tacticians plenty of work and threw in a few surprises for crews whose carefully calculated plans were suddenly destroyed by a surprise shift at times.
At 16.00 hours it was back to the superb sailors' bar at the Marina with free beer and a very tasty barbeque and buffet meal. Sunday morning started much the same as Saturday with little wind and the raising of the AP ashore once more. But, once again, the promise of wind coming in from the northwest encouraged the race officer to send crews out and go looking for the wind at 10.17hrs. The weather played ball and with the wind up to 4.5 knots, racing got underway. Whatever Scott Duncason drank the night before it was obviously the right combination because he rattled off two bullets in the first two races. Scott does not like the light conditions but he obviously has learned how to master them.
Again the pressure was just enough to encourage hiking at times but it was even shiftier than on day one, needing full concentration by the tacticians. Race two and three needed course changes during the races—such were the shifts. At all times, the racing was as close as it could be with crowded and noisy roundings at the leeward mark and two or three finishes were very difficult to judge.
This close racing meant that the overall results for the weekend would be decided by the last race. Tension was high and with less than one minute to the start a sudden 40 degree shift left gave the race officer no option but to abort the start, which raised tensions even more. Finally, the race got under way and a game of cat and mouse was played out between Chris Way and Scott Duncanson. Not for the first time this year, these two boats have looked more like one catamaran than two Platus. The battle was won by Scott but he needed Chris to be third or more to win the war. Chris kept calm and followed Scott over the line to win the event by one point!!
All across the course other battles were equally intense and it is a credit to all crews concerned that red flags stayed in pockets and what happened on the water stayed on the water. Crews settled their boats at the quay and enjoyed a cold beer together afterwards.
This championship has seen fantastic battles along the way and this obviously raised tension at times. However, the organizer wishes to thank all concerned. It was a great pleasure to see competitors, who were quite heated at times round the marks, sit at the same table swopping stories after the event. We all may want to win but the real pleasure is to race hard and fast at close quarters with others of the same high standard in One Design boats.
The winner of the Platu Cup on 13 points was Chris Way from Australia; second was Scott Duncanson with 14 points; and third was Colin Simonds with 17 points. The winner of the Controlled Sails Division with 40 points was Team SMU, skippered by Clement Lim. The Platu Cup results meant that the overall winner of the Platu One Design Championship of Thailand was Scott Duncanson with 5 points, Chris Way finished second with 8 points and Rolf Heemskerk was third with 9 points.
(Thanks to "Admiral" Alfie Smith, driver of the photographer's rib; Khun Churom, our friendly race officer; Tony Hewitt, the flag man; Ocean Marina, for the supply of the committee boat and on-water staff plus the excellent buffet meal; Doug Smith, Club Chairman, for all his work behind the scenes; and Scott Finsten, Harbourmaster, for his support).