Three days of quality racing in Phuket
SAILING: The Andaman Sea shone in all its glory as the award-winning Phuket Raceweek returned last weekend (August 27-29) in Chalong Bay.
After a one-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions, organizers went all out and worked with the Thai yachting community to put on a successful three-day sailing event with 10 boats participating in three classes.
Tight racing was the name of the game in the OMR Sports Multihull class, with all participants on the podium in the seven-race series. A quick finish with three wins in three races was not quite enough for Bonza of Warwick Downes, however, whose two third places and a fourth earlier in the series forced them to settle for second behind Fugazi, skippered by the local multihull guru. Marc Pescott.
Elsewhere in the class, the two Fireflies had their own fights, swapping places at each race. At the end of the series, Twin Sharks, skippered by Jason Corall, edged out Jojo Tayong’s Voodoo to take third place and Firefly bragging rights.
A trio of locally built Stealth catamarans competed against each other in the OMR cruising multihull class. The designer and builder of the Stealths, Alan Carwardine, was the skipper of Saffron and used his construction expertise and local sailing knowledge to get ahead of the others and claim victory in the overall standings. While Mick Coleman’s Fez and Glywn Rowlands’ Twister 2 kept them honest, they had to settle for second and third respectively.
Niels Degenkolw’s team in Phoenix dominated the IRC monohull class by scoring six of six wins and claiming the 2021 class crown. Mas Alegre and Night Train battled it out for bragging rights for second place and to At the end of the series, Paul Baker’s Mas Alegre came out on top, taking second place with Paul Merry’s Night Train in third.
New to Phuket Raceweek this year was a Pursuit Race – the first time such a race has taken place during the regatta and possibly the first time in Thailand. Organized on the second day, the whole fleet set off according to their handicap (slowest boat first) and finished off Koh Larn in Chalong Bay. Fugazi took top honors in the Multihull class while Phoenix came out on top in the Monohull class.
Another first this year saw hydrofoil kites and wing foils compete against each other on the final day. Zayyar Wit in the Hydrofoil Kite class and Alejandro Vernis in the Wing Foil class took the first victories.
‘Magnificent showcase ‘
Despite the challenges of hosting an event during a pandemic, the Phuket Raceweek 2021 will be remembered for three days of sailing in near-perfect conditions, great camaraderie among participants and a wonderful showcase of hospitality and preparedness. Phuket.
By raising awareness through its #PhuketSailing campaign, the organizers focused on the laser to provide a safe and fun event on the water in these difficult times.
âWe discussed hosting the event with key members of the local sailing community and they were all eager to move forward,â said Byron Jones, general manager of organizers Media Business Services Co. Ltd.
âWe moved from our traditional July to August slot to meet local needs and while we needed to make sure everything was up to local authority rules and COVID measures, the event went off without a hitch and all attendees had a great time, âJones added.
Fast to support the 18e Raceweek was the Phuket Cruising Yacht Club, providing the event headquarters and meeting point before and after sailing for all participants. Many other local businesses have also supported Phuket Raceweek this year, all keen to showcase sailing and stress that Phuket is ready and keen to welcome visitors again.
âWe were overwhelmed by the number of sponsors and local supporters, who came together to help us organize the event,â Jones said.
âIt has certainly been a challenge, but hearing all the positive comments from sailors and the island community is worth it. “