Tropical Island Regatta'Tropical Island Regatta'
Koh Samui, Thailand. 31 May, 2010 - The 2010 Sawadee.com Regatta began today
in glorious conditions, with blue skies overhead and clear blue waters below, as the
racing fleet headed out to sea for this tropical island regatta off the shores of
Chaweng Beach, located on the eastern coastline of Koh Samui, Thailand.
2009 Sawadee.com Regatta Racing Class Winner, Neil Pryde and the crew of Hi Fi,
have returned to defend their title - and will be expecting fierce competition in their
division from Ray Roberts of Evolution Racing, Frank Pong of Jelik II (Boracay) and
Nick Burns/Fred Kinmouth of EFG Bank Mandrake.
The regatta will see five classes battling it out over the week-long event: Racing,
IRC-1, Premier, Bareboat/Cruising and Multihulls.
On Day 1, after a short delay while the start boat headed for a wind line that looked
promising, all classes got away in 5 to 7 knots of wind. PRO Ross Chisholm elected
to send the Premier Cruisers, Bareboat/Cruising and Multihull Classes on Coastal
Course 1, up to Koh Phangan. The Racing and IRC Classes stayed close by for
short windward/leeward courses.
The much-anticipated clash between Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing and Neil
Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi came alive again today, with both fully intent on not giving
an inch to each other. Frank Pong's 76ft Jelik II (Boracay) is prepared to get in
amongst the mix and the Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth co-owned Mills 51 EFG
Mandrake are definitely not here just to make up the numbers. Two close but clear
starts saw the racers either heading for the coast or staying further offshore. Not only
was the adverse current stronger offshore, but the patchy nature of the breeze had
tacticians constantly scratching their heads. So much so that during Race 1, Hi Fi
and Evolution Racing changed places on nearly every leg of the race and much to
everyone's surprise in Race 2 all three 50 footers led Frank Pong's 76ft Jelik II
around the first mark and both Pryde and Roberts crossed the finish line in front of
Pong. After a good opening round jostle, Neil Pryde's Hi Fi came out on top in both races with Ray Roberts Evolution Racing in second and the co-owned Nick
Burns/Fred Kinmonth EFG Mandrake in third.
In the IRC Class, a battle of big proportions developed between Ben Copley's Club
Swan NY 42OD Katsu and David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu. Race 1 was shortened
at the top mark on the second rounding, which saw Katsu take out the daily double in
front of Kukukerchu. However the roles were reversed in Race 2 with Kukukerchu
taking out the handicap honours which has them tied on overall points after Day 1.
Brad Kirk's Farr 42 Dynamite did the best of the rest by posting two third places and
making the Thai based foreign crew members very happy in their home waters.
The early leaders in the Premier Cruisers sailed into some light patches on the long
run home. At the end of the day it was the smallest in the class, Gary Baguley's
Holman & Pye 52 El Coyote, that took handicap honours from Peter Forsythe and
Jing Lee's X55 Xena that sailed solidly to claim line honours. Jon Wardill's Cassidy
55 Australian Maid was one of the yachts that sailed down the middle of the course
to settle on third place.
The interesting mix of entries in the Bareboat/Cruising class on the coastal race saw
John Stall's Atkins 34 Lanta Concept take out the daily double in front of the Sunsail
boats. Nigel Hopkins Oyster Lightwave 48 Celere jumped up into second place after
handicaps have been applied. Scott Finisten's Oceanis 461 Andrew Short -
Constanza slipped into third place - the first time in two years at this event that this
boat has lost a race.
In the Multihull class Kirati Assakul's (Nim) Crowther 42 Sonic is up against three
locally built bi-plane rigged catamarans and