Phuket King’s Cup Regatta stays on course with 31st anniversary

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Mandrake heads downwind at the 2017 King’s Cup Regatta.
Mandrake heads downwind at the 2017 King’s Cup Regatta.

Moving into its fourth decade, the prestigious and ever-popular Phuket King’s Cup Regatta took place earlier this month from December 2-9 off Kata Beach and once more drew entries from around the world, including over 100 keelboats, multihulls and dinghies.

While the weather remained clear and dry, wind conditions proved to be variable over the week of competition and ensured that sailing skills were tested to the upmost.

Tom & Kevin Whitcraft’s THA72 team were declared winners in the IRC0 class as they comfortably defended their title from 2016.  The Thai team’s early regatta indomitability ensured they were safe despite a late surge from their closest rivals.

“We’re happy with our performance given the light conditions,” said Kevin Whitcraft later.  “This is only our second (Phuket King’s Regatta) title and we’ve tried so hard for so many years before.  We have a crew of 15 and nine are Thai nationals.  We are now on a roll!”

In IRC1, Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth were able to complete another King’s Cup victory on Otonomos Mandrake, the pair having been regatta regulars for many years.  The favoured Japanese team on Karusu suffered from a disqualification and two DNS to leave them out of contention.

Peter Dyer and Kata Rocks (Madam Butterfly) topped a great week of racing with another win in IRC2, while a final day race win for Thai entry Pine Pacific in Premier Class was enough to seal victory and put them ahead of the Netherlands team King’s Racers, skippered by Gijs van Liebergen.

John Newnham (Twin Sharks) took the Firefly 850 title over rival Hans Rahmann (Voodoo) while Japanese team Mil Grace, skippered by Natsuki Motoyoshi, put up a strong showing during the week.

In other results, Andy Pape and Multihull Solutions H3O were declared regatta winners in the one-make Pulse 600 class, sailors in which were probably relieved to have seen the strong winds earlier in the week die down. The Pulse racers were running the large keelboat course, and at times had to contend with gusts of 25 knots.

Tom & Kevin Whitcraft’s THA72 team took overall first place in the IRC0 class.
Tom & Kevin Whitcraft’s THA72 team took overall first place in the IRC0 class.

British team Thor (Henry Kaye/ Fergus Wilmer) claimed the Multihull Racing class, with a definite schism between them and a chasing pack headed up by Asia Catamarans Java, which finished second overall.  In the Cruising Multihulls, Mojo Multihull Solutions skippered by Aussie Rick Fielding was named winner of the big cats.  Second was the familiar Da Vinci catamaran, this time serving as a Chinese entry under skipper Zhang Yong Dong.

Bareboat Charter this year consisted of a fleet of 14 ships, nine of which had Russian crews.  Igor Ginzburg skippering Phailin capped off a good week which never saw them finish outside the top three in a competitive grouping while compatriot Urii Firsov claimed the Cruising class on a boat called Uminoko, having won five races in the week.

A young Optimist sailor hones his skills during the Phuket regatta.
A young Optimist sailor hones his skills during the Phuket regatta.

Race Director Simon James said, “We’ve had a very successful regatta. The bareboats and cruisers finished more races than ever, and we had some excellent entries from China and Russia this year, as well as seeing many sailors who have been at the regatta since the start. It’s great to see such fast-growing support from East Asia also.”

For more on the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, visit website: www.kingscup.com.