Strong winds provide fitting end to Phuket Raceweek

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Boats under full sail at the 15th Phuket Raceweek.
Boats under full sail at the 15th Phuket Raceweek.

There were some tired faces on the beachfront as sailors prepared for the fourth and final day of racing at the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek. Three full-on race days with winds averaging 16-22 knots throughout had taken their toll.

Similar conditions on the final day made for a fitting finale to a memorable 15th anniversary Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek.

Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood thrived in the conditions, winning eight from eight to capture the third consecutive IRC I title for Ray Roberts, and second on Team Hollywood (2016 he won on his other TP52, Millenium Racing).

In the IRC I – 40 Division, four competitive 40-footers were enjoying some neck-and-neck battles on-the-water, where the smallest error was enough to cost a place. In the end it was the ever-young Aquarii that proved they can still mix it with the best on IRC handicap and won overall. Loco upped their game in the second half of the regatta to claim second while East Marine Emagine tied with Ramrod and won on count-back.

A DNF in the final race for Phoenix blew it open for the rest of the IRC II class and the podium places, and it was the fast finishing Susan Parker and her crew on Krabi Boat Lagoon Pinocchio who claimed second place on countback over Max Palleschi’s Prime Factor. With seven wins from eight races Phoenix defended their title and made it a three-peat at the Phuket Raceweek.

A single race showdown in the Cruising Class saw Chris Mitchell’s Lady Bubbly record a win on the final day but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Keith Garry’s Beaux Esprits who held on to win the series by a single point. Venture, skippered by Tony Pfeiffer finished third.

Team Hollywood race to the marker and the IRC I title.
Team Hollywood race to the marker and the IRC I title.

Multihull Racing was finely balanced with Bladerunner IX and Fugazi tied at the top coming into the final day, and with two races planned anything could happen. Fast out of the blocks in Race 1 was Scott Galle’s Bladerunner IX and although Dan Fidock’s Fugazi went on to claim their seventh line honours, the time difference just wasn’t enough and Bladerunner IX corrected out ahead to draw first blood. Fugazi would need to win the final race to tie the points and force it to a decision on count-back.

The second race saw the fleet off on a longer course, around the islands and flying their hulls the two trimarans made light work of it. Despite finishing 13 minutes head, it wasn’t enough and Fugazi had to settle for second in the race and second overall. After some close racing and having come from behind, Bladerunner IX were crowned class winners while Cosmo had to settle for third overall.

The team on Twin Sharks were dominant once more in the Firefly 850 class.
The team on Twin Sharks were dominant once more in the Firefly 850 class.

John Newnham and his Twin Sharks team wrapped up the Firefly 850 title in three days, extending Newnham’s winning streak to six consecutive Phuket Raceweek wins.

In the dial up for the Pulse 600s a port-starboard incident between Pixalux and SuDu Red saw Pixalux complete their penalty turn as the start gun went off. SuDu Red sailed off-the-line clean and Pixalux was playing catch-up for the rest of the race. They managed to sail back into contention and finish second behind Simon Oliver’s SuDu Red and tied the series points, but due to more first place finishes for Pixalux, they claimed the title while Zam Bevan’s Multihull Solutions H30 finished third overall.

Sponsored by the Cape Panwa Hotel, the Phuket Raceweek took place from July 19-22. For more information, visit www. phuketraceweek.com.

(Photos courtesy Guy Nowell)

Susan Parker and her crew on Krabi Boat Lagoon Pinocchio finished second in IRC II class.
Susan Parker and her crew on Krabi Boat Lagoon Pinocchio finished second in IRC II class.
Strong winds and close racing were prominent at this year’s Raceweek.
Strong winds and close racing were prominent at this year’s Raceweek.