Pattaya icon & yachting tradition celebrated at PC Classic

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Prized PC Classic trophies await the winners.
Prized PC Classic trophies await the winners.

The annual PC Classic made a welcome return to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club on Saturday March 17, and supported by the Pattaya Mail Media Group, the staff at the club put on a great sailing event and night of entertainment that was enjoyed by all in attendance.

The PC Classic celebrates one man’s dedication to Thailand’s yachting fraternity, that man being Peter Cummins who is well-known in Thailand and internationally as a leading writer, photographer, yachting correspondent and genial raconteur.

Now striding confidently into his 84th year, this native of Tasmania’s association with Pattaya and sailing goes back to the early 70s when he joined the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, before later rising to become its Commodore.  Having had the honour of sailing with His Majesty King Rama IX on two occasions, he published a number of illustrated feature stories and books on the late King Bhumibol, both for the English-language press in Thailand and abroad.

Before taking the stage to present the prizes for the day’s winners, the star of the show was given a fine introduction by Pattaya Mail managing director and close friend Peter Malhotra:

“If you remember reading the book or watching the classic movie called ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, you may well recall it was a story about a man of small stature, whose strong determination and thirst for knowledge inspired him to sail on the wind shifts and circumvent the shoals of life.  Today we are privileged to have such a man amongst us, our beloved Peter Cummins, loved by many, adored by a few and worshipped by none,” an anecdote which drew much mirth and applause from those gathered around the packed beach bar stage.

The day’s sailing itself was also of a truly classic nature – off from a committee boat, round a windward buoy and then the daunting task of sailing round Koh Larn and Koh Sak.  At this point there was a gate and for those that chose to go through it, the overall fastest time around the course and the coveted PC Classic Trophy were on offer.  After the gate the different fleets sailed various courses with a final committee boat finish just off Varuna.   Not to be upstaged, the junior sailors also had their own long distance race around the nearby islands.

Overall in the multihull fleet, Florent and Apple were flying and well in the lead which they held to the finish line, with Dirk and Paul in their F18 just managing to hold off Eric and Jean-Francois in their Hobie 16 by two seconds on corrected time to settle the 2nd and 3rd places.

Only one candle? Birthday boy Peter Cummins questions the cake maker’s arithmetic.
Only one candle? Birthday boy Peter Cummins questions the cake maker’s arithmetic.

Varuna Sailing Secretary Albert built up a good lead by the gate in the monohull fleet, even considering the tough handicap that goes with sailing an Olympic Class Finn.  At the opposite end of the weight scales, Christoph in his Laser Radial was in second place at this stage. The last, long but exciting reach back towards the finish was crucial and Albert’s lead diminished but he just managed to keep in front for the overall win on handicap.  Olaf, sailing a Laser Standard, put his fast shoes on to take second by around 30 seconds after a two hour race, with Christoph in third.

It was great to see the yachts from Ocean Marina also joining in the racing.  The top spot was hotly contested by Nathan with his Platu and David with Magic.  At the gate, it was the Platu ahead, but by less than a minute on corrected time.  Yet again the run back to the committee boat was the decider, and it was Magic who had pulled back to win by around a minute after two and a half hours racing.

Peter Malhotra, MD of Pattaya Mail extols the honourable Peter Cummins' life of adventures and misadventures.
Peter Malhotra, MD of Pattaya Mail extols the honourable Peter Cummins’ life of adventures and misadventures.

Not to be outdone, the junior sailors had one of their first long distance races at the club.  To take an Optimist or Cadet around the nearby islands is an adventure all in itself and all should be congratulated on their achievement in getting around the course.  At the final finish, it was Christopher ahead of Por to take a worthy win.

With the various fleets going around the island, the question was who was in the lead at the gate to win the overall PC Classic Trophy.  All the classes were in contention, but at the end of the day it was Florent and Apple in their F18 at the top on corrected time.

After the party on Saturday night, there were also a few whose hangover permitted them to go sailing on Sunday.  So it was a great weekend, not just for the sailing, but also for the fantastic night to mark another memorable PC Classic.

Florent (left) and Apple (3rd left) were the overall winners of the PC Classic.
Florent (left) and Apple (3rd left) were the overall winners of the PC Classic.
Peter Cummins (left) poses for the paparazzi with some of his adoring fans.
Peter Cummins (left) poses for the paparazzi with some of his adoring fans.
(From left) Sue, Peter and Annie enjoy the atmosphere at the PC Classic.
(From left) Sue, Peter and Annie enjoy the atmosphere at the PC Classic.
Junior sailors pose on the beach at Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
Junior sailors pose on the beach at Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
A Laser Standard and a monohull sail during the 2018 PC Classic.
A Laser Standard and a monohull sail during the 2018 PC Classic.