Roberts captures fifth title at exciting King’s Cup Regatta


Australian skipper Ray Roberts and his “OneSails Racing” team overcame some challenging wind conditions on the final day of racing to edge out compatriot Ahern Bailey Wilmer’s “Oil” by the narrowest of margins and capture a fifth title in the IRC0 class at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta held earlier this month.

Having led the standings for most of the week, Robert’s team found Friday’s light winds favoured their opponents more handily and were given a fright at the finish as “Oil” took line honours in the last two races to significantly reduce the gap, while Neil Pryde’s “Hi-Fi” was also lurking in the shadows.  However, “OneSails Racing” managed to record third and second place finishes and secure top place on the podium by just a single point.

Ray Roberts and his crew on OneSails Racing celebrate overall victory in the IRC0 class.Ray Roberts and his crew on OneSails Racing celebrate overall victory in the IRC0 class.

“It’s great to be back here and win another King’s Cup.  It was very light wind today with one squall, and so we kept focus on calm decisions and consistency,” said a delighted Roberts, post race.  “The weather contributed to a good, fair race, one in which you could not relax, and I would like to express my thanks to the Race Committee who did a terrific job managing it in changing conditions all week.  Some of the winning gaps have come down to just four seconds or so – very challenging.  Technology is changing in sailing all the time and we came up with a cutting-edge sail design at OneSails, and that was our key to success,” added the Aussie skipper.

The super-slick Jelik (left) tacks to starboard on the final day of racing.The super-slick Jelik (left) tacks to starboard on the final day of racing.

The predominantly overcast weather experienced during the week was transformed on the final day to classic King’s Cup sailing conditions, with blue seas and skies, and made for a fitting finale to the 27th sailing of the Regatta, held off the Kata Beach Resort from November 29 – December 6.

Antipodean success also filtered down to the IRC1 class where perennial Regatta ‘bridesmade’ Bill Bremmer finally struck King’s Cup gold with his crew on “Foxy Lady VI.”  After 10 King’s Cup events on five different boats, finishing second on four occasions, Bremner and his crew finally managed top spot and they achieved it in style, dominating the class for most of the week and winning with a race to spare.

Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI (2nd left) leads the IRC1 fleet downwind.Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI (2nd left) leads the IRC1 fleet downwind.

Labelling it a “dream come true”, Bremmer commented afterwards, “”Today was a real challenge because we had 100-degree wind shifts which were difficult to read; a great course though, with knocks and lifts to ride all the way up the course, and then squalls on the way back with gusts of 20 knots before dropping again – it was like a vacuum – classic Phuket!”

OneSails Racing (left) reaches the mark ahead of Oil in the IRC0 class.OneSails Racing (left) reaches the mark ahead of Oil in the IRC0 class.

Steve McConaghy, the tactician on Foxy Lady VI, added: “We’ve sailed together a few times in the last five years, and won our first Samui (Regatta) together.  I signed on with Bill this year and we’ve been undefeated since then.  The King’s Cup is the hardest regatta in Asia; we feel fantastic.”

Meanwhile, the Japanese team on “Karasu”, led by Yasuo Nanamori, dominated the IRC2 fleet and secured overall victory in style by garnering 2 more wins in the final day.

Challenging weather conditions provided a great week of racing.Challenging weather conditions provided a great week of racing.

Matt Allen’s multiple-regatta winning team on “Ichi Ban” had to play second fiddle this time in the IRC3 class to Hong Kong’s Red Kite II, as Anthony Root’s crew took the final race to relegate “Ichi Ban” to second spot overall.

“Pine-Pacific” was virtually in a class of its own in the Premier fleet and finished well ahead of nearest rival “Silandra V”, while the IPPAI team took two second place finishes on the final day to win the Sports Boat category.

“Rambutan” skippered by Petr Kochnev was overall Sunsail Charter class champion ahead of “Team Nord” and they were consistently the quickest team over the week.  The David Boekemann “Venture” took the Bareboat Charter title and in the Open Charter class, Nikiforov Eugeny’s “Sarawadee” crew recorded two wins on the final day to put them top above rivals “Little Eva”.

The always competittove Firefly 850 Sports class produced some exciting sailing throughout the week, with John Newnham’s “Twin Sharks” team finally claiming overall victory over “Voodoo”.

Asia Catamarans “Hurricane” overpowered all-comers in the Multihull Racing class, winning eight out of 10 races and ending with an exceptional points score.  Their nearest rivals, “Da Vinci”, performed well all week but lacked the pace of the “Hurricane.”

Thailand dominated the windsurfing championship, winning both men’s and women’s divisions.Thailand dominated the windsurfing championship, winning both men’s and women’s divisions.

Japanese entrant “Minnie” outscored Russian rival “Ariana” to win the Multihull Cruisers title this year while Jim Ellis and his “Remington” team were uncatchable in the Modern Classics class.

The Cruisers provided an exciting division, with “Lady Bubbly” skippered by Chris Mitchell winning the class by a single point from “Rumrunner11”, which also raced superbly.

In a two horse (boat) race, Peter Wood, skippering “Sunshine Schooner”, outperformed the only rival, “SY Argo” in every race to win the Classic class.

The Phuket King’s Cup also featured windsurfing again this year and Navin Singsart was named as overall winner after a total of seven races ahead of Ek Boonsawad in second.  Siriporn Kaewduangngam meanwhile performed well to win the women’s title.

In the Dinghy racing, Nuttapol Srihirun was named the Laser class winner, Supparak Niamraksa Optimist Boys winner and Praewa Kangkla was the Optimist Girls winner.  This youth racing is a regular feature of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta and remains one of Thailand’s most important series for the enhancement of sailing skills amongst junior sailors in the country.

At the splendid awards and closing ceremony held on Dec. 6 at the Kata Beach Resort, His Majesty’s Personal Representative, M.L. Admiral Usni Pramoj, rewarded the winners of all 14 senior classes, the Phuket Dinghy Series and the windsurfing classes.

The 27th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta once more delivered a superb week of on-water racing and shore-side nightly entertainment and all those who took part will be surely keen to return for more of the same next year!