Over the years Image Asia Events Co. Ltd. in conjunction with Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa have created an event that today rivals the best in the region. Now in its 8th year Phuket Raceweek’s reputation has grown in stature, for delivering four days of world-class yacht racing from the superb 5 star Evason Phuket onshore venue to be recently voted ‘Best Asian Regatta 2011’ at the annual Asia Boating Awards in Hong Kong .
This year, Raceweek has the distinction of being the opening round of the newly expanded 2011-12 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) Championship. Now everyone entering the regatta will score points towards ultimately becoming crowned the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year. This incentive is aimed at getting more boats to compete at the 12 selected five star events that make up the AYGP family.
Thirty eight yachts will be divided into three IRC divisions, Performance Multihull, Firefly One Design and Classic classes. The serious racers are getting ready for some high-octane racing on challenging courses laid just offshore from the Evason and the less serious racers on fun filled courses around the of lying islands.
Top billing in the IRC Racing class is Neil Pryde’s professional racing team, apparently out to test run the TP52 Team Premier with a view of purchasing her. David Ross’ brand new Ker 40 KukuKERchu is making her regatta debut and judging by the design shape is expected to raise a few eyebrows. Locally based Ben Copley’s Swan 42 Katsu and Rick Pointon’s J130 Jingjing from the Beijing Sailing Club have recently secured podium places at Pattaya and Koh Samui and as the same crew of heavyweights are fronting up again they could prove to be a handful. Although the two Phuket 8′s, Scott Duncanson’s Quantum Fusion M and Ray Waldron’s Surf Patrol might seem to be outclassed with the bigger boats, given enough wind where the 8m (26ft) yacht can get up and plane, they have been known to pack a punch way above their weight.
Video of the 2011 Six Senses Phuket Raceweek – Registration Day
Seven evenly matched performance yachts ranging from 25 to 42 feet are lining up in the IRC 2 class. Bryan Gauson’s refitted 1976 Sydney Hobart Race winning Farr 1104 Piccolo and John Vause’s Young 11 Ruby Tuesday have both won here before and returning to repeat the dose. Peter Dyer’s IOR 1/2 tonner Team Sea Bees have been the bridesmaid on two occasions and Co. Pornprom Sakultem skippering the Platu 25 Royal Thai Navy 4 have come through a school of hard knocks to be here. Stuart Williamson’s Beneteau 34.7 WDB Endeavour of Whitby ended up on the bricks last year and are eager to carry on with the performance before their early exit.
Nine heavy displacement cruising yachts are contesting the IRC 3 Class. A gaggle of relatively new Beneteau, Jeanneau and Bavaria yachts will be taking on the age old pedigree Horst Lakits Swan 55 Big A and Jim Ellis S & S 12.8 Remington that have both won King’s Cups and many major titles in the Asian region.
An interesting battle in the Performance Multihull Class is coming together. A couple of well-known ‘yachting personalities’, Dee Caffari and Paul Larsen will be racing against each other. Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions (against and with the prevailing winds and currents) and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.
She will be helming Grenville Fordham’s Andaman Cabriolet Niña while the World Sailing Speed Record contender Paul Larsen is skippering the newer Andaman Cabriolet Da Vinci, may have the edge as he arrived early and has nearly two weeks to acclimatize and get used to the tricky sailing conditions. However they won’t have it all their own way as David Liddell’s Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon is hot after winning the SEA Property Multihull Championship last weekend and Alan Carwardine’s Stealth 12.5 Sidewinder is eager to get back into the winners circle.
Five of the most competitive Firefly 850 One-Design catamarans will be battling it out and are getting closer to ending Voodoo’s dominance over the last two years. Coming into the final day of the SEA Property Multihull Championship last weekend three boats The Frog, Moto Inzi and Voodoo were holding a three way tie for the lead. Given the right conditions this class is fast and furious making the close racing very exciting for the sailors and spectators alike.
Although there is only two boats in the Classic Class, Mark Myking’s William Garden Idiom and Tom Howard’s North Sea Fishing Boat Seraph, they will be level pegging with the top racing classes and scoring valuable points towards the 2011-12 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.
Another first in Thailand, Mount Gay Rum – the oldest brand of rum in the world and sponsor of 120 regattas worldwide – has chosen Six Senses Phuket Raceweek as the launch platform for the brand in Thailand. The launch will take place at the regatta’s opening party tonight, with a Caribbean buffet and entertainment – and plenty of Mount Gay rum.