The Phuket Multihull championship, the 5th since its conception, sailed from the 12th -14th of July with all the prize-giving and parties taking place at the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, the organizers of the regatta.
Many of Phuket’s regattas started life at or because of the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, but they all moved on to new homes. But the first time Mick Kealy was Commodore of the ACYC he decided he wanted to hold a regatta based permanently out of the ACYC.
The first regatta saw only seven entries; that number tripled two years ago when a record total of boats entered the regatta. Unfortunately, tough economic times and poor weather combined to drive the number of entrants down to nine last year and this year there were eleven entrees split between the two classes.
In the Racing Multihulls division the Andaman Cabriolets Da Vinci (skippered by Mark Pescott) & Nina (with Grenville Fordham at the helm) sailed against Asia Catamarans (aka Hurricane, a Stealth 11.8, skippered by Alan Carwardine) Afterburner (a Stealth 12.6, skippered by Daniel Renno) and Java (skippered by Scott Duncanson). The only non-Phuket built boat competing was the G Force 1500 Schionning design Mojo (skippered by Peter Wilcox), who won the Raja Muda and King’s Cup last year, in their first year on the Southeast Asian racing circuit.
The Firefly 850 Sport division saw Voodoo (skippered by Hans Rahmann) sail against the Advanced Racing Team (aka The Frog, skippered by Neil Ayre), Moto Inzi (skippered by Roger Kingdon), Lady Sevenstar (aka Mamba skippered by George Eddings) and Twin Sharks (skippered by John Newnham).
“Only eleven boats,” you might say, but take a closer look at the skippers and sailors on those boats — some of Phuket’s finest: Scott Duncanson, Alan Carwardine, Mark Pescott, Hans Rahmann, Roger Kingdon, and John Newnham you’ll agree that participants were in for three days of exciting racing.
The uneven economic times saw a number of hardy sailors stick to their day jobs unwilling to take the time off needed to compete in the regatta.
Why even hold a multihull regatta? It was only natural as the Fireflys were built at Latitude 8 on Friendship Beach, a Mark Pescott design and Mark Horwood build. Phuket is also home to Roger Diggelmann, whose previous company Composite Yacht Catamarans built the two Andaman Cabriolets Nina and Da Vinci, and whose present company Asia Catamarans, built Hurricane, Afterburner and Java.
A number of cruising cats sat idly by in Ao Chalong Bay, the idea is to get them involved one day and have a cruising cat division, hopefully, sooner, rather than later.
ACYC Committee member Alan Carwardine explains that the regatta is a non-profit volunteer run regatta with entry fees of 3,000 baht for boat and skipper plus 1,500 baht per crew that goes towards paying for the longtail boats, lunches and gas for the support boats. The focus is on sailing.
The regatta is always held the weekend before the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, making both events more attractive for sailors coming from abroad as they can get in seven days of great sailing spread over 10 days. The multihull-only regatta is growing in its reputation for being highly competitive as not much separates contestants on the leader board.
Principal Race Officer Simon James, and his on-water team, oversaw the action from the race committee vessel, Uravai, graciously supplied by Mark Horwood.
In the Racing class, four out of five wins put Asia Catamarans aka Hurricane on top. Mojo finished second, and Da Vinci, who won it last year took third overall, Java, Nina and Afterburner rounded out the finish order.
In the Firefly 850s, Voodoo, with two firsts and three seconds, squeezed past Twin Sharks by one point (the latter had a fourth, three firsts and a second). Third spot went to Moto Inzi with seventeen points, two in front of the Advanced Race Team with Mamba bringing up the rear in fifth with 22 points.
Three of the crew on Lady Sevenstar Mamba were part of the women’s team which competed in Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek (Lies Sol, Meike Lange & ladies’ skipper Liz Schoch).
On the first night there was a Pizza Party at the ACYC courtesy of Kim & Pia and the closing buffet dinner was sponsored by Mick Kealy’s Octopus Electrical Service. Asia Catamarans provided the t-shirts and Chalong Bay rum provided the rum.
The raison d’etre of the regatta was best summed up in the notice announcing the race: “Go sailing, come back, have a few (or many) beers and Chalong Bay Rum drinks at the club bar, talk about the day’s racing with old friends and grab some food. Prize giving was scheduled early (kudos to Alfie Rowson for handling the prize presentations) so that those who wanted to could go out partying.”
And it all worked out — a lot of smiling faces told the tale that a great time was had by all.