Phoenix & Twin Sharks capture top spots in Jai Dee Regatta
Photography by Scott Murray
The first annual Jai Dee Regatta sailed off the waters off Ao Chalong on Friday, November 15th. Organized by the PhuketYacht Club (PYC), “Jai Dee” means good-hearted in Thai and is an apt name for this regatta, which is run by volunteers. It’s also the first regatta for big boats in Thailand that has ever had a Thai name. Ten boats participated; six in the Monohull class,four in the Multihull (Firefly) class.
It was great to see Niels Degenklow’s Phoenix back competing in a smaller regatta. A long-time participant in the big regattas and winner of many Bay Regattas, he and other local sailors are starting to rethink their participation in the no-frills regattas. The idea for this regatta and the PYC’s Sailor’s Regatta in March is that they are designed for local sailors and focus on racing. There is a final night party, but that’s it, no frills or daily parties (flat rate of Bt4,00 per boat) though all participants are more than welcome to sample the sumptuous morsels on offer at the PYC.
PYC Commodore Scott Duncanson said the regatta was staged at this time because there is a large gap between Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek and the King’s Cup. The sailing weather is also good and the event is a good lead-up to the King’s Cup and high season.
Making the racing interesting was the wind shifts; the southwesterly monsoon hasn’t left and the northeasterly hasn’t totally arrived so the tacticians’ navigational skills were tested as the winds swirled from one side of the course to the other.
PRO Matt McGrath, contemplated sending the participants on a round-the-island course on the final day of the regatta but weather forecasts had the wind dying down as the afternoon dragged on. Fearing the sailors would be stuck under the hot sun for hours, he elected to go with three windward-leeward courses instead to end the regatta.
And when it was all sailed and done, Niels Degenklow, the wise and wily Dane, captured top honours in the regatta’s monohull division.
But only just, as his boat, Phoenix, hung on to edge Vitaly Plaskin’s Uminoko by one point after seven races. Mini Me had a great final day with two victories enabling the spice-orange Shaw 650, helmed by Paul Burke, to clinch third overall. Jessandra II, Over Here and Magic followed in that order.
Twin Sharks won all three races on the final day thereby distancing itself from arch-rival Voodoo. This enabled John Newhnam’s crew to edge Hans Rahmann’s by three points to capture the regatta’s eight-race multihull division. Commentating on Twin Sharks performance, veteran sailing commentator Paul “Flatty” Baker said, “Ten metres after they rounded the top mark their jib was down and their kite was up – that’s how you win races.”
Ray Waldron’s Surf Patrol claimed three third-place spots on the final day to clinch third overall in the four-boat class with Marc Chapus’ Moto Inzi settling for last spot.
And speaking of Surf Patrol, it was skipper Ray Waldron’s idea to stage this regatta as this time of year as a feeder regatta to the world-renowned Phuket King’s Cup, which sails in two weeks. And it really worked out well, with almost all participants praising the event and vowing to return next year.
A big shout-out to the PYC’s restaurant and kitchen staff, particularly Khun Jeab and Khun Om, who did a great job of keeping the participants fed and refreshed during the regatta. And although the regatta was designed for Phuket-based sailors, participants came from far and wide for the event including John Newhnam from the UK, Alfie Rowson from Indonesia, two of Ray Waldron’s crew from down under and Morten Jakobsen from Pattaya.
PRO Matt McGrath did a super job overseeing his second PYC regatta. He was ably assisted on the committee boat by Tim Willis, Mark Horwood, and Kathy de Cruz. ChandranNadarajan, as always, did a terrific job laying the marks and Mick Kealy gracefully donated and drove the photographer’s rib. And a big thank to Tim Milner for supplying his catamaran Charro as the committee boat for the regatta