Phuket King’s Cup 2014, day 1 – a softly softly start

Posted on December 2, 2014

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Hot and brassy out on the water for a 10.00 start, and the various cruiser fleets (Bareboat A, B and Open, Cruisers, Classics, Modern Classics and so on) started in gentle zephyrs (or very soft breeze, if you prefer) from the unusual angle of 350 deg give or take a puff or two. For those of us accustomed to watching a King’s Cup fleet take of at 070 or thereabouts it was really quite disconcerting. But hey a change is as good as a rest, no?

A reaching start for some, and for the rest a short trip to a starboard-hand windward mark and then bear away for a trip down south to the islands – Koh Hi, Koh Aeo – and back again. Or not, as the case may be. After the excitement of the starboard mark and a solid pack of Sunsail 40-footers that made Hong Kong traffic look like a free-flowing freeway, the run south became first a trudge and then a crawl and after a very long time indeed the RO was obliged to call short finishes for all but Premier Cruising and – with most of the classes ‘out of time’ – take the times at the first gate as finishing times. Hot and frustrating is probably a decent and succinct summary.

The racing divisions opened the regatta with windward–leeward courses – three for the IRC classes and the Firefly 850s, and two for everyone else. The breeze was just as funky off Nai Harn as it was up at Kata, but the lighter race boats do move a good deal more easily than the cruisers. Karl Kwok last raced Beau Geste here in 2000, but clearly has not forgetten which way to go round the King’s Cup racecourse, scoring 2,1,1 to lead the IRC 0 class, straight out of the box. Neil Pryde’s men in red were snapping at his heels to score 1,2,2, and each race was won by a margin of less than 60 seconds. Expect more duelling through the week.

There’s no point in running a talking results sheet here – you can see all the numbers up on the King’s Cup website (www.kingscup.com). Probably everyone from sailors to Race Officers (not forgetting the ever-attentive media hounds, always hoping for 15kts of breeze, a 2m swell, blue skies, sunshine and Samantha Fox on the foredeck) would like some more wind. But still, Asia’s ‘senior’ regatta is properly underway and tomorrow we’ll go out and have another look.

PS And don’t forget the Oppies, sailing in Kata Bay…

Pass the sunblock, and don’t forget to keep drinking. Water.

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