2016 was perhaps one of the toughest Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweeks. The line-up of 47 boats was a record and the diversity of nationalities – more than 25 in total – was impressive. However, conditions made the 13th event the most challenging with sailors encountering light winds, strong currents, testing swells, and 180-degree wind-shifts.
Held from 20 to 24 July off the southeast coast of Phuket, Raceweek was headquartered at the Cape Panwa Hotel with most of the fleet anchoring offshore enjoying the beachfront hospitality.
The organisers and title sponsor Cape Panwa Hotel delivered four lavish beachside parties with copious amounts of food and drink for the 500+ participants. It all kicked off with a Caribbean-themed opening party sponsored by Mount Gay Rum and finished with a lavish gala dinner presided over by Mr. Kalin Sarasin of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Admiral Kraisorn Chansuvanich, President of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand.
On the water standards were equally high, with a race management team lead by the unflappable World Sailing International Race Officer, Simon James, who spent more hours than anyone searching for wind, setting race courses, and timing the last boats home.
Across the eight classes this year the racing was close. With just two grand prix yachts in IRC Racing I class it was a chance for these TP52s to get some early points on the board for the 2016/17 AsianYachting Grand Prix championship, and a chance to see where they are at with their boat optimisation programmes. Competing for the second time was Ray Roberts and his crew on Millennium Racing who managed to get the better of past winner Peter Ahern and his crew on Oi!
In IRC Racing II it was a competition of four Beneteau yachts against three others, and this time round it was the ‘others’ that sealed it. Phuket-based Australian, Scott Bradley, skippered Emagine to a one-point win over David Dimmock’s Singapore entry Loco, with Gust, skippered by Ben Copley, securing third.
It was a tough battle in IRC Racing III between an Australian crew who chartered the Mumm 30 Foreign Affair and Dane Niels Degenkolw and his Thai crew on Phoenix and by the end of the series Phoenix finished three points clear of Foreign Affair with Sailescape’s Farrgo Express in third.
Close racing in the Cruising / Charter class saw everything poised for a final day showdown. However, with racing called off in the afternoon of the final day due to lack of wind, Remington was crowned class winner by a single point from BeauX Esprits in second and Venture in third.
New for this year was the Platu One Design class. Racing with identical sails, these pocket-rockets enjoyed some bow-to-bow racing and after four races it was the Singapore entry Phuket Boat Lagoon Weasel that came on top, one point ahead of Phuket Boat Lagoon Fox with Absolute One Design third.
There were 19 multihulls competing over three classes. Winning three out of four, Alan Carwardine’s Asia Catamarans Hurricane defended their title from John Coffin’s Java and Peter Wood’s Top Cat.
Also defending his title, John Newnham on Twin Sharks raced in the Firefly 850 Sport one-design class and won with a comfortable three-point victory over Voodoo in second and Blue Noze in third.
The Corsair class saw four identical Corsair Pulse 600s on the start line and Mick Tilden on Pixalux won by seven points from SuDu 4 who won the tie-break from Zam Bevan’s Multihull Solutions H30 in third.
Now in its 13th year, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek is aging gracefully and this year welcomed a record fleet. Also encouraging is the number of Thai sailors taking part, making up 20% of the fleet this year. While the fickle wind made it tough for all, the onshore facilities and services were excellent while the race management team did an excellent job in trying circumstances.
The 14th Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek will take place from 19 to 23 July, 2017.
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek
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