• Phuket King's Cup start, Photo Guy Nowell.
    Phuket King's Cup start, Photo Guy Nowell.
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2 December 2019, Phuket – Good, steady wind and some very close racing helped get the 33rd edition of the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta off to an exciting start on Monday.

A total of 75 boats are contesting 10 classes in this year’s regatta, as well as a large fleet taking part in the International Dinghyfleet for young sailors.

Two races were held on the first day with Hong Kong’s Nick Burns on WindSikher finishing first in the top flight IRC Zero class. Thailand’s Kevin Whitcraft finished second overall on THA 72, with defending champion Ray Roberts from Australia third on Team Hollywood.

“There was reasonably good wind today, between six and eight knots,” said Race Director Simon James. “The wind direction changed all the time and the tide was very strong today. By the time we had the second race, the wind became a bit lighter and the tide was getting even stronger.”

Russia’s Alexey Mashkin led an international field in the IRC 1 class aboard his boat MegaZip, followed by Japan’s Nanamori Yasuo on Karasu (Emagine) and Estonia’s Mati Sepp on Loco.

Chinese sailors shone in the IRC2 class, taking first and third places. Finishing first was Shen Sheng at the helm of BigBoys Sailing Team (Madame Butterfly), with Thai-based sailor Morten Jakobsen second on Over Here and China’s Minzhi Feng third on Highlead Encoragers (JUDY).

Hong Kong-based sailors finished first and second in the Premier Class, with Peter Cremers steering Shahtoosh into the lead, with Geoff Hill on Antipodes coming second. Local sailor Ithinai Yingsiri kept the Thai flag flying with a third place overall after the first two races.

The Multihull Racing Class honors went to Australian Dan Fidock on Fugazi, followed by Germany’s Gaetan Verhegge on Team Red Blood and Hong Kong’s Mark Thornburrow on Bonza.

The hotly contested locally-built multihull Firefly 850 Sport Class saw John Newnham on Twin Sharks win both races on Monday for the overall lead, followed by Hans Rahmann on Voodoo and Peter Taylor on Ballerina.

Closer to Kata Beach, more than 100 young sailors practiced for the International Dinghy fleet, with racing divided into Optimist Boys and Girls, Laser 4.7 (Mixed), Laser Standard, Laser Radial and 420 classes. Racing for the young sailors starts on December 4.

Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Organizing Committee, said: "For 2019 and in past years, we have had a special focus on growing the dinghy components of our overall regatta, as we in the sailing community in Thailand can feel the positive effect this is having over the years as the sport of sailing continues to grow in popularity here.”

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is organized by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.

There will be five days of racing for the keelboats and multihulls, with a reserve day on Thursday, 5th December. For the International Dinghy Classes, four consecutive days of racing will start from Wednesday, 4th December.

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