Tide challenges the fleet on at Phuket Race Week

AP was the first order of the day today, and a popular decision by Race Officer Simon James it proved to be as all the sailors gathered at the beachfront and enjoyed a swim and a mocktail or three at Cape Panwa Hotel's all-new Bamboo Bar. A little after midday, the flag was lowered and everyone headed out to the start area to the sight of a steady 5-6 knot breeze.

The day proved to be interesting on many fronts but will likely be remembered for the “tide challenge” at the leeward mark, as boat-after-boat misjudged the strength (and direction) of the tide and tried to sideways-shuffle their way around the mark.

With sailors keen to get started, the first race, IRC Racing I, got underway after 13:30 and a clean start saw Oi! (AUS) at the pin and Kodo (AUS) at the committee boat. A tacking duel with Kodo covering Oi! upto the top mark ensued. Oi! rounded first and held their lead to the finish. Having to give time to Oi! Kodo had to settle for another second place, but by an improving margin, just 76 seconds. The tables were turned in Race 2 as Oi! were OCS – one of 13 OCS calls today. Kodo took full advantage and sailed a clean race to hold their lead on-the-water and claim the daily double for Race 2.

In IRC Racing II Fujin (AUS) continued their startline form, winning both only to loose ground over the course to the smaller Jessandra II (AUS) and Foo 4 (USA). Foo 4 rounded the bottom mark first in Race 1 but were forced wide by the Firefly 850 Advanced Racing Mamba (GBR) opening the door for Jessandra II whose slick crew work helped make up some time. Fujin, who rounded third, also got caught up in traffic and were similarly pushed wide by the Corsair Pulse 600 SuDu 4 (THA), loosing time on the leaders. Foo 4 went onto the win the Race from Jessandra II with Ruby Tuesday (NZL) in third.

While Fujin nailed the pin end of the line in Race 2, Ruby Tuesday, Foo4, Foreign Affair (AUS) and Old Mutual International Endeavour of Whitby (MAS) were all OCS, turning it into a two-horse race between Jessandra II and Fujin.

At the bottom mark of leg one, Jessandra II had a one boat length lead over Foo 4 who fumbled the mark rounding and allowed Fujin to make up time. This proved valuable as Fujin went on to claim second place on corrected time, two minutes behind Jessandra II who now leads Foo 4 in the class standings by four points with one day to go.

Things are hotting up in the Cruising class. While Krabi Boat Lagoon Piccolo (GBR) held the overnight lead, they were being pushed hard by the Thai crew on Sansiri Windstar (THA) and the all female crew on Sailescapes Fargo Ladies (AUS). 

On the first start today, it was the two Farr 1104's that got the better of the fleet: Krabi Boat Lagoon Piccolo at the committee boat end and Sailescapes Fargo Ladies at the pin. As the class headed back down to the bottom mark the tide had turned it into a short-stay car park. Krabi Boat Lagoon Piccolo came in from the right side of the course and rounded with speed while Sailescapes Fargo Ladies came down the middle of the course and struggled to lay the mark, loosing time and with it their chance of an upset.

While the Farr 1104's were battling it out, the day belonged to Patinyakorn “Ging” Buranrom and his crew on Sansiri Windstar who sailed the conditions well and put in a solid performance to take wins in both races and with it, jump to the top of the class standings by a single point.

The Charter/ Bareboat class also completed two races today and it was Venture (AUS) who took a comfortable win in Race 1 by almost ten minutes on corrected time, but after being called OCS in Race 2, they struggled to make up the lost time and had to settle for third as Fei Yu (AUS) sailed to their first win of the Series.

The Stealth cats enjoyed some close racing today but OCS for WOW (GBR), Java (CHN) and Image Asia Nina (THA) gifted the Race 1 win to Asia Catamarans Hurricane (AUS). They went on to school the class winning the second race also. Two from two on the day, and unbeaten in the series.

Elsewhere in the multihull classes, there was some exciting racing between the Firefly 850. Questionable start tactics by Twin Sharks (GBR) saw them make the start of Race 1 with little time to spare, however, they sailed a near perfect tactical race and crossed for the win 27 seconds ahead of Voodoo (GER).

Twin Sharks went on to win Race 2 also and with it now lead the series with three wins from three races.

It was a day to forget for Blue Noze (GBR) who were pushed inside the bottom mark by a charging Advanced Racing Mamba (GBR), only to then t-bone Kantus' Bride (Cruising class) on their second attempt to round. No damage to either boat, but perhaps some damage to their ego as Blue Noze finished last in that race. In Race 2, however, they righted some wrongs with a second place finish, just 15 seconds behind the winner, Twin Sharks.

Following an OCS in Race 2 and an incident with the top mark, Ian Coulsen on Voodoo calmly announced their retirement with a phrase that will likely be recorded in the Phuket Raceweek annals, saying “Sorry about your mark, but it's still floating.”

All four Corsair Pulse 600's were out on the startline for the Corsair class and enjoying the better breeze today there was some close racing at the top. The team of Andrew DeBruin and Zam Bevan on SuDu 1 scored two firsts while the other podium places were shared between SuDu 3 and SuDu 4.

After a tricky first two days, the wind returned and the Race Management team deserve a lot of credit for getting in two races for all. Racing finishes tomorrow and the weather forecast is for the best day of racing yet.

– Regatta Media

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