Tropical Island Regatta

'Tropical Island Regatta'
Koh Samui, Thailand. 31 May, 2010 - The 2010 Regatta began today
in glorious conditions, with blue skies overhead and clear blue waters below, as the
racing  fleet  headed  out  to  sea  for  this  tropical  island  regatta  off  the  shores  of
Chaweng Beach, located on the eastern coastline of Koh Samui, Thailand.
2009 Regatta Racing Class Winner, Neil Pryde and the crew of Hi Fi,
have returned  to defend  their  title - and will be expecting  fierce competition  in  their
division from Ray Roberts of Evolution Racing, Frank Pong of Jelik II (Boracay) and
Nick Burns/Fred Kinmouth of EFG Bank Mandrake. 
The  regatta will  see  five  classes  battling  it  out  over  the week-long  event: Racing,
IRC-1, Premier, Bareboat/Cruising and Multihulls. 
On Day 1, after a short delay while the start boat headed for a wind line that looked
promising, all classes got away in 5 to 7 knots of wind. PRO Ross Chisholm elected
to  send  the Premier Cruisers, Bareboat/Cruising  and Multihull Classes  on Coastal
Course  1,  up  to  Koh  Phangan.  The Racing  and  IRC Classes  stayed  close  by  for
short windward/leeward courses. 
The much-anticipated clash between Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing and Neil
Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi came alive again today, with both fully intent on not giving
an  inch  to  each  other.  Frank  Pong's  76ft  Jelik  II  (Boracay)  is  prepared  to  get  in
amongst  the  mix  and  the  Nick  Burns/Fred  Kinmonth  co-owned  Mills  51  EFG
Mandrake are definitely not here  just  to make up  the numbers. Two close but clear
starts saw the racers either heading for the coast or staying further offshore. Not only
was  the adverse current stronger offshore, but  the patchy nature of  the breeze had
tacticians  constantly  scratching  their heads. So much  so  that during Race 1, Hi Fi
and Evolution Racing changed places on nearly every  leg of  the  race and much  to
everyone's  surprise  in  Race  2  all  three  50  footers  led  Frank  Pong's  76ft  Jelik  II
around  the  first mark and both Pryde and Roberts crossed  the  finish  line  in  front of
Pong. After a good opening round jostle, Neil Pryde's Hi Fi came out on top in both races  with  Ray  Roberts  Evolution  Racing  in  second  and  the  co-owned  Nick
Burns/Fred Kinmonth EFG Mandrake in third.
In  the  IRC Class, a battle of big proportions developed between Ben Copley's Club
Swan NY 42OD Katsu and David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu. Race 1 was shortened
at the top mark on the second rounding, which saw Katsu take out the daily double in
front of Kukukerchu. However  the  roles were  reversed  in Race 2 with Kukukerchu
taking out  the handicap honours which has  them  tied on overall points after Day 1.
Brad Kirk's Farr 42 Dynamite did the best of the rest by posting two third places and
making the Thai based foreign crew members very happy in their home waters.
The early leaders in the Premier Cruisers sailed into some light patches on the long
run  home. At  the  end  of  the  day  it was  the  smallest  in  the  class, Gary Baguley's
Holman & Pye 52 El Coyote,  that  took handicap honours  from Peter Forsythe and
Jing Lee's X55 Xena  that sailed solidly  to claim  line honours. Jon Wardill's Cassidy
55 Australian Maid was one of the yachts that sailed down the middle of the course
to settle on third place.
The interesting mix of entries in the Bareboat/Cruising class on the coastal race saw
John Stall's Atkins 34 Lanta Concept take out the daily double in front of the Sunsail
boats. Nigel Hopkins Oyster Lightwave 48 Celere jumped up into second place after
handicaps  have  been  applied.  Scott  Finisten's  Oceanis  461  Andrew  Short  -
Constanza slipped  into  third place -  the  first  time  in  two years at  this event  that  this
boat has lost a race. 
In  the Multihull  class Kirati Assakul's  (Nim) Crowther  42 Sonic  is  up  against  three
locally built bi-plane rigged catamarans and