Neil down and arise 2009 King's Cup Champion
05:12:09 The morning started with what now has become the customary sail-past to celebrate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyedej 82nd birthday. Long Live the King and may there be many more King's Cup held in HM and future Thai monarchs honour. As the wind was already pumping in at around 20 knots it was off to the race course were PRO Jerry Rollin was preparing two further windward/leeward races to conclude this years program.
Some of the class winners have already been decided yesterday but in other classes only one point separated the leaders, so they had everything to play for. The high attrition rate continued as the heavy going took its toll. All eyes were on the start line and the different tactics being employed by skippers that depended on which boats they had to beat to improve their standing.
At the conclusion of racing yesterday Neil Pryde's custom Welbourne 52 Hi Fi held a substantial points lead and only needed to go around the course to be crowned 2009 champions. In line with present performance, Hi Fi scored second place in Race 8 to gallop way with the trophy and did not have to compete in the last race. Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing seems to be configured for stronger winds and winning both races today have leaped up into third overall, displacing Chris Meads Corby 43 Full Metal Jacket down into fourth overall. Third and second places for Frank Pong's 75ft Jelik II who have pushed hard at the front of the fleet, plus in and out of the podium places all week, broke yesterdays tie with Full Metal Jacket and held on for second overall.
After a slight dip in performance Anthony Hastings Beneteau 53 Baby Tonga-Hideaways Club bounced back with first place today, to rap up the Premier Cruising title in fine style. The last few races Robert Tanner's Shahtoosh has been whittling away at Baby Tonga's lead but fourth place today ended their progress up the charts and had to settle on second overall. Consistently scoring third place, Jon Wardill's Cassidy 55 Australian Maid seemed destined to finish up in third overall. The Russian entrant led by Ermakov Ilya's Beneteau 53 Ocean Agassy slipped in a second place today to complete the regatta in fourth overall.
What more can be said about Matt Allen's Beneteau First 44.7 Ichi Ban? They have won eight races in a row to successfully defend the IRC 1 title, which they won in similar fashion last year. This team represents some of Australia's top sailors from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia that will be competing on the Sydney Hobart Race latter this month. Peter Wintle's Kerr 11.3 Koull Baby has pushed the envelope all week and third and first places today is enough to secure second overall. Flying the flag for Japan, Yasuo Namamori's chartered Farr 43 Switchblade held on for third overall which is a commendable effort in the 16 boat class.
Coming into the final races Peter Dyer's modified Humphrys ¾ Toner Team Bentley held a one point lead over Wiwat Poonpat's Farr MRX Royal Thai Navy 1. Effectively the Thai Navy had to win the races today to successfully defend the title. Holding a tight cover at the start the Navy got away first and proceeded to keep a close watch on Team Bentley around the course to notch up a win in Race 8. The same sequence followed in Race 9 with the Navy again coming to the fore to romp away with the trophy for the second year in succession. Second and sixth places for Stuart Williamson's Beneteau 34.7 Endeavour of Whitby is enough to hold onto third overall in a very competitive 25 boat fleet.
Third place today after stringing together three wins in a row, Terry McLaughlin's Sunsail Odyssey 35 Princess Sharda goes on to win the Bareboat Charter Class by a country mile. John Ford's Baveria 34 Little Eva bravely clung on to secure second overall. The smallest boat in the 25 strong fleet Keisuke Nagamatsu Jeanneau Sunlight 30 Fidgi has been nick named the 'Giant Slayer' when they took home the third place overall trophy to Canada with them.
Despite finishing with second place Peter Wood's Commanche 42 Windstar earlier run of four wins in a row earns them the Modern Classic Class trophy. Two wins in a row for Nick Band's S&S 48 Ketch Emerald Blue secures them second overall but a little to late in proceedings to topple Windstar. Making a return after a few years absence Reinhard Haiber's legendary Meridien 47 Pytheas Aura clung on through thick and thin to add third overall to their trophy cabinet.
Coming into today's final Bob Ashman's Dehler 39 Simba held a one point lead over Rod Heikell's Warwick Cardinal 46 Skylax. Only four minutes separated them at the finish and Skylax corrected out in front of Simba. The boats ended up tied on points but after countback Rod Heikell's Skylax leap frogs Simba for the overall Cruising Class trophy. Simon Piff's Lavranos 34 Rainbow Dream did just enough to hold onto third overall after a dip in performance today.
Third place in Race 8 was enough for Brent Gribble's Twin Sharks to sew up the Firefly 850 Sports class for the first time. Hans Rahman's Voodoo Child held on for second overall, as a broken mast in Race 8 on Damian Ford's SEA Property saw their only chance fade away and had to settle on third overall.
There is no stopping Henry Kaye and Fergus Wilmer's Seacart 30 Thor in the Multihull Racing class, who did not even need to go out today but graciously went and won two more races to keep a clean score sheet and bag the trophy on their first attempt. David Liddell's Corsair 37 Miss Saigon may have to play the bridesmaid role but as it comes down to 10 seconds separation on the last race their confidence is boosted for other events. Three retirements in a row for Khun Redab's Farrier 9A Seamico Cedar Swan left the door open for Neil Ayre's Corsair 28R Shanghai Baby to jump into third place overall.
In the two boat Multihull Cruising Class, Timothy Robins Lagoon 500 Nipper added another win to their tally and claim overall victory. Yoshiaki Fujitani's Prout Event 34 Sunfish III finally did manage to finish a race and score second overall.
The Classic Class yachts have had an up and down sort of a regatta. After scoring a Race 1 disqualification and Did Not Finish (DNF) in Race 4, Rene Tiemessen's Phillip Rhodes designed Alondra managed to win two races and end up tied on points with Christopher Edwards Baltic Fishing boat Schwalbe. This was broken in favour of Alondra leaving Schwalbe in second and Simon Morris' Aussie classic Sirius 1935 putting on a brave face to round up in third overall.
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