Sailing Among The Karsts - The 5th QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta 2003

By Duncan Worthington of FOOTPRINTSASIA

Now in it’s fifth year, the QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta has firmly marked it’s place on the Asian Yachting calendar. A little different from other regattas in the region, the QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta, held among the stunning karsts of Phang Nga Bay, Thailand, has a strong focus on fun. Taking place over three days, at Chinese New Year, in some of the region’s best scenery and parties each evening being a major attraction of the event.

With principal sponsor QBE Insurance supporting for the 4th consecutive year, the 2003 event followed a similar format to the previous year with 29 taking place in the event. Racing started from Rai Ley Beach, Krabi on Sunday 2nd Feb in mid-light winds, only to see the wind die out by midday and the majority of the fleet not posting a finish. Papillion II led the multihull fleet from start to finish, taking a surprise win over pre-tournament favourite Summersalt. Spirits were cheered that night at Chong Lat where the party was hosted onboard The Nakalay Junk.

Monday 3rd Feb looked a little more promising as the wind came in early and many got off to a flying start. However, those who didn’t later suffered as the wind again cut out at the stroke of midday and many boats suffered in the afternoons fickle winds and the wind shadows of islands Koh Pai and Koh Roi.

Pytheas Aura and Blue Moon took their second victories in Racing and Cruising B classes respectively, while Summersalt took a commanding victory in the multihulls and Platu 112 took their second first in Cruising Class A. The evenings party was graciously hosted at the Natural Island Resort on Koh Prao in the Bay.

The final race, south of Koh Phanak back to the Yacht Haven Marina was without doubt the best. A 15 mile race for the Cruising classes saw a relatively early finish as the wind lasted past midday. An extra sausage at the beginning of the course fro the Racing and Multihulls saw their 23 mile course finishing close to the cruisers. With spinnakers up most of the way, it was a great sight to see as the fleet came up the channel and finished of Yacht Haven Marina. Having not yet posted a finish, Image asia Ceberus got off to a flying start only to see the whole start recalled due to an error from race management. They never really recovered after that, with Summersalt again taking line honours, race win and overall class honours. Platu 112 and Blue Moon took class wins in Cruising A and Cruising B respectively, making both outright class winners with unbeaten records.

Deemed a success by participants and organisers alike, the 5th regatta saw a drop in numbers from 36 the previous year to 29, much the same trend that has appeared in other regattas in the region.

Held over Chinese New Year every year, for more info email info@bayregatta.com or check out the website www.bayregattta.com. Dates of the 2004 event and pictures from this event will be posted soon.

Series Results:

Racing Class: Pytheas Aura, Fi Tuen, Antigua VII.

Crusing Class A: Platu 112, Simba, Tag.

Cruising Class B: Blue Moon, Rock N Blues, Fat Cat.

Muiltihulls: Summresalt, Papillion II, Securicor Fine Pitch.

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