2011 -12 AYGP
June 2nd: Towards the end of the first race on the final day, the dark clouds building over Samui descended on the race course bringing with it 40+ knot gusts and a torrential downpour. Overpowered boats resulted in massive broaches, shredded spinnakers, a broken mast, crew overboard and many bruised egos causing havoc as the yachts struggled to reach the finish line. Those that hunkered down and survived the initial front went on to score well and some managed to run away with the class title. As things settled down a very depleted fleet fronted for the second and final race to complete the class schedules.
The IRC 0 fleet only needed one more race to fill their schedule and what a race it turned out to be. What looked like the usual procession with Marcus Blackmore's TP52 Hooligan leading on handicap and Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire fighting it out for second place with Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi, the situation changed within minutes of the storm front hitting the fleet as they closed in on the finish line. First up, person overboard on Hooligan, followed by a massive broach to stop and completely shred the spinnaker. Neil Pryde grasped the opportunity to gybe inside Freefire as the gust hit and took off like a drovers dog for the finish line to win the race. Chan's Freefire chose to go bare headed and throw caution to the wind thereby forgoing the position. The overall result is Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan walking away with the IRC 0 title, Neil Pryde's Hi Fi regains second place and Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire settles on third after repairing a broken carbon fibre boom in record time and it miraculously holding together in the conditions. Geoff Hill's Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, slid around the course and managed to finish before the storm hit to make it a clean run of line honours on the score sheet.
Although not winning the regatta, Neil Pryde and his Welbourn 52 Hi Fi have the distinction of winning the 2011-12 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards. It all came down to this regatta when Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake had a chance of toppling them. Despite winning their class, Burns and Kinmonth fell seven points short in the Skipper award and a mere two points short in the Boat award. Full report to follow next week.
All eyes were on the hotly contested IRC 1 Class, who had two races to complete their schedule. Going into the final day Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 held a one point advantage over Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake. After the first lap it was to close to call but when they emerged from the rain squall quite a lot of separation had occurred. EFG Bank Mandrake picked up the win and fifth place for Foxy Lady 6 meant they had effectively thrown away any chance of winning the title. The final race saw David Ross' Kerr 40 KukuKERchu score the daily double and line honours sparing partner Steve Manning's Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 filling the breach with second place. Although Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 slotted into third place the damage was already done. By consistently scoring in the top four places Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake win the title followed by Foxy Lady 6 and Walawala 2.
Yesterday Peter Churchouse's Warwick 64 Moonblue 2 ended up tied on six points at the top of the Premier Class table with Gary Baguley's H&P 52 El Coyote. Despite being recalled at the start El Coyote managed to claw their way back in during the storm and claim victory over Moonblue 2. The tables were turned in the second race and the eventual tie was broken by nature of Churchouse's Moonblue 2 winning the last race. After experiencing some difficulties during the week Brad Kirk's Farr IOR Dynamite finished in third overall.
A depleted IRC 2 fleet gingerly approached the strong conditions with reefed sails and caution. Stuart Collins Bavaria 39 Reef Knot made a fist of handling the heavy going and by trading first and second places with Lennart Fahlgren Tasker 32 Amanda in the two races today, plus discarding their worst score has them finishing in the respective order in the overall stakes. Third place for Greg Coops X 372 Abraxas has the defending champions relinquishing the title but vowing to return next year.
While the rest of the Multihull Class were sailing on the edge and having difficulties, Andrew Stransky stuck to his guns and conservatively guided his Seven Seas 50 Fantasia around the track, to claim two daily doubles and clinch the title on their first attempt. Henry Kaye's Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot threw away an enormous lead and disappeared out the back door. Kunta has been plugging away on his Radical Bay 8000 Crazy Horse and by staying on for the final race to score two second places today has secured second overall in front of some classy acts that couldn't stand the pace.
More information, photos and results will be posted on http://www.samuiregatta.com/
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