Sunday, 6 December 2009
Neil Pryde's HiFi sailed a tight regatta to win the King's Cup for a fourth time to match PKC co-founder Bill Gasson's record. Image copyright Guy Nowell.
by Joseph Henry
The final day of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, December 5th His Majesty the King’s birthday, wrapped up what was one of the most competitive regattas in memory. Australasia’s best sailors lead a formidable racing class fleet said to be the strongest ever assembled in Asia. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is fast building a reputation as one of the world’s best sailing events.
The 2009 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is a week of sailing that had a lot of everything. The first three days saw shifty winds and strong currents, followed by some of the windiest conditions of up to 22 knots on the final two days of races.
Neil Pryde’s HiFi sailed with meticulous consistency to lead the racing class from start to finish. His final record of three 1st place, three 2nd place and one 4th place finish clinched the coveted King’s Cup trophy. Pryde previously had been in striking distance of the King’s Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2008 each year in second overall.
Hi Fi bears away at the windward mark. Image copyright Guy Nowell.
Chris Dickson and a group of America’s Cup sailors on Full Metal Jacket, briefly challenged Neil Pryde’s dominance mid week only to fall short. By day four strong winds, choppy seas and a long island race handed Frank Pong’s 76 foot Jelik II near perfect conditions. By race day five the overall results were, Pryde finishing in first place, followed by Frank Pong in second and Ray Roberts on Evolution Racing third.
Matt Allen skippered Ichi Ban thoroughly dominated the IRC 1 class with nine straight first place finishes, followed by Koull Baby in second and Switchblade third. In IRC 2, Royal Thai Navy 1, skippered by Wiwat Poonpat got into their stride in mid-week putting together a string of five consecutive wins. An outstanding result for Thailand.
In Premier Class, Baby Tonga – Hideaways Club won three firsts and three seconds earning the overall top spot. In second place, Shahtoosh was followed by Australian Maid in third.
Phuket-based sailor Henry Kaye on Thor left the rest of the multihull class wondering how to possibly beat him. Kaye’s nine first place finishes was a feat matched only by Matt Allen in IRC 1. Miss Saigon and Shanghai Baby finished in second and third respectively.
Henry Kaye's Thor wiped the Multihull Racing class with nine wins from nine starts. Image copyright Guy Nowell.
Twin Sharks took first place in Firefly 850 Sports class and was followed by SEA Property and Voodoo Child.
“The King’s Cup 2009 is another high mark for regattas in Asia. We are fast becoming known not only as the most loved regatta in Asia, but also are a very competitive regatta where sailors can test their mettle against some of the world’s best,” said Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee. “At the King’s Cup sailors compete, not for money, but for love of sailing one of the world’s most beautiful areas and the camaraderie of the sailing fraternity.”
One of the top events in the yachting world, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta is now in its 23rd year and continues to set its mark both as a magnificent maritime event and an annual attraction for up to 2,000 high spending visitors.
Asia's biggest and most popular regatta, the event was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand and has been held every year since, during the first week of December.
Under Royal Patronage, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.
King's Cup, Phuket