(03 Sep 2021) Phuket’s borders may have been closed to Thailand’s in-country residents, but that did not stop the organisers of the annual Phuket Raceweek from bringing together the island’s yachting community for a three-day sailing event.
“We discussed holding the event with key members of the local sailing community and they were all keen to go ahead,” said Byron Jones, Organiser. “We moved from our traditional July slot to August to accommodate local needs and while we had to ensure all was in line with local authority rules and COVID measures, the event went off without a hitch and everyone who took part had a great time.”
The Phuket Cruising Yacht Club provided the headquarters for the event, the 18th Raceweek since the event was launched in 2004.
This year, ten boats took part in three classes with the racing taking place in Chalong Bay from 27 to 29 August.
Close racing was the name of the game in the OMR Sports Multihulls class, with all entrants on the podium during the seven-race series. A fast finish with three wins from three races wasn’t quite enough for Warwick Downes’ Bonza, however, whose two third places and a fourth earlier on in the series meant they had to settle for second place behind Fugazi, skippered by local multihull guru Mark Pescott. Elsewhere in the class the two Firefly’s were having their own tussle, swapping places each race. By series end, it was Twin Sharks, skippered by Jason Corall, who edged out Jojo Tayong’s Voodoo to take third place and the Firefly bragging rights at the 2021 Phuket Raceweek.
A trio of locally-built Stealth catamarans battled it out in the OMR Cruising Multihulls class. Designer and builder of the Stealths, Alan Carwardine, was skippering Saffron and used his build expertise and local sailing knowledge to edge out the others and claim victory overall. While Mick Coleman’s Fez and Glywn Rowlands’ Twister 2 kept them honest, they had to settle for second and third respectively.
Niels Degenkolw’s team on Phoenix dominated the IRC Monohulls class winning six out of six and claiming the 2021 class crown. Mas Alegre and Night Train went head-to-head for second place bragging rights and by series end it was Paul Baker’s Mas Alegre that came out ahead claiming second with Paul Merry’s Night Train in third.
New to Phuket Raceweek this year was a Pursuit Race. Held on the second day, the entire fleet were set off according to their handicap (slowest boat first) and finished off Koh Larn in Chalong Bay. Fugazi claimed the honours in the Multihulls class while Phoenix came top in the Monohulls class.
Another first this year saw hydrofoil kites and wing foils compete on the final day. Taking out the inaugural wins were Zayyar Wit in the Hydrofoil Kite class and Alejandro Vernis in the Wing Foil class.
Despite the challenges of putting on an event during the ongoing global pandemic, the 2021 Phuket Raceweek was a showcase of Phuket’s determination to look forward with positivity and make the most out of a difficult situation.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of local sponsors and supporters who stepped up to help us put on the event. It’s certainly been a challenge, but hearing all the positive feedback from the sailors and the island community makes it worthwhile,” said Jones.
As there were so many
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