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Samui Regatta Sails Ahead
The eleventh annual Samui Regatta took place from May 26 to June 2 and once again drew crews competitive sailors from around Asia and beyond for the final event in the Asian Yachting Grand Prix season.
Those who have been involved in the event since its inception were pleased to see a return to the original regatta concept, which has traditionally focused on a fine blend of top class sailing and fun, while aptly reflecting the laid back charm of Koh Samui's tropical culture and surroundings.
Challenging conditions with plenty of wind and angry seas during the daily races made for some top class sailing, while revelry and celebrations dominated the proceedings after dark, with particular highlights including the official party at Samui's popular beach club, Beach Republic, and the lavish Gala Dinner on the final day at Centara grand Beach Resort.
The race reports painted an adventurous picture in the local and international press, with dramatic news of broaches, shredded spinnakers, a broken mast and one crew member even thrown overboard in the final race. The week ended with quite a few bruised bodies and egos as the yachts competed hard against each other and mother nature for the line and class honours, with experience, skill and hard-nosed determination prevailing as those that survived the on water dramas went on to score well and run away with the class titles.
The overall result in the IRC 0 class saw Samui newcomer Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan sail away with the trophy, with regular celebrity competitor Neil Pryde's Hi Fi grabbing second place and Sam Chan's TP52 Freefire settling for third after repairing a broken carbon fibre boom in record time. Geoff Hill's spectacular Dubois 90 Genuine Risk cruised around the course in style, and managed to finish before the storm hit on the final day to clock up a clean run of line honours on the score sheet.
In the other classes, Peter Churchouse's Warwick 64 Moonblue 2 took the IRC Premiere class title, while in IRC 2 class, consistency paid off for Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake. Andrew Stransky also stuck to his guns as he guided the Seven Seas 50 Fantasia to victory in the Multihull Class, closely followed by local Samui favourite Kunta on his Radical Bay 8000, Crazy Horse.
As was the case on the water this year, a strong community sailing spirit ensured this year's Samui Regatta was a notable all round success. Simon James of Regattas Asia stepped in at the last minute to organise the event, and at the Gala Dinner in Chaweng, he thanked the local authorities, sponsors and long time supporters for their valuable help.
After an action packed week, and with some distinguished new competitors joining the event this year, the new organisers are looking forward to building an even bigger and better event in 2013, while maintaining its unique appeal as the region's top Tropical Island Regatta.