Karsting away on the final day

With the northeasterly winds blowing back with full force on the fourth and final day, the 32-boat fleet rocketed out of Ao Nang in a downwind sprint headed straight for Ao Chalong in Phuket.

The Bay Regatta was won this year by Arbuzov Andrey’s Ruby Tuesday, who took Racing Class honours adding another second-place finish today to go along with two first-place finishes for a total of six points. Andrew Marshall’s Judy was across the board with first through fourth-place finishes notching up ten points to take second. Then Ray Waldron’s Surf Patrol, whose crew took home the “snappy dresser” award, came in third overall, winning today to add to two third-place finishes and a fifth-spot placing for a total of twelve points. It may be the first time in Bay Regatta history that Niels Degenkolw didn’t place in the top three, as Phoenix came in fourth overall with 15 points, Moya Hin rounded out the Racing Class finishing fifth with 17 points.

In what proved the most amazing class to watch the multihull division was won by the Amazing Stransky family on Fantasia, as the boat had three first-place finishes on corrected time to go with a second-spot placing for five points to break the ever-so fast Mojo’s regatta winning streak (Mojo had a first, a third, and two fourth-place finishes for 12 points ). Wily Mark Pescott’s Hurricane gave both boats a run for the money and only finished a point behind Mojo. Hans Rahman’s Voodoo and John Newnham’s Twin Sharks had their own little battle going throughout the regatta, and when it was all said and counted the former finished fourth with 16 points while the latter settled into fifth place with 22 points. The all-women’s squad of Lady Sevenstar, skippered by Aussie Liz Schoch, performed admirably taking eighth spot overall in the eleven-boat division.

Bareboats was strictly a Russian affair with Nikiforov Evenii’s Kinnon finishing first every day and Igor Skvortsov’s Uhuru finishing second every day. Even though Andy Dowden didn’t race the final day (he and his crew went swimming) his three third-place finishes on PIMEX Lawan were enough to guarantee third spot overall in the division. And, yes that was Andy you saw with a Russian phrasebook in his back-pocket. David Munt’s Chalai and Peter Ohlemacher’s Fidgi rounded out the division with fourth and fifth spot, respectively.

You had to figure it would be difficult to keep Mr “Yee Haw” of the leaderboard, and it was as Jim Ellis’s Remington won the Bay Regatta’s  Cruising A Class for a record seventh time accumulating only four points with four first-place finishes — a clean sweep. Richard Macfarlane’s Aida came second with three second-place finishes and a third-place finish for a total of 9 points. Nick Band’s Emerald Blue, who had a spinnaker go walkabout on the second day, rallied with a third and second place finish on the final two days to take third overall with twelve points.

The Gillows once again proved that sea water runs that that family’s veins as Kevin and Mia led Poco to three first-place finishes and a third for six points overall taking the division from Gavin Welman’s Rascal who settled for second with  nine points and  Barry Wickets’ Kay Sira came in third with twelve points.

This regatta is more famous for the spectacular settings of its courses and parties than the sense of sailing triumph, and continues to evolve while maintaining its original brief – to bring the joys of sailing right into the midst of the spectacular environments that surround Phuket.

It appeals to the serious, the not-so-serious and the not-at-all-serious “racing” sailors, combining spectacular natural scenery with lively parties and some sail boat racing. The region’s yachting community visited three of Thailand’s most scenic provinces in four days of racing and five days of partying.

Affectionately billed as “The Fun Regatta”, the regatta leads participants through a course of different anchorages and party venues. Camaraderie and fun are cornerstones of the event and as participants end up reliving each day’s sailing with post-race beverages and lively conversation followed by a casual dinner, a prize-giving ceremony and entertainment on shore.

Sailing scribe Kate Hubert has described the regatta thus: “The PNBR has always attracted cruising yachties – those who have abandoned the rat race and traded the bricks-and-mortar for a life afloat. So in addition to the toned bodies of the young race crews, there were also families, retirees, at least four cats and one dog in the race. The tortoises who carried their homes with them may not have looked as shiny as the racing hares, but sometimes they finished ahead of the presumed front-runners. “

In the deep channels between the spectacular, vertical rock walls, the regatta’s philosophy of fun-amidst-beauty shines through.

And the oracle of Southeast Asian sailing Captain Marty notes the regatta’s distinction, “Why does this regatta have a reputation for being the ‘Fun Regatta’ compared to the usual ‘gung ho’ racing events that we have grown accustomed to? Well you only have to take a look around the moored yachts. There are families with children bonding together, groups of old friends, drinking buddies reacquainting themselves, familiar racing crews and foreign charter guests sharing the experience with some old-fashioned camaraderie. If you are going to spend so much money on a boat it’s good to see the owners fully utilize the vessel for what it is designed to be used for.

“Instead of racing for a couple hours and going home, be prepared to live aboard for four days and use the galley, toilet and inbuilt luxury interior for what it’s worth. At the same time, the crew can develop some seamanship qualities and other boat handling skills not found on the race course. Make no mistake though, whether it’s a racing or cruising boat, monohull or multihull the racing element is alive and well. When the starting signal sounds it is sheet on and go for it. After the racing, it’s off to the overnight anchorage area and prepare for another prize-giving party at some of the finest resorts on offer in Thailand. Then get ready to do it all again the next day. To get through it all, calls for an exercise in endurance.”

The Bay Regatta is a non-profit event. Thanks to the support of sponsorship, the Regatta can continue to provide varied and interesting race courses through some of the most breathtaking maritime scenery in the world to reach unparalleled anchorages and party venues – all factors which contribute to this exciting event which keeps participants coming back each year. Many thanks to the hard work of Chandran, Graham, Eddie and Claire on the committee boat who did a great job working with Simon James making sure the starts and finishes were “ever so well done”. Great time had by all, good job ACYC.

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