30th May 2014 - 19:34Event Media
Stronger breeze and longer courses mix it up on Day 4 of the 2014 Samui Regatta
After three days of windward/leewards, Principal Race Officer Ross Chisholm took advantage of the best breeze of the regatta yet to set the fleet two races. The startline was set approximately five miles north of Chaweng in the channel between Samui and Phang Ngan islands where the best breeze had been predicted, and it arrived perfectly on time blowing over 10 knots for the 10am start.
The first windward/leeward went off in double quick time. During the passage race, however, the wind dropped off giving the tail-enders chance to make up some ground on those out front.
Frank Pong and his crew on Jelik are on a roll. After their two wins yesterday, today's good breeze made it look like a great day to be racing a 75-footer. And indeed it was. Jelik quickly moved to the front of the IRC Zero fleet in Race 1 and stretched out enough of a lead to win the daily line honours and handicap double. Second over the line and knocking on the door was the Ahern/ Bailey/ Wilmer TP52 Oi!, which also took second place on corrected time edging Neil Pryde's HiFi into third by less than 30 seconds.
Known for his like of longer passage races, Pong's Jelik was quick off the line and out of sight in Race 2, while the battle behind was between Oi!, HiFi and Sam Chan's Freefire 52. Despite taking line honours yet again, Jelik this time hadn't put enough distance between them and the rest of the fleet due in large part to the fading breeze, and on corrected time had to settle for third. The win went to Oi! and with it they move to within one point of the leaders Jelik and HiFi, who are tied on 15 points each.
Current IRC Zero standings: Jelik (15), HiFi (15) and Oi! (16).
Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia led the way in IRC One, with Singapore's Bill Bremner the undisputed master of the class so far. No new-comer to winning awards on the Asian racing circuit, Bremner has so far put in a stella performance with his Foxy Lady VI crew and placed first in the windward/leeward opener of the day. Another first, but the margins are getting smaller, this time just six seconds. Marcel Liedts, meanwhile, sailed Elektra to another line honours and second place on corrected time ahead of the rapidly improving Jessandra II skippered by Roland Dane.
The second race gave the boats and crew a chance to stretch their legs over 22 nautical miles, and it was a chance to for the asymmetrical's to show the symmetrical's what they had. Despite the perceived advantage, only two minutes separated the top three boats on corrected time.
Knocking Foxy Lady VI off the top for the first time this week was Anthony Root and his crew on Red Kite II who sailed a brilliant race to win by just under a minute. Foxy Lady VI also sailed well to place second ahead of Jessandra II. Elektra's sixth place in the second race of the day opens the door to the rapidly improving Jessandra II who with two races left on the final day need to bridge the six point gap to claim third.
Current IRC One standings: Foxy Lady VI (7), Elektra (18) and Jessandra II (24).
While Sansiri and El Coyote are battling for the top places in IRC Two, Mick Grover's Moon Shadow is closing the gap and today finished just 30 seconds back in third in Race 1. Gary Baguley's El Coyote took the win over Patinyakorn Buranrom's Sansiri in Race 1 but the tables were turned in Race 2 on the longer course when the all-Thai crew finished a clear six minutes ahead of El Coyote with Moon Shadow, again, placing third.
Scoring the IRC Two boats under the NHC Performance handicap system, the Chinese entry HTRIP scored their first bullet of the series in the first race of the day but had to settle for third in the second race. El Coyote finished with a 2,4, Sansiri a 4,1 and Moon Shadow a 3,2.
Current IRC Two standings (IRC scoring): El Coyote (7), Sansiri (10) and Moon Shadow (17).
Current IRC Two standings (NHC scoring): Sansiri (9), Moon Shadow (13) and El Coyote (13).
While IRC One and IRC Two look to be sewn up already, bar any disasters, IRC Zero is set for a grand stand last day finale.
Racing finishes tomorrow followed by a Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach, Samui, Thailand.
For more information, visit www.samuiregatta.com.