Top racers a close tie in all classes

There was excitement and tension as the last day of racing got underway at the inaugural Phuket Race Week, held at Evason Phuket Resort from 10-17 July. With almost nothing separating the leaders in three classes, several boats saw an opportunity to clinch the series on the final day.

On equal points in Racing Class were Scott Duncanson’s Securicor Som Tam Express and Stuart Harrison’s Panic!; Al Boone’s Blue Moon and Stewart Crow’s Cinders in Club Class were also tied, while in IRC, there was just one point difference between Viroj Nualkhair’s Octopussy and Mick Kealy’s Minx.

The 23 representatives of the national and regional media on the water to see the final battle watched with bated breath as Duncanson crowded Harrison before the start to gain position, allowing Keith Moore’s Skiff Asia Pla Loma and Mark Horwood’s Image Asia Attitude to cross the line ahead of him. “We had only one boat to beat to clinch the series,” said Duncanson, “so position was everything.”

Saturday’s conditions tested some crews seemingly lulled into a false sense of security after a week of unseasonable light winds. Sail handling errors and rig problems led to several dramas, including at least two broaches. Commenting on the second of his two broaches that day, Image Asia Attitude’s Mark Horwood said, “We’d thought we’d throw in a quick gybe and beat Panic! across the (finish) line.” As those who were nearby at the time know, an ill-fated decision.

After a superb performance, Duncanson sailed his Phuket 8 – designed by father John Duncanson – to a runaway win and clinched the series. Stuart Harrison’s Mumm 30 Panic had to settle for second with Keith Moore’s recently acquired Phuket 8 Skiff Asia Pla Loma finishing third overall.

Ruby Tuesday’s second successive win in the last IRC race put them level on points with Minx, but – although helping push Viroj Nualkhair’s Octopussy into third place, it was not enough to clinch the series. After applying discards, Minx’s two firsts and two seconds gave them the overall number one slot.

In the Club Class, Stuart Crow and his crew on Cinders didn’t put a foot wrong, breaking the tie with Al Boone’s Blue Moon to take the series. Blue Moon scored second with John Fenn’s Four Winds taking third after a consistent performance throughout the week.

Worthy of note is that Phuket Race Week winners in every class were members of Phuket’s Ao Chalong Yacht Club. The local boys say they’re looking forward to challenging all comers next year.