Competitors enjoyed fresh conditions at opening day of the King's Cup Regatta in Phuket today

As the Race Officer John McLennan ran through the starting order for first race at the King Cup Regatta in Phuket, the north-easterly trade wind piped in at 10-15 knots and soon increased to 18-20 knots. Not since the early days when the regatta was run out of Nai Harn Bay can organisers and competitors remember strong winds on the first day of racing.

All classes made quick work of the Royal Phuket Marina South Islands Race with the racing class taking less than three hours to complete the entire course.

The Burns/Kinmonth owned Mandrake took out the daily double of line and handicap honours in the racing class. They were closely followed by Peter Ahern’s YO! who made up on some lost ground on the long windward leg to beat Neil Pryde’s Hi-Fidelity coming hot of the heels after a win in the Raja Muda Regatta two weeks ago.

Marcel Liedts big powerful X612 Hocux Pocux 2 showed its pedigree to be up amongst the racing class yachts despite starting five minutes after to also take out the daily double. Brian Hayden’s Vida took second place from the famous ketch rigged Stormvogel.

In the hotly contested Sportsboat Class that has 11 entries and six different designs competing, David Bell’s Runnels 8 Pink Pussy Cat came to the fore and was followed in hot pursuit by the Mumm 30s of Jativa skippered by Hannes Waimer and Happy Endings skippered by Jonathan Mahony. Unfortunately a incident shortly after the start sees resulted in one of the crew members of Pla Loma being seriously injured and having to be operated later in the afternoon.

A lot of familiar names and boats that have taken podium places at previous King’s Cups won today’s opening race in the cruising and classic classes. John Vause’s Ruby Tuesday in IRC 1, The Royal Thai Navy 1 in IRC 2, Patrice III in IRC 3 and Hellmut Schutte’s Aquavit III in the Ocean Rover Class.

Peter Plant’s twin-rigged Koh Samui built Coco Blues showed the rest of the multihulls a clean pair of hulls by over 16 minutes from Tim Milner’s Charro and Ceberus trailing a further 14 minutes behind.

Sunshine not only posed a majestic sight on the horizon in the Classic Class but also stole the honours from Klaus Karthe’s Greensleeves and Julian Hill’s Phuket Sail Sanook.

Racing continues tomorrow with some windward/leeward/triangle courses.