Koh Samui 2012: A regatta for all seasons
There was something for everyone at the just-completed 11th Koh Samui Regatta: thirty-two entries and 500 crew members from some 20 countries, variable winds, interspersed with storms and clear “Samui” skies, excellent race management and a round of parties during the week-long event.
Challenging racing in the five designated classes, resulted in narrow wins for almost all the champion sailors, all listed here on this page. Prizes were awarded at the sumptuous closing dinner and party, sponsored by the Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, host venue for this self-titled “Tropical Island Regatta.”
A highlight of the final evening was the presentation by renowned yachting scribe, Captain Marty of Asian Yachting of the 2011/2012 awards for the Asian Grand Prix Yachting Champion. The coveted blue jacket was donned this time around by Hong King’s Neil Pryde, as the Skipper of the Year, while his entry, “HiFi” was crowned Yacht of the Year. These accolades are based on the skippers and/or boats’ aggregate performances over a year of Asian regattas.
The Centara Grand Beach Resort was the focal point during the week’s sailing fest, with numerous beach-side social/prize giving events every evening, at the appropriately-named Regatta Tavern. The opening gamut at Zico’s, the Centara’s Brazilian Grill and Bar, was presided over by Suthep Thaugsuban, member of the House of Representatives and Chalorsak, Vanichatoen, Deputy Governor of Surtthani Province, adding official credence to the event which was totally supported by the private sector of Samui.
The whole island was behind the Regatta, and co-founder of the event, John Stall, with wife Bang, opened the Trade Winds for a splendid party and the Beach Republic held the other “off-location” events.
Another highlight of the prize-giving was the “Dijeree Doo” competition whereby so many tried their hand (rather, mouth) to play this indigenous (Aboriginal) artifact. Many called for Darwin native, Capt Marty, to show how it is done. But, alas, he was out of breath!
General Manager of the Centara Grand, Danny McCafferty, entered the fray, regaling the sailors, supporters and, especially the press, with his love and experience of sailing. “I won my ‘wings’”, said Danny, at the opening party, “My total sailing experience was gained on the ferry across from Nakhorn Si Tammarat to Samui.”
The Regatta was superbly managed by the new team of Simon James as race director and Kae Wattana as event director – new, inasmuch as they only had three months to organize the big event. They have followed regattas up and down the Kingdom for years.
Aussie Ross Chisolm controlled the racing and the usual suspects appeared as the jury: Mark Pryke, Tom Sheppard and RAdm. Prasart Sribhadung. Ocean Marina very kindly supplied the official start boat.
While “Hooligan” took the initial Regatta title, it was the maxi (90 ft.) “Genuine Risk” (Geoff Hill) which took line honours, in all 10 races of the “racing class” (IRC Zero), regarded as a record performance.
In the strong winds which prevailed on the last race day, one craft, which must remain anonymous, blew the spinnaker which sent a female crew overboard. “The skipper went back for her”, said one sailor, while another cynical, hard-bitten veteran growled: “Of course; it was not his wife overboard, was it!”
As usual, with such a wide range of craft and wildly-varying ambient conditions, there were many mishaps, some broken gear and a young crew member knocked out. But – also as usual – the staff of Samui’s Thai International Hospital were ever-alert.
The 2012 Samui Regatta was organised by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the International Sailing Federation.
Prasert Jitmung, the Koh Samui District Chief Officer, was delighted with the Regatta and wished all to come back for the 12th edition, to be sailed from 24 May to 01 June, 2013.