The Bay Regatta is a four-day circumnavigation of Phang Nga Bay that takes in three of southern Thailand's most scenic provinces–Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi–with the emphasis is on fun. Attracting the serious, the not-so-serious and the not-at-all-serious “racing” sailors, the regatta appeals to an international mix who enjoy the stunning sailing grounds of the area and a different destination each evening.

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Held from 15th to 19th February, The Bay Regatta is a series of passage races – an event format that has caught the attention of sailors around the world with participants coming from as far afield as Australia, Russia, the UK and Canada to compete in six classes (Racing Class, Cruising A, Cruising B, Bareboat Charter, Racing Multihulls and Cruising Multihulls). 

Each evening, the regatta anchors at a different venue and the sailors go ashore. Those staying ashore – more than 60% of the fleet – book accommodation and either eat in the local restaurants or enjoy the official event functions which engage with the local community. Most of the expenditure of the regatta goes directly into the local economies of the areas we visit – this has been the case since the regatta was launched and it will remain so for the futurean excellent example of how sports tourism works to the benefit of communities and local economies. 

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Starting in Ao Po on Phuket's east coast, after registration and an opening party at Chandara Resort & Spa, on the first day, the yachts raced north through the stunning rocky outcrops of Phang Nga Bay finishing off Koh Yao Noi where yachts anchored and enjoyed a prize-giving party on the beach at Paradise Koh Yao. 

The second day’s 24nm course left from Koh Yao Noi, rounded Koh Le Mann to starboard, passed Koh Pang & then Koh Pak Bia to port, Koh Ka to starboard, rounded Koh Kaya to starboard through the gate at Koh Heng (keeping the committee boat to port), then rounding Koh Ngang to port before passing between Koh Deng and Koh Samet and finally finishing off of Railay Beach..     

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On the third day, the racing multis and monos went on a longer 24NM course, while the all the cruisers went on a 17NM course off of Railay Beach in Krabi. 

Another great sailing day greeted the participants on the final day as they sailed a short loop around some of the islands off the coast off of Krabi’s Railay Beach, before heading out for a straight shot back to the southern end of Koh Yao Yai with the racing boats doing a slightly longer course than the cruisers. After all the boats crossed the finish, they headed back to Phuket, where they celebrated the final prize giving and dinner at Kan Eang 2 restaurant, overlooking Chalong Bay. 

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PRO and race organizer Simon James used two starts for the competitors throughout the regatta: first off were all the monohulls (15 boats) followed by all the multihulls (16 boats). There were no real glitches, or incidents, on the course as sailboats deftly dodged the longtail fishing boats and fishing lines as they made their way across Phang Nga Bay.  

The two-boat Racing Class was already decided before the final race as Aleksandr Trofimenko’s Megazip had beat Gary Baguley’s Fujin the previous three days, but Megazip decided to explore Phang Nga Bay on the way allowing Fujin to capture the final race. 

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With wins on days three and four Hellmut Schutte’s Aquavit 6 was able to take top spot in Cruising A finishing with seven points overall. They were followed by Gary Smith’s Baby Tonga with ten points. If Baby Tonga hadn’t accidentally sailed the wrong course on day three, there’s a good chance they would have won this class. Gavin Wellman’s Rascal’s was in third with spot with thirteen points while Philippe Dallee'sTintin and Woodrow Christensen’s Linda, rounded out the division, each finishing with seventeen points.         

Cruising B saw Gillow-skipped Poco break Canadian Jim “Yee Haw” Ellis’s Remington stranglehold on first-place finishes, but it wasn’t enough to wrestle the overall title from Remington, who finished with seven points, while Poco had ten. Jim was able to add another notch to his Bay Regatta belt as no one has won has won a Bay Regatta regatta class as many times as Jim has. Piccolo (12 points), Aqua (14 points) and Thalassa (17 points) rounded out this class.   

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The Bareboat Class same the same results four days running with Kinnon skippered by Stanislav Pechenkin finishing first every day (earning four points overall) Aussie Alan Bower’s All Sail Asia came second (eight points) and Russel Waddy’s All Sail Venus Hunter (fourteen points) finished third.

In racing multis, Fergus Wilmer’s team on Thor (Fergus & Jenny Wilmer, plus Warwick Downes & James Haste) claimed line honors flying around the course on all four days, and recorded a line honours time of 02:55:08 on the final day. Thor and John Newnham’s Twin Sharks team of Alfie Rowson, Jason Corall, Tam Keawwantha, and Mark Pescott, ended up tied with seven points each but Twin Sharks won the class on the virtue of its three first-place finishes, but Twin Sharks still only won the final race by thirty-eight seconds on corrected timeit doesn’t get much closer than that. In this eleven-boat class, Alan Cawardine’s Asia Catamarans Hurricane, finished third overall with twelve points followed closely by Mick Coleman’s sister ship Java with fourteen points.

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Multihull cruising saw Rick Fielding’s Mojo and Sergei Dikanov’s Fenix flip-flop first-and-second place finishes throughout the regatta both finishing with six points, but Mojo took the win, based on the results of the last race. Colin Wright’s Swift and Graham Tucky’s Optoloi II came next each with eighteen points, but again Swift took third based on the its final-race performance, The Chinese Sanya Yomovo sailing team on DaVinci, had a DNS on the third day and a OCS on the fourth day (they didn’t have a radio on board) relegating them to fifth overall with twenty points.

Sailing on Robert van Paridon’s Tantrum Too as a crew member was 55-year-old Frenchman Philippe Péché, who will compete in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (go to www.facebook.com/teamgregal for more information). Peter Wood kindly donated a sextant to Philippe for his participation to the Golden Globe Race, on the final awards night.  

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Simon James, who has stepped in many times to save this regatta over the years, did a tremendous job as PRO setting the courses, manning the starts and keeping things in order. Kae Wattana and her Regattas Asia team made everyone happy on shore, providing plenty of good food and drink and good entertainment. Sean Getchell’s Epic Charters stepped up and provided a superb committee boat, Hakuna Matata, and Tristan Hinxman did great work steering the photographer’s rib, graciously provided by Raymarine’s Mick Kealy. And Simon’s team on the water—Susan, Susie, Cathy, Chandran & Ron—as always, made sure all the starts and finishes were correctly posted and recorded.               

About The Bay Regatta

The Bay Regatta was launched in 1998 by a group of Phuket-based sailing enthusiasts and a photographer who wished to showcase the stunning beauty of the Phuket/ Phang Nga/ Krabi seascapes.

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The Bay Regatta takes sailors through the three provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi allowing participants to experience the best of southern Thai hospitality and the unrivaled sailing grounds in the area. They sail amongst 200-metre high karsts and past hidden bays on their way to a party under-the-stars on an idyllic beach.

The Bay Regatta is organised by Regattas Asia under the auspices of the Phuket Yacht Club in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Province of Phuket, the Province of Phang Nga and the Province of Krabi.

For more information, visit www.bayregatta.com or www.facebook.com/bayregatta (Detailed courses can be viewed at www.bayregatta.com/courses).

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About Regattas Asia

Regattas Asia is a brand name of Phuket and More Co. Ltd., established in 2001 with over 15 years’ involvement in the organisation of leading marine events in Asia. Regattas Asia has become a prominent player in Asia's regattas industry, with an innovative approach to the management of major sailing events in the region, and provides services to the following events: Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, Sabang International Regatta (Indonesia), Royal Langkawi International Regatta (Malaysia), Hainan Around the Island Regatta (China), China Cup International Regatta.

Regattas Asia is the sole organizer of The Bay Regatta and Samui Regatta (www.regattas.asia).

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