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Team Premier wins Phuket King’s Cup Regatta

December 12, 2011

The strongest winds of the week at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta boded well for skipper Hannes Weimer and his Team Premier crew as they scored a first place and a second place finish in their two races yesterday to win the IRC Zero Class with 13 points.

“We’ve raced in 10 [Phuket] King’s Cups now, but this is the first time we competed as our own team under the name of Team Premier,” Hannes said.

“I was feeling fairly comfortable going into the last race because I believe we have the fastest boat; she is a good all-round performer, so we get results whether the wind is light or 17 to 18 knots.

“We won in 2003, but not as Team Premier, so it’s extremely satisfying to win after trying many times before,” he added.

The victory relegated Phuket King’s Cup stalwart Neil Pryde and his crew on HiFi to second place, and Sam Chan’s Freefire to third overall in the series.

Also written into the Phuket King’s Cup history books were Yasuo Nanamori and his all-Japanese Karasu team, who yesterday won the IRC 1 Class to become the first-ever all-Japanese team to win their class at the regatta.

Steve Manning’s Walawala 2 scored a second and a first on the final day to take second place overall, from Singapore entry KukuKERchu, skippered by David Ross, in third.

The IRC 1 Class was arguably the most competitive of all with 13 boats and sailors of 17 different nationalities.

Thailand scored an impressive victory in IRC 2 Class, led by Chief Petty Officer First Class Wiwat Poonpat’s crew on Royal Thai Navy 1.

“We are very proud to be able to take overall victory for His Majesty the King’s birthday. I’m sure all Thai people will be very appreciative of this result, and hopefully we can encourage more people to get into the sport of sailing,” CPO Wiwat said.

“I was quite confident coming into the last race, maybe 80 per cent confident, but until we crossed the finishing marker, we were never totally sure if we could do it. I’m very happy with our performance in this regatta; the team has trained hard and has been very well disciplined,” he said.

Second place went to Singapore entry Foxy Lady V, skippered by Bill Bremner, with Russian entry Ruby Tuesday, skippered by Arbuzov Andrey finishing third.

Phuket racers dominated the Firefly 850 Sport Class. Moto Inzi, skippered by Roger Kingdon, put in a strong final day performance with a first and a second to claim class victory by a single point over their nearest rival,Voodoo, skippered by Hans Rahmann.

In the Multihull Class, Alan Carwadine’s Sidewinder was unmatched in consistency and finished the runaway winner with two wins today to take the class title. Second place was claimed by Da Vinci, skippered by Mick Coleman, with David Liddell’s Miss Saigon in third.

The spectacular debut of the Kiteboard Class became an exciting addition to the event this year, with France’s Olivier Dansin winning four of five races in the series to be the runaway class champion.

Thai star and two-time Asian Champion Narapichit Pudla finished second overall with Salih Alexander from Turkey third.

The 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was the 25th anniversary of Asia’s biggest annual yachting event. This year’s edition attracted the largest fleet in the competition’s history, with 91 keelboats and multihulls, 38 dinghies and 19 kiteboards, and more than 1,000 sailors from 33 countries around the globe.

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