By THE NATION
A total of 120 mostly young sailors contested five classes in the International Dinghy Fleet off Kata Beach in good winds and slightly choppy conditions.
Further south on Phuket, at the Laem Phanwa Phuket Port, a fleet of 24 one-metre long radio-controlled yachts also held a day’s racing, the first time these boats have been part of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.
Assistant Race Officer Captain Peera Sakultem of the Royal Thai Navy, who plays a leading role in organizing the dinghy fleet, said: “It was perfect today – there was good wind all day. The sailors were all happy because of the great conditions.”
Experienced Thai sailor ML Weka Bhanubandh maintained his lead in the Optimist Fleet with three wins from six races and looks hard to beat. His nearest challenger is Bunyamin Klongsamoot, followed by female sailor Thorfun Boonnak in third place.
In the 420 class, with two sailors per boat, Thanawan Aiam-mi and Nattapon Tuang-ngam maintained their lead with six wins from six races. They were followed by Panuwat Hankla and Thun Tunhund in second place, with Chanintron Paosen and Apichet Wisetporsri in third.
Another clear winner was Suchakree Detthotsapol, who has five wins from six races in the Laser R Class. He was followed by Chairat Dangdeemark and Kartoon Jundet.
In the Laser Standard class, the leader by a country mile was Jarupong Meeusamsen with victories in all six races. In second and third was Thanakan Korkerd and Prakasit Hogpradap, respectively.
The final class, for Laser 4.7s, saw female sailor Paliga Poonpat with good lead after three wins from six races. Intira Parnpiboon, another promising female sailor, was second overall after clocking up two wins from the six races held so far. Christopher Marsh had one win to be in third place.
In the south of Phuket on Thursday, the one-metre radio-controlled boats raced in the IOM class and Chinese skippers finished first and second, with an Australian in third place.
Gong Qunxing won five of the eight races contested to take the overall lead. He was followed by fellow Chinese competitor Yan Jiangium and Australian Tim Brown.
A total of 14 Thais are taking part in the IOM races and the best placed was Vanaran Yusananda, who came in fourth. This rapidly growing sport has joined the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for the first time and is expected to become a fixture in the coming years.
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the RTN 3 and the Province of Phuket.