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HiFi and Foxy Lady VI take early leads on Day 1 of Samui Regatta - Two wins for Foxy Lady VI on Day 1 of the 2014 Samui Regatta
Light and shifty winds made for challenging racing for the 23-strong fleet

SAMUI The 13th Samui Regatta got off to a flying start with a full programme of racing completed on Day 1 despite the challenging and shifty winds. Full marks to the Race Management for going the extra mile or miles, as was literally in the case when relocating the start line for Race 2 and delivering a great first day of racing for the 23-strong fleet.

Sounds of thunder greeted the sailors at breakfast and by the time they were out at the startline the first storm had already been and gone. Part way through Race 1 the second storm hit but it wasn't enough to dampen the sailors spirits as the local and international crews enjoyed some good competition.

First up were IRC Zero class, comprising seven boats from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia, including many of the top racers on the Asian circuit, and first blood went to HiFi who read the light winds best to finish one minute ahead of the Malaysian Navy team Uranus on corrected time. Frank Pong's 75-foot Jelik, needing better breeze had to settle for fifth place in the first race while Katsu, skippered by Ben Copley sailed into third.

In Race 2, Jelik enjoyed the better wind early on and managed to stretch out enough of a lead on-the-water to benefit as the winds dropped out and the course was subsequently shortened. Jelik finished with a win by a whopping 12 minutes on corrected time from Pryde's HiFi, while Sam Chan's Freefire 52 placed third.

Samui Regatta looks set to be the decider in the 2013/14 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) with the two boats in the running for the title racing each other in IRC One. The outcome of the Foxy Lady VI and Red Kite II battle at Samui Regatta could determine the AYPG season outcome but it's not that simple as all eight boats in the class are equally capable of podium finishes and some tight racing is expected throughout the week.

A little over 30 seconds separated Foxy Lady VI and Red Kite II on corrected time in Race 1 and it was Bill Bremner and his crew on Foxy Lady VI who drew blood first. Third place went to Marcel Liedts and his crew on Elektra who held off the charge from the rest of the class to claim the final podium place.

Race Two was even closer with just 14 seconds separating the top two, this time Foxy Lady VI and Elektra, the latter going one better than in Race 1. Third place went to Singapore-entry Windsikher, skippered by Sarab Singh.

Two wins on the first day for Foxy Lady VI puts them in a strong position in the series, and also in the AYGP showdown.

Due to the divergence in boat types and size in IRC Two, including premier, cruising and sports-type boats, the class will be scored both with IRC and also with the NHC Performance handicap system, giving two sets of prizes each day for the class.

In Race 1, the outcome was the same using both handicap systems. Patinyakron Buranrom leading his all-Thai crew on Sansiri sailed three minutes clear on corrected time from the Pattaya-based El Coyote, skippered by Gary Baguley, with the smallest in the class, Mick Grover's Moon Shadow in third.

Race 2 saw the tables turned. Scoring under IRC, El Coyote took the win ahead of Moon Shadow with Sansiri having to settle for third. However, using the performance handicap system it was Moon Shadow who took the victory ahead of El Coyote, with Sansiri again taking third.

Racing continues tomorrow at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, off Chaweng Beach, Samui, Thailand.

Photo : Joyce Ravara/ Samui Regatta
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