Written by Kevin Green for Afloat Magazine
Wet season racing had its thrills and spills during a windy Multihull Solutions Race Week in Phuket, reports crewman Kevin Green.
With 25 knots across the deck of our catamaran Java, the seven crew were busy keeping the Stealth 11.8 upright as we bore away for an ultra fast kite run across the calm waters off Phuket during Race Week from 13-16 July and hosted by Phuket Yacht Club, Chalong, Thailand.
Alongside us were several other of these locally built racer-cruisers. Trimming the kite was particularly thrilling for your correspondent when we broke the 20 knot speed barrier for the first time in the three day event.
Well ahead of us was the pure racing machine, a Seacart 30, owned by English octogenarian Henry Kaye and very ably helmed to victory by Aussie expat and former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club commodore Warwick Downes. This relegated defending champions and Aussie Stealth cat designer Alan Carwardine into second place and our boat Java fourth.
Elsewhere among the 21-boat fleet of four classes, the other main racing division was the six boat fleet of Firefly 850s. Their designer Mark Pescott was aboard the F850 Bluenose that chased eventual class winner Twin Sharks (John Newnham) around the course in total five races of coastal and windward/leewards.
The Firefly is an exciting boat available for charter if you are an experienced multihull racer. Elsewhere the popular charter fleet of smaller Corsair Pulses was depleted to only three boats (with up to 10 available for charter) so it was an easy win for the Pulse Yellow of Aussies Paul Baker/ John Priestly.
The thrills and spills for the week included us blowing out our jib, repairing it twice then sailing round the course and winning the last race with a severely ripped sail.
But more unfortunate were the Aussie multihull newbies on Surf Patrol who pitchpoled their Firefly. Grounding on the tidal bay is always a hazard, such was the fate of the brand new Stealth cat Twister owned by English expat Glywn Rowlands, whose wife was at the helm when they sheared off a daggerboard.
“Nearly brought a tear to my eye,” Glywn confessed to me over a Singha in the yacht club afterwards.
The racecourse is in the sheltered waters of Chalong Bay, an hour drive south from Phuket airport, and a popular cruising anchorage; so cruisers are always welcomed into the fleet by hosts, the Phuket Yacht Club.
A three boat cruising division particularly enjoyed the round-the-island courses which took them south towards the Indian Ocean; and was eventually won by the Fusion 40 Mojo of Aussie Rick Fielding which kept its dinghy and barbecue aboard.
The event is a double-header, with the following week’s Cape Panwa Race Week attracting both multihull and monohulls, so a great reason for Aussies to escape the southern winter for two glorious weeks. With direct Jetstar flights from Sydney to Phuket, it’s never been easier so I’m definitely coming back again next year.