sixth sense

sixth sense

Anarchist ‘NS-WA’ sends in this report from a regatta that should be on everyone’s bucket list – the Six Senses Phuket (Thailand) Race Week – aboard the Mumm 36 "Piccolo".

After a tiring 12 hours of travel we arrived in Phuket ready to set the boat up. After a introductory beer/beers at Jimmy’s Light House we settled in for the night and prepared for a day of training. After two hours of training the backstay blocks exploded in a squall. This ended the training session quickly and left the boat Captain Mark a list of things to do. Not good for the confidence but all was fixed quite quickly.

Starting in light to Medium breeze we knew getting the 1976 Sydney to Hobart winner “Piccolo” (Farr 1104) up to pace was going to be tough. After a general recall we were hoping for some pressure to fill with no luck.  Sailing side by side with a Platu 25 for 2 hours starts to drop your spirits. Light winds plus flat water was not going to be our strong point and were looking at all forms of praying and sacrifices so the wind gods would work in our favour. Disappointing race coming away with a 5th on corrected.

Day 2
Waking up to 12-14knt breeze was a relief. The PRO scheduled 2x 3 lap W/L races followed by a short passage. Our clear start in the first race put us in front early just having to hang in and protect.   Coming away with a 1st on Corrected.

The second W/L everyone was a bit more aggressive off the start. Having spat out the Platu’s early in the first work we only had to hold off the strong downwind performance of Skandia Endeavour of Whitby (Ben First 34.7). Finishing 1st on corrected put us in high hopes, with a chance of taking the regatta.

The afternoon passage race was a bit of a worry; any racing in the lee of the islands would almost certainly see the Platu’s and SeeBeez (IRC optimised ¼ tonner) coast past in a drift’athon.  SeeBeez jumped the start giving us a handy lead until the downhill battle. 10knots of breeze going down wind into a 2 knot tide wasn’t going to help.  We managed to round the bottom island on the hammer of the Skandia, with SeeBeez and Platu’s gaining in the lighter winds. With all this going on we failed to see the Mumm 36 powering ahead. After a few good calls with the local knowledge of Mark Chapman we jumped into 2nd over the line and a 1st on IRC.

Day 3
Running off 3 wins the day before the owner Bryan Gauson was revved up and promised fireworks if we could get the IRC and Over the line Bullet. After holding out most of the fleet on the start things where looking good. 12-14knots of breeze saw the Mumm 36 mowing us down up hill and was unlucky to be taken past the Starboard lay at the top mark by a Div 1 Ben First 44.7. Good for us. With a strong tussle with the Mainly Japanese crew onboard the Mumm 36 we managed to take the IRC and 1st over the line double. Fireworks here we come!

This was not to be. The PRO scheduled a short passage race, In a dying breeze maybe 3-5 knots if we were lucky. Struggling to gain any power in the light breeze it was compounded by every time we turned at a major point the tide would swing on the nose. Finishing an embarrassing last on corrected we put it down to “who could drift the fastest”. The fireworks idea was shut down quite quickly.

Day 4
Strong breeze, just what we wanted. A passage race that was almost a W/L, Also good news. Sailing out to the start a monster storm cloud was brewing and we knew it was going to be on, maybe 25knots! We noticed our closest competitors weren’t out there, SeeBeez had demolished their Mainsail and Skandia broke mooring over night and ended up high on the bricks at Koh Bon Island. Just before the start the first storm hit. Complete white out maxing out at 32 knots. Not too bad, but nursing the boat as all we had to do was not finish last to secure a Regatta victory.

At the start it was still up in the high teens early twenties but couldn’t see the flags and started 30 seconds late. Half way up the first beat the second storm hit. 35 knots, complete white out. We dropped the main and sailed under #3 headsail until is subsided. No bulb=tender boat. A Phuket 8 capsized in front of us and lost 2 crew. After deciding it was too dangerous for us to help (turning circle of about 100meters) we radioed race control and asked for assistance. In the mean time a 40 foot cat had dropped its rig and no one could see more than 50 meters in front of them. Luckily a Platu was nimble enough to help without running the guys over. The Storm subsided but the Mumm 36 was winning on IRC. The breeze then dropped to 3 knots with another storm rolling over, this one was looking nasty. With the breeze topping out at 40 knots we could drop the headsail only as we were on flat water. Good move. Finishing the race in 25 knots, 2 sail reaching was the highlight of the day. First place in IRC2 wasn’t bad either!  Full results are here, and a photo gallery here.  These photos from Brent Fowler.

Nick and I would like to thank Bryan, Keith and Mark for organising and providing a well prepared boat. All in All it was a good regatta with great social functions and some close racing. Highly recommend it to all.

Crew list:

  • Owner- Bryan Gauson
  • Sponsor/grinder- Keith
  • Boat Captain- Mark Chapman
  • Skipper-Nick Davis
  • Trim- Brent Fowler
  • Main- Mike Armstrong
  • Bow- Bruce Klyne