The 2012 The Bay Regatta attracted 44 boats, split into 5 classes. A combination of racing and cruising boats, live-aboard cruisers and multihulls, made for a diverse fleet at this year’s 15th Anniversary Regatta.
Registration and the Opening Party took place at The Village resort on Coconut Island off Phuket’s East Coast.
Day 1 was a sail up and across The Bay with a finish off Yao Noi Island and party at The Paradise Koh Yao resort. Day 2 was a race into the waters of Krabi Province and around stunning limestone islands. A free night allowed participants to explore what Krabi had to offer. Day 3 and the participants enjoyed island courses in Krabi, with a finish up the coastline off Klong Muang Beach where Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort hosted an elegant party. The final day saw participants set for a drag race back from Krabi to Phuket, with the closing party at the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, organisers of the Regatta.
Phang Nga Bay is famed for it’s stunning scenery, with limestone karsts towering vertically from the turquoise waters. A venue for many Hollywood blockbuster, including James Bond movies The Man with the Golden Gun and Tomorrow Never Dies, Phang Nga Bay provides the perfect backdrop for what is arguably the most beautiful regatta in the world.
Phang Nga Bay and surrounds are a natural living ecosystem and for many the region is their livelihood. This can make for some interesting regatta courses.
Travelling from one venue to another, the Regatta takes in some stunning scenery, locations and idyllic beaches. And makes for both beautiful and testing racing courses.
Gastion, competing in the Racing class, was sailed by a Russian crew and pushed hard throughout, scoring podium finishes everyday. She finally lost out to Ruby Tuesday, also sailed by a Russian crew, with former Australian junior champion Scott Duncanson skippering Quantum Fusion into third.
The cruising boats are the foundation of The Bay Regatta. The cruising and charter classes were made up of a good mix of live-aboard, cruiser and cruiser-racers, some racing a little more serious than others, but all enjoying the unique race area and sailing conditions.
In Cruising A Class Phoenix scored three wins from four to take the title from local stalwart Remington, with Aida in third. In Cruising B Class a tight battle finished with a tie on points which Rascal won on count-back from Rusalka in second, and Seventh Heaven in third.
The Bareboat Charter Class saw two Russian entries competing. After four days they were neck-and-neck, tied on points. On count-back, Tonicola 2 took the win from Crème Brulee with Anchali in third.
Interesting this year was the international make-up of the crews. Traditionally attracting Phuket-based boats and some traveling cruisers, this year saw an increase in charter boats taking part, including five Russian crews which were here for the fun and socializing, and were very successful on-the-water.
The largest class, the Multihull Class, saw 13 boats entered. Hot from her win at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta, Fantasia was pre-race favourite, but she was up against the well campaigned Corsair Miss Saigon, the ever-fast and competitive Fireflys Voodoo and Moto Inzi, Phuket regular DaVinci, and the SeaCart 26 Sweet Chariot who was only sailing competitively for the second time.
After a slow start, DaVinci put in a strong showing to place second overall behind Fantasia, with Voodoo finishing third.
The Bay Regatta has become known as “The Fun Regatta”. Very appropriate for a regatta that some also describe as the “The party that sails around”. No matter what happens on-the-water in the day, fun remains the theme throughout, and the evening parties allow participants chance to wind down, cool down and enjoy onshore camaraderie.
The Regatta, now in it’s 15th year, has grown from humble beginnings and throughout the years, fun has been the constant. To the extent where at past regattas the skippers briefing has been held in the Men’s toilets and any protest, should anyone dare to make one, is settled over a beer at the bar.
The parties are a big part of The Bay Regatta. While sailing to a different venue every night sounds idyllic, this is no easy task for the organisers. As a “live aboard” Regatta, organisers and participants alike have to take everything with them. Parties range from casual beach parties, where guests can chill-out, to more elegant affairs where sailors party the night away.
After four days of racing, participants arrived in Chalong Bay and headed to the closing party at Ao Chalong Yacht Club where the winners were celebrated, and stories were traded at the bar.