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SOUTH EƒST ƒSIƒ


THƒILƒND – MƒLƒYSIƒ – SINGƒPORE Simon James IRC-SEA


IRC 1 start. Phuket King’s Cup 2016. Photo: Guy Nowell


Central to the region’s yacht racing is the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Circuit. This consists of 13 events covering China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. IRC-SEA currently has six TP52s competing, along with a range of 50-70ft yachts.


Add a competitive 40ft fleet and a number of revitalised boats in the range of 30-36ft, including Farr 1104s and several three-quarter tonners plus a growing fleet of chartered yachts, and you have an overall picture of IRC racing in South East Asia.


Charter yachts are increasingly a feature of our regattas, with more than 50 yachts joining in during the 2016-17 season. IRC (dual scored with NHC) has become the standard handicap system used for charter yachts here.


Thailand


Holding events on both sides of the peninsula, Thailand offers opportunities for competitive IRC racing throughout the year. To kick off the season we have Phuket Race Week, which is held in Thailand’s Green Season (July). This event offers a range of competitive fleet racing based at Phuket’s all-year-round protected anchorage of Ao Chalong.


The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta in the first week of December has grown to become Asia’s premier yachting event, attracting a fleet of around 100 keelboats spread over 15 classes, but for cruiser/racers the Bay Regatta (February) offers a more laid-back event. This starts and finishes on Phuket and approximately 50 yachts race through the stunning limestone islands of PhangNga Bay, stopping en route for daily prizegiving dinners.


The action then moves to the Gulf of Thailand for two regattas: the Top of the Gulf Regatta (first weekend of May) based at Ocean Marina in Pattaya, and the Koh Samui Regatta (last week of May).


Samui Regatta is the final event of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Circuit and offers competitive IRC racing with top contenders from the Asian region challenging for the title of AYGP Champion.


As for club racing, the number of boats continues to grow in the region, but


the number taking part in racing outside major regattas is still limited; monthly club racing is only held in Phuket and Ocean Marina (Pattaya).


Malaysia


Sailing in Malaysia continues to develop as a sport, as awareness grows following its success at the recent SEA Games. Monthly IRC club racing is organised by the newly formed Peninsular Sailing Club, which is based in Port Klang.


Malaysia currently hosts two international regattas using IRC: Raja Muda


Kevin Whitcraft’s TP52 THA72 on her way to IRC 0 victory at the King’s Cup 2016. Photo: Guy Nowell


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