May 092011

Phuket Tasar ChampionsWORD ON PHUKET BOATING: The Bel Air Panwa Tasar Series of dinghy racing recently finished in Phuket, Thailand with some close racing from this growing one-design fleet.

Phuket is famed for its ‘big boat’ regattas with the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Phuket Raceweek, Bay Regatta and the SEA Property International Phuket Multihull Challenge, however, a recent resurgence in dinghy sailing and junior sailing is seeing a diversification in the Island’s sailing choices.

In 2007 the Tasar Worlds were held on Phuket, off Cape Panwa in the southeast of the Island, providing the initial impetus to Tasar sailing on Phuket.

Four boats were bought by Phuket sailors to compete in the Worlds and since then the fleet has grown to eight, all based at the Phuket Yacht Club in Ao Yon on Phuket’s East Coast.

The Bel Air Panwa Tasar Series was organised by the Phuket Yacht Club and consisted of three events over two months, sailed off Ao Yon. Close racing throughout the nine-race series meant it was very easy to go from hero to zero in this one-design fleet. The title fight went to the wire at the last event of the series. Two drops were allowed and after a flat calm and rain greeted the sailors at the final event, racing finally got underway with good breeze.

Hot favourites, G-String – skippered by Phil Lawson when winner of the Tasar Class at the 2009 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta – was skippered by Leslie Hand in the Bel Air Panwa Tasar Series and after finishing fourth in the final, finished fourth overall.

Phuket Tasar - Dingy SailingIn third place overall was Dragonfly, skippered by Liam Kealy from Seakitt Casschris, skippered by Muzza Nordstrand in second, who after a great start to the series with a 1,1,2, fell off the pace later in the series.

Winner of the Bel Air Panwa Tasar Series was Slipstream, skippered by Andrew de Bruin. A number of firsts and consistent high placings saw them take the series by three points.

Club racing is seeing a resurgence on the Island with a regular big boat program offered by the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, junior sailing and Optimist events offered by the newly formed Phuket Youth Sailing Squadron, and one-design racing and junior sailing programmes offered by the Phuket Yacht Club – Phuket’s oldest Yacht Club.

Preparations are underway for the next Tasar series and there are still opportunities for more teams to enter. If interested, contact class captain, Andrew de Bruin on The Phuket Yacht Club are looking to host a weekend Thailand Nationals for the Tasar class in the near future.

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