The Bay Regatta began on a bright sunny and yes windy day out of Au Po Grand Marina on the northeast end of Phuket Island. This is a long standing event now sponsored by the Au Chalong Yacht Club. What makes this Regatta so fun is that it is a moving party, each race starts and ends at a new destination. Fourty boats lined up for the three starts in 10-15 knots of north wind. Our boat, the Lady SevenStar was in the multihull division and the last of the three starts. The new team was tentative at the first start and the two other FireFly’s fought hard to be first across the line, a dramatic start.
I had the privilege of having a professional French photography onboard during the day. Karin came with a huge lens, I had lens envy, size matters, hahaha. We got great shots of the start then wove our way through the fleet to the windward mark. At the mark we got some good shots again but the wind had changed our expected array of spinnaker deployments did not happen. We shot over to the finish to watch the girls come across the line.
The anchorage at the Paradise Ville Resort was a lee shore, not my favorite but the wind had died and there was a bit of protection from the point so we dropped the hook. I am not worried about my anchor, it holds, but often racing sailboats carry very light gear so I was glad to not have anyone to windward.
We went ashore for the second gala dinner and was very pleased by the huge array of food. I had offered any help I could give to as an MC or auctioneer if needed. They did have an auction the first night of donated prizes and the chap doing it admittedly did not like doing them.
Back on Furthur the wind had picked up and then settled so we had a good night’s rest. I rose at 5:30 and made coffee, lots of coffee and began making pan cakes for the girls. Well-fed and eager for the next race I took them to the boat in the dinghy and we headed to the start line.
The girls did a much better start this day and raced well. The long course wove around the Ko Hong group, a gathering of a magnificent pinnacles jetting out of the sea, this area is Thailand boatin at its best. The wind freshened to 25 knots as they rounded the first mark, popped the shoots and jetted south. I broke out the video camera and fumbled around trying to get stable clips in the rolling sea.
We simply could not keep up with the race boat, it clocked a top speed of 17.8 knots, way out of Furthur’s range. We cut across the course to the finish line. By now I had gotten to know the boats and crews so knew the inner rivalries, my friends on Mojo, a 53’ cat dominated the first day but had technical difficulties today and barely kept in the lead pack. The finish provided great drama and a rare photo finish as Mojo limped to the line, Voodoo, a much smaller boat, sped up to catch them passing just as they crossed the finish line, it was spectacular, albeit just the drama as the corrected time is what counts and Mojo had to give up three minutes so had not chance.
We snuck inside a narrow channel to a well-protected anchorage and the fleet joined in. we were taken to the party by a combination of longtail boats and Tuktuk vehicles, two of the iconic Thai forms of transportation.
The party again had great food and to our surprise very good entertainment. We were treated to authentic Thai dancing in full regalia costumes, long long fingernails included. The dance band was excellent. One of the organizers asked me to to the nightly auction and I got the Lady SevenStar crew to donate a Ladies boat wash, I knew that would bring a good amount. We raised 15,000 tbh, a record and all had fun.
Back on the boat with calm seas and moonlit skies it was a remarkable night. Up early and away they went. The entrance was shallow at high tide and the morning low tide kept us in the anchorage a few extra hours.
The next night we anchored off the touristy part of Krabi, as there was not planned event we had a Furthur Party. Crews from some of the other boats came and we cobbled together a great meal. It was an enjoyable evening that ended with me breaking out the guitar and the girls singing a revised version of “Born to be Wild” and me doing an array of 60’s folk songs, some of which the crew had actually heard of.
The last day was a long, 30 mile run back to Chalong. The wind had died in the evening before and we woke to calm winds. As in other days, the wind picked up just in time for the start and layed down at the finish, could not have asked for more.
The last gala event was at a posh new club in Chalong, the O2 club. They had great food and a rocking band. I milled about talking to my new friends and some old ones. It was a night to cherish.
So again Furthur and I had a unique and new experience. One that got us to new destinations and made new friends. New places and new friends is what the Furthur adventure is all about.