Phukett, 11 December 2010 (PDN): The last race of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was cancelled today after two tropical storms in the China Sea & Indian Ocean brought unusual westerly winds gusting up to 25 knots and turned the 2m swell along the west coast of Phuket into rolling breakers on Kata beach.
In an email to my friend & longtime sailor, Ginny Filiatrault, racing sailor Keith MacKay witnessed the horrible aftermath of a freak onshore storm that hit the sleeping fleet of racing yachts on the last day of the King’s Cup Regatta in Thailand.
“I took (these) photos this AM on Kata Beach on the west coast of Phuket, the day after the disaster. I sat on the beach and watched the (whole) scenario unfold before my eyes, watching anchor rodes snap in the pounding surf after 12 boats dragged their anchors (2 tris, 3 cats & 7 monohulls. Included in the mayhem was Miss Saigon & SeeBees, both of whom won their class in the week’s racing, Ichi Ban came 2nd in class).
The weather forecast was ignored and put the whole fleet of 98 anchored boats at risk from a very unusual NW 20 knot blow onto a lee shore. We had very light winds virtually the whole week and I got horribly burnt doing race committee duty on a 47′ Moorings power cat. I even got dragged
over the side in the 2 knot current off the most southerly tip of the island, wrecking my cellphone but saving my glasses!
Here are Keith’s Photos:
In an early morning issue of the Phuket Wan Tourist News online a reporter wrote: “A savage squall swept a dozen expensive vessels ashore in the early hours of Saturday morning, preventing a day of Phuket racing for the first time in the long history of Asia’s premiere sailing event.
Owners could only look on at the five yachts still locked in water and sand on Phuket’s popular Kata beach this afternoon. Several of the 10-million baht or more vessels will never sail again.
Plans to lift some boats free with cranes did not eventuate today, but owners and insurance assessors were busy along the beach, where the presence of the sand-stuck yachts made for an added tourist attraction.
Coming out of the blue, the late monsoon storm caught some of the region’s finest sailors unprepared when it swept in on Saturday before dawn. Skippers had clearly not expected such a storm out of clear skies.
One Phuket King’s Cup Regatta official said that some yachts had clearly anchored too close to shore. Some had probably also chosen light anchors, better for racing in terms of weight, but less resistant to the Phuket October storm that waited until December to arrive.
More attention to weather forecasts can be expected for the sailing of the 25th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta next year.”
This Video of the actual event was just posted to YouTube by SailTV:
Update: Dec. 13, 2010:
Tonight as the final Phuket regatta award ceremony and party began, expensive yachts were being pounded as high tide reached up the Phuket beach.
At least one owner of a broken vessel was too distraught to talk as he literally picked up the pieces of his beautiful, expensive yacht. Others were more fortunate.
King’s Cup series winners Miss Saigon, Ichi Ban and Team Sea Bees, were storm-tossed, with Team Sea Bees faring worst.
Other boats beached or left to wallow included Thai Navy 1, Thor, Walwala, Pagatoon, Rapscallion, Zhic, Sudsakorn Too and Silk Purse.