Phuket Race Week 2016

Ahoy! The PRW team have landed safely at their destination! By the look on their faces, it seems they have already gotten everything sorted, from boat checks to their accommodation!

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Race day 0: Day 2 of Phuket was our first day out on the water. After a late breakfast, the team went through our play book and clarified our individual roles during our race manoeuvres. Heading out the An Yo beach, we rowed out in a rubber dinghy(a first for a regatta) to the greet the Weasel, the team’s weapon of choice for the next 4 days of racing. The sailors quickly rigged up and were put through their paces as they practiced and troubleshot almost all their manoeuvres. A productive day of training to say the least, from a slipping mains halyard to a dodgy spin sheet, it was fortunate that these defects were spotted early and addressed before actually racing commenced. We ended off with dinner by the beach backed by a picturesque sunset and stroll along the night market in front of the hotel capped off the evening! The team is pumped for the second day of training tomorrow and hopefully can get a chance to do some pacing with other boats!

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Race day 1:It was a pleasant change as the sun decided to shine upon the sailors today for their first day of racing! The day was not too productive as the winds went as light as 3 knotts, during the first few hours from the warning signal. The Phuket Race Crew entertained themselves with a merry sing-a-long session, as well as catching up on lost sleep.

In the end, the committee managed to squeeze in one race for the day. The crew emerged 2nd, earning themselves a neat bottle of Mont Clair for the day.

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Race day 2: The team had a slow start to the day when races were postponed due to the light and inconsistent winds. This gave the members of the team who were under the weather some much needed rest and respite from their afflictions. At promptly 1pm the AP flag came down and the crew of The Weasel scurried to the start line.

Race 1 was an exciting duel between the fantastic fox (The Fox) and wily weasel (The Weasel/Team SMU). Both sides took turns to take the lead andall almost seemed lost when The Weasel completely missed rounding the downwind mark on the first attempt (THE HORROR). But the wily weasel outsmarted and outran the the fantastic fox on the upwind leg to scamper to victory for the first race.

Race 2 started shortly after and the wily weasel was again fast off the blocks. With The Fox and Nataya hot on her heels, there was much for The Weasel to do. The Wolf and The Tiger were also prowling on the fringes, ever ready to pounce on any mistakes made by the front runners. The Weasel lead the race for the majority of the race but Nataya pulled a fast one and unexpectedly took the lead near the top mark on the second upwind. Undaunted, The Weasel executed a perfect rounding to sneak into the lead again. With victory in sight, The Weasel sprinted for the finish and brought it home with much to spare.

With half of the crew down with flu, 2 out of the 6 members collapsed in exhaustion at the finish, leaving the remaining 4 members to take The Weasel home. What a day it has been for Team SMU! Great perseverance and team work made the difference. Here’s to better days ahead! And we hope Clement, Dexun and Liwen get better in the next few days.

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Race day 3: With winds as low as 2 knots and storm clouds above the racing area, teams in the platu one design had to hoist their spin at the start in an epic downwind start. The decision to stay left of most of the fleet away from the islands did pay off as we rounded the mark second after Wolf. After the rounding, the team took the conservative move of staying in the centre of the course and were gassed by the big boats. The Fox and Nataya each took the extreme sides of course and sailed down with the gust, placing the team 3rd in this eventful lightest light wind race ever.

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Race day 4: The storm that had been brewing the previous night had finally quelled, and it came the dawn of the final day at PRW. Upon arrival at Ao Yon beach, we were met with a view of a calm, almost mirror like sea. All 5 teams sat around, waiting for further instructions from the race officials. We waited and waited..and finally at 1247pm…WE WERE THE CHAMPIONS!

The team would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the club, and OSL for giving us the opportunity to represent the school at Phuket Race Week 2016. We hope to be back next year!

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