As the Eastern Circuit regattas dominated the racing scene last month, we welcomed the China Cup into the 5-star family of point scoring events, at the Sailing Forum, with 89 new Skipper and Yachts slotting into the 2017-18 AYGP Rankings.
Many skippers are chartering or changing yachts during the season, so we could possibly have a split between the separate scoring AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards. For the time being, Nick Southward's J-109 Whisky Jack double IRC Racer 2 class victory at the Volvo China Coast Regatta and the 673nm Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam Race are still sitting on top of the Rankings.
The highest scorer at the China Cup was Tao Chong's Born Fearless in the Bavaria 37 Class and with a solid seven picket fence score line, enters the 2017-18 Rankings in equal 8th place. Six wins for Yan Yuye's A40 Shenzhen SEAWOLF, Emerson Villena's FE28 Philippine Sailing Association, Chen Hechi's J80 Qingdao Boat Song and Yang Yongheng's Jingrui XT in the HKPN Division B, has them all tied for second highest scorers and enter the Skipper and Yacht Rankings in equal 12th place.
They are in good company with other single event high scorers like Vincenzo Onorato’s Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino for the Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam Race victory, plus class winners Alan Carwadine and Niels Degenkolw at the season opening Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek.
The Philippine Sailing Association came in force, led by Ernesto Echauz’s TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial and two teams joining the FarEast 28 and Beneteau 40.7 one-design battle. Emerson Villena skippering FE28 Philippine Sailing Association scored six wins out of eight races, against some stiff opposition from Singapore, Oman and Japan to win the one-design ASAF Keel Boat Class.
It became a double victory celebration for the Philippine Sailing Association, when Ernesto Echauz’s team rode the TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial to victory, in the IRC A class and catapulted from equal 41st place to 7th place in the Rankings and only a few points short of the leaders. The PSA have also embarked on a unique way to promote Philippine events, by participating and winning other regattas, then encourage local teams to bring their yachts and "Have more fun in the Philippines".
The main aim of the AYGP is to attract more competitors to regattas by encouraging Asian teams to come out and join other regional events during the season. It will take time for Chinese teams to get familiar with the AYGP scoring system but we have successfully started on an awareness campaign.
In the Overall 2017-18 AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) Rankings, Ray Roberts takes over second place on two different boats and Tiffany Koo's King Mills 40 Hero Racing jumps up into 3rd place. While Fred Kinmonth, Joachim Isler and Sam Chan, slip down to 4th and 6th places. John Newnham's Firefly 850 Twin Sharks is still hanging in with equal 8th place and looking forward to renewing the battle in Phuket.
The racing now swings over to SE Asia, giving competitors on the Western Circuit a chance to improve their Ranking. First up is the coast hopping Raja Muda Selangor Int. Regatta (Nov 17th – 25th) followed by the 31st Phuket King's Cup Regatta on (Dec 2nd – 9th), to round out the 2017 Racing Calendar. The Royal Langkawi International Regatta (Jan 8th – 13th) traditionally rings in the New Year and for the more adventurous, the Neptune Regatta (Feb 10th – 17th) will take you through the Indonesian Riau Islands and down to the equator and back.