Ichi Ban - oops, beached again, second time in two years
Phuket Wan Tourism News caught these images as an informal group of volunteers comprising tourists and Navy personnel left the beach in Phuket and entered the surf to rescue an Australian racing yacht from a very embarrassing pickle by 'frigging in the rigging' in a race against an ebbing tide.
Ichi Ban's rescuers begin
Two hours of swinging from ropes attached to the rigging achieved freedom after a storm planted the yacht's keel in the sand and set the Ichi Ban standing upright.
The bawdy sailors' song appeared to be an inspiration as the ratings, along with Marine Police, tourists and the staff of the Kata beach rescue
centre, managed to dislodge the yacht before the tide retreated too far.
Ichi Ban - it would be hard work if you weren't having fun copy
A crowd was attracted to the Phuket beach to watch proceedings, and among the onlookers was Vice Admiral Thavatorn Thinsuwan, Commander of Royal Thai Navy 3, which has bases on Phuket and in Phang Nga.
Staff at the Kata rescue centre were the first to notice Ichi Ban and a couple of catamarans were adrift in a sudden storm that struck Phuket last night. They were trying to contact the yacht's owner from 2am.
The beaching was doubly embarrassing for Ichi Ban, as she was one of about a dozen vessels that were beached by
a similar storm at the conclusion of last year's Phuket King's Cup Regatta.
Ichi Ban - getting there getting there
Phuket Regatta Director Simon James told Phuketwan in October that he did not expect a repetition of last year's dramatic Phuket beaching during this year's racing.
Mr James, who worked non-stop for about 72 hours after last year's drama, said more yachts were likely to have a crew member sleeping on board this year, the 25th anniversary event.
Problems arose last year and again last night because the beach chop extends further out than skippers anticipate, leading to advice this year that while anchoring close to
shore seems logical for safety, it can prove risky in a sudden Phuket storm.
Ichi Ban - We did it!
As for Ichi Ban, her on again off again relationship with Kata beach will become part of the legend of the region's most highly-regarded regatta.
A walking street fair with concerts, food and souvenirs will be held nightly on Kata's beach road from December 3-December 5, prior to the commencement of the Regatta on December 5.
Maybe there'll be someone sleeping on Ichi Ban between now and then.
www.phuketwan.com is the first site on the island of Phuket dedicated especially to tourism, property, restaurants and nightlife, jobs, and is excellent at being in the right spot at the right time!
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