Ready for Asia’s largest multi-class regatta
Being the penultimate point scoring regatta on the AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) several skippers are taking the opportunity to improve their rankings before the 2015-16 Season ending Samui Regatta, at the end of May. Taking top billing spots are Kevin Whitcraft’s TP52 THA72 (Ex Provezza) making their debut in Asian waters and seasonal Aussie campaigner, Ray Roberts TP52 Millinium Racing has won nearly every event in Asia, including the AYGP on 3 occasions. Ones to watch are David Dimmock’s newly acquired Swan 42 Loco, comes with an arms length pedigree and Gary Baguley’s H&P 52 El Coyote could upset the dueling TP52’s, if conditions work in their favour.
Also making a late charge for the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year, from the IRC 2 class, is Mick Tilden’s syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin, with all the owners onboard, are expecting to climb back into contention in the rankings. Roland Dane’s Corby 36 Jessandra II has made a habit of standing on the podium at Thai events, to be Fujin‘s biggest threat. Not one to give up, John Morris’ defending champion Archambault 35 Lolanthe will be amongst them, fighting to retain the title.
While the grand prix racers are battling it out, Cedric Rimaud’s restored 90-year old classic 6-metre Selma, will be taking on Thai-based boats with domestic and international crews, in the Cruising Class. They will have to overcome Thailand’s Nukool Pothi’s Sein Samathi 1 also making their debut and setting their sights on victory.
Over the years Khun Nim’s Crowther 42 Sonic and Khun Radab’s Thai built F9A Cedar Swan have had a ding dong battle for the Ocean Multihull Title and this year is no different, it’s expected to go down to the wire again. As this is the only regatta in Thailand conducted from a marina and it’s Southeast Asia’s largest marina, it provides an ideal in-water and onshore base for the regatta to operate from.
In 1996 the Platu Coronation Cup was established with 24 entries and the first edition’s date coincided with the anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s Coronation date, 5th May 1950. From there, the one-design Platu Coronation Cup was born and today is an integral part of the Top of the Gulf Regatta.
Scott Duncanson has won five times in 2002, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015 and preparing for a double three-peat. Aussie Chris Way is a regular at the Top of the Gulf Regatta and last won the prestigious trophy in 2012 (second last year). Chris will skipper Team Easy Tiger IV with a hot shot crew including Steve McConaghy, Peter Winter, Tom Spithill, Mal Clark and they mean business. Teams from Japan, Malaysia, UK, Russia and four from the Singapore Management University, are eager to show off their Platu racing skills in this talented line up. Over the years some of the closest on the water competition has taken place here and the one-design racing scene is considered the best in Asia.
Now in its 41st year, the Thailand Optimist National Championships is the country’s second oldest sailing trophy and considered the pinnacle of competitive youth sailing in Thailand, was incorporated in the Top of the Gulf, at its inception 12 years ago, to support grass-roots sailing in Thailand. A fleet of over 100 Thai sailors plus 30 from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and a big contingent from Hong Kong, will be taking to the water and proving to be a top-level competitive training ground, as past competitors have gone on to represent their country and even winning the World title.
This region is also well known as the breeding ground for Thai Olympic hopefuls, where World, National and regional champions, have all gone through their paces before seeking further glory. First up are the Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420 and 470 classes and many of the region’s top sailors will be competing alongside Keerati ‘Top’ Bualong and Kamolwan ‘Bam’ Chanyim, who will be representing Thailand at the Rio Olympics in August.
Returning for the second consecutive year is the RS:One Asian Championship – the one-design World Sailing, approved windsurf class. In what is the last international windsurfing event in the region before the Rio Olympics, strong national team turnouts from Asia, include Indonesia (6), Taiwan (5), Malaysia (2) and India (1), bringing the total to around 40 international wind surfers, lining up against a strong Thai team. Local hopes are pinned on Olympic first-timers Natthaphong Phonoppharat and Siriporn Kaewduang-ngam.
It’s only appropriate to leave the last word before the regatta starts, to founding farther Mr. William Gasson and Co-Chairman of the Organising Committee “Over the years the Top of the Gulf Regatta has been a valuable training ground for young Thai sailors and we’re delighted to see products of that experience, heading to the Olympics this year. We’re also excited to welcome a record Optimist fleet and the RS:One Asia Championship back to the regatta for a second year.”
Organised by the Top of the Gulf Regatta Organising Committee under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Platu Yacht Association, Ocean Marina Yacht Club and Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
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