AY Grand Prix Event Top Thai sailors to compete on home waters...

Thursday, 04 May 2017


3rd May 2017:
It's that time of the year, when Thailand showcases, the best of the best Thai sailors, competing on home waters, renown for breeding Olympic, World, National and regional champions. The award-winning Top of the Gulf Regatta has always provided top-level International competition for all classes, to become known as the largest multi-class regatta in Asia and boosts Greater Pattaya's multi-million Baht, sport tourism earnings. Anything from Optimist & Laser dinghy's, IOM Radio Controlled boats, one design Platu 25's, to grand prix keelboats and multihull's, are ready for battle at Ocean Marina Yacht Club  on Jomtien Beach, South Pattaya.

The Whitcraft family's all conquering TP52 THA72 is back in action and crew training hard to defend the title, they won on their debut last year. This regatta is also the penultimate point scoring event, on the AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) and several skippers are taking this opportunity to improve their AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year rankings, before the 2016-17 Season ending Samui Regat, in two weeks time. Ones to watch are David Dimmock's top performing Swan 42 Loco, and all the way from Phuket, Scott Bradley regatta winning Sydney 40 Emagine, making their debut in Pattaya.

Previous winners Gary Baguley's H&P 52 El Coyote will be battling it out. with ole rivals David Bell's Jenneau 35 Magic, Tim McMahon's X99 SailQuest Hi Jinks and Martin Brown's Cal 33 Nautical Wheeler in the IRC 3 class.

The Cruising Class, presently holds third place in the AYGP Rankings, Aussie Chris Mitchell's Naut 40 Lady Bubbly needs to secure some race wins and overall class victory, to come within striking distance of the leaders, Black Baza. First they will have to overcam the defending champion, Pote Suyasinto's Jenneau 42i Le Vent and local stalwarts Vongsakorn Sornsamret's Sein Samathi II, Dwight Willis Thidawaree and Ocean Marina Manager Scott Finsten's Nawin Sri Kham before that can happen.

Reigning champion Khun Nim's Crowther 42 Sonic and Bob Garner's new 28ft Corsair Bladerunner 7 will be fighting over the Ocean Multihull Title and although different sizes, are expected to go down to the wire. This is the only regatta in Thailand conducted from a marina and as it's Southeast Asia’s largest marina, it provides an ideal in-water and onshore base for the regatta to operate from.

One of the regatta highlights, is the 22nd running of the prestigious Coronation Cup. Since 1996, One-design Platu 25 keelboats with Thai and International Teams, have considered it an honour to challenge for this long running and prestigious trophy. Some of the closest on the water battles have taken place here and as the one-design racing is considered the best in Asia, Aussie Chris Way's Easy Tiger and Malaysian based cloggy Rolf Heemskerk's Team ViewPoint have based their boats here and over the years have shared the spoils and are always a threat. CPO.1 Anun Daochantuck's Royal Thai Navy 121 and Ithinai Yingsiri's Pine-Pacific are the only Thai teams competing this year, are coming up against an International lineup, including three teams from SMU Sailing Singapore, UK's Colin Simonds Wikki, Hong Kong's Ben Wiliams on The Ferret and Valeriy Dichenko's Russian Champions on Naiad are sure to keep everyone entertained.

Now in its 42nd 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 into the Top of the Gulf, at its inception 13 years ago, to support grass-roots sailing in Thailand. With the Optimist Worlds in July, along the beach at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and the SEA games in Langkawi, Malaysia in August, a large contingent of Thai sailors, including the reigning national champion, plus teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong, will be taking advantage of the Thai Nationals, as an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the local waters and conditions.

This region is also well known as the breeding ground for Thai Olympic sailors, where Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420 and 470 classes and many of the region's top sailors including the 470 Thai duo Navee Thamsoontorn/ Nut Butmarasri, will be competing alongside Keerati 'Top' Bualong and Kamolwan 'Bam' Chanyim, who represented Thailand at the Rio Olympics last year.

Organised by the Top of the Gulf Regatta Organising Committee under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, Platu Yacht Association, Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Royal Thai Navy and Royal Varuna Yacht Club. Supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Pattaya City.

By Asian Yachting MultiMedia

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 May 2017 )