goes at Asia's largest multi-class regatta
Five very evenly matched "Flying 40's" that have tasted success at various Asian events, are coming together in the IRC 1 Class. Making their first appearance at TOTGR, Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 EFG Mandrake tops the scales and will have a good battle for line honours with Kevin Whitcraft's GP 42 Wan Ma Rang in their home waters. All the time looking over their shoulder for, David Dimmock's Dubois 40 Blue Note, Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 and Mick Tilden's syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin thrashing it out in the handicap stakes.
Bremner's Foxy Lady 6, the Kinmonth/Burns EFG Mandrake and Tilden's Fujin have an extra incentive to do well, as they all aim to score enough points to secure the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year, before donning the Trend Fashion navy blue blazer, at the season ending Samui Regatta at the end of the month.
One of the regatta highlights is the 20th running of the prestigious Coronation Cup. Thirteen one-design Platu 25 keelboats with a mixture of Thai and International crews, will be challenging for the trophy and 2015 looks set to be even more competitive. The recently held Transworld Championship saw, Aussie Chris Way's Easy Tiger IV and Thailand's Scott Duncanson's Kingdom Properties going head to head and more determined than ever to get the better of each other. Two teams from Japan and three from the Singapore Management University plus a Thai team bound for the Asian Games in Singapore, 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 is considered the best in Asia.
Class II and Class IV are mainly local yachts that race regularly from Ocean Marina. Gary Baguley's H&P 52 El Coyote, David Bell's Jenneau 35 Magic and Lennart Fahlgren's Tasker 32 Amanda have all won here before and are setting their sights on repeating the dose. K. Pote Suyasinto's Jenneau 42i Le Vent and John Morris' Archambault 35 Lolanthe are bound to be in the mix by the end of the regatta. Over from Phuket, Patinyakorn 'Ging' Buranrom's S&S 42 Windstar branded with Sansiri sponsorship, will have their hands full fending off Colin Lim's X99 Hi Jinks that is determined to make up for being piped on countback for the title last year.
An interesting line up in Class IV, with Japan's Yasunori Osada's Beneteau 21.7 Tai Two, the smallest boat in the fleet coming up against George Foose's Tartan 4000 Dream, Martin Brown's Cal 33 Nautical Wheeler and Mike Lerdal's Catalina 36 Amore. They will be racing under the NHC system which is very popular in the non IRC classes.
Brett Dryland's Alibi 56 License to Chill tops the scales in the Ocean Multihull Class. Old rivals Khun Radab's Thai built F9A Cedar Swan and Khun Nim's Crowther 42 Sonic have had some close battles over the years and can look forward to another with the inclusion of License to Chill.
The Top of the Gulf Regatta has always supported grass-roots sailing in Thailand. A fleet of over 100 Thai young sailors plus around 30 from overseas will be competing in the Optimist division and celebrating the 40th Thailand Optimist National Championships this year. Organisers have incorporated the Thailand Nationals as part of the Regatta and provided a top-level competitive training ground for Thailand's up-and-coming youth sailing stars.
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. Two Thai sailing stars have come through the ranks and have their eyes set on the Rio 2016 Olympics, are Keerati Bualong and Kamolwan 'Bam' Chanyim in the Laser and Laser Radial classes respectively. Both are back to defend their titles this year and joining them are many sailors from the national team, that have improved over the last year and knocking on the door of the title.
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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