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AY Pre-Regatta Report

2018/19 AY Grand Prix Event

Top of the Gulf Regatta rolls out the red carpet...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
1st May 2019: Sixteen classes will be racing on six courses at this year’s Top of the Gulf Regatta ranging from Optimists, Lasers (Radial, Standard and 4.7), 29ers and 49ers, 420s and 470s, wind surfers and beach catamarans, to ocean multihull's, keelboats, one-design Platu 25's, radio controlled IOM class, and the inaugural Para Sailing class have assembled at Asia's biggest marina, Ocean Marina Yacht Club and ready to rock and roll at the largest multi-class regatta in the region. This area is also renown for breeding Thailand's Olympic, World, National, champions and the award-winning Top of the Gulf Regatta provides another opportunity for these sailors to hone their skills, against top-level International competitors in all classes. This event also gives a boost to Greater Pattaya's multi-million Baht, sport tourism industry.

Once again Ray Roberts and his talented crew on the TP52 Team Hollywood are clashing with the Whitcraft family's TP52 THA72 in home waters, in a winner takes all match racing style event. At the Phuket King's Cup and Royal Langkawi Int. Regatta, Roberts put an end to Whitcraft's run of victories over the past couple of years and although he aims to repeat the dose, i'm sure the Whitcrafts wont be taking it lying down.

This regatta is also the penultimate point scoring event, on the AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) and although Ray Roberts TP52 Team Hollywood has already wraped up the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year titles, several skippers are taking this opportunity to improve their rankings, before the 2018-19 Season ending Samui Regatta, in three weeks time.

One of the regatta highlights, is the One-design Platu 25 keelboats, with a large contingent of Thai and International Teams taking part in some of the closest on the water battles, in Asian waters. 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. On one occasion, four yachts in line, surged towards the finish on the final race, to determine the overall outcome.

Always a threat Ravipha Nilju's Nam Prix, Nathan Masopust's Le Vent II and Navee Naungchumnong's Royal Thai Navy are the Thai teams competing this year, are coming up against an International lineup, including teams from SMU Sailing Singapore, plus UK's Colin Simonds Stingray, David Blakemore The Ferrett and Japan's Hirohisa Nakayama's YURUYURU, are sure to keep everyone entertained.

Reigning champion Khun Nim's Crowther 42 Sonic, Demachy Dominique's KL 28 Edenko and Bobby Garner's BladeRunner IX 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, that provides an ideal in-water and onshore base for the regatta to operate from.

Thailand Optimist Open Championship is considered the pinnacle of competitive youth sailing in Thailand and was incorporated into the Top of the Gulf since its inception 14 years ago. The majority of the sailors are from Thailand and looking forward to taking on a strong contingent from Hong Kong and Malaysia.

National sailors from China, Malaysia, USA, Russia, Japan and Kazakhstan have entered the Dinghy classes and resemble a battle of the United Nations. They'll be coming up against the region's top sailors including the 470 Thai duo Navee Thamsoontorn/ Nut Butmarasri and competing alongside Keerati 'Top' Bualong and Kamolwan 'Bam' Chanyim, who represented Thailand at the Rio Olympics.

The new S\V 14 Para Sailing Championship will be sailed for the first time. Ocean Marina have purchased a fleet of eight new S\V14s and they are made available for para sailors free of charge. They are encouraging all disabled persons, who would like to try sailing to get in touch with them, for the future of this exciting development.

So the stage is set and it all comes down to the weather predictions. Basically ranging from the West in the morning and turning to the South and SSW from 8 to 10 knots during the afternoon. Throw in the odd passing storm, and it will be challenging to say the least.

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.

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