One Asian Regatta Championships to be held in Thailand for first time

Bangkok – Asia’s largest multi-class sailing event, Thailand’s Top of the Gulf Regatta, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year hosted by Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Jomtien, Pattaya from 1st to 5th May 2014, and is expected to welcome a strong fleet of sailors from around the world.

With over 250 boats and 700 sailors expected to take part from more than 20 countries, organisers are planning for one of the biggest and best regattas yet – a fitting tribute for the 10th year.

Entries are already coming in from overseas in the keelboat and multihull classes – the “big boat” fleet. Oi! (AUS) and One Sails (AUS), both TP52’s, look set to lead the racing class and will be up against a new boat to the region that is being shipped from Australia to compete (details to be announced soon), and together with many top IRC boats in Asia confirmed to compete including Foxy Lady VI  (SIN) and Fujin (AUS), will make up a strong international fleet.

The prestigious Coronation Cup has a 19-year history and incorporated in the Top of the Gulf Regatta ten years ago, is contested by the one-design Platus. With a multinational fleet challenging for the trophy last year, charters of the local fleet are already filling up and 2014 looks set to be even more competitive.

New for the Regatta this year is a change for the cruising boats racing in Class Four, who will be using a performance handicap system, and with an increase in interest from overseas sailors, more boats are available for charter this year with Sunsail providing a fleet from their base in the Gulf of Thailand as well as local fleets available from Gulf Charters.

The big boat classes will be run by an Australian race management team under the watchful eye of International Race Officer Denis Thompson, who returns this year and brings with him a wealth of experience from officiating at Hamilton Island Race Week, Magnetic Island Race Week, Rolex One Design Regatta (Farr 40 and Sydney 38), SB 20 World Championships, and Sydney Harbour Regatta, just to name a few.

Joining the big boat fleet will be over 60 single and double-handed dinghies (Lasers, 29ers, 420, 470 etc.) and beach catamarans, including a number of Thai and regional gold-medal sailors from the recent SEA Games. Race management is provided by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.

Since the beginning of the Top of the Gulf Regatta the aim of the organisers has been one of inclusiveness, encouraging new classes and fleets to take part, and ten years ago in co-operation with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand the Regatta provided a new home for the country’s iconic youth sailing event, the Thailand Optimist National Championships. Thirty-nine years old this year, and an integral part of the Top of the Gulf Regatta, over 120 junior sailors from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Myanmar and beyond will compete for the coveted perpetual trophy.

Having introduced windsurfing to the mix a few years ago, Regatta organisers have worked closely with the Windsurfing Association of Thailand (WATH) and NeilPryde to provide the ISAF-approved RS:One racing format. And this year, being held as part of the Regatta, will be the three-day RS:One Asian Championships – the first time Thailand has hosted this regional championship – and 30 sailors are expected to take part from Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, and other Asian nations.

The 10th Anniversary Top of the Gulf Regatta will take place 1st to 5th May 2014, hosted by Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand.

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