Since its inception, the Top of the Gulf Regatta (TOG Regatta) has endeavoured to provide a sailing opportunity for Thai and regional sailors to compete against international sailors of the highest calibre. To this end, each year the Regatta welcomes national, Asian, World Champions and Olympians to take part in a varied fleet of dinghies, multihulls and keelboats.
Keerati Bualong, left, TOG Regatta regular and Asia Pacific Laser Champion, is set to represent Thailand at London 2012 after taking part in an upcoming Olympic Qualifying event in May.
“Our aim since the beginning has been to organise an international-standard yacht race in the Gulf of Thailand, in-line with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) rules, and with international race management,” explained William J Gasson, Chairman of the TOG Regatta Organising Committee.
“For Thai juniors, we incorporated the Thailand Optimist Championships as part of the Regatta and now provide an opportunity for Thai youngsters to compete alongside international sailors and develop their skills,” added Gasson.
Success of the TOG Regatta’s approach can be seen in the number of Thai sailors sharpening their skills at the Regatta and going on to great sailing achievements.
Noppakao Poonpat went from success at the TOG Regatta to win consecutive IODA World Optimist titles.
After a 12 year hiatus, Thai sailors are set to represent their country again at the Olympics. Current Asian Champion, Keerati Bualong has taken part in many TOG Regatta’s and following success in the May Olympic Qualifying event in Germany, will represent Thailand in the Laser Standard in the London 2012 Olympics. He will be joined by fellow TOG Regatta regular Kamonwan Chanyim, who will compete in the Laser Radial.
Other TOG Regatta successes include Noppakao Poonpat, Chaninart Poolsirikot and the Vongtim brothers, Damrongsak and Kitsada.
Noppakao Poonpat went from winning the Thailand Optimist Championships at the TOG Regatta to win consecutive IODA World titles in 2009 and 2010; Chaninart Poolsirikot was recently crowned Optimist Champion (girls) at the 2012 Asian Sailing Championship; and Damrongsak and Kitsada have won national and Asian championships in the Hobie 16 Class and made it into the top 10 world rankings.
While Thailand and Asia are producing top level sailing talent, the region has become a magnet for international sailing events, hosting the Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series and the World Match Racing Tour. And this year, for the first time, the Neil Pryde Racing Series – a series of one-design windsurfing events around the world – will make a stop in Thailand as part of the TOG Regatta.
“Bringing the Neil Pryde Racing Series to Thailand further cements the Top of the Gulf Regatta’s position as a leading sailing event in Asia, offering diverse classes for sailors of all backgrounds, and bringing international sailing talent together for top quality competition,” commented Gasson.
The 2012 TOG Regatta will see 13 competitive classes race in the Gulf of Thailand, including some of the top 40-footers in Asia and a record one-design Platu class competing for the prestigious Coronation Cup. 2012 Classes include: IRC 1, IRC 2, IRC 3, IRC 4 Cruising, Sports Boats, Platu (racing in the Coronation Cup), Ocean Multihulls, F18’s, Open Beach Multihulls, Single-handed monohull dinghies, double-handed monohull dinghies, and Optimist (racing in the Thailand Optimist Championship).
(Source – Infinity Communications)