A hard day at the office: Day 3 of the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2018

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Follow my lead on the Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy course. (Photo by Guy Nowell)
Follow my lead on the Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy course. (Photo by Guy Nowell)

Pattaya – All the fleet were playing catch-up in their respective series after two days of unseasonal weather in the Gulf of Thailand and race officers on the keelboat and multihull, dinghy and Optimist courses were eager to get going Monday.

Two quick windward/leewards for all in classes 1-6 (keelboats, multihulls) and two quick races for the dinghies (classes 9a, 9b and 10) was all the wind gods gave time for as a storm and lightening forced racing to be abandoned early with the entire fleet sent back to shore.

Having started later, the Thailand Optimist National Championships managed just a single race.

The all-Chinese crew on the TP52 Ark 323 put their first win on the board, beating out THA72 in the second race of the day by a mere 15 seconds. Noppakao Poonpat, however, secured a win in Race 1 and THA72 now sits at the top with a two point lead going into the final day.

It was all change elsewhere on the keelboat and multihulls course as Loco (USA) and El Coyote (AUS) traded places in IRC 2. A win in the first race for David Dimmock’s crew see Loco remain top of the standings, despite slipping down to third in the final race, while a win in the second race for El Coyote see them close the gap to just a single point.

Moving away from their traditional one-race-a-day schedule, the Cruising Class completed two windward/leewards and the racing was close. A 5,1 scoreline for Le Vent (THA) keeps them top of the standings but an impressive performance from Team Splay (JPN) with a 1,2 on the day sees them now tied with Le Vent at the top. Just one point back is Dream (USA) and all is to play for on the final day.

It was a tough day on the race track for Sonic (THA). A win in the first race was followed by a DNF in the second and with that, they have gifted the lead to Edenko (FRA) whose consistent pressure and smart sailing means they have a one point margin at the top of the series standings.

With upto 10 races scheduled for the one-design Platus, the weather isn’t playing ball and with just two races Monday the series total stands at five, with only one more day of racing ahead.

Ithinai Yingsiri’s Pine-Pacific (THA) struggle for consistency is hurting their overall score. A win in the first race, followed by an eighth in Race 2 means they sit third overall. Two third places for Team Viewpoint (MAS) on Monday saw them consolidate their top position while a seventh and second was enough for Easy Tiger III (AUS) to hold second overall, three points back.

Six of the 11 Platus have been on the podium so far this week and at times winning margins are under ten seconds. With such close racing and the drop yet to come into play, there’s a chance for some big moves Tuesday as crews, no doubt, will be hoping for a minimum three-race final day showdown.

After battling incessant storms on Day 1 and Day 2, the huge monohull dinghy fleet now have four races completed in their series.

In Class 9a, comprising Lasers and one lonely Finn, Olympic sailor and multiple Thai national champion, Keerati Bualong, has won four from four so far and comfortably leads the class. With two second places Monday, Chusitt Punjamala jumped up to second overall with Jarupong Meeyusamsen trailing in third just one point back.

Comprising Laser 4.7s and one Laser Radial, at the end of their first day of racing the Class 9b standings were as follows: First, Saranrong Poonpat, second Sophia Gail Montgomery and in third, on equal points, Chanokchon Wangsuk and Paliga Poonpat. Two firsts for Sophia Gail Montgomery on the second day saw her move up the standings and she now leads by a single point from Saranrong Poonpat in second and Paliga Poonpat in third.

In the Double-Handed Monohull Dinghy Class (Class 10), Navee Thamsoontorn/ Nut Butmarasri (470) led at the end of Day 1 from Dylan Whitcraft/ Simon Hiscocks (49er) in second and Suthon Yampinid/ Kittipoom Kumjorn (420) in third.

A 1,2 Monday saw Navee Thamsoontorn/ Nut Butmarasri (470) in a commanding position at the top of the leaderboard while Suthon Yampinid/ Kittipoom Kumjorn (420) and Sutida Poonpat/ Narisa Satta (470) are tied in second on 14 points apiece.

At the end of the Optimists’ first day of racing (Sunday), defending champion Panwa Boonak (THA) was tied at the top of the Gold fleet with Hong Kong youngster Duncan Gregor, and Jedtavee Yongyuennarn two points further back in third. In the Silver fleet it was another tie at the top, this time by Kritphet Suwanarai and Yoth Srimanchanda with Aditep Mattapa sitting in third at the end of Day 1.

Day 2 (today) was cut short by a storm which blew 25 knots across the course and intermittent lightening, resulting in the Race Officer sending the fleet to shore after just a single race. Panwa Boonak took up where he left off adding another win to his series results and with a tenth place for Duncan Gregor (HKG) he slipped down to third overall, and fellow Hong Kong sailor Casey Law moved up to second. One of the big movers in the Gold fleet was M.L. Weka Bhanubandh who’s second place finish moved him up to sixth overall and within striking distance of the podium.

In the Silver fleet, a first in the sole race of the day for Yoth Srimanchanda saw him extend his lead from Kritphet Suwannarai while a third for Phanphatsa Khumban was enough for her to retain third place overall.

Racing continues Tuesday with series prizes presented at the Ocean Marina Gala Dinner.