All eyes on Pattaya for Top of the Gulf Regatta 2013

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The Top of the Gulf Regatta was founded in 2005 by William J Gasson and the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, with the aim of developing an international standard multi-fleet regatta on the Eastern Seaboard.

There were already a series of small yacht racing events in the area and the desire was to bring these together to create one of the largest regattas in Thailand and provide a competitive yacht racing platform for Thai and international sailors.

The 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta starts this Friday, May 3 and promises five days of spectacular sailing competition off the coast of Pattaya & Jomtien. The 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta starts this Friday, May 3 and promises five days of spectacular sailing competition off the coast of Pattaya & Jomtien.

The Regatta has since grown to become the largest regatta in Thailand by boat numbers – regularly attracting over 250 boats each year – and indeed the largest regatta of its kind in Asia.

The philosophy of the Regatta’s founders and the Organising Committee has always been to welcome a diverse fleet of boats and sailors of all ages, and to this end it is arguably the most diverse Regatta in the region with over 600 sailors from the ages of seven years to over 70 years taking part in 2012.

The Regatta is unique – it is the only multi-class sailing event of its kind in Asia, attracting a large fleet of keelboats and ocean multihulls, as well as one-design Platus, beach catamarans, dinghies, Optimists and the NeilPryde RS:One Windsurfs.

The Top of the Gulf Regatta sets sail from May 3-7 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Na-jomtien. (Photo/Infinity Communications)The Top of the Gulf Regatta sets sail from May 3-7 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Na-jomtien. (Photo/Infinity Communications)

The Top of the Gulf Regatta (TOG Regatta) attracts a quality fleet of Thai-based and international sailors across all the classes, often attracting National, Asian and World Champions and Olympians to take part alongside novices and seasoned professionals, all under the banner of supporting and promoting a healthy watersports lifestyle.

The TOG Regatta incorporates the prestigious Coronation Cup, which is competed for by the one-design Platu Class, and the Thailand Optimist National Championship which is the national championship for the Optimist Class and attracts over 100 sailors each year.

The Top of the Gulf Regatta is organised by an Organising Committee with support from the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Royal Varuna Yacht Club and the Royal Thai Navy, and is held under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand.

The Prestigious Trophies

The Top of the Gulf Regatta presents awards for first, second and third places in the overall series, for all classes.  The Coronation Cup is awarded to the winner of the one-design Platu class, and the Thailand Optimist National Championships’ overall winner is presented a special perpetual trophy.

Coronation Cup

Established in 1996 with 24 entries, the first one-design Coronation Cup date coincided with the anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s Coronation date, 5th May 1950.  From there, the one-design Platu Coronation Cup was born.  Today, Ocean Marina Yacht Club is home to the largest Platu fleet in Asia.

The Platu was brought to Thailand by a group of businessmen, including Virot Nualkhair.  They commissioned Bruce Farr to design a one-design, economically-priced high performance boat suitable for Thailand’s prevailing conditions.  The first Platus were built by McDell Marine in New Zealand and in 1995 the first 28 were delivered to Pranburi on Thailand’s Gulf Coast and based at the former Phatra Marina.  (As a result of its successful design Beneteau visited the fleet in Pranburi and decided to buy moulds from McDell Marine and began manufacturing the Beneteau 25 in Europe.  There are now approximately 600 Beneteau 25’s in Europe and Worlds events are attracting up to 100 boats.)

Thailand Optimist National Championships

In 1976 the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand started Junior Sailing, a programme to encourage and train young Thai sailors and send them to compete in international sailing events.  In the same year, YRAT started what was then called the Optimist Thailand Championship Cup, known today as the Thailand Optimist National Championships.

Now in its 38th year, the Thailand Optimist National Championship is as competitive as ever, with many leading Thai juniors, international teams and world champions competing for the title.  Sansiri PLC have come onboard as a key sponsor of the Regatta this year and are presenting sponsor of the event – the Thailand Optimist National Championships presented by Sansiri.

Supporting grassroots sailing

The Top of the Gulf Regatta (TOG Regatta), together with hosts Ocean Marina Yacht Club, have been supporting grass roots sailing in the Gulf of Thailand for many years.

The regatta organisers incorporated the Thailand Optimist National Championships nine years ago (the first year of the regatta) and have supported its operation ever since.  Held over three-days during the Regatta, the national championships welcomes in the region of 130 young sailors to compete each year.

With approximtely 100 young Thai sailors taking part, the championships provide a unique opportunity for the youngsters to compete against international sailors, and in 2013 youngsters are coming from Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Myanmar, to compete, as well as strong representation from yacht clubs around Thailand including in Hua Hin, Samui, Phuket and of course the Pattaya area.

Now in its 38th year, the National Optimist Championships is the second oldest annual sailing event in Thailand and continues to develop youth talent and introduce Thai youngsters to the sport sailing.  And this year, the TOG Regatta organisers welcome Sansiri PLC as presenting sponsor of the championships.

“At Sansiri, we aim to construct a life, not just a building.  In addition, our CSR campaigns focus on sustainably supporting children in three areas; sport, health, and education.  Sansiri is proud to be the main sponsor for Thailand Optimist National Championships 2013; young Optimist sailors are the future of the sport.  Over 100 young sailors from Thailand and overseas will take part in this international-standard event and we are happy to support sailing opportunities for Thai youngsters and their development in the sport,” said Ob-oom Chutrakul, Social Director of Sansiri PLC.

The Thailand Optimist National Championships will take place 4th to 6th May.  Racing will take place on Course 1 off Ocean Marina Yacht Club, with race management by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT), and the final prize-giving will be held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club on 6th May.

Top Of The Gulf Regatta 2013
Schedule of Events
Friday 3rd May
Registration and Practice Day
10:00 – 16:30:  Registration at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.
14:00:  Practice Race(s) for Classes 1-7.
17:30:  Skippers briefing Classes 1-7.
18:00:  Opening Ceremony with wine and cocktails at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.
Saturday 4th May
Race Day One (all classes)
09:00:  Skippers briefing Classes 8-11.
10:00:  Skippers briefing Class 12.
11:00:  Racing Starts.
17:00 – 19:00:  Daily prize-giving and drinks on the lawn.
19:00:  Kingdom Property party at Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
Sunday 5th May
Race Day Two (all classes)
11:00:  Racing Starts.
17:00 – 19:00:  Daily prize-giving and drinks on the lawn.
Monday 6th May
Race Day Three (all classes)
11:00:  Racing Starts.
17:00 – 19:00:  Thailand Optimist National Championships prize-giving and drinks on the lawn.
Tuesday 7th May
Race Day Four (classes 1 to 7)
11:00:  Racing Starts.
18:00:  Ocean Marina Yacht Club Gala Dinner and Regatta prize giving.