Aussie Scott Duncanson defends title at 2015 TOG Regatta

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Asia’s largest multi-class regatta, the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2015, was held from 30th April to 4th May at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Najomtien and attracted over 700 sailors and friends to descend on Pattaya to take part in this award-winning event. For a full round-up of all the on-water action. (Photo by Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf Regatta)

Racing the Platu One-design keelboat for the Coronation Cup, Australia’s Scott Duncanson won for the second year in succession – an otherwise unprecedented feat – at the annual Top of the Gulf Regatta, held from April 30 – May 4 at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Najomtien, Pattaya.

Duncanson, a former junior sailing champion of Australia, and his crew sailing “Kingdom Properties”, did not even have to compete in the last race as they had racked up a certain win already after the third day of the four-day regatta.

Asia’s largest multi-class regatta, the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2015, was held from 30th April to 4th May at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Najomtien and attracted over 700 sailors and friends to descend on Pattaya to take part in this award-winning event. For a full round-up of all the on-water action. (Photo by Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf Regatta)Asia’s largest multi-class regatta, the Top of the Gulf Regatta 2015, was held from 30th April to 4th May at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Najomtien and attracted over 700 sailors and friends to descend on Pattaya to take part in this award-winning event. For a full round-up of all the on-water action. (Photo by Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf Regatta)

This year’s Top of the Gulf Regatta will go down as one of the toughest yet.  Not only were there top international crews and close racing on-the-water, the conditions proved to be some of the most varied, tricky and challenging in the Regatta’s history.

Celebrating its 20th sailing this year, the Coronation Cup – launched in 1996 to coincide with the anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s Coronation date, 5th May 1950 – has grown to become one of the largest one-design racing competitions in the region.

Suthon Yampinid lifts the 40-year old Thailand Optimist National Championship trophy, presented by Rear Admiral Sunan Monthardplin, Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and President of Junior Sailing Squadron (left), and past winner Mark Tchelistcheff (right).Suthon Yampinid lifts the 40-year old Thailand Optimist National Championship trophy, presented by Rear Admiral Sunan Monthardplin, Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and President of Junior Sailing Squadron (left), and past winner Mark Tchelistcheff (right).

With “Kingdom Property” not needing to compete on the final day, the minor places saw fellow-Australian Chris Way and his crew on “Easy Tiger IV” take the final race of the series (adding to their win in the first race) and secure second place overall, three points ahead of Ben Williams’ “The Fox” (HKG).

After leading the Platu class at the end of the first day, the Thai team “Le Vent 2” struggled in the lighter winds, to finish fifth overall, while the all-Thai female crew – soon heading to the SEA Games in Singapore – on the Platu YRAT, were sailing light with just four crew, and despite the weight disadvantage in the stiffer breeze they managed a commendable ninth out of 13 overall.

Scott Duncanson (right) and his crew after winning back-to-back Coronation Cup titles at the 2015 Top of the Gulf Regatta.Scott Duncanson (right) and his crew after winning back-to-back Coronation Cup titles at the 2015 Top of the Gulf Regatta.

In IRC Racing 1 there was close competition by some, disappointing performances by others and even one disqualification.  A win in the final race however was enough to see “Foxy Lady VI”, led by Steve McConaghy, defend their class title and “EFG Mandrake” – first time competing at the Regatta – finish in second.

In a disappointing sixth place in the final race of Class 2 for “Amanda” (Sweden) – their worst finish – the team lost the top place, which they had held for the duration of the Regatta, to finish second overall, while a first for “Iolanthe”, skippered by Aussie John Morris, saw them take advantage to win the title by two points, with locally-based Australian skipper Gary Baguley, “El Coyote” finishing third on the podium.

Sailing in the dinghy classes was close with more than 40 competitors this year.Sailing in the dinghy classes was close with more than 40 competitors this year.

Being scored with the NHC performance handicap system, Cruising Class had been a closely fought battle between the Japanese crew on “Tai Two” and the USA team on “Nautical Wheeler”, and it was “Tai Two” which just edged their American counterparts for the title by 0.4 points, while George Foose and his “Dream team” (USA), scored a first in the last race to move into third overall.

In 2014, the Ocean Multihull class went down to the wire and a three-boat shoot-out for the final race.  However, “Sonic” (THA), after hearing over the radio the final race was not to happen, turned it off and headed back to the marina, missing the next radio call which rescinded the first.  Re-capping that moment before heading out on the final day this year, “Sonic” skipper Kirati Assakul commented, “I won’t turn off my radio this time until I am back onshore after the racing has finished!”

Foxy Lady VI (centre), storms to the front on the final day of the 2015 Top of the Gulf Regatta.Foxy Lady VI (centre), storms to the front on the final day of the 2015 Top of the Gulf Regatta.

That proved to be a very wise decision as “Sonic” won the first race of the final day by just three seconds to level the series with “Cedar Swan” (THA) with the final race set to decide the title.  The longer second race for the Ocean Multihulls, however, favoured the handicap of the smaller “Cedar Swan” who was the runaway winner by almost 8 minutes on corrected time, and with that won the class title by a single point over “Sonic” and “License to Chill” (AUS) in third.

Some 112 youngsters raced over three days, in some testing conditions, for the Thailand National Optimist crown.  Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the second oldest sailing trophy in the country is the pinnacle of youth sailing in Thailand, and after eight races this year it was the consistency of Suthon Yampinid with seven wins that saw him crowned 2015 Thailand National Optimist Champion.  Second place went to Voravong Rachrattanaruk with Kamonchanok Klahan placing third.

EFG Mandrake was competing in the Top of the Gulf Regatta for the first time.EFG Mandrake was competing in the Top of the Gulf Regatta for the first time.

Sailing in the dinghy classes was close with more than 40 competitors this year.  Keerati Bualong (THA) performed impeccably to reign supreme and defend his single-handed monohull dinghy class title.

With an almost perfect score-sheet in the double-handed monohull dinghy class it was Sarawut Phetsiri and Puvich Chanyim (THA) who discarded their fourth place finish earlier in the series to count eight firsts and take the title.  Second place went to Alif Safares Bin Azmi and Amirul Mukminin (MAS) with the female team of Chaninart Poolsirikot and Piriyaporn Kangkla (THA) in third.

The 2015 TOG Regatta was organized under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Platu Yacht Association, Ocean Marina Yacht Club and Royal Varuna Yacht Club.  For more information and a full list of the results, go to website: www.topofthegulfregatta.com.

The crew on Cedar Swan took first place in the Ocean Multihulls class.The crew on Cedar Swan took first place in the Ocean Multihulls class.