Inclusivity has been at the heart of Thailand’s Top of the Gulf Regatta presented by Ocean Marina since it was first sailed in 2005, as organisers aim to support sailing across a diverse range of boat types and sizes, and sailor abilities.
From Optimists and Lasers (Radial, Standard and 4.7), 29ers and 49ers, 420s and 470s, and beach catamarans, to ocean multihulls, keelboats, one-design 25-foot Platus and the radio controlled IOM class, organisers this year have added a Para Sailing class for the first time, using the S\V14 two-person dinghy.
“We have up to 16 classes competing this year and expect more than 200 boats of all sizes and types out on the water. Our goal has always been to organise an inclusive regatta and this year we are taking it one step further with the introduction of the inaugural Thailand S\V14 Para Sailing Championship,” said William Gasson, Co-Chairman of the Top of the Gulf Regatta Organising Committee.
Ocean Marina has made the Para Sailing class possible with the purchase of eight new S\V14s from FAREAST YACHTS in China, and they expect to take delivery in March. The two-handed dinghy will be helmed by a para sailor who will be paired with an able-bodied sailor and like other dinghy classes will race over four days with their own dedicated race area, race management and support team.
“The regatta has invited para sailors from around the region to compete and we also expect a good showing from Thailand. We have been working closely with World Sailing to introduce para sailing to Thailand and over the long term we hope to be able to support the development of a Thailand para sailing team which can compete at the international level,” added Gasson.
In addition to the new Para Sailing class, there are a number of other changes for this the 16th edition of the regatta. Racing has been extended one day for all classes. The radio controlled IOM class will compete over three days, the dinghy classes over four days and the keelboat and ocean multihull classes will race over five days.
After a few years’ hiatus, organisers are considering re-introducing a sports boat class and encourage any interested sailors to contact them with an expression of interest.
The 2019 Top of the Gulf Regatta presented by Ocean Marina will take place 30th April to 5th May, 2019 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club and will be raced on five separate inshore courses.
The regatta’s programme can be viewed online at https://topofthegulfregatta.com/programme.