International multihull race festival comes to Pattaya


The first-ever international yacht-racing event, featuring sleek, super-fast new multihulls, will be held in the waters off the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, South Pattaya, from Friday 03 until Friday 10, February, 2012.

More than sixty entries have already been confirmed for the 1st Pattaya International Multihull Festival, comprising some 120 participants, from eight countries, including Australia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as a large contingent of Thai-based sailors.

Hundreds of yacht-racing enthusiasts will gather on the South Pattaya sea-front for the week-long spectacle, seen for the first-time on the Pattaya-Jomtien seascape.

According to the principal organizer, Pattaya-based catamaran builder, John Higham, this inaugural event is to be held annually and, says John, “will become Asia’s largest multihull regatta by next year”.  The aim, apart from promoting this visually-exciting form of yacht racing, will be to also create a high profile of Pattaya as a prime venue for water-based activities and marine sports for the City-by-the-Sea.

The regatta, in effect, will showcase the fastest sail-driven craft in the world, thereby emphasizing the superb marine environment and sailing conditions which make the Pattaya-Jomtien area as one of the world’s best.

“This event will, no doubt, in the future become one of the largest beach-based sailing spectaculars in the world.” added John.

The Royal Varuna Yacht Club in south Pattaya will play host to the 1st Pattaya International Multihull Festival from Feb 3-10, 2012.The Royal Varuna Yacht Club in south Pattaya will play host to the 1st Pattaya International Multihull Festival from Feb 3-10, 2012.

The most competitive fleet is expected to be the Formula 16 with multiple world champions and Olympic sailors involved.  This class is sailing mainly with a mixed team, i.e. one man, one woman as crew.

Double world champion Coen de Koning from Holland, will be taking part in the F16 class and will be joined in the event by compatriot Carolijn Brouwer, a three times Olympic competitor and tornado world champion.

Local honours will be defended by Gareth Owen, a Pattaya sailor who is a double world Dart 18 champion and will be sailing in the Dart 18 division.

For the first time in Asia there will also be a small fleet of F20 carbons racing which are capable of attaining speeds of 60 km/h.

The popularity of sailing, yacht-racing, cruising, and water sports generally has enjoyed exponential advances both world-wide and in the Kingdom.  Recently, a French team, under Loick Peyron, took an incredible three days off the record in the Jules Verne Trophy, allocated for the fastest circumnavigation of the world:  Loick’s team finished in just 45 days.

Elsewhere, teenagers are sailing the world single-handed: Dutch girl, Laura Dekker – all of 16 years of age – just arrived at home port after a year-long solo circumnavigation of one year.  An Aussie teen – also 16 – Jessica Watson did likewise last year.

Then, of course, is the build-up for the America’s Cup in 2014 and, anyone down Pattaya way in February, can have an inkling of what these speed machines are capable of achieving.

But, back to Thailand and the forthcoming extravaganza: Yacht-racing in the kingdom is forging ahead, with a junior world champion and many other Thais in top contention.  And, now, with events like the catamaran fest and the many regattas held up and down the country during the year, Thailand’s water-ways are the most desirable venues in the world.  This is the collective opinion of many sailors who come back year after year.

Events during the week will include the “Island Record Race” which will always be an identical course each year allowing a record to be set and also speed trials, as some of the fastest beach cats in existence will be taking part in the event.

In successive years, the “Island Record Race” will be open to windsurfers, kite surfers and also larger multi-hulls creating a true on the water challenge between all sail-driven craft.

Some of the world’s fastest sail craft will be battling it out for honours in the week-long regatta.

Some of the world’s fastest sail craft will be battling it out for honours in the week-long regatta.

The event is organized by the HM the King’s own Royal Varuna Yacht Club, situated on a beautiful property south of Pattaya and, as the kingdom’s oldest club, has years of experience in managing big international events.

All are welcome during the week, to view the action from Royal Varuna Yacht club foreshore.

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