Top of the Gulf Regatta goes from strength to strength

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International skippers to the fore at 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta

The 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta, sailed out of Ocean Marina in Jomtien from May 4-7 saw four days of spectacular sailing off the coast of Pattaya with more than 250 boats and 500+ sailors from all corners of the globe taking part.

The international field was certainly well represented in the winners’ enclosure but all those taking part would have enjoyed the superb sailing conditions prevalent throughout the duration of the regatta, as well as the not insignificant hospitality proffered by hosts Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

The 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta, sailed out of Ocean Marina in Jomtien from May 4-7 was another huge success with the large fleet enjoying superb sailing conditions throughout the 4 days of competition. The 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta, sailed out of Ocean Marina in Jomtien from May 4-7 was another huge success with the large fleet enjoying superb sailing conditions throughout the 4 days of competition.

In the IRC Racing Class 1, Singapore’s Foxy Lady, skippered by Bill Bremner, secured the overall class win ahead of local favourite Wan Marang helmed by Kevin Whitcraft, while David Ross’ KukuKERchu completed the podium in third place.

This ninth regatta saw a large contingent of sailors from ‘down under’ taking part headed by the likes of Sydney Hobart regular Matt Allen and his crew on Ichiban, which took the IRC Racing 2 line honours with six wins out of the seven races completed.  Allen’s team finished well up on Sattahip based Royal Thai Navy 1, skippered by Cpl. Wiwat Poonpat, and Dean Rheault’s Souy 1, placing second and third respectively.

Perfect sailing conditions greeted the sailors at this year’s Regatta.Perfect sailing conditions greeted the sailors at this year’s Regatta.

Singapore Management University had three teams racing in the regatta this year – two in the Platu class and one in IRC Racing 3 – and it was Hi Jinks, skippered by Peiquan Chung in the latter that finished the Regatta undefeated and were crowned class champions.  Second place went to the all-Thai team on Sansiri Ooh la la, skippered by Patinyakorn Buranrom, and third to Tai Two, skippered by Sadunori Osada.

Australia was well represented in the prestigious Coronation Cup for the one-design Platu craft this year with four boats from the southern continent, including defending champion Chris Way on Easy Tiger IV, lining up in the 16-strong fleet.  As it transpired, two of the Aussie contenders would battle it out for the top honours on the final day of racing but Easy Tiger IV would not be one of them after losing ground in the early races and playing catch-up thereafter.  Despite winning the eighth race of the series, Way’s team had too much to do in the defence of their crown and had to be content with a fourth place finish.

‘Easy Tiger’ races to the mark in the Coronation Cup.‘Easy Tiger’ races to the mark in the Coronation Cup.

With Hong Kong based Andrew Moore securing third position on Tigrana, it left the major honours to be decided between Black Betty, skippered by Gary McNally, and Problem Child, skippered by Brian McMaster, who battled down to the wire.  In the end it was the consistency and four first place finishes by Black Betty that made the difference, with them being crowned 2013 Coronation Cup champions at the final prize-giving and Gala Dinner at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.  A 1, 2 finish on the final day was not enough to secure the title for the crew on Problem Child, but they were worthy runners-up.

Australia’s ‘Black Betty’ was the toast of the Platu fleet.Australia’s ‘Black Betty’ was the toast of the Platu fleet.

Meanwhile, a late surge by Sonic, skippered by Kirati Assakul proved to be too little too late to make a dent in the unassailable lead of David Liddell’s Miss Saigon in the Ocean Multihulls class while Scott Galle’s Black Swan completed the podium in third.

As reported in last week’s Pattaya Mail, there were no surprises on the final day of racing in the Open Beach Multihull class where Damrongsak and Sakda Vongtim remained undefeated over the eight race series to finish well ahead of the Grahame Southwick/ Khaipho and Teerapong Watiboonruang/ Passuree Sompalasin pairings who took second and third overall.

Fighting for position in the Monohull Dinghy class.Fighting for position in the Monohull Dinghy class.

Olympian Keerati Bualong easily won the Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy class to head second placed Natthawut Paenyaem by eight points and the Thai duo of Sittisart Ponpun and Peerapol Wisaka took three wins on the final day to win the Double-Handed Monohull Dinghy honours.

Strong winds on Day 2 of the regatta had left a depleted fleet on the final day of racing for the Formula 18 class where Pom Green and Apple, sailing the new Olympic Nacra 17, edged Michael Scantlebury and David Harris.

‘Foxy Lady’ leads the IRC-1 fleet over the start line.‘Foxy Lady’ leads the IRC-1 fleet over the start line.

The Thailand National Optimist Championship, this year sponsored by property developer Sansiri Group, saw a huge fleet of 128 youngsters battle it out in some of the fiercest competition of the week.  14-year old Thai junior Pongsapat Pumyam proved to be the most consistent sailor in the fleet and finished the event in style by winning the last race of the series to be crowned this year’s champion.

Lasers battle for honours on Day 1 of the Regatta,Lasers battle for honours on Day 1 of the Regatta,

Finally, the RS:One windsurfing class, raced over two days, was part of the NeilPryde Racing Series and included 28 competitors from India, Myanmar and Thailand, including many youth sailors from the Windsurfing Association of Thailand’s (WATH) Youth Development Programme.  After seven races it was a Thai clean sweep on the honours board with Thanatip Seubyubon winning the Youth Men’s division while compatriot Duangkamon Phongern took the Youth Women’s division.  Navin Singsart claimed the series win in the Men’s division with Siripon Kaewduangngam taking the Women’s title.

The crew on ‘Ichiban’ race to another win in the IRC 2 class.The crew on ‘Ichiban’ race to another win in the IRC 2 class.

Final prizes in all the classes were awarded at a glitzy marina-side Gala Dinner on Tuesday, May 7.  The ninth TOG Regatta had proved to be another outstanding success, with no small part played by the regatta sponsors, race officials, organizers and not least the Ocean Marina Yacht Club which had once again proved to be a fine host of this burgeoning event on the international sailing calendar.

(Source: Infinity Communications / Photos: Martin Bilsborrow)