Seven top quality crews lined up for the fourth and final round of the Ocean Marina Yacht Club’s Platu One Design Championship of Thailand 2021.
Kevin Whitcraft split his already successful team into two entries. K. Ithinai also fielded two teams and brought in some world class sailors from Spain in order to train and improve his crews for the future. FLS logistics sponsored a local team, skippered by Espen Sandeberg.
Nathan Masopust, who won the Championship last year, is building a new team this year. The Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, having proven to be unbeatable in the first three rounds, sent along a new crew to increase their experience of the ultra, competitive racing provided by this great One Design Championship. Previous winners of this Championship, Chris Way of Australia and Rolf Heemskerk of Malaysia and Colin Simonds of England were all unable to come this year because of covid restrictions but are more than keen to take part again next year.
Eleven, thirty, minute races over the two days, provided plenty of opportunities for all crews to show their skills. Racing was fast and furious with several race wins being decided by less than a metre, such was the close level of competition. It was interesting to see that the excitement to be racing again meant that for the first race all the boats were a metre over the start line at the horn. A general recall would have spoilt the fun so the race officer decided to let it go.
For once, the weather forecast was correct and crews enjoyed excellent sailing conditions with wind speeds between 12 and 15 knots on day one. With the North Easterly wind having to fight its way through high rise buildings this created big oscillations and pressure fluctuations, to keep the tacticians fully occupied. It also gave the race officer a few headaches and kept the mark laying crew very busy until a shift to the North settled in for the rest of the day. Six races on day one, with winds reaching 18 knots at times left crews very happy to get back to the marina for a welcome beer. With five wins, K. Ithinai’s team aboard their immaculately prepared Pine Pacific Platu were the overall leaders.
Day two provided the same wind pattern as day one with very big oscillations in the morning from the North East until settling in with a steady pressure from the North. This time, maximum wind speeds of 22 knots meant that crews had to work very hard to keep upright. Credit must go to Alfie, the 14-year-old foredecker aboard FLS logistics who survived the day and who must be wondering why he chose this position to be on the boat.
Results for day two followed a similar pattern to day one although Platu 154 seemed to be going a lot faster. This may have had something to do with the forced change of one crew member!. The increased wind pressure tested some of the less experienced crew but such was the overall quality of the crews that there were no major incidents in spite of the wind being very close the maximum for these 25-foot race boats.
Rest times between races were extended to allow crews to prepare themselves for their next battle against the big winds. After such a hard day’s work crews were probably thankful to hear the announcement that the ‘next race’ will be the last race. As usual this was a medal race carrying double points. This always creates increased concentration on the start line.
It is testament to the high quality of the crews in this Championship that there were no major breakages or collisions in such extreme conditions. It was also well noted that all crews readily accepted the rules and readily did their turns when appropriate. Even with such competitive, close racing there were no protests.
Results and presentations quickly followed and all crews were rewarded with a bottle to acknowledge that regardless of their results on this occasion, their participation is what creates the enjoyment for all.
Congratulations to K. Ithinai’s team aboard Platu 257 who won the weekends event. Congratulations to the YRAT team, skippered by Totsapon Mahawichean, who were crowned the OMYC Platu Champions of 2021.
And so ended another, great One Design Platu Championship, proving that this represents some of the closest and most exciting racing available. Testament also to the great camaraderie between the competitors who fight for every inch but with respect for all.
Thanks go to:
The management of Ocean Marina Yacht Club, led by Scott Finsten, for providing all the “ on and off water” support so vital to keep this Championship alive and well.
To K. Thammasak the assistant race officer and his hard working mark boat staff.
To Krystal for her hard work in the office to provide instant results.
To Doug Smith for his unseen work to promote the Class.
To FLS logistics for sponsoring a Platu and helping with general support for yacht racing at OMYC.
To Morten and Apple for being available if a protest committee was needed.
To Tony Hewitt, our beloved flag man, who is unfortunately returning to England.
To David Gray, the photographer.
To all competitors who make this Championship what it is. The best!
FOR THE WEEKEND, 257/16 POINTS, 117/28, 154/42, 122/56, 107/63,258/66, 124/68
FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP 107/3, 117/6, 124/8, 257/9, 122/10
(For the Championship, Best three results to count, teams to compete in two events to qualify).