AY
Race Report 4 and Summary

Top of the Gulf Regatta 2005

Final showdown reveals all...
At sunrise on the last day of racing a good 5 to 8 knot South Westerly covered the course area which around here means a great day of racing is ensured. Being a public holiday to celebrate the Thai King's Coronation Day all the competitors began rigging up early and the hum of exuberance filled the air as they took to the water. Although some class winners have been decided already, most of the final podium places will hinge on the results of the final races.

Class 1 - Keelboats
The Maikinson's JOD 35 Magic Roundabout ably helmed by Pook (See photo) also kept the fleets cleanest score sheet by recording 7 wins out of 7 races for a run away victory. Amazingly David Pollards X 412 Foreign Exchange 11 scored all 2nd places and Pascal Leray's X99 Hi Jinks all 3rds to end up in that order.

Class 2 - Cruising Keelboats
As Dick Sanders Thai Raver and George McCready on Malissa equally traded wins and 2nd places during the final 2 races, Thai Raver maintained her slender 1 point lead to lift the overall title. Simon Denye's two 3rd places on Narinthip broke the earlier tie with Malissa but relegated them to 3rd spot overall.

Class 3 - Sportsboats
John Vause's crew on Buzz 8 took the opportunity to drive home their advantage and consequently added two more wins to their tally and seemingly clean sweep the class. Although David Bell's Pink Pussycat was quickly closing in on the Buzz 8 coming into final races they managed to get caught up in a mark rounding traffic jam and finishing difficulties had to settle on 2nd place. Anthony MacDonnald's Thompson designed CU Later has kept everyone honest and on the pace around the course ended up in 3rd spot.

Class 4 - Platu Coronation Cup 2005
Although the racing has been extremely close Neil Semple's crew scored a 2, 1 to seal the fate of the class and take home the Coronation Cup this year. Wiwat Poonpat's Thai crew did enough with a 3, 2 to hold onto 2nd place but the big mover of the day was Viroj Mualkhair's crew who have steadily climbed the rankings taking a win and 3rd place to end up 3rd overall. Relegating Alex Skaria's crew who were the early series leaders to 4th place overall. Five teams from Singapore chartered boats, adding a international flavour and although they didn't finish on the podium must be commended for making the effort and the experience will no doubt put them in a favorable position next time.

Class 5 - Ocean Multihulls
Kirati Assakul's Sonic has responded to having good crew by cleaning up arch rival Radab Kanjanavanit's Cedar Swan in all races bar one this time. Although Trevor Whalley's 3rd placed Treasure Trove and Francesco Brancaccio's 4th placed Vivace ended up in that order they experienced some close and exciting racing between themselves.

Thai Optimist National Title
The young unassuming 13 year old Benjamas Poonpat or Nhueng from the Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand convincingly took on and beat 70 other contestants to be crowned the Thai Optimist National Champion. After winning 6 of the 9 races that count she beat her closet male rival Navee Thamsoontom by a whooping 13 points. Consistently in the top order and after discarding a 15, 14 Thanakan Korkerd leap frogged 2 other female competitors to eventually take third place and avoid a all girl domination.

Beach Catamaran and Monohull Divisions
Although conceding the 2 final races veteran Taipan 4.9 sailor Damrongsak Vongtim's seven earlier wins are enough for him to record a run away victory. Les Nyeges on his Nacra 16 came good to win the last 2 races and claim 2nd spot on the podium. Cassio's Nacra 16 finished up with a 4, 7 score line to fall from his earlier 2nd spot and ended up 3rd overall.

After cranking up his 420 to score 2 firsts on the second last day Sutee Poonpat stayed in the top places on the final day to score a 2 point win over the leading Lasers of Veerasit Puangnak and Manat Pootong. The remaining five 420's filled the rest of the places in front of 9 other lasers.

Summary
The inaugural Top of the Gulf Regatta has been a huge success and highlighted the potential of the Pattaya/Jomtien area as one of Thailand's premier sailing destinations. Consistent 10 to 18 knot breezes every day brings out the best at any sailing event and who would of thought that some of the best sailing conditions and facilities are only a short drive from the nations capital Bangkok.

The TOTGR can be seen as a revamp for the ailing Thai Navy's 10 year old Coronation Cup that needed a urgent makeover but the inclusion of other classes including off the beach boats seems to be the right recipe to building a bigger and brighter future. After meeting up with the keen bunch of local sailors that conduct races throughout the year coupled with very supportive sponsors in Ocean Marina and Raimon Land that have vowed to return next year one comes away wondering why there has never been a event of this magnitude ever organised here before.


AY
Race Report 3

Top of the Gulf Regatta 2005

Passage race seals the podium places...
The main sponsor Raimon Land are also the title sponsor for the long passage race for all keelboat, large multi's and off the beach catamaran classes on Day 3. The course first takes competitors on a long run north of Ocean Marina to the heart of Pattaya Bay were a rounding mark is laid to seaward of Raimon Land's Northshore twin condominium towers before heading out around the popular off lying picnic islands and finishing back at Ocean Marina.

For those not familiar with the area back in the early 70's Pattaya was a sleepy little fishing village that the American forces developed into a raunchy R & R stopover for the troops during the Vietnam war. These days it remains one of Thailand's biggest tourist attractions that is about two hours drive from the capitol Bangkok which is located slightly inland on the river Chao Phraya.

A mass downwind spinnaker start for all classes proved to be a bit tricky for Pote Suyasinto's Platu and Pascal Leray's High Jinks which were recalled for being over the line and never recovered to finish down the order. Race officer Gerry Rollins reported that the breeze increased to 22 knots at one stage and its southerly nature turned the expected long beat back into a one tack fetch. For a number of classes the overall results have been determined but the highly competitive Platu Coronation Cup still remains open which will go down to the wire with the final 2 races on the last day.

Class 1 - Keelboats
The Maikinson's JOD 35 Magic Roundabout ably helmed by Pook added another win to maintain a clean sweep of 5 wins in front of David Pollards X 412 Foreign Exchange 11 (all 2nds) and Pascal Leray's X99 Hi Jinks (all 3rds) and it will take something catastrophic for them to be dislodged from taking the series.

Class 2 - Cruising Keelboats
George McCready crew on Malissa got it all right this time and comfortably took 1st place by a whooping 16 minutes from Simon Denye's Narinthip and Dick Sanders Thai Raver. As the drop race is introduced from this race and Thai Raver holds a slender 1 point lead over Malissa and Narinthip who are tied on 8 points, the results from the final 2 races will determine the overall winner of this class.

Class 3 - Sportsboats
David Bell's Pink Pussycat came to the fore again today relegating John Vause's crew on Buzz 8 to 2nd place for the 2nd race in succession. This narrows the lead down to 1 point and if this trend continues the Buzz 8 may be deposed from the top of the leaderboard. Anthony MacDonnald's Thompson designed CU Later has scored consistently 3rd and likely to finish up there.

Class 4 - Platu Coronation Cup 2005
Although the racing has been extremely close Neil Semple's crew added another win to their tally and head the leaderboard with a healthy 3 point margin. Introducing the drop race has grouped the chasing pack on points with Wiwat Poonpat's Thai crew in 2nd place and lifted Alex Skaria's crew up to 3rd place overall after discarding a 7th. With 11 Platu's competing one slip up or bad race during the remaining 2 races could dramatically change these placings, so all eyes will be focused on them till the end.

Class 5 - Ocean Multihulls
Although Radab Kanjanavanit's Cedar Swan beat Kirati Assakul's Sonic by 30 minutes on elapsed time, the bigger and much heavier Sonic took 1st place on corrected time by a little over 8 minutes. This leaves Sonic with 4 wins and in a almost unbeatable position. As the main battle takes place at the front of the fleet Trevor Whalley's 3rd placed Treasure Trove and Francesco Brancaccio's 4th placed Vivace were separated by a mere 57 seconds and tied on 13 points at the end of the day.

Thai Optimist National Title
No races were scheduled on this school day but as the final day is a public holiday to mark the King's Coronation a full round of races will take place. If Benjamas Poonpat has it her way and presently holding a commanding lead she will be crowned the Thai Optimist National Champion.

Beach Catamaran and Monohull Divisions
Damrongsak Vongtim's Taipan 4.9 did a complete horizon job on Richard Eyre's Nacra 16 his closest rival. Cassio's Nacra 16 finished in 3rd to lift him up to 2nd overall but trails the unbeatable Damrongsak by 13 points. Stefaan De Vos's Hobie Tiger finished a dismal 9th today but still maintains 3rd place overall by a slim margin.

Sutee Poonpat cranked up the 420 to score 2 firsts and a second and overtake the leading Lasers of Veerasit Puangnak and Manat Pootong. A mixed bag of results were to come in the stronger breeze which saw the remaining 420's climb the leaderboard and close in on the pointscore.


AY Race Report 2
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2005

Close battles and shifty gusts drive them on...
A steady 5 to 10 knot S-SW breeze that seems to blow day in and day out around here has helped the race officers get through the extensive program of races on 3 separate courses without any delays. Quite a few close individual battles are taking place around the course and picking the shifts in the breeze as it increases to 15 -18 knots during the afternoon has had a bearing on the overall place getters. Class 1 - Keelboats and Class 3 - Sportsboats also had time to hold the extra race required to make up for the cancelled Race 1.

Class 1 - Keelboats
A clear order has been taking shape with the Maikinson's JOD 35 Magic Roundabout ably helmed by Thai wife Pook (Capt Araldite) scoring 4 bullets out of 4 with David Pollards X 412 Foreign Exchange 11 taking all 2nd places and Pascal Leray's X99 Hi Jinks scoring all third places in the 4 races held so far.

Class 2 - Cruising Keelboats
After some of the competitors admitted to a few wrong course interpretations a mixed bag of results has been produced. Dick Sanders Thai Raver presently sits in 1st place after 4 races and closely followed by Simon Denye's Narinthip with the usually unflappable Scotsman George McCready on Malissa in 3rd spot, is expected to climb the rankings when they get their act together.

Class 3 - Sportsboats
The giant killing Buzz 8 this time skippered by John Vause continues on its winning ways with 3x1st places out of 4 races and David Bell's 2nd placed Pink Pussycat crew were ecstatic as they got one back from them in Race 4. Although Anthony MacDonnald's Thompson designed CU Later has shown some incredible bursts of speed around the course, they have not been able to capitalise on it to be trailing in 3rd place overall.

Class 4 - Platu Coronation Cup 2005
After 4 races Neil Semple's crew just leads the 11 strong fleet of Platu's by scoring wins in race 2 and 3. After a mixed bag of results Wiwat Poonpat's Thai crew remain tied on 12 points with the leader. David Race in 3rd spot trails by one point and along with 4th placed Alex Skaria, the winner of 2 races are all within striking distance, especially when the drop race comes into consideration. The next few races will tell.

Class 5 - Ocean Multihulls
Although Kirati Assakul's Sonic conceded to Radab Kanjanavanit's Cedar Swan in the light wind race 3, they rebounded to score another 1st in the stronger afternoon breeze race 4 to stay on top of the overall leaderboard. Francesco Brancaccio's Vivace and Trevor Whalley's Treasure Trove have enjoyed some close racing around the course to hold 3rd and 4th places respectively.

Thai Optimist National Title
Weighing in at 41 kilos dripping wet, 13 year old Thai girl Benjamas Poonpat continues to take on the best of the boys in 15 - 18 knots of breeze to be sitting proudly at the top of the Optimist class leaderboard scoring 5 wins out of the seven races held so far. Her closest rival of the 70 boat fleet is another Thai girl Angkana Poonsirikot who trails by 13 points with the best placed boy Navee Thamsoontom currently running in 3rd place. These place getters are the only other sailors to have won a race when Benjamas scored a 3rd place in race 3 and ruled OCS in race 5.

Beach Catamaran and Monohull Divisions
Damrongsak Vongtim's complete dominance on a Taipan 4.9 sees him winning all 5 races held so far. The battle is on for the minor podium placing's with Cassio's Nacra 16 fighting it out with Stefaan De Vos's Hobie Tiger who are separated by only a few points.

As the competition is hotting up in the off the beach monohulls and nobody seemed to take notice of the earlier flown i-flag Race Officer Richard van den Heuvel had to revert to a black flag start which would automatically disqualify anyone over the line. The Lasers of Manat Pootong and Veerasit Puangnak hold 1st and 2nd places respectively with a comfortable 7 and 8 point lead over Sutee Poonpat who is the closest of the 420's.


AY
Race Report 1

Top of the Gulf Regatta 2005

Sheer persistence pays off in the long run...
After years of favouring the popular tourist resort islands of Phuket and more recently Koh Samui, big yacht racing has finally come home to Thailand's capitol Bangkok on the spectacular Gulf of Thailand. Long been a dream of organizing chairman Bill Gasson, the inaugural Top of the Gulf Regatta is a combined effort by local sailing enthusiasts and Nusara Banyatpiyaphad's luxurious Ocean Marina Yacht Club facilities and main sponsor Raimon Land that sees the dream come to reality. Organizers have worked hard to serve all sailing interests in the region by including a variety of keelboat classes into the long running Platu 25 Coronation Cup as well as ocean going catamarans, beach cats and dingy classes.

Racing got underway on time in 8 to 10 knots of wind that built up to 15k by early afternoon which allowed race officials on all courses to complete the full days program. Due to a mix up in course signals the competitors of Class 1 - Keelboats and Class 3 - Sportsboats have by mutual consensus decided to abandon the first race in favor of having a resail and a third race on Day 2.

Good call? Bearing in mind the nature of fair play competitors in Asia would prefer to race under, rather than attend drawn out protest hearings and miss out on the evenings sumptuous dinner and trophy presentation.

A mixed bag of results came from the 11 yachts competing in Class 4 - the Platu 25's running for the Coronation Cup with Singapore's Alex Skaria's crew taking the first race and Neil Semple representing Thailand scoring the honours in the second race.

Ocean Marina is celebrating their 9th anniversary since opening this week and Kirati Assakul scored a double celebration by skippering the Ocean Marina catamaran Sonic to 2 first places on day 1. Radab Kanjanavanit's multiple King's Cup winner Cedar Swan took 2 x 2nd places to keep in contention as the series unfolds.

A young 13 year old Thai girl Benjamas Poonpat will be one to watch out for at future Asian and SEA games as she scored 2 firsts and 1 third place from 70 other Optimists during the opening 3 races. Her closest male rival Navee Thamsoontorn scored 2 seconds and took first place in race 3 to be tied on points in the race to become Thailand's National Optimist champion.

Eight entrants make up the Hobie 16, Multi D and S classes that are joined by a further 11 Lasers and six 420's which complete the 25 strong off the beach fleet. They ran 3 races on a separate course and thoroughly enjoyed the freshening breeze which saw them planning on the crest of the small waves.


AY
Pre - Regatta Report

Top of the Gulf Regatta 2005

From one side of the South China Sea to another...
Our journey now takes us over 1000nm across the South China Sea to the Inaugural 2005 Top of The Gulf Regatta to be sailed off Jomtien beach in the beautiful Gulf of Thailand. A series of races is sponsored by Raimon Land and hosted by the luxurious Ocean Marina Yacht Club just south of the infamous Thai resort city of Pattaya.

This regatta includes a variety of racing classes, anything from dinghy's to keelboats and multihull's. The Thai Optimist National titles and the prestigious Coronation Cup for Platu 25 sportsboats that commemorates the Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej along with 4 days of keelboat and multihull racing is incorporated into the inaugural TOTGR racing program.

Bill Gasson, chairman of the organizing committee, added “It’s hard to find a better location, good wind and a great sailing area just out the door of the marina". Social activities planned each evening and the close proximity to Pattaya will no doubt add a festive spirit to the series, which is expected to be sailed in sunny tropical weather conditions and favorable tradewinds this time of the year.

This huge cruising area just opening up to the world is being featured in the Race Reports to inform readers of the existing facilities and diverse range of sailing events being held in the region. Spanning about 1,300,000 sq miles the South China Sea is flanked by China to the north, Philippines and Borneo on the east, Indonesia and Malaysia to the south and Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to the west. The chief ports include Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Hong Kong, and Macau. In the southwest it merges with the Gulf of Thailand and in the west it is separated from the Gulf of Tonkin by the Chinese island of Hainan. The principal rivers draining into the South China Sea are the Mekong and the Xi Jiang. Shipping and fishing are economically important throughout the region. Weather in the region is marked by seasonal monsoons and typhoons are often experienced during the wet season. The best months to cruise the region is from April through to October each year.

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