PATTAYA, Thailand – Excellent winds welcomed the four classes that kicked off the 2016 Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina today. With 43 boats competing in the single and double monohull dinghy classes, 46 windsurfers in the RS:One class and 140 youngsters in the Optimist class, the “dinghy” fleets are again reaching record numbers while the keelboats and multihulls will start their series tomorrow (1st May).
A steady 15 knots at 13:00 saw classes 9, 10 and 12 (Optimist) get underway cleanly on their respective courses. Shortly after the winds picked up as a storm blew through the fleet reaching gusts upto 30 knots in strength, adding more than a little excitement for some.
Due to the large numbers in the Single Handed Monohull Dinghy Class (Class 9), Race Management split the fleet into two divisions: 9a (Laser Standard and Laser Radial) which totalled 24 entries, and 9b (Laser 4.7) with 19. The good winds suited the stronger sailors and after three races it was Keerati Bualong whose 3,1,1 on the day put him top of the Class 9a standings ahead of Apiwat Sringam with Malaysian Asri Bin Azman in third.
A record Optimist fleet of 140 boats are competing for the Thailand Optimist National Championships during the Top of the Gulf Regatta.
In Class 9b it was a much closer affair with the 19 sailors trading places around the course and after three races on Day 1 it is Chanavee Kongprum who leads the class by five points.
Eight 420s make up the Double Handed Monohull Dinghy Class (Class 10) and with a 2,2,3 scoreline Thai national team sailor Navee Thamsoontorn took top spot at the end of the first day ahead of fellow national team sailor and winner of last year’s Thailand Optimist National Championships, Suthon Yampinid, who having now moved upto the 420 leaves the 2016 optimist crown to a new champion.
There was close racing on Day 1 on the Top of the Gulf Regatta dinghy course.
Continuing on from her win in the Hua Hin Regatta last week, local youngster Chanokchon Wangsuk is showing the boys how to sail an Optimist with a third and a fourth today to take a three point lead in the Thailand Optimist National Championships ahead of Hong Kong-based youngster Duncan Gregor whose ninth place in the second race, following his win in the first, dragged him down. Another Thai girl, Intira Parnpiboon, sits third.
Today’s storm resulted in just two races for the Optimist class being completed and after all hands-on-deck, all Optimists returned safely to shore and the fleet split into two, A and B, fore the final two days of the series.
Opting for a later start at 14:00, the RS:One windsurfers were caught in the eye of the storm and had to settle for a single race. A bumper fleet of 46 windsurfers competing for the RS:One Asian Championship crown includes top racers from around Asia and a strong showing from Thailand, and in the women’s fleet it was former Youth Olympic silver medallist and Rio-bound Thai star, Siriporn Kaewduangngam, who took an early lead while Indonesian I Nyoman Suartana sits top of the men’s division.
Tomorrow the keelboats and multihulls will join in the racing with a fleet of almost 30 including 13 Platus competing for the prestigious Platu Coronation Cup.
The Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina is the region’s largest and most diverse regatta of its kind with keelboats and multihull classes racing over four days (1st to 4th May) and the dinghies, Thailand Optimist National Championships and RS:One Asian Championship racing over three days (30th April to 2nd May).