ew sailors embody a sailing class the way Kev Scott does for the One-Design Platu class in Thailand. In fact, next to his wife and children Kev cares for few things as much as he does his beloved Platus. From Hull in Yorkshire, Kev, a chartered accountant by profession, who had his own engineering business, retired to Thailand in 2000 after falling in love with the country, the people and the weather. Back in Europe, he spent 25 years cruising a Moody 36 in the waters off Majorca. The first four years Kev was here, he wasn't even involved in sailing as he spent most of his time building a family home. But after some encouragement from Gary Baguley, of Blue Seas Marine, he made up for that lost time with a vengeance. He currently owns four Platus, and takes care of another seven for their owners. Fifteen Platus race regularly out of their base at Ocean Marina.
Kev, who is the co-ordinator of the International Platu Class in Thailand, went to the Platu Worlds a few years back in Spain, but the boat he chartered was in such rough shape (the tiller was solid, the keel a mess and the ropes broke as soon as it was sailed, etc.) that he vowed that while he was in charge of renting out Platus at Ocean Marina, he would make sure that every boat he chartered would be in good shape and had a chance of winning. Ray Roberts proved that in 2009, chartering Wikki Quantum Racing and winning the Coronation Cup. So why does Kev love Platus so much? "One Design is more exciting, first over the line wins. Boats of the same speed are often battling side by side working hard for that extra few inches, which is often the difference between winning and losing. This is rarely the case in a handicap situation of dissimilar boats which can be half an hour apart" The boats have a 400kg crew weight limit (usually 5 sailors) and Kev encourages people from all over to come and give them a try, citing Ocean Marina Pattaya as a perfect place to go sailing as it is not dependent on the tide for access. He also says the Platus are safe; if they tip over, with their big keel, they right themselves almost immediately unlike some other sports boats.
The One Design racing provides some of the closest action
with top crews coming from all over the world to take part.
In 2010, Kev made a register of all the Platus in Asia counting 52 in total with 25 in Thailand and the rest scattered about, based in Langkawi, Singapore, Port Klang, Hong Kong, Phillipines, Malaysia, etc (Kev figures there's another 600 in Europe).
History of the Platu (the Platu 25 Story)
A group of Thai businessmen formed a company known as Phatra Marine Products Company Limited. They wanted to build a marina in Hua Hin on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand and run a fleet of One Design boats. With connections to Bruce Farr, they asked the famous designer to create a one-design yacht especially suited to the waters in the Gulf of Thailand. The boat would be small and named after a small fish which is a delicacy here in Thailand ("Pla" is Thai for fish and "Tu" is a certain type of fish). Small but special, the Platu 25 was born and Mcdell Marine of New Zealand was chosen for the build. On 19 March 1995, 24 Platus arrived in Thailand and in 1996 the first Platu 25 One Design Regatta, known as the Coronation Cup, was held off the coast of Hua Hin. This was a result of the owners wanting to link their yacht to The King of Thailand, who is a very keen yachtsman and Olympic medal winner. Unfortunately, in 1997 there was a financial crash in Thailand and the development of the Hua Hin marina was stopped. This also crashed the dream of the businessmen and to this day the marina with its One Design fleet has never been completed. However, the Coronation Cup was continued to be held and today is one of the most prestigious yachting trophies in Thailand. The event is held in early May within the International Top of The Gulf Regatta at Ocean Marina. Beneteau saw and liked the Platu and bought the rights to build it in Europe. They had to make some small modifications to the original boats including a 40mm slimming of the deck to accommodate the road transport rules of most European countries. In 2007, the class was registered with the ISAF and a set of international class rules was produced. Thailand produced an "amendment to International class rules" to accommodate the minor differences between the original Mcdell and the Beneteau Platus. In 2008 Xtreme Sailing Products ( XSP) of Singapore bought the original Mcdell moulds and the rights to produce the Platu and Mcdell ceased production. It is ironic that XSP's first order for 11 Platus (built in Batam) came from New Zealand, where the first Platus were designed. Since then their boats are being sold all over Europe and are becoming known for their excellent quality. The specific design of the Platu and its need for a well organized crew of five is recognized by many professional crews who use the boat to hone their skills. The design also allows inexperienced crews to learn to sail in safety, while requiring precise skills to sail the boat fast. Matched Fleet Racing (MFR) at Ocean Marina
This is a new venture for 2012. It is not "Match Racing" it is "Matched Fleet Racing" on "matched" boats. Identical One Design, in equal condition and more importantly with the same quality sails on each boat. Platus can be chartered for 5,000 baht for the boat for the two days of racing. Obviously this is not a commercial rate but "Yachts in Thailand" are sponsoring the deal this year to give everyone a chance to sample One Design racing. The OMYC sailing club entry fee is 800 baht per crew member to include a meal and beer on Saturday evening. This new venture is intended to give crews a chance to be on their own boat and race against like-minded crews who want competitive racing in a friendly atmosphere. There are also FUNSAIL practice weekends to brush up on your skills or to introduce complete beginners to the sport. These weekends cost 500 baht a day per person. Boats are available by prior request and racing is the second weekend of every month as per the OMYC sailing calendar. Check out www.OMYCsailing.com, see the sailing calendar section. Platu charters
For major regattas all charter Platus are presented in excellent condition. It has been proven that any one of the Platus is capable of winning with the right crew onboard. Kev's boats have won all the major regattas for the last 5 years and his own boat The Ferret has won the Thailand One Design Platu Championship three times.
Customers are allowed to use any of their own equipment as long as boats are returned with all original equipment fitted. The charter costs for 2, 3 or 4 day regattas ranges from about 25,000 to 47,000 baht. A non-refundable deposit is required when booking and full payment is needed 3 weeks in advance of the event to secure the charter. This charter cost also includes one or two days of preparation or "on-water" practice. New or little used racing sails can be provided at extra cost from 2,000 to 7,000 baht per day depending on quality. These boats are also excellent for day cruising. "Cruising" charter rates are 7,000 baht per day plus a 1,000 baht launching fee. Further information: Kev Scott (Thailand +66) 0878 25 00 11,
One Design Platu Championship of Thailand
The One Design Platu Championship of Thailand is supported by "Yachts in Thailand" and consists of the four following events with 3 results to count: The Platu OPEN Championship of Thailand; The International Top of the Gulf Regatta, which includes the famous Platu Coronation Cup (www.topofthegulfregatta.com); The Platu NATIONAL Championship of Thailand; and The Platu Cup. Check out www.yachtsinthailand.com for details.