|Top of the Gulf turns ten|
The final day of the 2014 Top of the Gulf Regatta erased all memories of the tricky conditions over the previous three days as the wind kicked in and blew all classes around the course to complete their series. It was smiles all around as the packed start-lines and busy schedule of races made for a fitting final to the 10 th anniversary Top of the Gulf Regatta. On the keelboat and multihull course Race Officer Denis Thompson had the classes into sequence quickly completing two races for most and three for some.
Three races were in order for IRC 1 and despite coming into the last day with a run of firsts, Peter Ahern and his crew on Oi! struggled to a 1,3,3 score-line. Sailing well, Wan Ma Rang caused the upset in the best breeze of the Regatta with a final day scoreline of 3,1,1, enough for them to secure second place overall on countback, behind Oi! who won IRC 1 at their first time of trying. IRC 2 delivered some close racing over the last four days with two Singapore entries, Foxy Lady VI (last year's winner) and Windsikher, battling with Japanese entry Karasu, and going into the last day it was Karasu who had the advantage.
As the winds arrived on cue, it was Foxy Lady VI who powered up and scored two firsts on the windward/leeward courses and with it secure the class win by the slimmest of margins, a single point. Two first places on the final day for Souay 1 in IRC 3 was a great finish to the Regatta but not enough to knock Hi Jinks off the top who wins the class for the second consecutive year. Cruising went down to the wire with Windstar taking a slim lead in to the final day. The long course and conditions favoured Amanda who sailed to a win tying Windstar at the top in the overall standings. On countback, however, Amanda was crowned the winners with three wins in the series compared to Windstar's two. Competing for the Coronation Cup, the one-design Platu class saw a shuffling of the pack on the final day. Scott Duncanson's Kingdom Property jumped to the top of the standings after winning the first race of the day, edging out Chris Way's Easy Tiger IV by a little over 20 seconds. In the second race, tactics came into play ith Easy Tiger IV looking to shadow Kingdom Property. After a short windward/ leeward Kingdom Property gained the advantage over Easy Tiger IV with fifth and seventh place finishes respectively. The final race win of the series went to David Leslie's Nataya 131.
After the dust settled and all the points are in, it was Kingdom Property who was crowned winners of the Coronation Cup with Easy Tiger IV a single point back in second, four points ahead of Rolf Heemskerk's Team ViewPoint in third. Mojo finished in style in the Ocean Multihulls class with a win on the final day. Enjoying the strong breeze, Mojo sailed to a six second victory on corrected time over Kirati Assakul's Sonic whose second place in the race was enough to secure the class title by a single point over fellow Thai multihull sailor Radab Kanjanavanit. On the dinghy courses, the final day's wind made for a frantic finish with two races completed by most fleets. Keerati Bualong showed his class throughout to defend his Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy class title while top Thai female sailing the Laser Radial was Kamolwan Chanyim.
Defending champions in the Double-Handed Monohull Dinghy class, Navee Thamsoontorn/ Nut Butmarasri, were convincingly beaten this year and despite two wins on the last day for Sittisart Ponpan/Peerapol Vesaka it was not enough to unseat new class winners Totsapon Mahawichean/Sarawut Phetsiri. In the Hobie Tiger/Nacra F18 class, it was the pairing of Damrongsak Vongtim/ Kitsada Vongtim that out-sailed the rest to claim the crown.
The 2014 RS:One Asian Championships, in collaboration with the Top of the Gulf Regatta and WATH (Windsurfing Association of Thailand) has delivered three intense days of one design racing off Ocean Marina Yacht Club. With 21 racers from seven nations (including the promising new windsurfing countries of Myanmar and Sri Lanka), the technical conditions and shifty winds provided some challenging competition. Hong Kong and Thailand dominated claiming victories in all four divisions (Men, Espoir Men, Women and Espoir Women). Natthaphong Phonoppharat was crowned RS:One Mens Asian Champion with seven wins from eight races while Hong Kong's Sin Lam Sonia Lo was unbeaten in the Women's division.
The RS:One class will continue its 2014 journey with the European Championships in Cesme (Turkey), the Asian Sailing Championships and Asian Games in Incheon (South Korea), the Asian Beach Games in Phuket (Thailand) and the 2014 World Championships at the end of the year in Bintan (Indonesia).
The future of sailing and yacht racing in the Kingdom appears to be secure, judging by the large number of junior sailors at the Top of the Gulf Regatta this year. Some 132 Optimist dinghies, sailed by under 16-year-old boys and girls, faced the rigours of fickle conditions, with light, shifting winds interspersed with storm fronts growling on the horizon, to compete in the annual Thailand Optimist National Championships.
Winning an Optimist World Championship recently, many of these youngsters have moved on from the tiny trainer, to compete in bigger craft and represent Thailand in numerous world class events, including Olympiads. In this its 39 th sailing, the National Optimist Championships went down to the wire and after five races over three days it was Thai Sutida Poonpat who won the title on the final day, ahead of fellow Thai national team sailor Suthon Yampinid in second. The 10 th anniversary edition of the award-winning Top of the Gulf Regatta saw a near record fleet of 239 boats with close to 600 sailors competing in 12 classes over four days off of Ocean Marina Yacht Club. They came from Japan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
The Ocean Marina Yacht Club
About the Top of the Gulf Regatta
Full results are available at www.topofthegulfregatta.com/results.shtml