|12th ToG sets entry & Coronation Cup Record|
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 in six classes over four days (this year from 1st to 4th May) and the dinghies, Thailand Optimist National Championships and RS: One Asian Championship racing over three days (this year from 30th April to 2nd May).
The final day of the 2016 Top of the Gulf Regatta proved to be the best yet with a fresh 15 knot breeze bringing down the curtain on what has been a busy programme of sailing for 271 boats split over 10 classes in five days, and more than 700 competitors. Two quick windward/ leeward races determined the final class standings.Keel boats and Multihulls
Heading into the final day of racing Kingdom Property (AUS), skippered by Scott Duncanson, had a seven-point in its attempt to secure Platu Coronation Cup honours. The last day of racing was more of a scramble for the remaining podium places and in Race 1 it was the ever-improving Russian team on Wikki, led by Valeriy Dichenko that pulled out all the stops to take their second win of the series. Dichenko is a multi-regatta champion back home in Russia and you could see his never-say-die spirit throughout the regatta.
Rolf Heemskerk (MAS) finished second in Race 1 while Chris Way's Easy Tiger IV (AUS) slipped down to sixth place. Duncanson and his crew had a halyard problem which slowed them down on the race track and resulted in them finishing a "lowly" third, however, that was enough for him to secure the Platu Coronation Cup title with one race to spare. This is Duncan's sixth Platu Coronation Cup title and the first ever three-peat in the competition's 21-year history having won it previously in 2014 and 2015.
Dichenko and crew went on to claim their third bullet of the series in Race 2 ahead of Heemskerk and Way, and with Duncanson not competing the final race, Way's third place was enough for them to hold onto second place overall, one point ahead of the fast-finishing Dichenko.
Fourth and fifth places in the Platu Class went to the Thai teams of Wiwat Poonpat (THA), skippering Royal Thai Navy, and Ithinai Yingsiri (THA), skippering Pine-Pacific.
In IRC, 1 Kevin Whitcraft (THA) and his crew on THA72 finished their series with two more wins. Except for a retirement in Race 2 due to a backstay problem, Whitcraft made a clean sweep over Ray Roberts' TP52 Millenium Racing (AUS) in the two-boat TP52 class and the performance of his new boat in its first competitive outing sent a warning shot the rest of the Asian-based TP52s should heed.
The Swan 42 Loco (USA) skippered by David Dimmock, held tough in the IRC 2 class all week with a run of third places, but never managed to catch Fujin (AUS). But on the final day, they did just that, beating them in both races, finishing with a 2,1, scoreline. They settled for third overall behind the Sorensen, Ketelbey, Tilden and Brown Fujin. The class title went to Roland Dane's Corby 36 Jessandra II (THA) which scored six consecutive firsts and didn't compete in the final race of the series.
The IRC 3 Class went to script on the last day with two more wins for Lennart Fahlgren's Amanda (THA), whose Thai/ Swedish crew scored seven wins from seven races to be the runaway winner. Second overall went to Martin Brown's Nautical Wheeler (UK) with Tim McMahon's SailQuest Hi Jinks (USA), based out of Ocean Marina, taking third.
The Cruising class enjoyed five races over four days, a mix of windward/ leewards and some longer passage races. Scored using a Performance Handicap system final day glory went to Pote Suyasinto (THA) and his crew on Le Vent who comfortably took the series title from Sein Samathi 1 (THA), skippered by Nukool Pothi, who took second and Cedric Rimaud (FRA) and his 6-metre classic Selma, who finished third.
The two-boat Ocean Multihull Class saw Radab Kanjanavanit and his team on the 28-foot trimaran Cedar Swan (THA) duel it out with Kirati Assakul's 42-foot Sonic (THA) with Sonic claiming the 2016 Ocean Multihulls class title. It is the Assakul family that owns Ocean Property.Dinghies, Lasers, Opties & RS Ones
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. It wasn't a flawless performance from Thai Olympian Keerati Bualong but placing in the top four throughout 9a, and a discard when double-yellow-flagged, meant he retained his crown with Apiwat Sringham (THA) in second and Asri Bin Azman (MAS) in third.
The Laser 4.7 competition (Class 9b) went down the wire with the winner being decided in the final race. A bullet in that final race for Asmawi Bin Azman (MAS) secured him the overall win while Suchatree Detthotsapol (THA) had to settle for second. Kamonchanok Klaharn placed third. The pairing of Navee Thamsoontorn and Kittiporn Kumjorn put in a stellar performance on the final day of racing in Class 10 – three first places, plus discarding their first race discard (when they never made the start on time), making them the overall class winner of the eight 420s, comprising the double- handed monohull Dinghy Class.
The A Fleet in the Optimist Class completed 10 races over three days with five of those being on the final day, and it was the final day that decided the winner. Early leader Thai girl Chanokchon Wangsuk was overtaken by Hong Kong youngster Duncan Gregor who raised to the top on Day 2. The final three races, however, hurt Duncan whose 9,21,9 scoreline opened the door for the winner of Hua Hin Regatta last week, and now Thailand Optimist National Champion, Chanokchon Wangsuk. Third place in the A Fleet was secured by Saranwong Poonpat. The top four Thai finishers will now go on to represent Thailand at the Optimist Worlds in Portugal.
In Fleet B, after nine races, the honours went to Peeravit Praphaipong with Jasmine Soo and Krit Alexander Romanyk in second and third respectively. A bumper fleet of 46 windsurfers competed for the RS: One Asian Championship crown including top racers from around Asia and a strong showing from Thailand, especially in the women's fleet with former Youth Olympic silver medalist and Rio-bound Thai star, Siriporn Kaewduangngam.
RS:One windsurfers who were competing in the RS:One Asian Championship, but the nine races over three days in good breeze, and a stormy Day 1, took its toll on many. At the end of Day 2 it was a three-way battle for the Men's Division and despite a late charge from Yancy Kaibigan (PHI) with a 1,2, in the final two races of the series, it wasn't enough and he had to settle for third behind Leung Pui Hei (HKG), which means the winner and 2016
RS:One Men's Asian Champion was I Nyoman Suartana (INA) who lead from Day 1 and held off all challengers. In the Women's Division it was an all- Thai podium. Despite valiant efforts from all, nobody could supplant Rio-bound Siripon Kaewduangngam who was the 2016 RS:One Women's Asian Champion holding off fast finishing Sarocha Prumprai (THA), who placed second, with Krongkaew Sakulfaeng (THA), who placed third.Summary
The 2016 Top of the Gulf Regatta will go down in the history books as one of the best yet and most definitely the biggest. A fleet of 271 boats ranging from Optimists to dinghies, windsurfs, keelboats and multihulls is the largest gathering of watercraft anywhere outside an Olympics in Asia, in recent times. And the quality was there too. From the largest TP52's to the Rio-bound Laser sailors and windsurfers there was quality and sailing talent in abundance throughout the fleet.
Sailing scribe Duncan Worthington wrote, "So often you get either wind or blue skies, and sometimes you get neither, but the 2016 Top of the Gulf Regatta had unlimited supplies of both departments." The icing on the cake was the first ever three-peat in the Platu Coronation Cup by Scott Duncanson – three victories in a row, bringing his total tally to six over the Cup's history. Quite a feat in anyone's eyes.
Kudos to Denis Thompson and his Race Management team—btw Thompson is the PRO for the world-famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
About Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina
Founded in 2005, the Top of the Gulf Regatta presented by Ocean Marina is owned and organized by Ocean Property, the Regatta is hosted by the Ocean Marina Yacht Club with support from the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Pattaya City.
The regatta is unique in that it is the largest multi-class sailing event of its kind in Asia, incorporating the Coronation Cup and the Thailand National Optimist Championships, and is the only regatta in Thailand hosted at a marina.
In recognition of the regatta's success and cementing its position on the international sailing calendar, Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina was voted "Asian Regatta of the Year" at the 2014 Asian Marine & Boating Awards.