As the largest multi-class sailing event of its kind in Asia and the only regatta in Thailand hosted at a marina, The Top of the Gulf Regatta is unique. Founded in 2005, the 2019 Top of the Gulf Regatta happened 30th April to 5th May off the shores of Jomtien (Pattaya).
Owned and organised by Ocean Property, the regatta is hosted by Ocean Marina Yacht Club with support from the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Pattaya City.
As the 15th edition of this event, sailors from around the world came to compete in the penultimate event of the 2018/19 Asian Yachting Grand Prix. The Top of the Gulf regatta welcomed more than 200 boats in 16 classes across a diverse range of boat types and sizes, and sailor abilities.
Competing classes included Optimists and Lasers, 29ers and 49ers, 420s and 470s, and beach catamarans, through to ocean multihulls, keelboats, one-design 25-foot Platus, and even radio controlled IOM Sailboats.
Inclusivity has been at the heart of the Top of the Gulf Regatta since it was first sailed in 2005, and to this aim organisers added a Para Sailing class for the first time this year, using the S\V14 two-person dinghy.
The S\V14 is a uniquely designed boat to enable people with disabilities to enjoy sailing. Over four days (2 – 5 May) sailors from France, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Estonia, Philippines, Russia and Thailand competed in the inaugural Thailand S\V14 Para Sailing Championship.
Ultimately, organisers who have been working closely with World Sailing to introduce Para Sailing to Thailand, hope to be able to support the development of a Thailand para sailing team which can compete at the international level.
The Top of the Gulf Regatta has a reputation for delivering close and competitive racing, and this year’s competition was no different. Thankfully the weather over the 5 days was conducive to competitive sailing.
Results by Class.
In the Keelboats and Multihull, the Australian manned Team Hollywood with Ray Roberts at the helm took the honours for Class 1: IRC Fleet 1. Thailand-based THA7 with 2010 World Optimist Champion Noppakao Poonpat at the helm and ex national team sailors onboard claimed second place.
In IRC Fleet 2, Fujin (AUS) came into their own putting together a string of seven wins from the last seven races on the final day to win the class. Tenacious (AUS) performed better in the long races at the beginning of the series, but kept Fujin honest throughout, finishing second overall ahead of Lawana (THA) who claimed third on count back from Ink Zone (AUS).
IRC Fleet 3 saw Team Spray (JPN) find their sweet spot and string together a series of firsts and seconds on the final day to top the standings. MoonShadow2 (GBR) who performed better in the stronger breeze earlier on in the regatta had to settle for second overall with SailQuest Hi Jinks (USA) in third.
The Platu class traditionally delivers some of the closet racing in the regatta, and this year did not disappoint with just seconds the deciding factor in many of the races. Of the 12 Platus competing this year six made the podium but it was Chris Way’s Easy Tiger V who put in a dominating performance finishing with six firsts and three second places in the 12-race series to win by a clear margin. Last year’s winner, Team ViewPoint, placed second just two points ahead of top Thai boat, Pine Pacific, skippered by Ithinai Yingsiri.
For the Multihulls Bob Garner’s BladeRunnerIX (GBR) finished their series with five wins from six races and a comfortable class victory. Sonic (THA) placed second overall with a string of second places beating out the French entry, Edenko.
Thailand Optimist Open Championship
Known for the Optimist class and support of youth sailing in Thailand, the 15th Top of the Gulf Regatta saw more than 80 youngsters split into Gold and Silver fleets. All competing in the new Thailand Optimist Open Championship.
For the Gold fleet, Panwa Boonak (THA) won comfortably while in second place Bowonnan Chanram (THA) edged out M.L. Weka Bhanubandh by a point, who had to settle for third overall. In the Silver fleet, Pitipoom Jaroenpon (THA) dominated with a 23 point winning margin from Supakan Kerdsakul (THA) in second and Amonwan Aphiwatudomkun (THA) just three points further back in third.
Thailand S\V14 Para Sailing Championship
With a fun, and competitive four-day series wrapped for the Para Sailing class the inaugural Thailand S\V14 Para Sailing Championship went to Paisol Pateh/ Mahseedi Hadumor (THA). Kasempon Hondee/ Suraphong Chitkong (THA) came in second with Kristo Priks/ Peep Krusberg (EST) in third. Finishing strongly with a win in the final race of the series, Russel Vollmer (RSA)/ Cherrie Pinpin (PHI) settled for fourth overall.
Organisers proudly declaring the addition of a Para Sailing class to the regatta an outstanding success.
Full results of all races in all classes are available at www.topofthegulfregatta.com/results-page.
Those who love sailing need to add 1st to 5th May, 2020 to their diary as Ocean Marina Yacht Club will, once again, be home of the 16th Top of the Gulf Regatta. For more information visit www.topofthegulfregatta.com.
By Michael Cullen
All Photos by Guy Nowell
/ Top of the Gulf Regatta