All that floats – TOG Regatta class updates

Top of the Gulf 2011 - Closing Night Dinner on the lawns at OMYC - a great location for a great regatta
Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf
All that floats – TOG Regatta class updates

Keelboats and Multihull entries are firming up for the 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta, and it looks set to be in the region of 60 on-the-water this year – a record fleet. A strong IRC 1 Class is lead by Neil Pryde's HiFi, who will have their work cut out against a highly competitive 40-foot fleet, as well as the new Soto 30 (more about that later).iRC 2, IRC 3 and IRC 4 Cruising Class is made up of 15 boats in total with a strong showing from local Pattaya and Thailand-based boats, while the Multihull Class looks to be one of the biggest in recent years with 10 entries. Sportboat Class sees six entries (largest in recent years) and the one-design Platus look likely to be 15.


The Thailand Optimist National Championship is expecting to be the biggest yet with 100+ entries signed up from the Yacht Racing Association Thailand, plus more from around Thailand, ASEAN and beyond. 120-130 are expected in total.

Over 20 Lasers are expected to take part from the Royal Thai Navy, and together with a large fleet from the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, plus 420s, Hobies and more, will likely mean 60 or more boats on the monohull dinghy and beach catamaran course.

Add to that up to 30 RS:One windsurfs competing in the NeilPryde Racing Series (more about them later), and the waters off Ocean Marina Yacht Club will be alive with race action come 5th May.


Top of the Gulf Regatta training ground for Olympic stars
Since its inception eight years ago, the Top of the Gulf Regatta (TOG Regatta) has endeavoured to provide an opportunity for Thai and regional sailors to compete against international sailors of the highest calibre. To this end, each year the Regatta welcomes national, Asian, World Champions and Olympians to take part in a varied fleet of dinghies, multihulls and keelboats.

'Our aim since the beginning has been to organise an international-standard yacht race in the Gulf of Thailand, in line with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) rules, and with international race management,' explained Bill Gasson, Chairman of the TOG Regatta Organising Committee.



'For Thai juniors, we incorporated the Thailand Optimist Championships as part of the Regatta and now provide an opportunity for Thai youngsters to compete alongside international sailors and develop their skills,' added Gasson.

Success of the TOG Regatta's approach can be seen in the number of Thai sailors sharpening their skills at the Regatta and going on to great sailing achievements.

After a 12 year hiatus, Thai sailors are set to represent their country again at the Olympics. Current Asian Champion, Keerati Bualong has taken part in many TOG Regattas, and following success in the May Olympic Qualifying event in Germany, will represent Thailand in the Laser Standard in the London 2012 Olympics. He will be joined by fellow TOG Regatta regular Kamonwan Chanyim, who will compete in the Laser Radial.

Other TOG Regatta successes include Noppakao Poonpat, Chaninart Poolsirikot and the Vongtim brothers, Damrongsak and Kitsada.

Noppakao Poonpat went from winning the Thailand Optimist Championships at the TOG Regatta to win consecutive IODA World titles in 2009 and 2010; Chaninart Poolsirikot was recently crowned Optimist Champion (Girls) at the 2012 Asian Sailing Championship; and Damrongsak and Kitsada have won National and Asian Championships in the Hobie 16 Class and made it into the top 10 world rankings.




NeilPryde Racing Series to join Thailand's Top of the Gulf Regatta
The NeilPryde Racing Series – a one-design windsurfing class world tour – will race in Thailand for the first time at the 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta, Jomtien Beach, Pattaya, Thailand. The Series will race over the first two days of the Regatta, Saturday fifth and Sunday 6th May, and provide a spectacular display of close-quarter racing at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

Designed by Olympic windsurf equipment supplier NeilPryde, the NeilPryde Racing Series uses the new, universal one-design ISAF windsurfing class, the RS:One.

Top Asian athletes will compete on the RS:One along with local windsurfing heroes and London Olympic Games representatives from Thailand. The winners of each division will share the US$3000 prize money.


Worldwide launch of Soto 30 at TOG Regatta
A new world class of 30 foot one-design racing yacht is about to be launched. And it will be happening at this year's Top of the Gulf Regatta in Pattaya. The Soto 30 one-design is a smaller sister of the successful Soto 40 racing yacht. Director of Longitude Yachts, Tim Long, says the Top of the Gulf Regatta is the perfect venue for the worldwide launch of the Class.

'It's one of the the biggest sailing events in Asia, great facilities at Ocean Marina, an easy drive from a large international airport. It's perfect for our clients to come and see the yacht and experience some great Thai hospitality at the same time. We have had great support from Ocean Marina and we're looking forward to racing Asia's best boats in the regatta'.

The new Soto 30 will be racing in the IRC class and will be sailed by the Red Sailing Team out of the UK.

The Soto 30 is a non-nonsense performance day-sailer which is being constructed in Zhuhai, China, by Asia Boats, an Asian offshoot of mBoats in Buenos Aires who build the Soto 40.

For more information, email Tim at info@longitudeyachts.com.

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