Heading into the last day at the 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta, tensions were high. Protest room action the evening before meant the top two in the Platu Class were equal on points with a two race finale planned, while in other classes places could be lost (or gained) on the last day's performance.
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2012 - The Ferret, Naiad
With all the dinghy classes finishing their three-day series yesterday, only the keelboat and multihulls took to the water today, and as crews left the dock, black clouds from the North looked ominous. Would the final day be a wet and wild affair?
This was not the case. The expected storm never arrived, hanging along the coastline toying with the patience of the Race Committee who were searching for some breeze on the race course to get the classes underway. By early afternoon, the Wind Gods were clearly not going to play ball and Principal Race Officer Jerry Rollin, called it a day.
The Regatta was over... all bar the shouting and celebrating, and for the Platu Class, back to the protest room. The Jury's rulings made no change to the standings. The Ferret, skippered by Chris Way and the all Australian 'Easy Tiger Racing' team, including Tom Spithill, the younger brother of America's Cup winning skipper James Spithill, finished the Regatta on equal points with Nataya, skippered by Rolf Heemskerk. Looking at the score sheet, each boat had the same number of firsts, the same number of seconds, the same number of thirds, fourths and fifths, and both dropped their worst score, a sixth. Working back through the Series, The Ferret scored first in the penultimate race and thus, on count-back, was declared the winner of the 2012 Coronation Cup.
Tight battles were seen throughout the one-design fleet with Naiad, skippered by Russel Ken taking third place just two points ahead of Ian Short's Short Time in fourth.
Having suffered on day two by not making the startline of the first race, HiFi, skippered by Neil Pryde, returned to their winning ways and managed to post a 3,1 subsequently, drop the DNC, and take the IRC 1 Class by two points from 2011 Phuket King's Cup winners Karasu, skippered by Yasuo Nanamori.
Despite finishing mid-fleet in the last three races, KukuKERchu, skippered by Dave Ross, finished third on equal points with Steve Manning's Walawala 2. Having scored a first in the second race of the Series, KukuKERchu scored third place overall on count-back.
Local stalwart Magic, skippered by David Bell, lead from start to finish, dropping a second place (his worst score) to take the IRC 2 Class title from El Coyote, skippered by Gary Baguley in second and Brad Kirk's Dynamite in third.
Wiwat Poonpat and his ever-consistent crew on Royal Thai Navy 1 scored three wins and two second places to take the IRC 3 Class crown. The Singapore SMU crew on Hi Jinks improved as the Regatta went on and finished with a 3,4,1,3,1 scoreline and took second place overall ahead of Royal Thai Navy 2, skippered by Nattapol Srihirun in third.
IRC 4 Class completed only four races meaning all results count. Having won four from four, this was no problem for Peter Herning and his crew on Kirifiki, who walked away with the class title. In second place was San Sanook, skippered by Andrew Watt with Eric Habers on Reef Knot in third.
The trio of Shaw 650's in the Sports Boat Class showed their pedigree taking three of the top four places in the Series. The all yellow Crime Scene, skippered by Noel Leigh-Smith, scored a clean sweep winning six from six and claiming the title. Kipsan Beck, skippering the original Shaw 650 Porn Star, put in a consistent performance to secure second overall. The all pink sister-ship Hello Kitty, skippered by Miki Munchusa, missed out on third by half a point with Hong Kong entry Brace Brace Brace, skippered by Paul Murphy taking the honours.
All was to play for in the Ocean Multihull Class going into the final day with just two points separating the smallest and largest in the class. However, with races cancelled today and having taken account of the drop race, the 26-foot Sweet Chariot, skippered by John Higham took the class win from Andrew Stransky on his 50-foot self-designed Fantasia. Free Wheeler, skippered by David Race, finished third.
For some, the end may have been an anti-climax but as sailors gathered on the lawn for cocktails before tonight's Ocean Marina Yacht Club sponsored Gala Dinner, there was talk aplenty about three great days of tropical sailing in the Gulf of Thailand.
The 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta is supported by the Principal Sponsor Ocean Marina Yacht Club as host venue. Co-Sponsors include Tourism Authority of Thailand, Land Rover and Range Rover, Singha Corporation Group, and Mont Clair Wines. Other sponsors include Thai Airways, Gulf Charters, Mont Gay Rum, Bank of Ayudhya Plc., Neil Pryde, Minor Group (The Pizza Company and Dairy Queen), Corsair Marine Thailand Co. Ltd., QBE Insurance (Thailand) Co. Ltd., SKPF, Thai Numthip Co. Ltd. (Coca Cola), CAT Telecom PCL, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Golden Foods Siam Ltd., Lucaris, Suniture, Sunbrella, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Buzzcats and Simpson Marine. Media Partners include Helm Superyacht magazine, SEA Yachting magazine, Go Yachting, Mix 88.5FM, Pattaya Mail, Guy Nowell Photography, and Asianyachting.com. The event is supported by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT), Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Pattaya City.
Top of the Gulf Regatta website