Superb sailing conditions greeted the 200 plus boats on Day 1 of the 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta, with 12 to 18 knots of wind gusting up to 25 knots. The winds, combined with lumpy seas, made for exciting startlines and some breakages in the keelboat and multihull fleets.
Lots of startline action on Day 1 of 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta. Photo Guy Nowell/ Top of the Gulf Regatta. - Top of the Gulf Regatta
On the outer course the keelboats and multihulls revelled in the strong winds with some surprises on the leader board after Day 1.
In IRC 1 the 40-footers were battling against themselves, leaving team HiFi to lead the way on-the-water, however, HiFi, skippered by Neil Pryde, didn't have it all their way. A win in Race One by a mere five second was followed by a second in Race Two as Singapore entry, KukuKERchu, skippered by David Ross, improved on their second place with a first in the second race. The Japanese crew on Karasu, skippered by Yasoro Nanamori placed third in the first race while Wan Marang, skippered by Kevin Whitcraft placed third in Race Two.
In IRC 2, David Bell, skippering Magic, took a first and a second today to lead overall with El Coyote, skippered by Gary Baguley finishing third and first to secure second from Dynamite, skippered by Brad Kirk in third overall.
In IRC 3 Royal Thai Navy 1, skippered by Damrong Sirisakorn, scored the daily double with Naval Academy, skippered by Khun Navi, holding second with a second and third today, from Amanda, skippered by Lennart Fahlgren in third.
In IRC 4 Cruising, despite blowing a spinnaker in the first race, Kirifiki, skippered by Peter Herning won and went on to take first in Race Two. San Sanook, skippered by Andrew Watt, scored two second places to stay ahead of Reef Knot, skippered by Eric Habers.
In the hotly contested one-design Platu class, Nataya, skippered by Rolf Heemskerk got off to a strong start with a first in Race One followed by Short Time, skippered by Ian Short and The Ferret, skippered by Chris Way in third. In Race Two The Ferret lead off the start and performed well in gusting winds and lumpy sees to secure the win from Nataya in second and Naiad, skippered by Chai Weiguo in third.
The trio of Shaw 650's showed their true colours today in the Sports Boats class taking the three places in the first race of the day. Crime Scene, skippered by Noel Leigh-Smith finished first in Race One ahead of Porn Star, skippered by Kipsan Beck with Hello Kitty, skippered by Miki Munchasa in third. In the second, long distance race, the winds were too much for some with the Phuket 8 Quantum, skippered by Scott Duncanson, broaching and capsizing. The crew were rescued by the media boat, Quantum righted and towed back to the marina. While this was happening, Crime Scene went on to take their second win of the day from Porn Star in second and CU Later, skippered by Mikael Pophillat in third. Brace Brace Brace and Hello Kitty retired.
Eight boats took to the startline in the Ocean Multihulls class. In Race One Cedar Swan, skippered by Radab Kanjanavanit had a good start with the SeaCart 26 Sweet Chariot, skippered by John Higham accelerating away at speed. Sweet Chariot lead around the course to finish eight minutes ahead of Fantasia, skippered by Andrew Stansky on-the-water and take the win on corrected time from Fantasia in second and Free Wheeler, skippered by David Race, in third. In the second race, Sweet Chariot retired after a broken headboard on the mainsail and Fantasia took the win from Free Wheeler in second and Bladerunner, skippered by Thierry Cercleron, in third.
On the inshore course were the Open Beach Multihulls, Single-handed monohull dinghies and Double-handed monohull dinghies. In the Open Beach Multihull class, Thai Hobie star Damrongsak Vongtim, racing with Michapa Weiwai secured three wins from three races, with Gareth Owen and Bobby Freifel finishing second overall after three races and Aroon Ruengcharungpong and Akkharawat Vongtim in third.
Three wins for Thai sailor Supakorn Pongvichien in the Single-handed monohull dinghy class secured first overall today with Tengku Bin Tuan Hassan in second and Nut Butmarasri in third.
In the Double-handed monohull dinghy class the top places were shared as three different boats scored wins today. Navee Thumsontorn and Tanapong Kamolwat came out on top with three steady second places from Tenku Muhammad Othman and Mohd Sollehuddin Bin Ismail in second and Totsapon Mahawichean and Chaichanawut Deenak in third.
In the Thailand Optimist Championship, the 100 plus youngsters from around Asia completed just two races today. Leading the standings is Thai national team sailor Sarawut Phetsiri with two wins followed by Pongsapat Pumyam with two seconds and 2010 winner Chaninat Poolsirikot in third with a fourth and third today. Top international sailors Conrie Tsen from Malaysia and Yann Thierry D'Argenlieu from Hong Kong placed fourth and ninth respectively.
The NeilPryde Racing Series, competing in Thailand for the first time, raced in closed quarters today inside the marina at Ocean Marina Yacht Club. Racing the one-design RS:One boards, in the female division Thai Olympic hopeful Napalai Tansai finished on top with Siripon Kaewduangngam in second and Krongkaew Sakulfaeng in third. In the male division (under 22 years) two Omani's lead the way – Waleed Al-Kendi in first and Faisal Al Qutaiti in second, with Thai Sirichai Phusiri in third. In the over 22 years, male division, Khalfan Al-Athubi from Oman finished first, ahead of Ek Boonsawad and Natthaphong Phonoppharat in second and third respectively.
The 2012 Top of the Gulf Regatta continues tomorrow at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, 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.