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Southern Spars - North Technology

Thailand Platu Nationals 12-14 August 2011

by Kev Scott, Ferret News on 31 Aug 2011
The One-design Platu fleet attract sailors from Thailand, Asia and beyond every year. Duncan Worthington
The Thailand Platu National Championship Regatta was held in waters just off Ocean Marina, Pattaya. Day one saw the eight Platus competing in ideal conditions of 8-10 kts of breeze. This suited the Quantum Sails and crew aboard The Ferret, and they scored three wins from the three races. John Weston’s team aboard Magic Dragon had to get used to such ideal sailing conditions, and forget about the cold, strong winds of New Zealand, their normal sailing ground, and their results reflected this with a 6,4,2 score.

K. Ithinai and the all-Thai Pine Pacific team made their intentions clear with a 3, 3, 4 result. The other two all-Thai teams aboard Puma and One Two Two were level on 16 points after day one.

Matt Shankweiler and his team aboard The Weasel were getting their first taste of competitive racing, and needed some time to settle in. The all-girls team from New Zealand were happy to concentrate on their sun tans and enjoy racing in warm waters!

Day two was different altogether, with very light winds. Perhaps major events would not race in such conditions, but the RO correctly decided that it was better to race than not. Crews spend a lot of time and money to come racing, and even such light fluky conditions can provide excitement and give all crews an even chance. This changed results quite significantly, with some very big wind direction changes handing out bonuses and penalties without much consideration for well planned strategies! At the end of day two it was very close at the top with the top three scores of 8, 9 and 11. Scott Duncanson was just hanging in at the top of the score sheet after a day of 4, 2 and 3 but K. Ithinai aboard Pine Pacific enjoyed the light winds and finished the day with 1, 1, 2.

So it was left to Day 3 to decide who of the three top crews would be the Champion. Unfortunately the wind gods did not favour racing, and the RO hoisted the AP ashor to prevent crews having to sit around for hours on open decks waiting for a possible increase in the wind. But at 1126 hrs the AP came down and eventually at 1300 hrs, after some very big direction shifts, a race was started. The wind looked almost promising, but during a three-lap course crews were left looking for wind pressure and chasing the big shifts. Scott Duncanson left it to his tactician, Trent Pedersen, to pick the best pressure on the first downwind leg, and they made a massive gain to overhaul the first two boats and come round the leeward mark in first place, a position they held until the end of the race with Pine Pacific crossing the line five boat lengths behind. The Weasel crew obviously learned something during the first two days and came across the line in a well-deserved third place.

The RO decided there was not going to be any more racing that day, with the last boat crossing the line at 1500 hrs and only two knots of wind over the course. Scott Duncanson and The Ferret crew became the Thailand Platu National Champions 2011, regaining the Championship they last held in 2009.

Prizegiving seemed to take second place to the fun and camaraderie enjoyed by all after the event. Crews tucked into the superb cuisine of the Ocean Marina, and free beer - compliments of Serenity Shipyard, who sponsored the weekend’s fun.

A big thank you to the two New Zealand teams who travelled so far to take part, and added a competitive challenge, great sportsmanship and lots of fun to the event. Exactly the sort of crew we welcome. And well done to Lewis , who showed us all that at 10 years old he can be an essential part of a good team.
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