Top of the Gulf 2014 - shifts and reversals
by TOG Media on 4 May 2014
The Gulf of Thailand came to life with 232 boats on the water on Day 2 of the 10th anniversary Top of the Gulf Regatta. The dinghy and beach catamaran classes, optimists competing in the Thailand Optimist National Championships and windsurfs competing in the RS:One Asian Championship joined the keelboat and multihull classes today in a festival of sail off Ocean Marina Yacht Club.
TOP OF THE GULF REGATTA 2014 - Malaysian sailor, Abdul Latif Bin Mansor, leading at the end of the first day’s Optimist racing. © Guy Nowell/Top of the Gulf
Shifty winds of differing strengths proved challenging for all classes. Add in a storm and a rain shower, and Day 2 was testing for the more than 600 sailors on the courses today.
On the keelboat and multihull course, the IRC fleet and Ocean Multihulls were sent on island courses – a single race for each class – while the Platus continued with two more windward/ leewards.
Peter Ahern's Oi! lead IRC 1 off the line and around the course to take the daily double of line honours and the win on corrected time. Peter Winklemann's Island Fling and Kevin Whitcraft's Wan Ma Rang placed second and third respectively. Oi! takes a four point lead into the final two days.
The all-Japanese crew on Karasu extended their lead in IRC 2 with another win today, beating last year's winner Foxy Lady VI by a little over 20 seconds on corrected time. Less than eight minutes separated the entire fleet on corrected time over the 24 nautical mile course and at the Regatta's half-way point just two points separate Foxy Lady VI, Windsikher and Fuijn in the series standings.
Hi Jinks, chartered by Singapore Management University (SMU), continued where they left off yesterday in IRC 3 with another win today, making it two wins from three races so far. Souay 1 placed second, their best result yet, and move upto third overall behind local stalwart David Bell's Magic whose third today keeps him in second place overall.
The all-Thai crew on Amanda, led by Swedish skipper Lennart Fahlgren, added another win to their tally out sailing the all-Japanese crew on Tai II – the smallest in IRC 4 Cruising at just 21 foot. Despite slipping down to third on the day, Patinyakorn Buranrom and his all-Thai crew on Windstar sit second in the standings, just one point behind Amanda.
Radab Kanjanavanit's Cedar Swan came into their own in the long race and tricky conditions today, winning by four minutes over nearest rival and fellow Thai entry, Kirati Assakul's Sonic. Australian entry Mojo, skippered by Peter Wilcox had to settle for third.
The Platu Class is vying for the prestigious Coronation Cup, commemorating His Majesty the King's accession to the Thai throne on the fifth of May, 1950.
Two windward/ leewards today, individual and general recalls, huge windshifts and shortened courses shook up the scoresheet and with a number of boats caught out following a significant windshift in Race 2 the biggest loser was Tigrina who leading at the end of Day 1 finished twelfth in Race 2 today to impact on their overall standings.
At the end of the second day and after five races, Aussie Chris Way's Easy Tiger IV leads the standings, three points clear of compatriot Scott Duncanson's Kingdom Property who in turn is four points clear of Hong Kong entry Andrew Moore's Tigrina. A formidable competitor in Platu racing, Netherland's Rolf Heemskerk and his crew on Team ViewPoint scored their first win in today's second race and sit fourth overall in touch with the leaders.
In the dinghy fleets this year there are 35 boats – Laser Standard, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Byte CII, 420, 470, 29er and Hobies – while in the Thailand Optimist National Championships there are 126 young sailors taking part.
A depleted beach catamaran fleet saw classes seven and eight combined, and reigning champion and multiple Asian Hobie Champion, Damrongksak Vongtim and sailing partner Krisada Vongtim, took two easy wins in the Hobie Tiger/ Nacra F18 class.
In the Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy class 33 Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7's lined up for two races and it was Thai Olympian Keerati Bulong with two wins who took the early lead from Malaysian Ahmad Latif Khan B.Ali Sabri K who scored two seconds.
420s, 470s and 29ers make up the 12-strong Double-Handed Monohull Dinghy class and after two races the 420 teams of Totsapon Mahawichean/ Sarawut Phetsiri and Sittisart Ponpan/ Perrapol Vesaka are tied at the top on four points.
The 126-strong optimist fleet competing for Thailand's second-oldest yacht racing trophy, the Thailand Optimist National Championships, completed two races today and in the shifty winds close to shore it was Abdul Latif Bin Mansor from Malaysia who took the early lead with Thai sailors Suthon Yampinid in second and Sutida Poonpat in third.
Being held in Thailand for the first time is the RS:One Asian Championship. Raced under the management of the Windsurfing Association of Thailand (WATH) and incorporated into the Top of the Gulf Regatta, 21 sailors from six countries are taking part and after three races today Thai sailor Natthaphong Phonoppharat leads the Mens division with Sin Lam Sonia Lo from Hong Kong leading the Womens division.
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