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10th Top of the Gulf Regatta ready to welcome top international boats

by Top of the Gulf on 4 Feb 2014
Top of the Gulf Regatta 2013 Guy Nowell
A strong international fleet of boats is set to line-up for the 10th anniversary Top of the Gulf Regatta,
hosted Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Jomtien, Pattaya 1-5 May 2014. With over 250 boats and 700 sailors expected to take part from more than 20 countries, organisers are planning for this year's edition of TOG to the biggest and best yet.

Entries have already been received from overseas in the keelboat and multihull classes – the 'big boat' fleet. Oi! (AUS) and One Sails (AUS), both TP52s, look set to lead the racing class and will be up against a new boat to the region that is being shipped from Australia to compete (details to be announced soon), together with many top IRC boats in Asia confirmed to compete including Foxy Lady VI (SIN) and Fujin (AUS).

The prestigious Coronation Cup, contested by the one-design Platus, has a 19-year history and was incorporated into the Top of the Gulf Regatta ten years ago, With a multinational fleet challenging for the trophy last year, charters of the local fleet are already filling up and 2014 looks set to be even more competitive. The Coronation Cup is perenniaslly a close fought affair, and produces some of the most exciting action on the water of the whole regatta. It is, de facto, the Asian Platu championship, and should not be missed by anyone enjoys a good scrap in these tippy little classics.

New for the Regatta this year is a change for the cruising boats racing in Class Four, who will be using a performance handicap system. With an increase in interest from overseas sailors, more boats are available for charter this year with Sunsail providing a fleet from their base in the Gulf of Thailand as well as local fleets available from Gulf Charters.

The big boat classes will be run by an Australian race management team under the watchful eye of International Race Officer Denis Thompson, who returns this year and brings with him a wealth of experience from officiating at Hamilton Island Race Week, Magnetic Island Race Week, Rolex One Design Regatta (Farr 40 and Sydney 38), SB 20 World Championships, and Sydney Harbour Regatta, just to name a few.

Racing at the same time as the big boat fleet, but on a different course area, will be over 60 single and double-handed dinghies (Lasers, 29ers, 420, 470 etc.) and beach catamarans, including a number of Thai and regional gold-medal sailors from the recent SEA Games. Race management is provided by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.

Since the beginning of the Top of the Gulf Regatta the aim of the organisers has been one of inclusiveness, encouraging new classes and fleets to take part. Ten years ago in co-operation with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand the Regatta provided a new home for the country's iconic youth sailing event, the Thailand Optimist National Championships. Thirty-nine years old this year, and an integral part of the Top of the Gulf Regatta, over 120 junior sailors from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Myanmar and beyond will compete for the coveted perpetual trophy.

Having introduced windsurfing to the mix a few years ago, Regatta organisers have worked closely with the Windsurfing Association of Thailand (WATH) and NeilPryde to provide the ISAF-approved RS:One Racing format. And this year, being held as part of the Regatta, will be the three-day RS:One Asian Championships – the first time Thailand has hosted this regional championship – and 30 sailors are expected to take part from Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, and other Asian nations.

The 10th Anniversary Top of the Gulf Regatta will take place first to 5th May 2014, hosted by Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand.

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