by Bangkok Post
Bill Gasson, founder in 2004 and organiser of the Top of the Gulf Regatta (TOGR) since its inception, is most positive about the development of this marine spectacular, to be held out off the Ocean Marina Yacht Club and related facilities in Jomtien, from April 30 to May 3.
Side by side to the finish, The Ferret and Nataya. (The Ferret got there by a whisker). Top of the Gulf Regatta 2010.
Gasson estimates that upwards of some 300 craft, ranging from the tiny Optimist to beach catamarans, ocean multihulls, the sleek, racing keel-boats and a variety of monohulls, will compete off the Ocean Marina in the user-friendly waters of South Pattaya-Jomtien.
The TOGR is unique, being the only marina-based regatta in Thailand which welcomes boats of all sizes and participants from Australia, China, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia and Singapore, amongst many other countries who will match wits and skills with a huge fleet of Thai sailors.
One of the factors attracting a bigger keel-boat fleet, is that the Ocean Marina is currently dredging the berthing areas, to be able to accommodate big boats, with a safe, accessible mooring.
The TOGR includes the largest Optimist fleet in Thailand, attracting over 130 junior sailors from around the region each year, to compete for the Thailand Optimist National Championship, incorporated into the Regatta. These include young boys and girls sailing at various clubs around the Kingdom, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Sattahip, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and the Ocean Marina Yacht Club fleets
For the larger boats, racing will be divided into 12 classes covering keelboats, a large cruising fleet, one-design Platus, Ocean Multihulls and monohulls of every stripe.
The TOG Regatta continues to attract a strong domestic fleet and more international racing yachts each year, in addition to strong dinghy and Hobie classes, and the ultra-competitive one-design Platu class.
Thailand is home to the largest Platu fleet in Asia and each year the Platu fleet competes for the prestigious Coronation Cup during the TOG Regatta.
'The 2010 TOG Regatta was a great success,' said Gasson recently, 'when we welcomed big fleets of all kinds of boats to the Gulf of Thailand. We are looking forward to another great year.'