Thailand Catamaran Week preview

Royal Varuna Yacht Club
Duncan Worthington
Thailand Catamaran Week will be the very first international yacht racing event to feature sleek, super-fast, new catamarans and is set to take place on the waters off the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, South Pattaya, from the 3-10 February, 2012.

Sixty entries have already been confirmed, comprising some 120 participants, from eight countries, including Australia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as a large contingent of Thai-based sailors.

More than 350 yacht-racing enthusiasts will gather on the South Pattaya sea-front , for the week-long spectacle, seen for the first-time on the Pattaya-Jomtien sea-scape.

According to the principal organizer, Pattaya-based catamaran builder, John Higham, this inaugural event is to be held annually and, says John, 'will become Asia’s largest multihull regatta by next year'.

The aim, apart from promoting this visually-exciting form of yacht racing, will also create a high profile of Pattaya, as a prime venue for water-based activities and marine sports for the City-by-the-sea.

The regatta, in effect, will showcase the fastest sail-driven craft in the world, thereby emphasizing the superb marine environment and sailing conditions which make the Pattaya-Jomtien area as one of the world’s best. 'This event will, no doubt, become one of the largest beach- based sailing sailing spectaculars in the world in future.' added John.

The popularity of sailing, yacht-racing, cruising and water sports generally has enjoyed exponential advances world-wide and in the Kingdom. Recently, a French team, under Loick Peyron , took an incredible three days off the record in the Jules Verne Trophy, allocated for the fastest circumnavigation of the world. Loick’s team finished in just 45 days.

Crew of Maxi Banque Populaire V - Jules Verne Trophy 2011
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Elsewhere, teenagers are sailing the world single-handed : Dutch girl, Laura Dekker – all of 16 years-of-age, just arrived at home port after a year-long solo crossing of one year. An Aussie teen – also 16 – Jessica Watson did likewise last year.

Then, of course, is the build-up for the America’s Cup in 2014 and, anyone down Pattaya way in February, can have an inkling on what these speed machines are capable of achieving.

But, back to Thailand and the forthcoming extravaganza. Yacht-racing in the kingdom is forging ahead, with a junior world champion and many other Thais in top contention. And, now, with events like the Catamaran fest and the many regattas held up and down the country during the year, Thailand’s water-ways are the most desirable venues in the world. This is the collective opinion of many sailors who come back year after year.

Events during the week will include the 'Island Record Race' which will always be an identical course each year allowing a record to be set and also speed trials, as some of the fastest beach cats in existence will be taking part in the event.

In successive years, the 'Island Record Race' will be open to windsurfers, kite surfers and also larger multi-hulls creating a true on the water challenge between all sail-driven craft.

The event is organized by the HM the King’s own Royal Varuna Yacht Club, situated on a beautiful property south of Pattaya  and, as the kingdom’s oldest club, has years of experience in managing big international events.

Thai Cat Regatta website