Once again, the magnificant Ocean Marina Yacht Club, just South of Pattaya, was the venue for the 3rd Platu Transworld regatta.
Teams from Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Thailand competed in the first of a four event series to determine the Platu Sailing Champion of Thailand 2017. This year introduced a new format with sixteen, half hour races over four days and the last race was a double points race which certainly made all teams concentrate.
The first day was a separate one day regatta, introduced this year, to give foreign crews a chance to familiarise themselves with the waters here in the Gulf of Thailand. It also allows the teams to improve and hone their crew work, which is so important on these identical, One Design, yachts. Janis, from Latvia, was fast straight away on Platu 116 Naiad, and won the day. He also won the first race of the 3 day Transworld regatta before other crews got up to speed.
Yacht racing depends so much on the wind of course and although the forecast had not been so good, a fresh breeze came in from the West and allowed Neil Dunkley, the race officer, to produce five races. Chris Way of Australia needed only one race to get settled in before he produced a string of four first place finishes and lead the regatta after day one, with Sergey Omelianenico of Russia second and Rolf Heemskerk, a Dutchman living in Malaysia, in third.
On the second day, crews had to wait one hour and forty minutes before the wind settled enough for racing to start, but this new format of 30 minute races allowed another five races to be run. Sergey produced some great results to climb up the leader board into second place behind Chris with Mati Sepp of Estonia now into third.
On day three the wind strengthened but it was very changeable for strength and direction which makes it difficult for the race officer to set a perfect course. However racing eventually got under way with crews fighting up to 18 knots of wind at times. Rolf seemed to handle the conditions better than most and won the first two races to put himself into podium contention.
Then the crews lined up for the final race with double points on offer and a real chance to make big changes to the results. It was a perfect start for almost all crews as they raced away in a tight group not wanting to separate and make a tactical error against the fleet. Sometimes the last race produces unusual sailing tactics as crews fight one on one to protect their overall results and this race was no exception with some boats racing within inches of their competitor.
One Design yacht racing provides close and exiting racing as all boats are equal. This time the shorter races meant that there was close racing throughout the course and on several occasions boats were separated by only inches over the finish line.
It has to be said that although it can get very noisy and animated on the race course when boats are very close together, once crews are back on shore their common interest creates close friendships and camrarderie which is great to see.
In order to thank all crews, especially those making long flights to attend, they were all brought out to the podium and given a framed photograph of themselves in action. This is also to recognize that all crews are of equal importance to provide close exciting racing in this great sport.
It was then time to hand out the winners trophies.
Chris Way of Australia ….first overall with 38 points
Mati Sepp of Estonia …second overall with 46 points
Rolf Heemskerk of Malaysia....third overall with 52 points.
Sergey of Russia was also on 52 points but a count back procedure gave the place to Rolf.
Other results, Janis from Latvia 64 points, Harles Liiv from Estonia 72 points, Nathan Masopust a Canadian from Thailand 90 points and Aleksei Zigadco from Estonia 95 points.
Thanks to Neil Dunkley the race officer, Alan, Ning and Tony his assistants, Scott Murray the photographer, the OMYC hotel and office staff and last but not least Scott Finsten. the OMYC harbour master, who provided all the background work and “on water” boats and staff to make this event possible.
The next event in the series is the famous International, Top of the Gulf regatta, 4-8th May.
Ferret News, written by Kev Scott.