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Dutch shine at first Pattaya International Multihull Festival

February 14, 2012

At the ongoing 1st International Multihull Festival, being sailed off the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in South Pattaya-Jomtien, at the end of six races, the big Dutch contingent, led by Olympic Games Gold Medallist Carolyn Brouwer, crewed by Brett Goodall, in a super-fast Viper F.16 multihull, is just one point behind Xander/Marc Pois (Nacra F-20) in the “super Cat”, the White Division.

Dutch shine at first Pattaya International Multihull Festival  AUS289 Top Viper and winner of the White Fleet. Photo by Judy Gardham.

A total of some 60 entries, from 16 countries – including as far away as Aruba – have descended on Pattaya and are delighting in the beauty and challenge of the maritime ambience.

Sponsors are also most enthusiastic about the event which promotes Pattaya, according to some of the international contingent of experienced sailors, “as one of the finest sailing venues in the world.” The Royal Dutch Embassy, of course, supports their own champions, the Pattaya Mail Media Group, always in the vanguard of promoting our city-by-the-sea, the Sattahip-based Chilli Works building the high-tech A Class Catamarans, right here on the Eastern Seaboard and Heineken Beer are all supporting the regatta. Gareth Owen has brought in a team of Dart 18 sailors from the UK, to swell the ranks of the Yellow Division.

Perennial Asian champions, Damrongsak/Kitsada Vongtim (Hobie Cat 16), are holding off Royal Varuna sailors, world champion Dart sailor, Gareth Owen, crewed by maverick teenager, Bobby Freifel in the Yellow Division, while Alex Skaria/Peter Herning lead the Pattaya/Royal Varuna participants (Nacra F.20, a little behind the Dutch sailors. Elsewhere, Royal Varuna Thai sailors, Morton Jacobsen/Florent Herson and superb lady helm, Saranya Makinson/Roch Giantini in Nacra Infusios, are keeping mid-fleet in the standings.

There is much focus on the F16 class due to the expectation by many that an F 16 will be chosen as the new Olympic class in 2016 and already top sailors with an eye on Olympic glory are pushing the limits in their quest for success.

In fact the F16 will be the most competitive of all the classes racing and is first open F16 class (sailed mainly with a mixed team (man/ woman) ever to race in Asia. F16 competitors such as Coen de Koning from Holland, a double World champion in the Formula 18 class, Carolijn Brouwer also from Holland who is a three times olympic competitor and tornado world champion, Gunnar Larsen from Holland, Jason Waterhouse, Bret Goodall from Australia and Chris Sproat from the UK also feature as top 10 finishers from previous F18 worlds.

The 23 entries for the F18 class, mostly from Holland and Thai sailors make it the largest class in the ongoing competition, with 11 Pattaya entries and sailors of the caliber of Greg Goodall from Australia.

Very high level entries in the Dart 18 Class include Gareth Owen, a Pattaya based sailor who is a former world Dart 18 champion and lan and Fiona Kernick reigning world Champions from South Africa.

A total of some 60 entries, from 16 countries – including as far away as Aruba – have descended on Pattaya and are delighting in the beauty and challenge of the maritime ambience.

First-class race management is assured by a British team, led by principal race officer Neil Dunkley, with able assistance from another Neil (Whitehead) and Malcolm Humphreys out there on the race course, while yet another Neil (Semple) heads up the international jury.

In the week(s) preceding the regatta, the weather patterns were atrocious but, then, almost on cue, the sparkling Pattaya re-appeared and, so far, has produced three days of perfect weather.

The Festival continues until Friday and, according to the principal organizer, Pattaya –based multihull builder, Britain’s John Higham, will be the start of some great future events. In a Pattaya, often plagued by pollution and abuse, this Multihull Festival is a god-send to the city, nary leaving even a plastic bag in its wake.

For more information, visit www.thaicatregatta.org.

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