By Duncan Worthington, Infinity Communications

Four days of great sailing in the Gulf of Thailand came to a close with the final day of the 2013 Top of the Gulf Regatta producing some top sailing. Held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Pattaya, the ninth edition was been one of the best yet.

More than 250 boats and 500+ sailors of over 30 nationalities competed for class bragging rights and the prestigious Coronation Cup for the one-design Platu class winners.

The Platu class finished their series on the final day with two races, while for others a single race brought down the curtain on a successful Regatta. Principle Race Officer Dennis Thompson set Windward/Leewards for all.

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With a large contingent of Australian sailors taking part across fleet, and a growing number of Singapore entries, both Australia and Singapore were big winners this year.

Competing for the prestigious Coronation Cup were four Australian boats in the 16-strong class, with two Aussie crews and one from Hong Kong battling it out at the top on the final day.

Defending champions Easy Tiger IV, skippered by Chris Way, had a slow start to the 10-race campaign this week but managed to score a bullet in Race 8 to raise their hopes. However, it was not enough and they missed out on the podium placing fourth overall.

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It was the two Australian entries Black Betty, skippered by Gary McNally, and Problem Child, skippered by Brian McMaster, that battled down to the wire. Quality racing across the entire one-design fleet with clean hoists and drops, and tight roundings today, made for a fitting finale to what has been a spectacular series.

In the end it was the consistency and four first-place finishes by Black Betty that made the difference, with them being crowned 2013 Coronation Cup champions at the final prize-giving and Gala Dinner at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

A 1,2, on the final day was not enough to secure the title for Problem Child, but they were a worthy runner-up and Andrew Moore's Tigrana placed third.

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In IRC Racing 2, it was Rolex Sydney Hobart regular Matt Allen and his crew on Ichiban, who scored six firsts from seven races to be the clear class winner, beating local favourites Royal Thai Navy 1, skippered by Cpl. Wiwat Poonpat, who finished second overall. Dean Rheault's Souy 1finished third.

Singapore Management University had three teams racing in the Regatta this year – two in the Platu class and one in IRC Racing 3 – and it was Hi Jinks, skippered by Peiquan Chung in the latter that finished the Regatta undefeated and were crowned class champion. Second place went to the all -Thai team on Sansiri Ooh la la, skippered by Patinyakorn Buranrom, and third to Tai Two, skippered by Sadunori Osada.

In IRC Racing 1, it was another Singapore boat Foxy Lady, skippered by Canadian Bill Bremner, who placed second on the last day which was enough to secure the overall class win. Thai team Wan Marang, skippered by Kevin Whitcraft, finished second and David Ross' KukuKERchu were third.

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On the final day, David Liddell's Miss Saigon was back to its winning ways in the Ocean Multihulls class with a first in the last race to place first overall. Despite a late surge Sonic, skippered by Kirati Assakul couldn't make up ground on Miss Saigon and settled for second overall with Scott Galle's Black Swan in third.

Postscript by Captain Marty, Asian Yachting

If anyone knows how run a regatta and throw a good party, it is ToG Organizing Chairman Bill Gasson. Being one of the founding father's of the Phuket King's Cup and the Samui Regatta, his swan song is the Top of the Gulf Regatta held at Ocean Marina, the home of the yachting elite in Thailand. Very encouraging is watching 120 kids manouvering their Optimists around and youthful energy displayed in the dinghy and catamaran classes. This region is where many Thai champions spring from, so it is no surprise that Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Myanmar, have sent teams to compete against the best.

For several young Olympic hopefuls, this regatta is a wonderful opportunity for them to mix in their own waters with the star studded line up and rub shoulders with sailing legends crewing on the big boats. Although foreign crews have come, seen and conquered, the local sailors have lifted their game and for those going to Samui later this month, this experience will put them in good shape for the 2012-13 season ending shoot out. The new Aussie race team lead by PRO Denis Thompson have preformed a seamless change over and maintained the high standards expected from them. Last but not least the generous sponsors and volunteers must be thanked for making the regatta possible and keeping the sailors thoroughly entertained throughout the event. ( 

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