Thailand, Sportsday Regatta, Sattahip 2021
14 - 16 December
report by Morten Jakobsen
A total of 25 OK Dinghies took part in the 2021 Sportsday Regatta – in honour of HM K. Bhumibol – supplemented with ILCA 4.7 and Optimist dinghies in an event sponsored by PTTEP.
While the OK class has in the past been extensively sailed by retirees in Thailand, with the numbers steadily declining, this time the field was much younger on average and included three Thai Olympians: K. Veerasit/Lim (Sydney), K. Keerati/Top (London and Rio) and Ms K. Kamolwan/Bam (Rio and Tokyo). Apart from these sailors, the entry included upcoming ILCA7 talent such as K. Chusit/Pop, who scored a podium finish in the Europa Cup Sept 2021. Apart from K. Lim, all sailors were new to the class
Following the worldwide upturn in the International OK Dinghy, the revival has reached Thailand. A build programme is in progress to build 10 new dinghies, strongly supported by the event sponsor. Private sailors also plan to build at least two more. The decision to re-start building boats in Thailand was easy given the historical significance in the country with the Thai King Bhumibol (RIP) sailing OK dinghies extensively, and building several with his own hands. Photos documenting his sailing and boat building skills were on display next to the mold for he new builds, which perhaps represent the future of the class in Thailand.
The first dinghy from the new molds participated, and gathered a lot of attention. There was also a lot of interest in numerous new sails supplied by the Danish OK sailors “Fjordens Helte”. (The Thai sailors asked the author to pass on their thanks.)
Sailing took place in Sattahip Bay in typical conditions from 5-18 knots on sheltered waters and with plenty of wind shifts.
From the start, K. Lim and class stalwart Morten Jakobsen showed their rustiness and needed to make penalty turns after having fouled the same starboard boat. Morten did not let this setback hold him back long, and somehow converted a third at the first mark to a race win in front of K. Top and 26-year-old Navy sailor K. Supakon in a newbuild boat.
In second race, K. Top took the win front of K. Lim after a flawless start. More remarkable was the performance of K. Pop, who managed a third somehow in medium wind with a jury rigged traveller tied off at the centreline.
In race 3, Morten finally got a decent start and converted it into a race win in front of K. Top. K. Thanakan showed some remarkable sailing skills by scoring a third with a classic (all wood) rig. Pundits suspected he was a ringer in the classic category, considering he has had podium finished in several Thai Nationals with a modern rig.
After sailing that day, there was a draw for an almost new Hoj Jensen sail, where K. Pop was the lucky winner.
Race 4 gave K. Pop a chance to take his (repaired and newly canvassed) dinghy to the front of the fleet, in front of K. Top while Morten had a shocker of a seventh after another poor start.
Race 5 resulted in an unremarkable win for Morten in front of K. Top, who made a good recovery by moving from fourth to second on the last run.
Race 6 is one that K. Top will want to forget; starting to windward of pincher Morten was never going to work out, and this gave a sixth and a first to the two sailors, with K. Chulapong getting into the top three for the first time after two fourth in the previous races.
At the end of the second day, K.Top and Morten were joint first with the latter having more first place. K. Top, K. Lim and K. Supakorn were close together but a whole 9-11 points behind the leaders.
Race 7 saw huge moves in the fleet. K.Pop was the only consistent sailor in the fleet, and did not surrender his first place around the course. K. Top showed great downwind and recovered to a second on the first run but then forgot to cover K. Lim and Morten who went against the favoured side of the course and agreed they were hugely lucky to get a 30 degree left hand shift which put them in second and third at the finish with K. Top in eighth.
Race 8. K. Pop showed his consistency with a second, and K. Top showed great downwind speed by sailing away from Morten in sixth and into first on the very last run.
Race 9 was the extremely exciting decider, with K. Top leading so he could finish after Morten and still win, as long as K. Pop was not too far ahead. However, in the extremely hard to read wind conditions, K. Pop showed his form with a comfortable win with both of his main competitors well back in the fleet.
- K. Chusit (Pop)
- K. Keerati (Top)
- Morten Jakobsen
50-59 years age group:
- Morten Jakobsen
- K. Verasit (Lim)
Over 60 age group:
- V. Adm Banpoat
- Chris Biscomb
- K. Thanakan
- V. Adm Banpoat
Special mention should go to Olympian K. Bam (first female and tenth overall), and the sailors from Songkhla who travelled over 1,200 km to join. It was good that another donated sail went with them on the journey south. The class also showed true spirit in helping each other to get all boats on the water even though few avoided breakages one time or other.
The future of the class in Thailand is promising, with the country having rejoined the international class association, and plans to have Thai events count for world ranking points in 2022, and to have participation in the 2022 worlds. It will also be interesting to see how the 10 MNA built boats will be utilized; they could potentially make a huge difference to the class, for example, if they were used to entice young racing sailors from around Thailand into the class.
Finally, at least two of the current/former ILCA7 top sailors were heard considering joining the class permanently after the end of their Olympic careers, and the class would certainly welcome them with open arms.
|1||DEN 1443||Chusitt Punjamala||RVYC||22.00|
|2||DEN 1428||Keerati Bualong||YRAT||24.00|
|3||THA 444||Morten Jakobsen||RVYC||25.00|
|4||DEN 1177||CDR.Veerasit puangnak||RTNA||30.00|
|5||GBR 2195||PO.1 Supakon pongwichean||NDY||30.00|
|6||GBR 83||Thanakan Korkerd||RTFYC||42.00|
|7||GBR 198||VAdm. Banpoat netkrahang||RTNYCM||60.00|
|10||GBR 2131||Kamolwan Chanyim||RTMCF||74.00|
|11||THA 17||Christopher Biscom||RTN||88.00|
|12||4401||Voravit vorasaen||ACDC.SC M||97.00|
|13||THA 257||Adm. Tanin Likitawong||RTNYC||103.00|
|14||GBR 12083||Capt. Prayutt Jaibanjong||RTNYC||106.00|
|15||THA 4405||NRS. Apisith kaewluan||NRS||122.00|
|20||THA 145||Kittipog Jansomboon||RTNYC||163.00|
|22||12||Po.1 Chana Hopol||RTNYC||174.00|
|23||11||Po. 1 Pattanan Kamsang||RTNYC||192.00|
|24||X2||Po.1 Nawin Watcharawong||RTNYC||208.00|
DNS, DSQ etc : 42pts