The NeilPryde Racing Series concluded yesterday at the Top of the Gulf Regatta in Pattaya, Thailand. Twenty-two windsurfers from four countries competed in the universal one-design RS:One, an ISAF-approved class.
The RS:One Class features a new, attractive, and dynamic race format: One sail, one board - everyone on the same equipment allowing male and female racers of all ages to compete together with equal chances.
Courses were set inside Ocean Marina, just metres from the Regatta Lawn, providing a unique spectator experience and allowing for some exciting close-quarter competition on-the-water.
Racing over two days in three divisions - Male under 22 years; Male over 22 years; and Women - the top three in each division went into the 'Super Final' - a single, sudden-death medal race to determine the overall winner.
After the final three races in the series, first in the male under 22 years division was Natthanont Chui, followed by Pornanan Payurgkasem in second and Sirichai Phusiri in third. In the male 22+ division, Thai Olympic hopeful Ek Boonsawad was the hot favourite and after a poor start in Race One today, he found his form and took the series win from Navin Singsart in second and Natthaphong Phonopparat in third.
In the women's division, competition was tight in all three races, with Thai Napalai Tansai, who will be representing Thailand at the London 2012 Olympics, the pre-series favourite. She finished the series number one ahead of Sunaree Soemros in second and Sarocha Prumprai third.
Being a one-design class, all RS:One equipment was supplied by NeilPryde and is equal, giving an equal chance to all competitors no matter sex or age. The winners of each division and overall Super Final winner shared the prize money of USD3,000.
In the Super Final, Natthaphong Phonoppharat sailed a stunning race and was announced the inaugural winner of the Thailand stage of the NeilPryde Racing Series.
Taking place in Thailand for the first time, the NeilPryde Racing Series held its first stop of 2012 in Pattaya in conjunction with the Top of the Gulf Regatta - the Series' first-ever stop in Thailand. Subsequent sailing venues for 2012 include Istanbul (Turkey), Dunkerque (France), Porto (Portugal), Cardiff (Wales), Trapani (Italy), Nice (France), Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
The Top of the Gulf Regatta is Asia's largest multi-class regatta, combining keelboats and multihulls with dinghies and beach catamarans, and this year windsurfing, in conjunction with the NeilPryde Racing Series and with support from the Windsurfing Association of Thailand.
Racing for the dinghy, keelboat and multihull courses continues today at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand.
For more information, visit http://www.topofthegulfregatta.com/.