Down to the Wire as 'The Ferret' Wins the 2010 Platu Coronation Cup
Top two boats tied as they enter the final race of the series

Platu_day 4 04 May 2010, PATTAYA There was all to play for the on the final day of the Platu Coronation Cup as only one point separated first and second going into the two-race schedule for the final day. The starts were expected to be key in determining who would be crowned the 2010 cup winner.

Twelve Platus contested the 2010 Platu Coronation Cup at the Top of the Gulf Regatta held 30th April to 4th May. Part of the four-race Platu Championship Series, the Platu Coronation Cup always attracts a highly-competitive international fleet of one-design Platus and this year did not disappoint.

Entries from five different countries included Thailand (four teams), Malaysia (one team), Australia (one team), Japan (two teams) and Singapore (three teams from Singapore Management University), with a large variety of nationalities amongst the crews.

The Platu was brought to Thailand by a group of businessmen, including Virot Nualkhair. They commissioned Bruce Farr to design a one-design, economically-priced high performance boat suitable for Thailand's prevailing conditions. The first Platus were built by McDell Marine in New Zealand and in 1995 the first 28 were delivered to Pranburi on Thailand's Gulf Coast and based at the former Phatra Marina. (As a result of its successful design Beneteau visited the fleet in Pranburi and decided to buy moulds from McDell Marine and began manufacturing the Beneteau 25 in Europe. There are now approximately 600 Beneteau 25's in Europe and Worlds events are attracting up to 100 boats.)

Platu_day 4 Looking to start a one-design sailing competition in Thailand, the Platu Coronation Cup came about. Established in 1996 with 24 entries, the date coincided with the anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand's Coronation date, 5th May 1950, and thus the Platu Coronation Cup was born.

Following the Asian Financial Crash of 1997/8, the Platus were moved to the Royal Thai Navy base at Sattahip and after being underused and poorly maintained, they were subsequently moved to Ocean Marina. Today Ocean Marina is home to 18 top-quality Platus, the largest fleet in Asia, and the one-design class is seeing a resurgence as international crews fly in and charter locally-based boats to compete in the one-design Platu Championship Series.

Over a nine race series at The Platu Coronation Cup, top three finishes were spread between six boats just showing the high calibre of entrants the cup attracts.

The Ferret (Scott Duncanson) scored three wins on the third day of the series to bring them back into contention after a slow start. And after a DSQ for The Fox (Rolf Heemskerk) in the sixth race of the Platu series yesterday, The Ferret shot to the top of the leader board with a one point lead going into the final day.

The first race of today saw a tight startline as half the fleet bunched at the pin-end and the others spread out along the line. There were individual recalls for The Ferret and two other Platus, while The Fox got off to a good start at the pin-end. The Ferret returned to the start and then took off to the opposite side of the course (right side) in a gamble to make-up ground. The gamble paid off and The Ferret finished second behind The Fox with Nataya (SMU 1) in third.

After four days and eight races, The Fox and The Ferret went into the last race of the nine race series tied on points. All was to play for as The Fox hit traffic on the startline and struggled to make a clean start. The Ferret, however, went ahead and lead the fleet around the course and to the first gate. The racecourse became a drag strip as The Fox chased The Ferret around until The Ferret finally crossed the line first, ahead of The Fox in second and Naiad (Wiwat Poonpat) in third.

The Ferret (18 points) was crowned the 2010 Platu Coronation Cup champion, from The Fox (19 points) in second and Naiad (27 points) in third. The prize-givings followed an elegant sit-down dinner on the lawn at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

The 2010 Top of the Gulf Regatta with 246 boats, was deemed a resounding success by all 600+ participants. Headquartered at Ocean Marina Yacht Club and now in it's sixth year, the Top of the Gulf Regatta is the only multi-class regatta of its kind in Thailand.