Connect with us

Thai Life

On Deck: “Deck drain’ for Thai sailing

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: Thailand has a very strong national youth sailing team based in Sattahip in the Gulf of Thailand. Run by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT) they have had increasing success on the international stage in recent years.

The breakthrough happened in 2010 when a young Thai girl called Noppakao Poonpat won the Optimist World Championships. Not only did she win the women’s division, but she beat all the boys and was the overall World Champion. Noppakao is part of the Poonpat family sailing dynasty and while most were shocked to see her win, YRAT and those close to her in Thailand were not.

At the same event, the Thai team went on to win the Optimist World Team Championships for the first time.

Since 2010, the national youth sailing team has picked up regional and international trophies and a treasure chest full of medals with increasing frequency, including again being crowned Optimist World Team Champions in Argentina last year.

The Optimist is a global class of boat that is recognized by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and is considered the starter class for youngsters. It is a single-handed one-design dinghy that you can find in almost every country in the world.

Once youngsters reach the age limit of 15 years they look to move on to something bigger and the choice of boats increases. If you wish to continue competing in national and international competitions, then the Laser, 420 and 470, are common classes in this region. However, the number of boats is limited.

While YRAT has over 150 Optimists, their Laser fleet is small and when you look at 420 and 470 they have only a handful. Similarly, the new high-tech 29er and 49er are hard to come by in Thailand and YRAT have very few for training and competition. Either the Thai youngster buys their own or their interest in sailing dies out, and it is the latter that has become a chronic problem in Thailand.

As they get older, there are even fewer Thai sailors who move up from dinghies to larger keelboats or multihulls. As the opportunities decrease, so does their interest and this is a crying shame for Thailand’s marine industry.

One Thai sailor, however, has managed to buck that trend.

Sailing came into Patinyakorn (aka Gin) Buranrom’s life late. He never went through the national team ranks. He came to Phuket for work and through his job at the time picked up sailing skills. He then joined local races at the Ao Chalong Yacht Club and worked his way to buying his first boat, a Hunter 24.

His passion and drive made him a determined individual and since those early days he has built up a Thai team, and they now compete in the regattas around Thailand and Malaysia on his latest boat, the 42-foot Windstar.

Ging is an exception.

While there are other Thai sailors who crew boats in regattas and others who own their own boats and compete, the younger generation of Thai sailors are not coming through. The sport is loosing them.

After starting out on the single-handed Optimists dinghies or similar boats, there are few opportunities for these Thai sailors to work themselves up to larger boats and keep their hobby and interest in sailing alive, and this does not bode well for Thailand’s marine industry.

In Phuket the Ao Chalong Yacht Club provides sailing lessons as does the Phuket Youth Sailing Club. Both are privately run operations and both deserve a lot of credit for trying to get youngsters of all nationalities into sailing. However, more needs to be done.

Leadership is needed at the national level. A structured program whereby Thai youngsters have a pathway to develop and move onto larger boats is needed, with opportunities for Thai youngsters to develop a career path in the sport.

More grassroots support is needed to help foster this endeavor and ultimately the people who will benefit most, down the line when these youngsters are older and still enjoying sailing, buying new boats and maintaining them, is the marine industry itself.

Perhaps its time for Phuket to take the initiative.

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications (www.infinity-comms.com) consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal www.MarineScene.asia. #OnDeckPhuket

— Duncan Worthington

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to be donated to Thailand from Japan

Bangkok5 hours ago

Bangkok police warn that protests planned for Thursday break the Emergency Decree

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Hotel occupancy, Phuket beaches hit with tar balls, doctor ‘warning’ | June 21

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Thailand6 hours ago

Pattaya residents complain of sinkholes in road, couple sustains injuries

Insurgency6 hours ago

2 suspected insurgents killed in gunfire exchange with police-military team

Best of6 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Hua Hin

Thailand7 hours ago

Army raids a house, arrests 53 as part of alleged gambling operation

Best of7 hours ago

Top 5 Insurance Companies for Expats in Thailand

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand abstains from vote on UN resolution condemning Myanmar violence

Leisure7 hours ago

Top 5 Rooftop Bars in Bangkok

Best of7 hours ago

Top 5 Shabu-Shabu Restaurants in Bangkok

Indonesia7 hours ago

Indonesia approaches 2 million Covid cases

Thailand8 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,175 new cases; infections rise in the Deep South

Pollution8 hours ago

Oil slick and ‘tar balls’ wash up on Phuket’s beaches – what caused it?

Best of8 hours ago

Top 5 Ice Cream Shops in Bangkok

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending