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Optimist World Championship brings spirit of international sailing competition to Thailand

July 14, 2017 Sports No Comments Email Email

The Optimist World Championship 2017 officially opens on July 12, welcoming a record-breaking 281 sailors from 62 countries worldwide to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya for eight days of world-class competition.

The event is organized by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club with the endorsement of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and its Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand under the International Optimist Dinghy Association. It is supported by strategic partners including Pattaya City, the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau. Co-sponsors include The Pizza Company, Apollo (Thailand), Thai Airways, and True Corporation.

All have joined together to showcase Thailand as one of the world’s greatest venues for competitive sailing. The country already enjoys a strong reputation for success in the sport on the world stage, whilst consistent efforts from contributing organisations ensure the future of sailing in Thailand continues to make a positive contribution to the country.

Pol Maj-General Anan Charoenchaisri, Mayor of Pattaya City, said, “On behalf of the people of Pattaya City and Chonburi Province, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the sailors from the 62 nations taking part in this event. Pattaya is a great locale for sailing, benefitting from consistent winds, beautiful warm water and an excellent infrastructure. The city is also known for its excellent hospitality and commitment to developing as a forward-looking tourism destination. We’re confident that participants will be impressed with the experience of being here, and also I want to make clear that this event strongly reiterates both Pattaya and Thailand’s efforts in leading the way among the world’s best sports tourism destinations.”

Thomas Whitcraft, President of the Optimist World Championship 2017 Thailand, explains, “I wish to thank the many sponsors and partners and everyone in Thailand who have proudly joined in making this event an international success. The Royal Varuna Yacht Club is proud also to have been chosen as the host venue, and remains one of the region’s best venues for international class sailing events. Thailand hosted its first Optimist World Championship here at the RVYC back in 1979 and the development of Thai sailors since then has been incredible. The most memorable year in recent history was 2010 when the Thai team won all four trophies at the event.  Noppakao Poonpat became world champion as well as 1st Female Overall, while leading the Thai team to take the Team Racing Champion and Best Nation titles. This year, Saranwong Poonpat, Intira Parnpiboon, Panwa Boonnak, Paliga Poonpat and Jedtavee Yongyuennarn are all representing Thailand.”

Peter Barclay, President of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), the body that governs national Optimist associationssays, “IODA is an association of members in 120 countries around the world and is the largest one-design class in the world.  The objectives of IODA are to administer the IODA in accordance with World Sailing requirements; to see that the Class Rules are observed; to promote the International Optimist Dinghy and the Class; and to establish the conditions for the Optimist World Championship and Continental Championships and determine where they are to be held each year.   The object of the class is to provide racing for young people at low cost.

Since the Optimist Dinghy was first designed in 1947 and with the founding of IODA in 1965 we have worked for 70 years to build upon the development of Optimist sailing globally, and to continue to raise the standards of the sport. The Optimist Dinghy has proven to be the ideal boat for introducing young children to the sport. Optimist Dinghy sailing typically starts at the age of 7 or 8 and continues to 15 years of age. More than 85% of all sailors who participated in the Rio Olympics sailed in Optimist Dinghies when they were young.”

Barclay concludes, “Thailand is one of the leading countries among our IODA members, and has a very strong reputation in the sport. The Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand, JSST, has been Optimist Dinghy sailing  since 1977 and played host to 17 countries at the 1979 Optimist Dinghy World Championship that were held here in Pattaya.

The Thai team has a history of winning and a legacy of success. In fact, Thailand has won the Optimist Team Racing World Championship twice in 2010 and 2014 and was World Champion in 2014 and Top Girl twice in 2009 and 2010.

We expect the Thai team to be one of the teams to beat here at the 2017 Optimist World Championship as they will have the advantage of competing in their home waters in front of their family and friends.”

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