A heavy storm at the climax of Match Race Thailand held in Pattaya ensured World #2 Open Match Racer Bjorn Hansen (SWE) took the title in front of the beach of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
With a maximum crew weight of 350kg mixed teams of five and four took to their Platu 25's with their eyes set on the ISAF Grade 3 regatta title.
With 13 flights and 26 matches completed on the opening day the competition heated up on the second with a gripping match between Mati Sepp, World #24, and Hansen that came down to the last few metres before the finish line.
Sepp came down the last run with a small lead over Hansen but with a penalty against him. At the last minute he dropped his spinnaker and attempted a penalty turn but Hansen was rapidly heading to the same part of the finish line to close down the space. He was just able to prevent Sepp from completing his penalty turn thus scored an important win. Meanwhile Christopher Lim hit a high gear and made no mistakes in a close fought match against Sergey Musikhin, skipper of Team Russia.
As this match was completed, a storm was building, and forced the skippers off the water. For safety reason, the race officers and umpires made a difficult decision to close the event before all races in the round robin were completed which handed the title to Hansen.
Despite the unhelpful weather, it was a great climax to two days of exciting sailing and racing in Pattya. The team line up this year was the best ever for Matchrace Thailand which goes to show the growing recognition of Thailand as a match racing venue. Moreover, it was the race that set the stage for European and Asian match racers to come together, to fight and share their experiences that will help growing match racing discipline in this part of the World.