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Dart 18 World Championship at Royal Varuna Yacht Club - Runners & Riders

by Mark Hamill-Stewart 13 Feb 2019 06:36 GMT 16-22 February 2019
The glorious waters of the Gulf of Thailand await the Dart 18 Worlds fleet © Mark Hamill-Stewart

The glorious waters of the Gulf of Thailand are the exciting location for the eagerly awaited Dart 18 World Championship which commences on Saturday.

The containers delivering boats from Europe are now on site and competitors from 13 Nations have arrived at the Royal Varuna YC to experience the legendary Thai hospitality and great facilities on offer. With the prevailing South West monsoon wind now firmly established, some great sailing conditions are expected for the week ahead.

What of the competition? Let us have a look at the teams expected to feature:

  • GBR - Dan Norman/Alisha Monkman - Former 3 times World Champion from the Isle of Sheppey YC, must be serious contenders and the word is they want to make it 4. Expertly crewed and can adapt to any conditions. As Dan would say "Bring it on!".

  • FRA - Thierry/Christine Wibeaux - World Champions back in 2004 probably represent the best French challenge. Hugely experienced and great championship performers.

  • GBR - Dave/Louise Roberts - representing Stokes bay SC. Very well drilled duo, World Champions as recently as 2017. The sea conditions should suit them as it is similar to the Solent chop. Will be in the mix.

  • FIJI - Graeme 'Fish' Southwicke - World Hobie 16 Masters World Champion making his debut in the class and sure to return, top results. Likes the big winds which could just kick in.

  • THA - Damoransak/Kitsada Vongtim - Three times Asian Games Catamaran Gold Medallists and superb competitors. Massive home waters advantage winning their first race in the Thai Open warm up event, indeed their first ever sail in a Dart. Prediction podium place!

  • FRA - Herve Le Maux - Another strong French performer, thrice Worlds runner up. Seriously fast in the light stuff and conditions this crew is hoping for.

  • GBR - Gareth Owen/Hebe Hemming (Dee SC) - World Champion back in 1998 and three times, runner up. Now claiming he is past it and all washed up. However now a Royal Varuna member and knows the waters intimately. Can still be a threat especially if it blows.

  • AUS - John Sims - Aussie who is carrying their hopes of glory. Steady plodder who may surprise. Another who likes the breeze.

  • GBR - David Lloyd/Hayley Smith (Stokes Bay SC) - The form players and current British Champions. Will it finally be their time having won just about everything in the class but never the World crown? Going very quickly and can perform, in a broad wind range. The podium beckons.

  • ITA - Martino Salvo/Luisa Lombardo - Could upset the pecking order in the if the wind goes light. May find the conditions, as lake sailors, difficult.

  • GBR - James/Alison Douglas, Will Thompson/Jonny O'Connor (Dee SC), Matt/Jacob Exon (Royal Yorkshire YC) - These three crews are all 'dark horses' and could all be part of the very strong overall British challenge. Top ten assured.
These are just some teams to watch. However new teams may emerge to upstage the form guide. What is assured, is cracking high quality racing combined with a fantastic social entertainment programme. The organisers wish to thank all those sailors who have travelled to the Kingdom of Thailand and our generous sponsors who have supported this championship. Sports Authority of Thailand, Pattaya City Hall, Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Rooster, France Catamaran, Pattaya Mail, Big Chilli.

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