AFTER another grueling work-week in Bangkok, what could be a better way to reboot the system than a couple of hours’ sailing in the Gulf of Thailand?
Having shed its image as an elite sport years ago, sailing is now a popular and surprisingly inexpensive way for people of all backgrounds to enjoy the real outdoor life. And Bangkok expatriates as well as Thais with an interest in sailing are extremely fortunate here in Thailand to have the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC), relatively close by in Pattaya.
This family oriented members’ club is notably friendly and thoroughly cosmopolitan, with some 20 nationalities represented in a total membership of over 400. Its core purpose is to promote and encourage sailing in the seas off Pattaya and is therefore open equally to sailors of all abilities, from newcomers to serious racers. Located on a beautiful cove with its own secluded beach between Jomtien and Pattaya, RVYC has been the kingdom’s premier sailing club and centre of sailing in Thailand for almost 60 years.
A year-round sailing program with cruising and racing is organized, including fun races to the many offshore islands. Fully qualified instructors arrange comprehensive training for beginners as well as more advanced courses for adults, and there is an extensive sailing program for children during the holidays plus supervised sailing for kids on the weekends.
Great facilities include a spectacular clubhouse, formally opened in 2003 by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, an excellent restaurant, two bars, swimming pool, junior club-house, lawns and gardens, boat storage and accommodation featuring rooms for up to five people.
Although many members own their boats, the club has others for rent, including Lasers, Hobies and Optimists.
A team of skilled boat handlers, some of whom have been with the club for more than two decades, are on hand to help rig the boats, advise owners on defects and recommended repairs, help with launch and, when necessary, rescue operations.
The history of the RVYC, which was founded in 1957, is virtually the history of yacht racing, sailing and cruising in Thailand. There’s no doubt the popularity of sailing was greatly enhanced when His Majesty the King and some other members of the Royal Family participated in club events. In 1965, the King bestowed Royal Patronage on the club and its original name was changed from Varuna Marine Club to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
The club moved to its present site –one of the most attractive locations on the entire Eastern Seaboard – in October 1967. Over the years, it has hosted numerous regattas, big and small, attracting sailors from all over the world.
Apart from sailing and training programs, the club is also a great venue for mid-week corporate days, team-building sessions, company meetings and parties.
Most importantly, though, the RVYC is a wonderfully peaceful haven where sailors can indulge their passion in idyllic surroundings.
For more information visit: www.varuna.org.