The 2021 Thailand ILCA National Championships saw a record fleet of 55 Laser sailors on the water, with a new generation of serious contenders stepping up to the plate to showcase their skills in sparkling sailing conditions.
■ Hosted by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and sponsored by Thailand-based Element 6 Evolution (E6), a newly appointed manufacturer of the one-design class boats, the event featured light to medium winds alongside a strong tide, wind shifts and gusts.
Competing for titles were sailors ranging in age from 10 to 80 years, hailing from four Thai sailing clubs and ten countries.
The real thrill was in watching the next generation of top Thai sailors jockey for position on the podium, with Thailand’s Olympic sailors sidelined - two-time male Olympian and decade-long national champion Keerati Bualong now coaching the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand’s ILCA 4.7 fleet, and female Olympian Kamolwan Chanyim off the water due to temporary injury training for Tokyo 2020.
In the ILCA Standard, serious contenders for future Olympic qualification Chusitt Punjamala and Arthit Romanyk did battle in each race, but Chusitt was able to finish in the lead in all but two races. The two have been training partners and respectful competitors on and off the water for most of the past year and both have their hopes on being able to do Thailand proud in a final Asian qualifying event for Tokyo 2020 later this spring, pending re-scheduling by World Sailing as Abu Dhabi was unable to proceed with its postponed championship due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pom Green, director of E6, sailed to an impressive third place.