MORE and more people are discovering that sailing is the perfect antidote to the stress of modern city living, offering them the endless pleasures and challenges of the great outdoors – the wind, the sea, the currents and tides.
And for hard-pressed Bangkokians, opportunities to
experience the joys of sailing are just two hours away, at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, a genuine oasis in this increasingly busy and congested world.
Set on a secluded cove between Pattaya Bay and Jomtien Beach, the Royal Varuna features a magnificent clubhouse with restaurant serving Thai and international cuisine, comfortable accommodation, swimming pool and private beach famed for its breathtaking views of Koh Larn and stunning sunsets. Once discovered, it’s impossible to forget.
Curiously, there are still some people who regard sailing as some kind of elitist activity, beyond them financially and socially. Club Commodore Tom Whitcraft is keen to quickly dispel to this myth. “The Royal Varuna is a family oriented and friendly Club open to anyone interested in sailing, from the outright novice to those with considerable experience, or for those who treasure a family’s weekend escape together. It’s not expensive to join and the monthly subscription is very reasonable.
“The Royal Varuna is Thailand’s premier international sailing club. We offer a comprehensive year-round sailing program that includes regular sailboat racing and club cruises in a number of different age and boat class categories. The Club also regularly hosts major international regattas, while our Sailing School meets all training needs to internationally recognized levels.
“What’s more, we enjoy excellent sailing conditions all year round.”
Tom, 52, who first learned to sail at the Royal Varuna as a 14-year-old, is proud to point out that the Club is one of the first Royal Yacht Association (RYA) accredited training centres in Asia.
“This is an important feature of the Club. All of our courses, from the ‘learn to sail’ and improver courses, to the powerboat training and instructor courses have adopted the RYA structure. They’re also taught by RYA qualified instructors. As such, sailing qualifications gained at the Royal Varuna are recognised worldwide. It makes learning easy, fun and safe.”
Whether it’s competitive racing, enjoying the open ocean, or just an afternoon cruise to a tranquil beach, sailing is a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone. The feeling of being powered by the wind is quite simply addictive. And it’s an outdoor pursuit for the whole family.
At the Royal Varuna, sailing is made accessible, easy and safe. The Club has 55 of its own boats for hire (Laser, Hobie, Optimist, RS Quba and RS Vision), along with boat staff to prepare and launch the boats, and RYA-accredited instructors to give expert tuition.
‘Learn to sail courses’ typically take two days to learn the basics of sailing for adults, or five days for children.
The Royal Varuna hosts a number of club cruising events throughout the year. All cruises have a safety boat with boat staff to make the trips easier and more enjoyable. Races for monohull and multihull classes are staged on most weekends, while Club regattas and national events are usually held once a month.
International Regattas hosted by the Royal Varuna have included the 1987 Fireball World Championships, 1989 Enterprise Dinghy World Championships, 1997 Topcat World Championship, 2000 Fireball World Championship, 2007 Asian Hobie Cat Championships, 2013 OK Dinghy World Championships and the 2014 Fireball World Championships. In June 2015, the Club will host another exciting world-class event, the Byte C11 World Championship.
Boat storage and service
For a small monthly fee, dinghies or catamarans can be stored in weather protected racks. Whenever a member plans to sail, the staff team transport the craft to the front lawn and raise the mast. For a small tip, they will also rig the boat. The Club’s boat staff team also assists when launching and recovering boats, wash boats at the end of the day and return them back to the rack.
The Royal Varuna works closely with local and Bangkok schools, providing programmes and activities overseen by qualified English speaking instructors and modern sail boats for a perfect learning environment. In addition to two large classrooms, the Club has a swimming pool, 28 private accommodation rooms onsite and full F&B facilities.
The annual Thailand Inter-school Sailing Championship is held at the Club, which will also host the 2015 Fobisia Sailing Championship.
The Club is a great venue to hold an event, with excellent indoor and outdoor facilities for team building events, as well as conference rooms overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Whether hosting elegant weddings on the lawn, cocktail parties by the sea or successful networking events, the Royal Varuna has it all.
Club membership offers first options on accommodation; reciprocal rights with some of the world’s best sailing clubs, and access to Thailand’s premier yacht club 365 days of the year! Ordinary membership entrance fee is 60,000 baht and monthly subscription of 2,600 baht.
Tel: 038 250-116 www.varuna.org