Friday, 30 May 2014

Top of the Gulf regatta and Kuala Lumpur visit

A few days after our visitors Cassie and Pablo left, we flew to Thailand. More specifcally to Jomtien Beach, just south of Pattaya in the Gulf of Thailand. Each year Ocean Marina hosts a big regatta called Top of the Gulf, this year was the 10th anniversary. Phil has been there twice, 8 and 5 years ago and has supplied sail for a few boats. One of them is the beautiful Souay (also means beautiful in Thai), a J41 owned by French-Canadian Jean. He had kindly invited us to come racing with him. Or more likely, he was keen for Phil to come, and I came along as part of the package.

The race consisted of one practice race day, and four days with several races each. The weather gave us some interesting conditions as the sea breeze fights the squalls that were building up over land. Sometimes the squalls simply killed our wind and dumped rain on land, but other times they gave us wind and rain. It did provide for lots of beautiful could photo opportunities.
The racing was pretty close and we did OK and on the final day we did really well, and we actually won our class, the IRC class 3, very cool. Each night there were drinks and sometimes food too, or else we'd go out for dinner with the rest of the crew, so we had some pretty long and very social days, good fun. After the race we stayed a couple of days and did a few touristy things with Jean. One funny thing was that Jean normally takes his visitors out sailing. Phil and I politely declined this offer, as we had just raced on his boat for five days, and because that we live on a boat and visit lots of beautiful islands, we didn't really feel the need for that. Instead we rather wanted to explore inland.
On our way back to Langkawi we had two days in Kuala Lumpur. It's our first visit to the city, but hopefully not the last. It's a cool city, relative compact and easy to get around, lots of contrasts (old and new), and some good shopping. Our hostel was right across from a huge H&M, how lucky was that! And we were also in walking distance from the computer and mobile phone mall, from where we spent lots of $$$ (yes, May is going to be very expensive). Pablo and Cassie happend to be in KL exaclty the same two days as us and stayed in a hotel just down the road from us, so of course we hung out some more with them, total bonus.

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