The Platu 25 Story my version. (see end for Bruce Farr version)
A group of Thai businessmen formed the company known as Phatra Marine Products Company Limited. They wanted to build a Marina in Hua Hin on the West Coast of the Gulf of Thailand and run a fleet of One Design boats.
With connections to Bruce Farr, they asked the famous designer to create a one design yacht especially suited to the waters in the Gulf of Thailand. The boat being small but special was named after a small fish which is a delicacy here in Thailand. ‘Pla’ is Thai for fish and ‘Tu’ is the type of fish.
Small but special, the Platu 25 was born and Mcdell Marine of New Zealand were chosen for the build. On 19th March 1995 24 Platus arrived in Thailand. In 1996 the first Platu 25 One Design Regatta known as the Coronation Cup was held off the coast of Hua Hin. This was a result of the owners wanting to link their yacht to THE KING of Thailand who was a very keen yachtsman and Olympic medal winner.
Unfortunately in 1997 there was a financial crash in Thailand and development of the Marina was stopped. This also crashed the dream of the businessmen and to this day the Marina with its One Design fleet has never been completed.
However, the Coronation Cup was continued to be held and today is the one of the most famous yachting trophies in Thailand. The event is held in early May within the International Top of The Gulf Regatta at the Ocean Marina Pattaya.
Beneteau saw and liked the Platu and bought the rights to build it in Europe. They had to make some small modifications to the original boats including a 40 mm slimming of the deck to accommodate the transport rules of most European countries. In 2007 the class was registered with ISAF and a set of international class rules was produced. Thailand produced an ‘amendment to International class rules’ to accommodate the minor differences between the original Mcdell and the Beneteau Platus.
In 2008 Xtreme Sailing Products , XSP, of Singapore bought the original Mcdell moulds and the rights to produce the Platu and Mcdell ceased production. It is ironic that XSP’s first order for 11 Platus came from New Zealand! Since then their boats are being sold all over Europe and becoming known for their excellent quality.
The specific design of the Platu and it’s need for a well organized crew of 5 is recognized by many Americas cup and Volvo crew etc., who use the boat to hone their skills.
The design also allows inexperienced crews to learn to sail in safety, while requiring precise skills to sail the boat fast.
Ferret News February 2012
Written by Kev Scott…… International Class co-ordinator Thailand
See below for Bruce Farr and Mcdell version.
Thanks to the courtesy of Bruce Farr and Bruce Farr Yacht Design, we are publishing the story of how the idea of the Platu 25 came about and how the boat moved its first steps.
In 1993, Viroj Nualkhair approached McDell Marine in New Zealand to introduce a 25ft. one design keelboat to Thailand. The Phatra Real Estate Company in Thailand was in the process of constructing a new marina and yacht club. The company was looking for a fleet of boats for its facilities. Together with Nualkhair, they approached McDell Marine in New Zealand, who in turn, contacted Farr Yacht Design in order to develop the design.
The design brief was for a simple racing sailboat, suitable for teaching sailing skills and racing skills to new sailors. The Thai Sailing Academy was set to be one of the main organizations using the boats. The Platu 25 was intended to be an ideal training boat to develop sailing skills. The yacht was designed to be fast and sporty with no interior fitout as it was intended for day racing only. It was designed as a moderated cost, fast, but easily handled, one design club racer. Originally, the brief called to ignore the IMS rule. However, the manner in which it was designed meant it was capable of being raced under IMS with few minor additions – a basic interior – to the otherwise empty interior to suit IMS Regulations.
In some of the conceptual development of the boat, the name “Thai 25” was used, but later switched to Platu 25. William Howlett, general manager at McDell Marine at the time, wrote that Nualkhair preferred to name the design after the Platu fish, “native to the Gulf of Thailand which circumnavigates the Gulf, much as it is hoped these yachts will do as they become popular.”
McDell Marine built the moulds in New Zealand and produced several boats from these moulds before moving the production process to Thailand with McDell Marine supervising the construction process. An initial order called for 10 boats, which was quickly increased to 50 by September, 1994. The first prototype of the design was launched in October, 1994.
Over the next several years, McDell Platu 25s were delivered to owners in Thailand, New Zealand, Korea, and Japan.
In 1995, Beneteau approached Farr Yacht Design with initial interest to build the boats in Europe. By 1996, McDell had sold Beneteau the hull and deck plugs to begin construction. Beneteau marketed the boat in Europe and across their dealer network as the Beneteau 25.
The first one design Platu 25 regatta to take place was the Coronation Cup Regatta held at the Phatra Yacht Club on Thailand’s Pranburi River from May 4 to 6, 1996. Vinai Vongtim and his team from the Sattahip Naval Base won the event overall in a fleet of 22 boats.