Phuket Regatta’s 25th Anniversary
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This is Asia’s largest and most popular regatta. It is held in the white-sandy beach town of Kata. Just off the coast, a fleet of different vessels from keelboats to catamarans are set be anchored. The beach will be abuzz with dinghies shuttling the crews back and forth. This year, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta will be hosting record numbers with over 170 participating boats and over 1,000 sailors from around the globe.
[flickr]397197321[/flickr] The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was founded in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand on December 5th. In 2011, it will take place December 3-10. It has been held annually since its founding in the first week of December.
A Distinguished Regatta in Phuket
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was named Yachting Event of the Year at the Christofle Asia Boating Awards 2006. With the growth in popularity and stature it has become the prize regatta in Asia. With a large showing from the ASEAN nations and the growing number of Chinese sailors participating, this year over 35 nations will be represented. The prestige has evolved to draw the upper echelon yachtsmen and yachtswomen from around the world to take part, though some yachts are under-crewed. This makes it possible for even bystanders to get in on the action if they have any sailing experience.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta enjoys royal patronage as His Majesty King Bhumibol is a yacht enthusiast and competitor. The Regatta is organized by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.
Dinghy Class Events in the Phuket Regatta
In 2009 dinghies returned to the starting line after a time off. This year, up to 50 dinghies will be participating in a three-part racing series that begins Dec. 3rd. There will also be a dinghy classes within the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta fleet itself
This year, for the first time ever, Kiteboards will be taking part in the Regatta. Joining the line-up on Dec. 5th with the dinghies, will be over 20 Kiteboards. Recognizing the potential of kiteboarding, The Phuket King’s Cup has invited a number to join. Kiteboarding is recognized and regulated by International Sailing Federation and is being considered as a future Olympic sport. Hoping to expand the Regatta to a younger sailing audience, Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee, said:
We’re delighted to welcome an exhibition event by Kiteboard Tour Asia at this year’s Phuket King’s Cup. This is a bold step for us in terms of broadening the Regatta, and we hope this new element will have very strong appeal to kiteboarding enthusiasts and a younger sailing audience.
The lineup at the regatta will include several professional kiteboarders from the international tour.
A World Class Yacht Festival in Phuket
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is much more than just a regatta. The crew fees for the regatta also include party tickets. One of the highlights of the King’s cup is the King’s birthday ceremony held in front of the Boathouse Restaurant on Kata Beach. Candles are lit while a choir sings the Thai national anthem. Most competing crews are in attendance as the regatta is in honor of His Majesty the King’s birthday, and over a thousand sailors raise their candles.
The beach parties on Kata Beach during the regatta are world class and provide more opportunity to hobnob with the visiting crews. They can begin early, and provide fireworks displays, Thai dance performances, international and local bands, and plenty of refreshments.
King’s Cup Race Itinerary
The schedule for the race sets up a busy week. The dates for 2011 are below:
- Saturday, 03 December – Registration and Measurement.
- Sunday, 04 December – Registration, Practice Race, Skippers Briefing. Opening Ceremony.
- Monday, 05 December – Race Day One
- Tuesday, 06 December – Race Day Two
- Wednesday, 07 December – Race Day Three
- Thursday, 08 December – Reserve Day
- Friday, 09 December – Race Day Four
- Saturday, 10 December – Race Day Five. Royal Awards Ceremony.
Popular Event in Phuket
Many locals welcome the international yachting event. The amount of revenue generated by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta climbs every year. In 2009, the event generated over 40 million THB for the local economy during the week of regatta alone.
Many sailors welcome the event for the sailing conditions. The weather is warm and there is plenty of wind. Thailand is a popular sailing destination with international sailors, many returning numerous times to enjoy the cruising grounds and sailing events Thailand has to offer. Over half of sailors surveyed said that the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is their favorite regatta in Asia while over two-thirds said that Thailand, is the best sailing venue in Asia due to an ideal geography, good weather conditions and beautiful scenery.
The regatta has become a big boat event, attracting keelboats and ocean-going catamaran teams from around the world. With Chinese interest growing in yachting, the competition has grown within the Asian nations. An integral part of the Asian Yachting Circuit, the regatta annually features upwards of 90 boats (record of 103 in 2007) and 2,000 sailors, ranging from the Formula One of the sea lanes, the Racing Class, to live-aboard ocean cruisers, multihulls and classics. 2011 is on course to almost double the number of boats that participated in 2007.
For those taking part in the Regatta, the courses to be sailed will based on Coastal, Trapezoid, Windward/Leeward, or Triangle formats and will be decided depending on weather conditions. The fees associated with entering range from 17,000 to 25,000 THB, depending on when the entry is submitted. King’s Cup entry forms and fees must be received by December 2nd.
For those who don’t have a boat but would care to participate in the King’s Cup, there are several charter companies on Phuket where qualifying vessels are available. The rates are around 170,000 THB per week and up.
Enjoy Kata Beach in Phuket for the King’s Cup Regatta!