Phuket King's Cup Regatta gets underway – The Nation
With 11 classes of Keelboats and Multihulls and 6 classes of International Dinghy Classes, many familiar faces have returned to either defend their titles or try to dethrone the champions. Aiming to grow sustainable sailing communities, this year the Phuket Dinghy Clinic is initiated for young sailors targeting to develop skills for excellence during Regatta week.
Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Organizing Committee, said: “We are delighted to welcome all international and Thai sailors to this year’s regatta which has been continuously organized for over three decades. A fleet of over 100 boats from keelboats, multihulls and dinghy classes will contest this year’s Regatta, sailed over a variety of courses off the Southern Thai resort island of Phuket. It’s great to see familiar names and faces returning year after year to compete in what has become Asia’s most coveted yachting trophy. We are now positioning the race so that it remains highly relevant to future generations and the ongoing development of the sport.”
The keelboats and multihulls have been divided into 11 classes: IRC Zero, IRC 1, IRC, Premier, Firefly, Multihull Racing, Multihull Cruising, Bareboat Charter Division A, Bareboat Charter Division B, Modern Classic and Cruising.
The comprehensive classes contested by the International Dinghy fleet are Optimist Boys and Girls, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Laser Standard and 420.
More than 70 boats have entered the keelboat and multihull classes. In the top flight IRC Zero Class, defending champions Kevin and Tom Whitcraft will once again be aboard their TP52 design boat THA72, but expect a strong challenge from Ray Roberts on his boat Team Hollywood, a relatively new TP52.
In the IRC 1 Class, defending champions Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth will be back on Mandrake 11, and in the super-fast Firefly class – contested by Phuket-built catamarans – defending champion John Newman will once again be at the help of Twin Sharks.
In the 32 years since its inception, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has gained a reputation as both a highly competitive event on the water featuring some of the world’s best boats, skippers and crews, as well as a fun social occasion where visitors enjoy the traditional warm Thai hospitality in one of the best holiday destinations in the world. This year promises to be no different.
Whitcraft, himself once a junior sailor in Thailand, is keen to see young Thais getting involved in the sport through the International Dinghy classes, which have been a feature of the regatta for a number of years.
“For 2018 and in past years, we have had a special focus on growing the dinghy components of our overall regatta, as we in the sailing community in Thailand can feel the positive effect this is having over the years as the sport of sailing continues to grow in popularity here,” he said. “The International Dinghy fleet is a fast-growing racing program designed to promote and encourage youth sailing in Thailand. This year, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club will open Phuket Dinghy Clinic for young sailors aiming to develop skills for excellence, improve boat handling and race strategy, friendship and respect from December 2-4.
Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat said “We are pleased to welcome all Thai and international sailors and visitors to Phuket and the 32nd Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. This prestigious sporting event reaffirms the reputation of Phuket Island as a Mecca for marine and sports tourism. We are also proud of our island’s reputation for offering safety and world-class hospitality services for visiting guests. We continue to grow in stature as one of the world’s best destinations for watersports, yachting and competitive sailing. Here in Phuket we are leaders in marine tourism, we have world-class hotels and restaurants and our yacht and boat building and charter businesses are first rate.”
Kata Group Resorts Founder and President Pramookpisitt Achariyachai said “Kata Group Resorts is once again pleased to support the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. We have been prominent in the hospitality industry in Thailand for 37 years with a collection of properties in highly desirable and prime beach locations, and owns seven high-end resorts in southern Thailand. In Phuket, Beyond Resort Kata, which is traditional home to the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for 20 years, was rebranded recently last year to reflect our strong sense of genuine Thai hospitality while offering high quality leisure experiences to guests. We, therefore, look forward to welcoming our many sailing friends and new arrivals and we hope you enjoy our warm hospitality.”
Among Kata Group Resorts include Beyond Resort Karon , Beyond Patong , Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa, Beyond Resort Khaolak, Beyond Resort Krabi, Novotel Samui Resort Chaweng Beach Kandaburi and “Pamuko Pamuka” the newly built family –friendly resort with water park and accommodation facilities 512 rooms and meeting capacity of 1,100 persons. Each of the resorts has its own distinctive qualities, whether focusing on families or couples, with the beachfront properties being ideal settings for weddings and incentives.
The Phuket King’s Cup 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.
There will be five days of racing for the keelboats and multihulls, with a reserve day on Thursday, 6th December. For the International Dinghy Classes, four consecutive days of racing will start from Wednesday, 5th December.