12th annual Samui Regatta kicks off tomorrow

EFG Bank Mandrake from Hong Kong back to defend their title at the 2013 Samui Regatta
Thai resort island, Samui, welcomes over 500 sailors to the 12th annual Samui Regatta which kicks off tomorrow at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui with five days of racing, and culminates in a lavish beachfront gala dinner at which the regatta winners are celebrated together with the 2012/13 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship (AYGP) winners of Best Yacht of the Year and Best Skipper of the Year.

Taking place from 26th May to first June off Chaweng Beach, Samui Regatta is the season-ending event of the AYGP Championship and all the top racers and Championship contenders are battling it out on the water and the title comes down to this last event.

The Samui Regatta has developed a strong following of the region's best sailors, and over the years has delivered on a reputation for quality sailing in some of the best racing conditions in the Gulf of Thailand. Welcoming boats and crew from over 15 different countries, Samui Regatta is a truly multinational and multicultural event and a highlight on the Asian yacht racing calendar.

'We're very proud to be the final event on the AYGP Championship. Samui Regatta has developed a reputation for providing a mix of racing conditions and courses each year – something for everyone – which makes it tactical and challenging,' said Simon James, Samui Regatta Race Director.

This year sees 24 boats racing in five classes and a very diverse fleet in IRC Zero including two 70-plus-footers Jelik (HKG) and Antipodes (HKG) leading the charge against Freefire (HKG), Uranus (MAS) and Katsu (AUS).

A very strong group of Asian-based 40-footers are lining up in IRC One including last years winner and contender for the AYGP crown, EFG Bank Mandrake (HKG). They are up against Foxy Lady VI (SIN), Walawala two (SIN), Windsikher (SIN) and Elektra (HKG).

Tight battles are expected across the IRC Two and Bareboat/ Cruising classes, with a number of top sailors and regular entries back to better previous results. One to watch for in IRC Two class is Matt Allen's Ichi Ban (AUS) who have been unstoppable in Thai waters over the last 12 months with three-from-three class victories. Another to watch out for is Sansiri (THA) who placed second in class at the recent Top of the Gulf Regatta and sailed by an all-Thai crew could prove to be the surprise package in the Bareboat/ Cruising class.

Depending on conditions, the Multihull class is wide open with Henry Kaye's Sweet Chariot (THA) favouring strong winds.

Commonly referred to as the 'Tropical Island Regatta' – a fitting name for one of the region's leading boutique regattas, which combines idyllic tropical charm, Thai hospitality and an island lifestyle, with great racing off the beach for both locally-based and international boats and sailors – Samui Regatta continues to deliver the goods and this year will host an inter-yacht Stand-Up Paddelboard Challenge concluding on Friday 31st May.

The 2013 Samui Regatta is organised by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff. Racing takes place 27th to 1st June off Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach.

For more information, visit the Samui Regatta website