20th Phuket King's Cup Regatta

Twenty years ago Thailand celebrated the fifth cycle of His Majesty the King’s birthday with many memorable celebrations, including the grand Royal Barge Procession on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

This month is another special time for Thailand and its people as they celebrate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne. Other monarchs and royalty from around the world are in the Kingdom this month to celebrate and honour His Majesty King Bhumiphol’s Diamond Jubilee.

Throughout this year the people of Thailand are paying homage to their beloved King, who has given tremendous support to the development of the country and its people both socially, economically and at times by mediating and offering advice in many varying political circumstances. When His Majesty the King turned 60 in 1987, many celebrations were held. Among those who gathered to celebrate the occasion were a number of sailors and seamen, who came together to organise a yacht race to commemorate and celebrate the auspicious occasion.

The organisers decided that a sailing race was a very good and appropriate way to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King, himself a very good and competitive sailor. The first Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was held that year under Royal Patronage. His Majesty the King is an expert sailor and represented Thailand at the fourth South East Asia Peninsular Games – which are now known as the SEA Games – in December, 1967, and won a gold medal in the OK Dinghy Class. The Thai Monarch sailed OK Dinghy No. TH 27 and his daughter, Princess Ubolratana, sailed OK Dinghy No. TH 18 and they finished equal first at the Games.

This year is also the 20th anniversary of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, the sailing race that was started in 1987 in His Majesty’s honour. Once again the organisers will be joining the nation in celebrating His Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as celebrating his 80th birthday on December 5, 2006. During the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta every year a candle-lit ceremony is held on His Majesty’s birthday, and this year promises to be bigger and better for a number of reasons – His Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, his 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.

The annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has grown from a small, mostly locally-contested regatta in 1987 to Asia’s premier yachting event and a world-class outing for some of the world’s leading sailors. This year sailors and yachts from all over the world will take to the beautiful waters of the Andaman Sea off Phuket, including one of the first competitive teams from the Chinese mainland, China Team. Most of the yachts which contested the regatta last year have signed up again for this year, with many racing-class yachts from Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Australia lining up. Some new race courses are being studied, several party venues have been inspected and negotiations are continuing with some international media organisations to make this year a special one as Thailand celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of His Majesty the King as well as his 79th birthday and the 20th year of Asia’s premier sailing event, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.