by Al Constable
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is Asia's biggest and most popular sailing event. It is sailed in the warm, tropical waters off Kata Beach Phuket each December and this year a record fleet of 101 boats has been sailing on the clear blue waters of the Andaman Sea.
Crews arrive via longtail boats, King’s Cup regatta
It has become one of the most international of all regattas sailed around the world, with owners, skippers and crew members coming from many countries including Japan, Russia, Australia, Great Britain, Spain, USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, France, Singapore, New Zealand, Norway, Nederlands, Denmark, Croatia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
His Majesty the King Bhumibhol of Thailand and his then, 16 year old daughter, Princess Ubolratana won the South East Asian (SEA) Games) sailing in the OK Dinghy division in 1967 and His Majesty’s keen interest in sailing has continued.
The King’s Cup was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand. With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organising 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.
Tonight, through His Personal Representative (Rear Admiral Momluang Usni Pramoj) His Majesty will bestow the handsome permanent King's Cup Trophy to this year’s winners.
Going into the final day's racing, the divsion leaders come from all around the world. Hong Kong sailor Neil Pryde leads the Racing division on Hi Fi. In the Coutts Premier division another Hong Kong sailor Peter Churchouse, leads with his Warwick 60 Moonblue II.
In the Racing 2 division Briton Peter Dyer leads with Madam Butterfly. In the Performance Multihulls, American Larry Pollock is leading overall with Running Cloud.
Spanish skipper Antonio Escribano has sailed Princess Athena into the lead in the Sunsail One Design Class and looks certain to take the class trophy. In the Ocean Rover class Australian Geoff Wilson leads with Calypso JJ and another Australian entry, Tim Wilson's Cordelia, is leading in the Ocean Classic class.
As always, Thailand is well represented at the regatta. In IRC 2 division the leading team of Lt. Peera Sagultem and the crew on Royal Thai Navy 1, a Farr 33' MRX, have been winners during the recent four editions of the Phuket King’s Cup and lead the division overall going into the final day. In the IRC 1 division Jaray Tipsuk is currently second overall on Octopussy, a Farr 41.
Radab Kanjanavanit’s Cedar Swan is a strong podium contender going into the final race in the OMR Multihull division. There are four Thai entries in the fast and exciting Sports boat division with Ket Manghlaseranee on his Platu 25, Platu, still in contention to place overall.
Pana Trungkabunchar is sailing the X512 Lawana in the Coutts Premier division.
More than a regatta, the week long event consists of great parties, great sailing and lots of fun. Last night’s party at the Royal Phuket Marina was sensational with a stage show presented for the guest’s entertainment.
Today is the final day of the regatta and the trapezoid courses, being sailed by all 13 fleets, are sponsored by the main event sponsor Raimon Land, who have major property developments across Thailand. Tonight’s Raimon Land party will be yet another highlight of this highly enjoyable regatta.
Crews arrive on Kata Beach to be transported via longtail boat, to their yachts for the day’s racing