Please select your home edition
Edition
GAC Pindar Sailing News

Phuket King’s Cup – Gasson recalls the early days

by Phulet King's Cup media on 8 Dec 2011
Phuket King’s Cup 2009. Neil Pryde’s HiFi sailed a tight regatta to win the King’s Cup for a fourth time to match PKC co-founder Bill Gasson’s record. Guy Nowell © http://www.guynowell.com
Only three sailors over the last 25 years hold the distinction of winning the Racing Division of the Phuket King’s Cup four times.

They are Australian Ray Roberts and two New Zealand born sailors, Neil Pryde and a more recent arrival Bill Gasson, who came to Thailand in 1983 after six years in the Philippines.

Gasson’s 42 foot yacht Buzzard was designed by Rob Humphreys and built in the Philippines. The CHS (now called IRC) racer-cruiser won the Phuket King’s Cup in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Gasson subsequently commissioned a 50ft racer-cruiser from the same designer. Big Buzzard was built in Fremantle, Western Australia and in 1996 Gasson sailed her to his fourth event win.

A founding member of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta and Phuket King’s Cup Committee President in 1992 and 1993, Gasson has not sailed the event for several years but has returned for the event’s 25th edition.

Bill Gasson started sailing Dragons in the Philippines in 1977 and moved up to a Sonata 8, followed by a Gary Mull three-quarter tonner.

He explains ‘in 1983 I looked at Royal Varuna Yacht Club but it was very much a dinghy club back then, so I didn’t do a lot of sailing for a couple of years.

‘Then I brought my Philippine built, Rob Humphreys design to the Thai Gulf. It was the first keelboat of that modern era of keelboats, in Pattaya.

‘In 1987 after I had been hauled on board as one of the founders of the King's Cup, I scoured Phuket to find 13 Thai boats and had a few boats coming in from Malaysia, to actually get the regatta started.

‘Back then we ran the keelboats out of Naiharn Bay, where there was wind.

‘We had some top name sailors from around the world competing and one year I had eight sailors onboard Buzzard who had sailed in Whitbread Round the World races, some of them had even done two or three.

‘Attracting top sailors helped the regatta’s early years, three through to six, to develop the competition.

‘I won three regattas in a row (1980, ’90 and ‘91). I had my old mates onboard but I always had one or two guys who knew what they were doing.

‘The very first year of the regatta we probably had 10 or 12 different nationalities racing. Henry Kaye came down with some stalwarts from the Hong Kong Yacht Club and they were, during those early years, the backbone of the fleet and then Singaporean and Malaysian sailors came along.

‘I was pretty involved in those early years, twelve years in racing or in race management, and then for another three or four years I would come and muck about until December 20th.

‘2011 is the first time I have been back to the event in five years’ said Gasson.

Gasson has however kept busy over the last few years being involved in the formation of two new regattas - Koh Samui and Top of the Gulf in Pattaya.

In recent history the King’s Cup has always been held over the King’s birthday but this has not always been the case, as Gasson explains.

‘Actually we originally did not hold it over the King’s birthday because we couldn’t get any of the dignitaries to attend. Ex Prime Minister Prem and other Thai dignitaries couldn’t ever come on the King’s birthday or the Constitution Day, which is the 10th, because they all had their duties.

‘For the first two years, we held the King’s Cup on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

‘We added an extra, separate event, a race to Phi Phi Island with an overnight stop there and a race back to Nai Harn Beach. Within a few years that race was incorporated into the King’s Cup.

‘The growing success of the overall event meant that it outgrew the Island and the format changed pretty much to what it is today. When the regatta was extended to a week the King’s birthday fell within the event.

‘In the early years there were a lot of dinghies sailing the event, but it became impractical to continue with the little boats, despite of our best efforts.

‘Hobies went out after about four or five years because they all came down from Pattaya, from the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Lasers only went for a couple of years. Windsurfers were only around for the first year.

‘It was quite exciting that first year and I think we got 40 knots across the deck during one of the races.

‘It has been interesting to look at the changes to the event. The format has changed little, the event management has become more professional and the quality of the fleet continues to improve.

‘It’s good to see the King’s Cup providing more opportunities for the younger sailors with the Phuket Dinghy Series. The kids are the future and every event needs to expand its engagement with our potential young sailors.’

For news, results and information on the 25th Phuket King’s Cup please visit the event website www.kingscup.com

Sponsors of the 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta include Kata Group Resorts Thailand, PTT Group, Siam Winery, Singha Corporation, AIA Thailand, PTT Global Chemical, PTTEP, Thai Oil, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Boathouse and Sunsail. Media Partners include 91.5FM, Helm Superyacht Asia Pacific, The Nation, Phuket Best Group, Phuket Gazette, Phuket Magazine, Sail-World.com, SEA Yachting and YachtStyle Asia.

Harken and Fosters -  Harken WinchesLancer Inflatables - BJZhik Ocean

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb