by Rob Kothe
Good fleet and good winds for the 2007 Phuket Kings Cup, says Chairman of the Race Committee Simon James.
Quantum Racing heading for the windward mark, RMSIR 2007
'We have had 15-25 knots from the north east over recent days and we will at least have winds of 10-15 knots during the week and there are predictions of more and we will have a great fleet on the water.'
Skippers and crews are still sailing and flying into Phuket, with briefings and parties on Sunday night. Racing will start on Monday morning, with a record fleet approaching 110 boats to face the starter.
It’s a strong Grand Prix Racing class again this year.
Ray Roberts DK46 Quantum Racing is back to defend her title and she is in hot form. Roberts sailed Quantum to overall victory in the five race China Cup series in October.
Roberts is without doubt the most successful sailor on the Asian circuit in recent years; with tactician Stephen McConaghy and a highly experienced racing crew he has won two Phuket King’s Cups, the Raja Muda, the Singapore Straits Regatta and the Hong Kong to Hainan Race.
He has twice won the Langkawi Regatta, and also the Koh Samui Regatta and the Borneo International Yachting Challenge in Malaysia.
Roberts is preparing for the Sydney to Hobart race, but as he has done for many years, he and his crew have flown to Phuket for Asia’s premier keel boat regatta.
This afternoon Robert’s commented ‘It’s been a busy year but we just would not be anywhere else but Phuket at this time of year. The fleets just keep getting better and we’re looking forward to another great regatta.’
While Quantum Racing is the pre-regatta favourite, Roberts will have a fight on his hands in this top class Grand Prix fleet.
Chris Mead's new Corby 43 Full Metal Jacket, with a brand new North 3DL sails inventory and a gun crew will provide plenty of pressure.
Another regatta star Jamie McPhail will be skippering the Stephen Reith chartered Sydney 40 Foxy Lady III and if it’s a small boat series, she will be very tough to beat.
There is quality across the fleet with Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth’s Mandrake, Frank Pong's Reichel Pugh 75 Jelik, mainland Adam Ng's Microlab Moonlight Shadow, Sam Chan's TP52 Ffreefire 52 all capable of winning the event.
Australian Race Officer Tony Denham of the Sydney International Regatta will be looking after Racing Classes this year and his emphasis will be on fair courses and fair racing.
Santa Kanchanabandhu, President of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee is looking forward to another great week of sun, sailing and celebration.
He is pleased with the excellent spread of boats across Racing, IRC Divisions I and II and III, the three Multihull classes and the charter classes.
Today he commented 'IRC2 is likely to be very competitive this year with the Navy boats re-challenging for their crown. Lieutenant Commander Pornprom Sagultem will be at the helm of The Royal Thai Navy 1, in IRC Division 2, which has won 'back to back' years since 2003. There will be added pressure with Peter Dyer's Madame Butterfly (last years IRC 1 winner) racing in IRC 2.'
With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, this 21st 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.
The Third Naval Area Command, Royal Thai Fleet, which is based in Phuket, is supporting the regatta with logistics as well as their equipment, officers, boat, helicopter and SEAL unit for security and rescue.
Principal sponsorship again this year comes from Raimon Land, which currently has projects throughout Phuket including Kata Gardens, The Heights as well as an upcoming project located on the headland between Surin and Bangtao Beaches next door to the celebrated Amanpuri Resort. Raimon Land last year announced they would sponsor the King's Cup until 2012.
The regatta website is www.kingscup.com