Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

Kevin Whitcraft President of the PKCR Organising Committee's Interview

by Event Media on 6 Dec 2012
Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee Guy Nowell
1.Who is the skipper of your boat this year?

Our skipper, Jaray Tipsuk, is a sailor who has won two silver medals in the Sea Games, and a gold in the J24 Sea Games in Singapore in 1996. When he was very young, he had a relative at the Thai Naval base and he used to go watch the kids training in Optimist boats. The then Captain Sunan invited him in and he was the best kid there. He went on to the World Championships immediately. That was around 1979. He began helming at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in the early 80’s and joined the national team in 1987 – the first year of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.

2.Is it easy or difficult to find highly competent crew members in Thailand?

We have an almost wholly Thai boat crew for the 2012 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, including a few Westerners who hold Thai citizenship. It’s relatively easy, in fact, to find skilled Thai sailors. We have a lot of history of sailing here in Thailand, with most of our crew competing on and off internationally for over two decades, myself included; consequently, many of the crew have been racing together for a long time. Some of the other team members are, or were, a part of the Thai national team, of which I was a part for six years. The Royal Varuna Yacht Club has been instrumental for developing experienced Thai sailors.

3.How do you gauge the level of improvement in experienced and new Thai sailors?

It’s definitely getting broader. I think the Optimist programme has been strong since the late seventies, and of course Thailand has maintained a strong reputation in sailing thanks to His Majesty the King. Many of us have over the years put in time coaching Opti’s (Optimist, a small sailing dinghy) – and some of our crew have taught this for over ten years. We’ve got a culture and history of sailing in Thailand, so there’s quite a lot of improvement already there.

4.Does having a Thai speaking crew help in terms of communication and teamwork?

We panic in Thai! Definitely when things get intense the language is occasionally in Thai because it’s faster (laughs)! But we speak in English as we have an American bow-man and a couple of Kiwis on the crew, so to give them half a chance, we talk in English.

5.The Phuket Dinghy Series has been effective in the development of young Thai sailors. Do many of them go on to crew large racing boats?

Not a large percentage, actually. The biggest ‘problem’ in terms of the development of sailing in Thailand is that Asian kids are focused more on studies when in their teens, and so they switch their focus to school following the growth of their experience in Optimist. The Yacht Racing Association of Thailand has tried to get the sport into universities so they now have sailing programs and they recognise qualifications in their student assessment activities. My kids are former Optimist champions, but have continued to compete internationally in the 29er class. People tend to fall away from sailing for a bit due to their studies and later due to their work commitments, but some come back and many of the crew out of Ocean Marina were former Opti sailors.

6.Is sailing a prohibitively expensive sport for most people?

Yes, it can be. You would regularly see 140 Optimists and Lasers competing in domestic events; then it (sailing) becomes more expensive and the field gets a lot smaller not just in Thailand but internationally. It’s possible for a group of individuals to split the cost for a small keelboat, so there are ways and means for newcomers to access the sport, at least at entry level. To get to racing class it’s pretty expensive, although there are a large number of Thai owners in the Platu class, but it’s not that costly as a hobby. It’s reasonable, rather than affordable.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]

7.Please can you tell us about your boat?

The boat is from Croatia, and has been raced throughout the Med for about 18 months. It arrived the day before the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta four years ago. It’s very light – 4.5 tonnes and we’ve worked on it over the years. Downwind we are pretty fast – it’s our fourth year on board so we’re pretty used to it, with all the new components we installed performing well. We’ve had a few practice weekends which have helped us achieve strong finishing in 2012’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.


8.Please can you explain how you divide your attention between your roles?

When I’m out there on the water, I don’t even think about the Phuket King’s Cup Organising Committee responsibilities much; the Committee, the organisation, the structure, sponsorships and so forth. I’m just focused on being on the water and having fun, competing and challenging, pushing as hard as we can and being successful. And the jury, the organisation and structure all help me in my capacity as President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee. We have an excellent PR team with Vivaldi, and the organisational teams do a great job with the course, and in providing international standard race management. And needless to say the parties are well organised as well.



9.Why do you hold the Regatta at Kata Beach?
Kata Beach Resort & Spa is a strong supporter of the Regatta, and a great host sponsor. You have to consider the number of rooms available, facilities, the award ceremony, etcetera, so Kata Beach Resort & Spa is perfect in many respects. It’s located in a beautiful bay and the resort is popular with Regatta competitors.

10.Is Phuket Thailand’s leading destination for sports sailing?
Not just for sailing, but for runners, divers, surfers, windsurfing; it’s an adventure sports playground. It’s such a beautiful area in which to be outdoors and living life to the full – a large reason behind why so many people come here, return here, and enjoy being here.


11.What would you say to newcomers who want to take up sailing?
It’s about getting started, so follow the advice of Nike and “just do it!” Get licensed, get your basic training down, and most importantly, get time on the water. That’s the key. Same as when I coach Optimist sailors; it’s about experience and time spent getting out there and sailing.

T Clewring AC72upffront 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

Phuket King’s Cup – the Breeze is Back
All divisions were sent off on long courses to a gate at Koh Racha, Koh Aeo After a comparatively slow day yesterday, the breeze was back this morning with enough oomph to encourage the Race Officers to send all divisions off on long courses to a gate at Koh Racha, Koh Aeo (IRC 0, 1) and points in between – variations included leaving ‘buoy 9’ or Koh Hi or even just the end of the Koh Racha gate to port. This is the Andaman Sea Race
Posted on 10 Dec 2015
Phuket King’s Cup 2015 – Movement at the Station
December in Phuket, Thailand: what’s not to like? Would you rather be sailing here, or in cold and wintry Europe? Yesterday was the King of Thailand’s birthday, and tomorrow is the start of the regatta that celebrates that happy anniversary, the Phuket King’s Cup. 2015 is the 29th running of the event, and has yet again attracted a substantial fleet of entries for what many consider to be Asia’s premier big boat regatta.
Posted on 7 Dec 2015
Exclusive chance to charter Pulse 600s for Phuket Kings Cup Regatta
The 2015 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is set to become even faster and more exciting with the announcement that a fleet of The 2015 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is set to become even faster and more exciting with the announcement that a fleet of Corsair Pulse 600s is now available for charter in the event.
Posted on 20 Oct 2015
Exclusive chance to charter Pulse 600s for Phuket Kings Cup Regatta
The 2015 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is set to become even faster and more exciting with the announcement that a fleet of The 2015 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is set to become even faster and more exciting with the announcement that a fleet of Corsair Pulse 600s is now available for charter in the event.
Posted on 20 Oct 2015
2014 Great Lakes Team Racing Championship about to set off
On October 18-19 Bayview will be hosting the inaugural Great Lakes Team Racing Championship. On October 18-19 Bayview will be hosting the inaugural Great Lakes Team Racing Championship placing one of the most exciting racing formats in the Detroit River right off the front lawn. Teams of three boats each will face off head-to-head resulting in tactical, dynamic racing for both participants and spectators.
Posted on 20 Sep 2014
Phuket King's Cup 2012 - incredible finale to last day’s racing
Beautiful sunshine, blue skies and consistent winds marked the final day of the Phuket King’s Cup 2012. Beautiful sunshine, blue skies and consistent winds marked the final day of the 2012 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta in fitting style as teams and their boats assembled at the start line in a final bid to resolve their class contests. Some results had effectively completed yesterday, but a majority of classes were anticipated to host some thrilling final day action.
Posted on 11 Dec 2012
Phuket King's Cup 2012 - incredible finale to last day’s racing
Beautiful sunshine, blue skies and consistent winds marked the final day of the Phuket King’s Cup 2012. Beautiful sunshine, blue skies and consistent winds marked the final day of the 2012 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta in fitting style as teams and their boats assembled at the start line in a final bid to resolve their class contests. Some results had effectively completed yesterday, but a majority of classes were anticipated to host some thrilling final day action.
Posted on 11 Dec 2012
Phuket King’s Cup stepping up to the next level
The Phuket King’s Cup sailing regatta has, over the last 26 years, had a significant impact on sailing across Asia. The Phuket King’s Cup sailing regatta has, over the last 26 years, had a significant impact on sailing across Asia. It is the largest sailing event in Asia. On the world stage it has become the keelboat regatta that has the greatest number of nations competing each year.
Posted on 5 Dec 2012
Phuket King’s Cup stepping up to the next level
The Phuket King’s Cup sailing regatta has, over the last 26 years, had a significant impact on sailing across Asia. The Phuket King’s Cup sailing regatta has, over the last 26 years, had a significant impact on sailing across Asia. It is the largest sailing event in Asia. On the world stage it has become the keelboat regatta that has the greatest number of nations competing each year.
Posted on 5 Dec 2012
The changing face of the Phuket King's Cup
The annual Phuket King's Cup has once again attracted one of the most diverse international fleets in the world. One often sees sports events claiming International status beyond reality, but now in its 26th year, the Phuket King's Cup organisers take so much for granted the amazing nationality mix of skippers and sailors in the fleet that it hardly rates a mention.
Posted on 1 Dec 2012