Titania of Cowes' skipper Richard Dobbs on the future of Thai sailing
by Event Media on 26 Dec 2011
Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2011 - Titania of Cowes Guy Nowell © http://www.guynowell.com
Richard Dobbs’ “Titania of Cowes” team claimed a powerful victory in the 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Premier Class. With racing concluded, Richard’s thoughts turned to the broader sailing picture in Thailand, and what this year’s Regatta meant for the future of the sport in the country.
“The most extraordinary thing I took from this event was the fact that we were racing against the largest boat in the fleet; Wang Bin’s 82-foot “Chao Ren Plus One”, said the veteran skipper. “What you have here is a relatively new sailing competitor who is committed to coming to Thailand and buying in to the sport of sailing. It’s a wonderful thing, because on mainland China you have very respectable high-net-worth individuals who are buying incredible sailboats instead of the Sunseeker type of powered craft. It’s brilliant for the sport in general, and it will result in a new industry being created in Thailand five years on from now.”
He continues, “Chao Ren Plus One” are still learning how to race, so they could well be class-leading in a few years. The sport is growing so quickly in Asia, and it’s being driven by Chinese interest. You start with a few significant entries, and then everybody comes; this is how the industry will evolve in Thailand.”
In this year’s Regatta, Wang Bin’s entry finished third, behind Australian team “Baby Tonga Strongbow”. Yet at the very top of the Class was Dobbs’ “Titania of Cowes” with a vast point advantage. It was a result of the crew’s considerable experience in international regattas. Richard said, “The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta team have absolutely got this right; this is the best regatta in Asia. That’s why you’re seeing such strong interest from across the region, and especially from China. It’s an incredibly good thing for the future of our sport, and for the future of Thailand.”
With such strong competition making it’s way here from China, it is easy to imagine that a lot of preparation went into the run-up to the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. But “Titania of Cowes” is a live-aboard cruiser, complete with all of the appointments necessary to survive a life at sea. He explained, “The boat is my weekend home, so it has everything; washing machine, spin dryer – the only thing we changed was the floorboards, because it takes three months to properly re-varnish the floor. It’s a true second home; in fact my father and uncle were part of our 2011 crew that won this Regatta.”
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, Thaioil, 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.
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