The 27th Phuket King’s Cup opened yesterday, with clear skies and medium winds – a marked contrast to the weeks preceding, when storms ravaged the island. There were several big downpours, but that did not “dampen” the bonhomie of the opening night.
Close to a record number of 105 craft were registered, divided into 14 separate classes. There is also a newly-established dinghy class sailed separately, but an integral part of the Regatta proper. This division comprises two fleets, the ubiquitous Optimists for under-16 year olds and the Lasers. Thailand has fared extremely well in the former class, winning a number of world and regional championships the past few years.
Likewise, in the Laser Division, Thai sailors, Ake Bualong and the leading lady Bam, are hot contenders on the international circuit.
In another related division, there will be a Windsurfing Championship, with a youth and open division.
With the usual mix of competitors from the “four corners”, there is a strong contingent from Russia and the Qingdao Sailing Team from China who are increasing their participation year-by-year.
Much interest will focus on the IRC-0, the premier racing class which has many previous regatta winners in hot contention, led by Asian Sailor of the Year, 2013 -2014, Hong Kong’s Frank Pong, Aussies Ray Roberts and Peter Ahern, Hong Kong’s Neil Pryde and Regatta President, perennial contender, Kevin Whitcraft..
The President pointed out that the biggest challenge is to maintain the pedigree and build on previous regattas, noting that “Paul Ewing, an award-winning touring musician who will perform at the Awards Ceremony next Friday”.
Kevin also pointed out that new sponsors, joining the Kata Brach Resort and Spa, the Regatta’s “home” for more than 15 years, are Jaguar and PTT Global Chemical, this latter supporting the dinghy racing.
The regatta will continue on a daily basis through to the 6th of December, setting aside a special “sail-past” and a candle-lit beachside ceremony to celebrate the Regatta Royal Sponsor, His Majesty the King’s 85th birthday on Friday, 05 December, 2023.