The 2007 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta will officially launch this evening for another spectacular year of races, bringing regulars and new entries alike to Phuket for a week of sun, sailing and celebration. This year’s event, from December 1 to 8, is being held to celebrate His Majesty the King of Thailand’s 80th Birthday.
Last year saw strong turnouts of boats and attending media. This year has been equally spectacular with entries expected to surpass 110 boats with approximately 60 media from Thailand and around the world planned to be in attendance. Competition promises to be strong and sporting, with a lot of old rivalries being retested for another year.
“It’s great to see everybody here this year for another great year of races. We’re very happy to be breaking another attendance record this year. To add to the excitement, we’re seeing the strongest winds we’ve seen in many years in the initial days here at the regatta. Entries again have come in from all over the world, while involving a large part of the Thai sailing community and Royal Thai Navy as well,” said Santi Kanchanabandhu, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee.
“We are going to see a lot of action in racing class again this year with Hong Kong entries from Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth sailing Fortis Mandrake, Frank Pong's Jelik, and Foxy Lady, who won the Koh Samui Regatta last year,” said Simon James, Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Race Committee Chairman.
“We’ve got a great crew of race officials for this year. Tony Denham, who handles the Sydney International Regatta will be joining as well as David Brooks and Zhou Chanchen, who both handled the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Zhou Chanchen is also international race officer of the Chinese Yachting Federation,” he added.
“We have also seen strong turnouts in all categories involving Thai and Thai-based sailors. There will also be a good spread of boats in IRC and Multihull classes as well as Bareboat Charter class with leading charter companies Sunsail, Elite Yachting, and Asian Marine of Phuket full for this year’s event,” Simon added.
The Royal Thai Navy’s involvement continues again this year with entries in the IRC classes. Lieutenant Commander Pornprom Sagultem will return this year at helm of The Royal Thai Navy 1, in IRC Division 2, which has won back to back years since 2003.
“IRC 2 should be one of the more exciting classes again this year for competition. Madame Butterfly, who won the recent Phuket Race Week will compete against two entries from the Royal Thai Navy as well as previous IRC 2 winner La Samudra,” Simon added.
With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the 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 Navy, which is based in Phuket, is fully supporting and facilitated the event with logistics as well as their equipment, officers, boat, helicopter and SEAL unit for security and rescue.
Sponsorship of the event this year will be helped by many organizations with interests in Thailand, Phuket and the sailing community. The Kata Group has been host of the Regatta now for ten years. Media sponsorship in part comes from Phuket Magazine, The Nation and Phuket Gazette.
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 in Bang Tao. The company also has developments in Pattaya and Bangkok, including the newly launched The River, which is currently the highest profile condominium project in the city. Raimon Land last year announced they would sponsor the King’s Cup until 2012.
Raimon Land CEO Mr. Nigel Cornick said, “We’re pleased to be continuing our support of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta because of its positive impact on the sport of sailing in Thailand as well as the Thai economy. We feel that few events combine the excitement, prestige and positive impact on the local community – we look forward to supporting the regatta for years to come.”
Also joining the event as sponsors are TMB Bank Plc, Thai Airways, Thai Beverages Plc, Nautica, Sunsail, Siam Winery, Coca-Cola and a host of local Phuket businesses which support the event.
In other divisions, racing promises to be just as exciting. In premier class Ian Nicholson's Intrigue returns, along with Hans Rahmann’s Yasooda. Adding to the excitement, this year watch out for Bob Yapp’s new speed machine Yo Mo. In Sunsail One Christian
Eshenburg and the teams from Germany return to challenge for the trophy after having won in 2004 and 2005 only to have the win narrowly escape them it in last year’s races.
IRC Cruising, with an IRC Hull factor of 7.8 or less is a new division added to provide more competitive racing for older and cruising designs, including local Thai entry Cinders as well as previous winner Patrice III and local favorite Remington.
The Sports class will see Scott Duncanson and the Phuket 8's defend their home waters against Thai teams sailing the Platu 24's from Pattaya as well as Kipsan Beck’s Shaw 6.50.