sail-world.com -- The changing face of the Phuket King's Cup
The changing face of the Phuket King's Cup
Sat, 1 Dec 2012
The annual Phuket King's Cup Regatta runs from 1st to 8th December 2012 in Thailand and once again has 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.
This is the largest sailing regatta in Asia by far. Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand the Regatta, first sailed in 1987, is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organising 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.
Over the years it has been strongly supported by the Hong Kong fleet, with good smatterings of Australians and New Zealand sailors, but the range of nationalities competing has exploded in recent years.
This year the event has attracted skippers from over 17 countries in the keel boat segment of the regatta alone.
Although entries are still being processed right now more than three quarters of the keel boat skippers are listing home ports outside Thailand.
The mix of entries is changing rapidly. Five years ago there were less than a handful of Russian crews. Last year Russia and the other Federations provided the largest international representation with 12 skippers. This year that has jumped to 17 and while once again Australia had 10 entries this year Singapore has seven, Hong Kong and Mainland China seven, Japan six and United Kingdom four.
Regatta Director Simon James said this morning. ‘We are certainly growing the international participation but equally pleasing is the expanding range of classes.
‘Back in 1987 the event had a mixed fleet of dinghies, boards and keel boats. Over the years the Regatta has grown in size and stature but the focus was on keel boats, it’s the premier regatta on the Asian keel boat racing circuit.
‘Now the reinvigoration of the dinghy fleet is proving very successful. This year as well as Optimists we have now got Lasers taking part. We have also a fleet of Toppers and we have made Toppers available for charter as well so we have got a mix of sailors in that fleet. We will have ten classes on the water in all.
‘Then this year we will have a big windsurfing class for the first time in a long time. We have some very good sailors in this fleet and we have some current world champions coming to race as well as Thai and Asian champions so that is looking exciting.
‘Our IRC Division 1 fleet is full of very competitive 40 footers. This is certainly one of the strongest 40 footer fleets world-wide.
‘The IRC Division 2 class is looking very good now and that is another success story. We have got the last two defending champions, Madam Butterfly and Royal Thai Navy, and this time Matt Allen has entered a rebuilt Adams 10 which everyone will be watching with interest.
'The multihulls, the cruising boats, its a long list of exciting and interesting boats.
‘The Asian sailing scene is going from strength to strength. We have got a 12 event circuit in the Asian yachting circuit and it is very competitive and yes when we look up, it’s fair to say the Phuket King's Cup is probably one of the most diverse sailing regattas around the world. ‘