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King’s Cup Regatta finishes with wind in its sails

by Joseph Henry on 6 Dec 2008
Phuket King’s Cup 2008. Day 5. Raimon Land The Heights. Guy Nowell
The 2008 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today wrapped up what was described as an incredible week of competitive sailing, adventure and high drama both on and off the Andaman Sea. All week strong 10 – 20 plus knot winds and intense competition kept all eyes on the competition while further establishing the King’s Cup as Asia’s most popular sailing event.

Despite the many logistical challenges for sailors and their families in getting to Phuket almost 100 boats brought some 750 crew members from all corners of the world for a week of sun, sailing and celebration. This year’s regatta, from 29 November to 06 December was held to celebrate His Majesty the King of Thailand’s 81st birthday.

In its 22nd year, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King was 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.

'Hailed by skippers for its Hawaii like conditions, the King’s Cup 2008 saw the best winds we have seen in over a decade. We hit all the high notes for a perfect event ensuring high morale and camaraderie throughout. Still, the competition was fierce with many entrants already planning to return next year to try to gain the coveted King’s Cup Trophy. This year’s regatta will be etched in the memories of all who sailed,' said Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee.

'Racing was very competitive this year. Ray Roberts sailed Quantum Racing to the overall win in Racing class. After finishing in last place on the first day’s racing they built up moment during the week to gain an impressive three first places, one second and two third place finishes. Robert’s Quantum Racing has received a very high level of attention from the contingent of Australian media on hand this year. It will be a great boost to the level of interest in the King’s Cup from Australia,' said Simon James, Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Race Director.

'In the Sports Boat class Scott Duncanson sailed Raimon Land The Heights to one of the most impressive performances ever by the Phuket based skipper. After finishing second on the first day he ran a string of four first place finishes securing his place on the podium after day five.'

The competition was also exciting in the IRC 1 class. Those boats were fast, especially in strong winds. Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban blew away the field and raced to five consecutive first place finishes, followed by a second place. Again Australians were well represented as Allen is the Commodore of the prestigious Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which is the home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

'We had strong turnouts in all categories involving Thai and Thai-based sailors. There was also a good spread of boats in IRC and Multihull classes as well as the Bareboat Charter class with leading charter company Sunsail of Phuket full for this year’s event,' James added.

The Third Naval Area Command, Royal Thai Navy, which is based in Phuket has fully supported and facilitated the event with logistics as well as their equipment, officers, boats, helicopter and SEAL unit for security and rescue.

The organizing committee and principal sponsor Raimon Land, recently held a signing ceremony to commemorate Raimon Land’s commitment to a 5 year sponsorship deal. Raimon Land again hosted the popular closing party on Saturday, December 6th.

Raimon Land CEO Mr. Nigel Cornick said, 'We’re pleased to continue our support of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for another five years. The positive impact the regatta brings on the sport of sailing in Thailand as well as the local economy of Phuket is outstanding. We have presented our latest property, the prestigious Amalfi this year in conjunction with the regatta, so our sponsorship is one of the special ways we can give back to the community that has given so much to Raimon Land.'

Kata Group, host sponsor for over a decade, made available their superb Kata Beach Resort on Kata Beach as venue for the Regatta, as well as their recent award-winning 'Best Family Hotel' Phuket Orchid Resort to accommodate all press and media.

The event this year has been supported by many organizations with interests in Phuket. Mom Tri’s Boathouse has helped for over a decade, and Thailand Elite, Siam Winery, Thai Beverage and Sunsail have also supported. Media sponsorship in part comes from Phuket Magazine, The Nation, Phuket Gazette, Yacht Style, Blue Wave 90.5 FM and Ensign Media.

2008 Regatta footage, shot by Capital TV

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