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Phuket King's Cup 2023 - Racing starts tomorrow

by Phuket King's Cup Regatta media 3 Dec 2023 07:01 PST 4-9 December 2023
Phuket King's Cup 2023 © Guy Nowell / Phuket King's Cup

This event, a jewel in the crown of Asian yachting, brings together an international community of sailors, spectators, and sports enthusiasts. The Regatta's schedule is meticulously planned, with races from 4-9 December.

Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Regatta Organizing Committee, remarked, "We are excited to present the 35th Edition of the King's Cup Regatta. Welcoming international and Thai yacht racing sailors for keelboat, multihulls, and international dinghy classes is a privilege. Competing here, surrounded by the beautiful Andaman Sea and the scenic beauty of Phuket, is an exceptional experience unparalleled in the world of yacht racing. Seeing familiar names and faces returning year after year to compete in what has become Asia's most coveted yachting trophy is fantastic. Our Regatta is more than a series of races; it is a key contributor to sports tourism and the development of sailing in the region."

The Governor of Phuket, Sophon Suwannarat, speaking of the Regatta's broader impact, said, "The King's Cup Regatta not only underscores our maritime heritage but also contributes significantly to our local economy and tourism sector. The influx of visitors for this regatta week is a boon, and we eagerly anticipate welcoming them. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has established itself as an important event in the yachting calendar and plays a vital role in drawing attention to the unique charms of Phuket."

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta has evolved from its inception in 1987 from a local contest to a globally recognised event. It began in 1987 with Thailand's yachting community uniting to honour His Late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The inaugural event was set against the backdrop of the Andaman Sea's crystal waters, with the Phuket Yacht Club Hotel, a recent addition at the time, serving as the venue. Founded by Royal Varuna Yacht Club sailors, including Commodore Chris King and M.L. Tridosyuth Devakul (Mom Tri), the Regatta has since burgeoned into a world-class outing for leading sailors.

In recent years the King's Cup regularly attracted up to 100 entries, and has long been a key fixture on the Asian yachting circuit. The Covid pandemic caused a hiatus, but the event is now back about to go from strength to strength. The regatta features a range of classes, from the adrenaline-pumping IRC Racing Class to live-aboard cruisers and a renewed emphasis on international dinghy classes. Impeccable race management, coupled with lively beach parties, underscores the Phuket King's Cup Regatta as a yacht racing extravaganza known for its hospitality and competitive spirit.

Pramookpisitt Achariyacha, Kata Group Resorts Founder and President, sharing insights said, “We are delighted to host sailors and enthusiasts at Beyond Kata, the home venue of this prestigious event. The Regatta is a testament to the spirit of sailing, sportsmanship and camaraderie, and we are confident that this year's event will further elevate Phuket's status as a prime tourist destination. We hope for favourable winds and welcoming seas as we embark on yet another memorable edition of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta."

Keelboats and Multihulls will compete between 4-9 December, with 7th December as a lay day for competitors to adjust their strategies or fix their boats. The racing will continue from 8-9 December. The full complement of classes for the 2023 race year includes IRC 0 and IRC 1, IRC Premier, Multihulls, and Bareboat Charter/Cruising. The International dinghy classes will race from 3-5 December at Kata Beach. Classes are divided into Optimist, ILCA4, Open Skiff, and Monohull Dinghy handicap.

The event's economic impact is profound. Local businesses, from hotels to restaurants and transport services, experience a significant upturn during regatta week. The festive atmosphere, coupled with an influx of visitors, substantially boosts the local economy. An economic impact study has shown that the Regatta contributes several million Baht to the local economy annually. The Regatta also serves as a platform for cultural exchange, fostering relationships between international sailors and the local community. Famous restaurants serving southern Thai culinary specialities participate, together with traditional Thai performances integrated into the event, providing visitors with a rich, immersive experience of Thai culture.

Added Kevin Whitcraft, “Our goal is to make the King's Cup a sailing competition that is on the bucket list of boat owners around the globe. This family-friendly event allows adults to race yachts while their kids race dinghies. The King's Cup Regatta is considered one of the most spectacular and well-organized events in the region. It is known worldwide for its diversity, international crews, and the best après-sail beach parties. We are very proud of its contributions to Phuket and Thailand and the sport of sailing.”

The Phuket King's Cup enjoys the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand, and is organised by the 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.

The Regatta's sponsors includ Host Sponsor Kata Group, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, RMA Group, Ford Motor Company (Thailand), Ricoh (Thailand) Limited, Haad Thip PCL, Pine Pacific Corporation Limited, Singha Corporation Co., Ltd., and National Telecom Public Company Limited.

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