For three decades, Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has been the pinnacle of international regattas in Asia, initially dedicated to HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej for his passion and support for the sport of sailing and now in honour of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. The longstanding spiritual home of the King’s Cup, Kata Beach Resort and Spa has been re-branded into the stylish Beyond Resort Kata. After winning the 2016 Asia Boating Awards, for the Best Asian Regatta, the emphasis this year, is on growing the sport of youth sailing in Thailand into the future.
Over 80 keel boats and multihull craft, have registered so far and divided into 11 classes. The regatta also encompasses a fast-growing International Dinghy racing program, for Optimist Boy & Girl, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Laser Standard and Topper dinghys, designed to promote and encourage youth and Olympic sailing in Thailand. Plus provide sustainable growth to the Thai marine industry, as these young sailors, can expect to go on and become crew on keelboat/multihull racing teams and compete in future years.
Over the last couple of days, a meandering tropical disturbance passed to the South of Phuket and crossed over Northern Sumatra and predicted to reform as it heads into the Bay of Bengal. This will result in drawing down the North East to Easterly trade wind, just in time for Asia’s premier regatta. Sailors can expect a week of fast and furious sailing action. Already the air is full of anticipation and wild speculation, on how the racing will unfold.
Four of the best racing yachts in the region, will be going head to head in combat for the IRC 0 title. Phillip Turner’s Aussie thoroughbred Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive skippered by Duncan Hine is the biggest and love to stretch their legs on island passage races. They will be taking on two very serious TP52 racing campaigns, in the form of Ray Roberts victorious Team Hollywood and Kevin Whitcraft’s all-conquering THA 72, aiming to defend the title.
After scoring a hat trick of Raja Muda Regatta victories, Sarab Singh’s Welbourn 52 Windsikher II return to action and after missing the regatta last year.
The Singaporean based crew are more than ever determined to repeat their 2015 performance and reclaim the title
Of the ten IRC 1 yachts entered, Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 Otonomos Mandrake III, David Fuller’s chartered Beneteau 44.7 Fujin, Scott Bradley’s Sydney 40 Emagine, Peter Sorensen’s Farr 40 Ramrod and Yan Yuye’s A 40 RC Shenzhen Seawolf are used to winning titles, but it’s a different story at the King’s Cup. They come up against Japan’s defending champion Yasuo Nanamori’s Beneteau 40.7 Karasu, Mati Sepp’s chartered Swan 42 Club Loco representing Estonia and the Russians on Evgeny Nikiforov’s Cookson 12 MegaZip, who save their best performances for Asia’s premier event each year. Aussie Max Palleschi’s IOR Farr 40 Prime Factor, is relatively unknown but have come prepared by taking 2nd overall to Fujin at the Raja Muda.
The regatta 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. Held each year during the first week of December, the 2017 event is already living up its reputation, as the ultimate showcase for Thailand’s seafaring heritage.