The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, welcoming a record fleet of boats and over 1,000 sailors from around the world to compete in Asia's largest regatta from 3 December to 10 December at Kata Beach.
With strong representation from ASEAN and a growing number of sailors from China taking part, more than 35 nationalities will participate in a diverse fleet of craft, from Olympic classes to kiteboards to the super-high tech 'grand prix' racing boats.
Famed for being Asia's largest big boat regatta, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta was founded in 1987 with a mixed fleet of dinghies, boards and keelboats. Over the years, the Regatta has grown in size and stature to become the jewel in the crown of the Asia yachting circuit, welcoming the best-of-the-best from around Asia and beyond to compete annually in Phuket.
'The Regatta began as a special tribute to His Majesty the King’s Fifth Cycle, or 60th birthday,' said Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Organising Committee of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta. 'It has grown to become the most popular and most hotly contested sailing event in Asia. Phuket King’s Cup competitors enjoy champagne sailing conditions, the beautiful Andaman Sea backdrop, a series of exciting race locations and the famous beachfront parties.'
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2011 expects to see up to 50 dinghies take to the start line on 3rd December for a three-day series. Joining them on Monday 5th will be over 100 keelboats and multihulls, plus for the very first time, 20 kiteboards. The total sailing fleet is expected to be over 170.
The dinghies will race over three days, from 3rd to 5th December, and the keelboats, multihulls and kiteboards will race over five days – 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th, with Thursday 8th being a reserve day.
In 2009, dinghies were re-introduced to the Regatta line-up after a hiatus. This led the Organising Committee to create the Phuket Dinghy Series in 2010 – a three-event series preceding the Phuket King's Cup Regatta which has grown from strength-to-strength – and a dinghy classes within the Phuket King's Cup Regatta fleet itself.
For the first time in the Cup's history, the organisers, together with the Kiteboard Tour Asia, have introduced a Kiteboard Class this year. An invitation-only class for 20 kiteboarders, the Regatta welcomes Pros from the world tour as well as a number of regional champions, including two-time Asian Champion from Thailand, Narapichit 'Yo' Pudla.
'Our Quarter Centenary year sees the widest diversity in terms of registered vessels taking part in the Regatta,' explained Kevin Whitcraft. '2011 will comprise catamarans, keelboats, kiteboards, dinghies and international racing boats all competing for honours across racing and cruising categories. It is a testament to the extraordinary appeal of this classic race that we see such a broad mix of entrants for the Phuket King’s Cup. The Regatta also connects people from across the world, with representatives from every continent taking part.'
With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, 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.
Sponsors of the 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta include Kata Group Resorts Thailand, PTT Group, Siam Winery, AIA Thailand, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Boathouse and Sunsail. Media Partners include 91.5FM, Helm Superyacht Asia Pacific, The Nation, Phuket Best Group, Phuket Gazette, Phuket Magazine, Sail-World.com, SEA Yachting and YachtStyle Asia.