Boathouse Resort

Sailors' Delight: 19th Phuket King's Cup Regatta

19th Phuket King's Cup Regatta is Asain yachting's largest and most prestigiuous sailing regatta.

Phuket, Thailand, November 21, 2005 --( Sailors’ Delight: 19th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta
Stiff competition, top sailing yachts, top sailors from around the world and plenty of wind, are some of the elements make the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta one of the most exciting nautical racing events of the region. There’s a gust of excitement on shore as well, as the island prepares to host an expected thousand participants in the December 4th to 11th event. “This is the race I have been waiting for.” declared Aaron Henderson, skipper of Redwings in his diary of the 1997 King’s Cup Regatta. “I've cut a deal with the devil and bargained that if we had good and fair wind for the whole of this race, I don't care what happens the rest of the week.”

Good winds keep sailors happy. Winds sometimes gusting up to 15 knots at the start of the action can hang on through the early afternoon to push the fleet of nearly one hundred boats along the short windward legs on the passages races. The variety of true windward/leeward courses are designed to give competitors a chance to finish before the risk of the winds dropping off in the late afternoon. Some crews see their hopes dashed when sails begin to rip, spinnaker launches become entangled and a few turn broadside, weakening both their confidence and their chances to win. The Redwings diary tells the tale. “A slow release on the mainsheet during a puff resulted in a loss of steerage to leeward and we almost rear ended Emerald Blue (who had rights). A poor spinnaker hoist followed and once we got it drawing, I barked to one person to blow the sheet and guy, somebody else the halyard, and for the others to haul in the chute like mad and hoped for the best.”

An increasing number of the competing yachts have been built in Thailand. Local designer and builder Mark Prescott’s sleek catamarans have won their events repeatedly over the years. This year hopefully will see the Fire-Fly from the same designer. The Phuket 8 sports boats, specifically designed to suit the light winds off southern Thailand win consistent line honors. Last years winner Buzz 8 was built in Pattaya and the winning catamaran Coco Blues, another “easy to sail flying machine” was built in Koh Samui.

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta held to commemorate the birthday His Majesty the King of Thailand on December 5th. His Majesty is a gold medalist for sailing in the 4th South East Asia Games. Each year, the King sends his personal representative Privy Councilor H.E. Rear Admiral Mom Luang Usni Pramoj, to present the King's Cup trophies on his behalf.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is the largest and most prestigious event on an international circuit that combines three other premier regattas – the Raja Muda International Regatta in Malaysia, the Volvo Singapore Straits Regatta and the China Sea Race from Hong Kong to the Philippines into the Omega Series which in turn is part of the Perpetual Cup Series, inaugurated in 1997, which further includes the Darwin to Bali Race and the Philippine's President's Cup. Each regatta has evolved their own identity over the years, and are draws in the own right, with their own following.

Some of the region’s most spectacular scenery is a backdrop for the King’s Cup. “We could see an endless stream of spinnakers stretching off behind us against the limestone cliffs of Phi Phi - what a beautiful sight!!!” writes Redwing’s skipper.

As well as the keen sailing, the event is also renowned for socializing and parties. Mom Luang Tridhosyuth Devakul, hotelier and one of the founders of the King’s Cup Regatt has co-sponsored the event for 19 years and holds one of the best King’s Cup parties as well as the annual sponsors’ dinner, finishing with a private lunch for Mom Luang Usini. This year Mom Tri’s Boathouse Beach Party will once again be held on the 5th of December, in conjunction with the national celebrations of the birthday of His Majesty. Preceding the awards ceremony for The Boathouse Races there will be a candlelight ceremony to mark the occasion.

What’s so special about this regatta? Prince Henrik of Denmark a keen sailor and frequent Regatta participant explains “The very ambience is different. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the remarkable iridescence of the Andaman Sea, the temperature, and the moderate, steady northeasterly at this time of the year, combine to make Phuket a most desirable venue for a yacht race – or anything else, for that matter. In fact, it is hard to find a better location than Phuket – anywhere in the world.”

Mom Tri's Villa Royale The Gourmet Hotel
Donna Tudge