By going forward with original plans and hosting the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Asia’s biggest and one of the most popular regattas takes place each December off the shores of Kata Beach, Phuket, is a clear sign that Thailand is keen on putting the country’s tourism industry back in business and in full force.
While Thai aviation authorities sort out the mess that was created by recent turmoil in Bangkok, Phuket’s tourism industry is turning its focus at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, which will showcase a range of yacht classes that includes racing yachts, cruising yachts, classics and sport boats. Phuket, being the home of the regatta, is significant in that it is host to the region’s premier international sailing event attracting some of the world’s best yachtsmen.
The regatta was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. One of the regatta’s founders, ML Tridhosyuth Devakul, known as Mom Tri, asked King Adulyadej for his permission to hold the regatta under his patronage. The Thai king, being an avid sailor himself, graciously accepted.
Mom Tri himself is a famous Thai architect and artist. He built in 1989 Mom Tri’s Boathouse, which has quickly become a favorite with discriminating visitors and appears on numerous lists of the world’s best small hotels.
In addition to exciting sailing, the regatta is also a major social event for the island, with parties and award presentations held throughout the week. Most of the action is at Kata Beach – the bay bustles with crew preparing to sail off in the mornings, while in the evenings the hotels lining its shore play host to lively parties for participants and fans of the event.
Many of the participants arrive with their families a few days before the event to soak up some of Phuket’s famous sunshine. Non-sailors plan to go shopping, golfing or scuba-diving in day-time and just join the fun-filled regatta parties in the evening.
“We’re happy to be here again as it looks like it’s going to be a very interesting regatta this year with great winds,” said German Peter Jung, captain of chartered Sunsail yacht Isabella and regular competitor in the King’s Cup summed it up for many of the sailors. “We wouldn’t want to break a tradition and miss this year’s King’s Cup.”
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is held 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.
Follow the progression of this regatta by visiting www.kingscup.com or www.boathousephuket.com.