The 2010 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is less than two months away and with entries flooding in from all corners of the world the fleet looks set to be a global mix of nationalities and cultures. Leading the way are the Asian-based entries with the number of boats and crew from the Asian region, particularly China and Japan, expected to beat all previous records.
The increase in sailors from this region reflects the international appeal of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta which is now in its 24th year. Simon James, Race Director, believes that having such a diversity of participants is part of the event’s unique appeal:
“We have large numbers of entrants from around Asia and in particular Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, the Philippines and of course Thailand, and they make up a significant part of the fleet. Last year was the biggest ever Japanese fleet and as China is a growing market for sailing so the number of Chinese entries continues to increase also.”
Continued James, “The Asian entries are very competitive, even in the cruising classes. A number of Japanese entries have won their class and the possibility of winning is the reason all participants come back year-after-year. Asian participants are no different to other participants in that they are here to sail well, achieve a good result, and enjoy themselves on and off the water.”
There is traditionally a large contingent of Australian and New Zealand participants as well as a strong local presence at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. The rapid growth in the number of entrants from Asian countries such as China and Japan has been a more recent phenomenon. Naoaki Waga has been competing in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for over a decade and notes there are a number of factors behind this:
“The Kenwood Cup Regatta in Hawaii is no longer ongoing and a lot of Japanese sailors have shifted their attention from Hawaii to Asia. Japanese people have been sailing in the King’s Cup since the 1980s and it has a reputation as a fun carnival style regatta which is also known for competitive sailing,” he said.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has developed a reputation as Asia’s most prestigious and competitive regatta, and sailors from all over the world now descend on Phuket for five days of racing and six lavish parties each December. A good time may be had by all on shore, but out on the water there is no quarter asked or given. Simon James believes that the level of competition is the reason that participants of so many different nationalities keep returning to Phuket for the King’s Cup Regatta:
“The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has a certain prestige and participants are competitive. The competition is intense and this regatta is seen by many as the ‘one to win’. People come year-after-year to challenge in their class because there is no other multi-class regatta like it. Nothing offers such a diverse range of boats and sailing courses in such a great environment. Plus the social side is hard to beat,” he said.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, which runs from December 4th – 11th 2010, is now in its 24th year and is celebrated both for its great sailing competition and lively onshore social gatherings. Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the event has since been held every successive year during the first week of December.
With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing 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.
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