Growth of Extreme Sailing Sports in Asia:
Asia is becoming a hot bed for extreme sailing sports. In recent years, Asia has attracted top international events, including the Volvo Ocean Race and the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. And more recently, the Extreme Sailing Series. The dynamism of Asia and regional rapid economic growth have contributed to the growth in the popularity of extreme sailing sports.
Having been host to many top international sailing events, Asia welcomed the Extreme Sailing Series to Oman, China and Singapore in 2011. The Extreme Sailing Series is a world tour in which professional sailors race on Extreme 40-foot catamarans designed for speed and maneuverability.
The Extreme Sailing Series, arguably the mother of extreme sailing events in Asia, is more than the Extreme 40 catamarans. The Series brings together other activities to provide new and interesting viewing experiences for spectators.
The NeilPryde Racing Series is an international tour featuring the universal one-design ISAF windsurfing class, the RS:One. The 2011 tour started in Singapore’s Marina Bay, and made subsequent stopovers in Dunkerque, Aalborg, Nice, Miami, Hong Kong and Fortaleza.
In May this year, the NeilPryde Racing Series will return to Asia and take place alongside the Top of the Gulf Regatta in Pattaya, Thailand.
Windsurfing to Kiteboarding has been a natural progression for some extreme watersports enthusiasts, and kiteboarding in Asia is currently experiencing a boom in participation. A relatively inexpensive sport, there are a number of competitive disciplines.
Kiteboarding is an exciting sport and one popular with spectators, and three years ago, an Asian Kiteboard Tour was launched.
The KTA was formed to give an international platform to the skills and talents of kiteboarders throughout Asia, and to bring professional level competition and training to the region.
Since its inception, the KTA Tour has grown in popularity with five official rounds on the 2011 Tour, plus a number of Open events.
In December 2011, kiteboarding in Asia notched-up a world first. Traditional sailing, in the form of the multi-class Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, invited KTA to organise an Invitation Event as part of the Regatta’s 25th Anniversary.
The Bay Regatta — Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi:
The Bay Regatta recently celebrated its 15th year with good winds and a near-record fleet.
A four-day live-aboard regatta, The Bay Regatta started in Phuket and sailed into Phang Nga Bay, Krabi, finishing back in Phuket, each night anchoring in a different bay and partying at a new venue. Called by some, the ‘Party that sails around”, the Regatta is known for its fun element and the stunning scenery through which the fleet sails.
2012 saw 44 boats take part, with participants coming from Australia, the UK, Russia, and around Asia. A large contingent of Russian sailors spiced up the racing this year, securing a raft of podium places.
40-footers descend on Thailand:
The IRC 40-footer class is growing in popularity in Asia. A top fleet competed at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta last year and the fleet continues to expand. Next Thailand Regatta on the Asian Circuit is the Top of the Gulf Regatta and organisers are expecting a strong showing of 40-footers coming from around the region to battle it out in the Gulf of Thailand.
Japanese entry Karasu, the 2011 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta winner, will be up against KukuKERchu from Singapore, Walawala 2 from Singapore, Jing Jing from China, Won Marang and Katsu from Thailand, and a number of other top boats.
Battline lines are drawn and the class looks to be a tough one to win. The Top of the Gulf Regatta will take place from the 4th to 8th May at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand.