Phuket King’s Cup begins
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is once more putting on a spectacular display of the finest sailing talent, with a total of 168 boats entering from over 35 countries, each striving to win the ‘must-have’ racing trophy of Asia.
Beginning yesterday and continuing through to this Saturday, December 8, the full complement of classes for the 2012 race year includes: IRC Zero (international ‘Grand Prix’ boats), the highly competitive IRC1, IRC2, IRC3, Premier, Sport Boats, Modern Classic, Bareboat Charter, Multihull, Firefly 850 Sports, Classic and Cruising Class.
This year’s regatta also features windsurfing, reintroduced as a competitive class, and will highlight some of Thailand’s most famous windsurfing stars, including Ek Boonsawad and Siriporn “Dao” Kaewduanggam. Ek recently represented Thailand at the 2012 London Olympics, while Dao won the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore. Up to 40 windsurfers will compete, including the women’s 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Marina Alabau Neira from Spain.
The King’s Cup Regatta 2012 will also incorporate dinghy racing as part of its roster of classes. The inclusion has played a part in the development of youth sailing in Thailand, encouraging more young sailors to take up the sport, and empowering the development of talented and aspiring skippers. All told, 40 windsurfers and 50 dinghies will compete over four days from Sunday, December 2 through Wednesday December 5. In addition to the windsurfers and dinghies, 78 keelboats and multihulls will compete today through Friday.
Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, spoke of the role this classic race plays in the development of Thailand as a sailing nation and sailing destination:
“We are very proud that the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is able to take a regional role in contributing to the growth of the Thai sailing community and the yachting industry in Thailand, reinforcing its position as one of the world’s premier sailing destinations. It serves as an inspiration for new and improving Thai sailors, giving them a superb opportunity to experience international competition. From a wider perspective, it is hugely beneficial for Phuket, a part of Thailand famed for its beautiful surroundings, legendary hospitality and suitability for hosting Asia’s ultimate Regatta,” he said.
In addition, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is also an important event for the island in terms of development and commerce. One of the longest running international sporting events in Phuket, the Regatta generates significant revenue for the local economy, bringing with it sports tourists and their disposable incomes, along with approximately 40 million baht in tourism receipts, according to a survey by the organizers. It serves to the great benefit of Phuket’s hotels and restaurants which enjoy a surge of custom before, during and after Regatta Week.
When travel, excursions and repeat visits during the year are factored in, the economic contribution of the event is likely to be in the region of 300 million baht.
The Regatta is strongly supported by local authorities and Phuket Province, who work together with event organizers to make the Regatta an annual success for everyone on the Island.
The Phuket King’s Cup is also famed for its series of legendary beachside parties, attracting over 1,500 party-goers who enjoy the live music, great atmosphere and food and drink provided by the Regatta’s sponsors.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is proudly sponsored by the Phuket Gazette, PGTV and the nationally televised Phuket Today show on UBC/True Visions. Phuket Today, co-produced by PGTV and MCOT World, will be providing coverage of this event. The half-hour show runs six times a day, seven days a week, on channel 59 & 99.