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The party that sails around and around

January 30, 2013

This year’s Bay Regatta, organized by the Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC), will be held from today until Sunday February 3.

The sailing grounds that make the Bay Regatta so famous. 2012 Bay Regatta. Photo by Go Yachting.

Rows of colorful spinnakers will sail through some of the world’s most famous cruising grounds, allowing sailors the chance to enjoy the spectacular scenery and party well into the night at some of the region’s most beautiful resorts.

The regatta takes place over four racing days. Registration is this morning, along with a skippers’ briefing and the opening night party at Ao Por Marina.

Racing starts Thursday morning. The yachts will head out towards Koh Yao Noi, stopping at the Paradise Koh Yao Boutique Resort & Spa for the evening’s party.

On the second day out, February 1, there will be more sailing around Phang Nga Bay before the fleet heads back to Koh Yao Noi in the evening, but this time the party is at the Villaguna Resort & Spa.

For the third day of racing, the yachts head off to Krabi where the fleet has a free night as no regatta party is scheduled.

The competitors head back from Krabi to Ao Chalong for the finish, on the last day of racing, with the regatta participants celebrating at a big bash and final awards ceremony at the 02 Beach Club in Chalong.

Forty plus yachts will compete in five different classes: Bareboat Charters, Multihull, Cruising B, Cruising A and Racing divisions – with over 200 sailors coming from as far away as Canada, Australia, Russia, Germany and Switzerland.

The regatta started life as “The Phang Nga Bay Regatta” but since it spans three provinces – Phang Nga, Krabi and Phuket – organizers felt it best to change the name to simply “The Bay Regatta”. Early on, the regatta was strictly held during the Chinese New Year, but again wanting more flexibility, organizers made the switch to in and around that holiday.

Part of this regatta’s special flavor comes from the need to sleep on one’s yacht, since the fleet move to a different anchorage each day. But most serious racing yachts, to save on weight, have neither accommodation, nor most other luxuries on board.

Some dedicated racers nevertheless want to join a lifestyle regatta such as this one, and their crews often have to rough it with blankets on deck and forage for breakfast and lunch from cardboard boxes and ice coolers. The experience leaves memories of more than just spectacular scenery.

The heavier, slower boats might get thoroughly trounced by the speedsters during the day. Come evening, however, when the comforts of home can be drawn up from the bellies of the heavyweights, the laughter of the cruising and classic boat crews rolls across the anchorage.

Since its inception in 1998, this regatta has also been tagged as the “fun” regatta. Nothing’s changed; it just keeps getting better.

The start boat is being supplied by the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and the event management is being handled by Regattas Asia. Krabi Boat Lagoon and MontClair Wine are the other key sponsors.

The Bay 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 99.

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