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Phuket King's Cup Regatta
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Sail pass signals start of regatta

The 29 th Phuket King's Cup Regatta began with a sail pass in honour of His Majesty the King of Thailand's birthday, with a procession of 168 boats passing the Royal Thai Navy vessel HTMS Klaeng, each saluting an image of His Majesty. The navy, along with other Royal Thai Navy vessels, were fully dressed and stationed off Koh Pu, and joined with racers and cruisers from the 2015 Regatta fleet. At 8.30am, a sound signal was given for the fleet to form to formally complete the Royal Salute in beautiful conditions ahead of the first day of the regatta.

Phuket King's Cup Regatta
Phuket King's Cup Regatta

The sail pass marked the start of a week of spectacular racing between keelboats, multihulls and dinghies, all competing in the crystal clear Andaman waters to win one of sailing's most prestigious trophies, bestowed by His Majesty the King of Thailand.

Racing Wrap-up

The final day of the 29th Phuket King's Cup Regatta 2015 was sponsored by the Kata Group, with Kata Beach Resort & Spa providing the home for race control, the regatta's Royal Awards Ceremony and the closing party. Before the fireworks were lit, there was some serious class warfare to play out. Keelboats and multihulls hit the water for one last run, as teams fought it out for the honor to claim the Phuket King's Cup victory.

In IRC0, Windsikher II skippered by Sarab Jeet Singh sailed well stringing together a number of first- and second-place finishes. It carried an advantage in both points and momentum going into the last day, and seemingly only an unexpected upset could derail Windsikher II's fantastic run. It took both race 10 11 on the final day, (two bullets), as if underlining the completeness of the week's massive performance.

Sarab Jeet Singh, skipper of Windsikher II, was delighted to finally win a Phuket King's Cup Regatta, after finishing second and third in earlier regattas. Commenting on the victory, he said, "We had the points advantage going in, but anything can happen, any equipment failure or other issue on route. Second place was a threat, and so we decided to sail the same way, no messing about, with keen roundings. This is my sixteenth King's Cup since 1997, my first win. Our Welbourn 52 custom boat had the same crew as my other boat (Sydney 40), and we've basically enjoyed ourselves and did really well. Courses were well organized but the light breezes are always challenging here. The team did well and the only reason I bought this boat was because I knew we had a team that could step up."

Phuket King's Cup Regatta

Among the IRC1 entrants, Kenn Eyears and Rerefine (formerly Windsikher) led the class ahead of Kevin Whitcraft's Wan Ma Rang, which chased it by a single point. Wan Ma Rang took line honors in race 10, but placed 90 seconds behind Rerefine on corrected time. In race 11, Rerefine won again to finally nail home their Regatta trophy claim for 2015.

The Japanese team Karasu, skippered by Yasuo Nanamori, led the IRC2 class with a total of four race wins heading into the last day or racing. Just one point behind lay Roland Dane's Jessandra II team, with a proper grudge match to be decided on the final day. Mick Tilden's Fujin team threw a spanner in the works by claiming race ten, leaving the two leaders to fight it out for 2nd place. An incredible battle ensued, with Jessandra II beating Karasu by 24 seconds on elapsed time and a skinny 9 seconds on corrected. In race 11, Karasu struck back, the resulting final day's points scramble seeing Karasu sitting pretty and three points clear. A classic Phuket King's Cup finale!

Pine Pacific had already won the Premier Class after scoring two more victories on the second last day, and must have settled into a gentle cruise home on the last day – although true to form, they still took line honors (and then another win, just for luck). Audeamus skippered by Kim Ramen & Adrian Fini took a consolation win in race 7.

Andrey Novikov skippering Alexa in Bareboat Charter put in another predictable first, securing a towering King's Cup Regatta win for the Russian team. Their massive form run of 6-for-7 put them miles ahead of any rival in the final scoring for the class.

Vladimir Oleynikov's Open Charter entry Popeye has had a marvelous run so far in 2015. The Russians took another seemingly sweatfree run on the final day, finishing first on both elapsed and corrected time - twice. Their Phuket King's Cup Regatta victory has been emphatic, dominating the class by winning their first four races at the beginning of the week – and never looking back.

The Royal Thai Navy entry, Thai Navy 1 skippered by Cpo.1 Wiwat Poonpat, achieved Regatta glory in the Modern Classic Class in honor of His Majesty the King. The team finished well ahead of the rest of the fleet on the last day to win both of their races.

The IRC Cruising class race six was won by Thai-registered Slipstream skippered by Rod Mulcahy. Slipstream and Mustang Sally were tied up after the last race, and on countback, Slipstream's race win from the second last day proved invaluable; an edgy final-day decider.

Phuket King's Cup Regatta

Cruising class's race six went to a Chinese entry named Atom, skippered by Jian Quan Tong. Tony Byrnes and Mohawk, who won the first four races in spectacular fashion, had done enough by midweek, and are named winner of the Class. Of the two Classic entries this year, Cedric Rimaud skippering Selma took every race in the regatta apart from the first day's racing. The boat did well, completing every course in the allotted time limit. The Firefly 850 Sports class was owned by John Newnham's Twin Sharks all week, with seven wins entering the final day of racing. Hans Rahmann's Voodoo team took a consolation win in race 9 but were 8 points adrift at the close. In the Multihull Racing Class, Alan Carwardine's Asia Catamarans Hurricane led the class by three points ahead of Team Java going into the final day. Hurricane then claimed a narrow victory over another very well sailed boat, Three Itch, in race 9. Race 10 completed their two bullet performance for the day, and wellearned regatta honors. In Cruising Multihulls, the Japanese entry Minnie, which has performed brilliantly during the regatta, came second behind Star Fruit on the last day, but the team had done enough to win the class by four points. Performance Multihulls was won by Australian Elizabeth Schoch on Sudu3, and she was on exceptional form throughout the regatta. She enjoyed first and a second on the last day of the King's Cup, completing a magical run in this new Class.

As is Phuket King's Cup tradition, the week ended with a fantastic beachside party and Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, said, "On behalf of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Committee, it is an honor to organize this most prestigious regatta to sail in honor of our King, the Regatta Royal Patron who celebrated his 88 th birthday this year. This year's keelboat and multihull fleets consisted of 90 craft, divided into 13 classes, and some 78 dinghies racked up a total record of 168 entries with some 1,000 participants from over 40 countries."

He continued, "Over the past three decades, there is no question that the King's Cup, with HM's imprimatur, has been the catalyst for the enormous advance of water sports in the Kingdom, resulting in many world class competitions coming to our shores, the latest being the international Optimist class approving a world championship next July to be raced at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya. I congratulate all the winners and all who have competed in a fair, friendly sail fest and urge all to return to Phuket for the next years' 30 th Phuket Kings Cup Regatta."

International Dinghy Class puts young sailors' skills to the test

The International Dinghy Classes Race 2015, part of the 29th Phuket King's Cup Regatta, sponsored by the PTT Group, saw four days of racing as young sailors tried to seal Regatta victory in honor of His Majesty the King of Thailand. The growing number of fleet entries from 45 last year to 78 dinghies this year showed the rising enthusiasm for sailing in Thailand.

Optimist and Laser sailors were in competition in decent winds and beautiful sunshine. They were led by Optimist Girl sailor Chanokchon Wangsuk, who claimed overall victory in the Optimist class; a brilliant performance out of 56 Optimist sailors and testament to the rising quality of junior sailing among Thais. Saranwong Poonpat won the Optimist Boys. From the Laser and Topper classes, Keerati Bualong won the Laser Standard, the Laser 4.7 champion was Chaichanawut Deenak, and the Topper champion was Navee Thamsoontorn.

Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, said, "On behalf of the committee, I would like to express my thanks to PTT for sponsoring our Dinghy program as part of the 2015 Phuket King's Cup Regatta. It's great to see growing Optimist and Laser fleets every year, with the improvement in skills being exponential and rapid. Thailand certainly has a great competitive sailing future if the performance of the kids is anything to go by, and of course we are all inspired by His Majesty the King of Thailand, a superb inspiration to our very professional young dinghy sailors this year."

Phuket King's Cup Regatta

The International Dinghy Class was introduced as part of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, creating a network between sailing clubs to inspire more youths in Thailand to take up the sport, especially the Optimist challenge for the under 15 years. The establishment of the International Dinghy Series has helped bring to the fore many young Thai sailing talents, with more and more joining every year. The program serves as an accessible means of competition for young sailors from many sailing clubs in Thailand, including Phuket, Pattaya, Phang Nga and Songkhla in order to prepare them for the international competition, and for the Phuket King's Cup Regatta.

Phuket King's Cup Regatta Royal Awards Ceremony

Local and international sailors, VIPs and media guests joined the esteemed Royal Awards Ceremony at the close of the 29 th Phuket King's Cup Regatta. The ceremony in honor of His Majesty the King of Thailand brought to a close a week of classic Regatta action, and featured a Royal prizegiving ceremony to mark the winners of the 29th Phuket King's Cup Regatta. The event was held at Kanda Hall, Kata Beach Resort & Spa, Phuket (Principal Host Sponsor, and home of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta), and was a formal occasion presided over by H.E. Admiral Chumpol Pachusanon, Personal Representative of His Majesty the King of Thailand. The event was joined by Mr. Chamroen Tipayapongtada, Governor of Phuket; Admiral Paladej Charoenpool, Senior Advisor to Commandor in Chief of Royal Thai Navy; Vice Admiral Sayan Prasongsamrej, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy's Third Area Command; Rear Admiral Sucha Kiamthongkum, Commander, Fleet Training Command Royal Thai Fleet, and honored guests.

The splendid trophy, designed by Mom Luang Tri Devakul and graciously bestowed by His Majesty King of Thailand, features nine sails rising up from a silver bed that represents the sea. On top of the sails is the symbol of His Majesty the King of Thailand, which is known as the "TraSanyalak", along with his initials and the Thai symbol for 9 as the King is the ninth of Chakri Dynasty. Surmounting all of this is the King's crown symbolizing his patronage of the event.

The 29th Phuket King's Cup Royal Awards Ceremony marked the end of a week of spectacular racing between keelboats, multihulls and dinghies, all competing in beautiful Andaman waters to win one of sailing's most prestigious trophies, bestowed by His Majesty the King of Thailand.

Closing Party

The exciting final day of racing came to close with a superb beachside party sponsored by Kata Group Resorts Thailand at Kata Beach Resort & Spa, the home of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta. The closing party was set off by a massive fireworks display over the sea, and was attended by local dignitaries, VIPs, guests, media representatives and hundreds of sailors from around the world. Guests came together for a poolside buffet of international and Asian cuisine, freeflow drinks and the famous service of Kata Group Resorts Thailand, a symbol of Phuket's famous hospitality.

The Kata Group, Principal Host Sponsor of 29 th Phuket King's Cup Regatta has been a prominent player in the hospitality industry in Thailand for more than 35 years, with a collection of properties in highly desirable beachfront locations. The Kata Beach Resort & Spa, one of six properties owned and managed by Kata Group, is the longestablished home of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, serving as the race control center, the sailor's briefing point, the media center, a party venue and also the temporary home of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee and its support teams, as well as providing high-quality accommodation to sponsor representatives and VIP attendees.

Mr. Andrew Swatdipakdi, General Manager of Kata Beach Resort and Spa, said, "After 17 years of offering our support to the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Kata Beach Resort & Spa is the spiritual home of the race, and has been for a number of years. Phuket is famous for its excellent beaches, beautiful environment and fun lifestyle, and attracts millions of tourists each year to experience its legendary Thai hospitality. Phuket is also known as a top sports tourism destination, and the Regatta adds to this greatly. Sports tourists come here not only to compete, but also to relax and have fun, visiting resorts and restaurants and exploring the Island. All of this is excellent for Phuket's economy. I would like to express my congratulations to winning teams of the 29 th Phuket King's Cup Regatta, and to the Organizing Committee."