Phuket King's Cup Regatta
Asia's Biggest Sailing Race - 3-10 December 20160
Phuket's famous international yachting event, The King's Cup Regatta, returns to the azure waters of the Andaman Ocean in December for a week of partying, sailing, beautiful people and great fun. This year marks the event's 30th year of prominence on the Asian yacht racing calendar.
The event was launched in 1987 to celebrate His Majesty the King's birthday on December 5. A yachting enthusiast himself, His Majesty King Bhumibol also happens to be patron of the King's Cup, making it a regal event in every sense of the word. To add further lustre to Phuket's prime international sporting event, the sailing regatta was named 'Yachting Event of the Year' at the Christofle Asia Boating Awards 2006. Its popularity has gained significant momentum on the international yachting scene, while media attention has grown steadily over the years.
The King's Cup Regatta attracts some of the world's best yachtsmen, yachtswomen and their expensive boats to the waters of Kata Beach, off the island's west coast, where these local and visiting sailors vie for the coveted trophy, creating a truly spectacular sight in the process. Beginning on December 3, the races run until December 10.
See Event Calendar Here.
Get in on the sailing action
A surprise to many visiting Phuket during the races is that - although Kata Beach swarms with yachtsmen in their racing regalia and boats line the horizon - many yachts are under-crewed. As a visitor, this creates a perfect opportunity to take part, especially if you have some sailing experience under your belt. If being out on the water all day doesn't tickle your fancy, you don't have to step aboard to be part of the action. You can readily get involved, on a land-based level, by partying well into the night at one of the many regatta shindigs. Generally preceded by a banquet, these occasions are true 'Phuket happenings'.
During the event, when not out racing, the yachts are anchored off Kata Beach. Before and after each race, the southern end of this stretch of sand comes alive with dinghies ferrying seafarers, sails and other sailing paraphernalia ashore. The boats make a truly picturesque sight and avid photographers shouldn't pass up this opportunity to get some great photographs. Sunrise and sunset shots with the yachts in the foreground during race days make for a great subject matter.
With the short respite of prize-giving, generally held just after dinner, the parties begin in earnest. With musicians, local and international bands, Thai dance performances and other activities such as fireworks displays, they make for worthwhile affairs. Not only are these gatherings good on a merrymaking level, but to add to the experience you are bound to rub shoulders with at least one well-known sailing personality.
One of the highlights of every King's Cup is the candle-lighting ceremony held in front of the Boathouse Resort on Kata Beach to celebrate His Majesty the King's birthday. It's an impressive sight with more than 1,000 skippers and their crews holding up candles while a choir sings the Thai national anthem. A number of yachts require extra crew members with sailing experience, and if you're fit and would like to join in, don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime chance. An added bonus is that the crew fee includes party tickets. Email the King's Cup Regatta committee at email@example.com for more information.
For general information about sailing in Phuket, this is where to look.