Thailand, a yacht racing vacation spot

It all started in 1986 when a choose group from the elite Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) got together and decided to launch a regatta in Phuket in 1987 – as a particular tribute for the sixtieth birthday of the then King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thus Scientifically proven ’s Cup Regatta (PKCR) was born.
Royally related architect M.L. Tridosyuth Devakul, affectionately generally identified as ‘Mom Tri’, designed the distinguished trophy and generously provided his new Phuket Yacht Club Hotel at Nai Harn Bay because the regatta venue.
Starting with a combination of dinghies, seaside cats, keelboats and windsurfers, this regatta has grown to attract big keelboats and ocean going catamarans and stays Thailand’s largest regatta of its type by numbers, with a daily fleet of ninety yachts or more.
Held at all times during the week that includes the former Thai King’s birthday, December 5, the PKCR achieved worldwide fame in – and out of doors – the yachting fraternity for its events, the place captains, crews, visitors and others would be part of the revelry at a unique venue each evening.
Since 1998, the regatta has been primarily based at Kata Beach Resort (now Beyond Resort Kata) on Phuket’s west coast and, in 2016, received Best Asian Regatta of the Year within the Asia Boating Awards. With most of its fleet coming from overseas, PKCR deserted both the 2020 and 2021 events underneath the load of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in Thailand.
Fast forward 36 years from the primary PKCR and Thailand is now home to 12 regattas, two superyacht occasions and action-packed weekend yacht racing applications on the country’s two principal ‘big boat’ clubs.
PKCR had it all its personal method until 1998, when photographer John Everingham, together with a few yachting pals, founded the Phang Nga Bay Regatta, primarily so as to capture stunning images of yachts sailing between the bay’s dramatic limestone karsts. In 2011, Phuket Yacht Club (PYC) – previously Ao Chalong Yacht Club – stepped in to put it aside from extinction, earlier than handing the reigns over to Regattas Asia in 2012.
With a reputation change to The Bay Regatta (TBR) alongside the way, this event distinguishes itself by shifting from one island or seaside resort to a different every single day and was, in its earlier days, a favorite of live aboard cruising sailors. TBR sets sail in January/February every year and has managed to avoid lockdowns to sail uninterrupted all through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 4 years from 2002 to 2005 noticed the founding of three more noteworthy regattas in Thailand: Koh Samui Regatta (KSR) in 2002, Phuket Raceweek in 2004 and Top of the Gulf Regatta in 2005.
KSR was based by former PKCR president and serial trophy winner, Bill Gasson, motivated by getting quality yacht racing getting into his residence waters, the Gulf of Thailand. KSR attracts the cream of the Asian fleet, the big racing class yachts from Hong Kong, but and not using a strong local fleet has always struggled for numbers. In its sixth year (2007), to keep it from going underneath, Grenville Fordham’s Image Asia Events – Phuket boat show organiser and South East Asia Pilot publisher – took on the organisation for one year.

Subsequently, after a few years’ stewardship by Callum Laing’s Mobyelite, TBR organisers, Regattas Asia, added KSR to their portfolio and have announced that the 19th regatta in 2022 will move from its conventional slot in May to July, having missed 2020 and 2021 owing to Thailand’s Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Next up, July 2004 noticed the inaugural PRW, based by Fordham and business associate Andy Dowden, both veterans of the PKCR organising committee. Based on the Evason Resort on Phuket’s southeast coast for eight years, PRW claimed the excellence of being Thailand’s only major low season regatta, when tougher racing situations typically prevail.
Eschewing the Thailand regatta ‘template’ of a different get together venue every night, PRW distinguished itself with its one-regatta-one-venue coverage, providing magnificent after-race five-star events at the host venue 4 nights out of five.

With the closure of Evason Phuket after the 2011 event – the yr PRW was voted Best Asian Regatta of the Year, beating PKCR’s win by 5 years – the regatta relocated successfully to Cape Panwa Hotel in 2012. In 2013, Media Business Services acquired the rights from IAE.
Disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and staged out of Phuket Cruising Yacht Club (PCYC) in 2021, PRW is reported to be close to finalising a deal for a brand new residence for 2022 onwards, with new dates in late June.
Last but not least among the ‘big boys’, Pattaya’s Ocean Marina Yacht Club (OMYC) hosted the inaugural Top of the Gulf Regatta in May 2005. Another Gasson brainchild, TOGR capitalised on the Hong Kong and Singapore yachts heading for Koh Samui in May, fixing its dates immediately before the island regatta.
With a comparatively small base of ‘big boats’, TOGR makes up its numbers by incorporating dinghy and Platu events and attracting crew by advantage of its proximity to Bangkok. In 2019, the fleet of 13 ‘big boats’ was boosted by 12 Platus and around 180 assorted dinghies. Despite the excellence of being the one regatta in Thailand sailed out of a marina, Covid-19 pandemic meant TOGR was unable to happen in 2020 or 2021; the 2022 version, originally scheduled for April/May, has been postponed with no dates but announced.
Then there are Monetize . There’s the Thailand Optimist Open Championship, based in 1976 and raced out of OMYC, as much as 2019 as part of TOGR. The Coronation Cup, a Platu one-design occasion, was founded in 1996 and, from 2005 to 2019, has fashioned part of the TOGR fleet.

RVYC hosts a separate dinghy occasion, the Admiral’s Cup, in January/February every year, featuring an 80-90 strong fleet of principally Optimists, with a sprinkling of Laser dinghies. And then there was the Hua Hin Regatta, based by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT) in 2000; a largely dinghy event that includes all kinds of designs, the final version was in 2017.
Phuket’s PYC organises weekend sailing and three annual club events. There’s a multihull mini-regatta founded in 2008 that, for the explanation that Covid-19 pandemic, has strangely allowed monohulls to taint its popularity as “Asia’s biggest multihull-only event”. Then there are two oddly-named races, The ‘Jai Dee (Good Heart) Regatta’ and the ‘Sailors’ Regatta’ – as if different regattas are black-hearted events targeting non-sailors… Someone at PYC will have to have a strong sense of irony.
Then there might be Pattaya’s OMYC, which also has a really energetic weekend racing fleet – albeit disrupted by Covid-19 pandemic-related restrictions.
Finally, Phuket plays host to 2 superyacht events: the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous (ASR), based in 2002 with the last recorded rendezvous going down in 2019 and the Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous (KRSR), first staged in December 2016 and operating every December all through the Covid-19 pandemic years. Not actual races, each ASR and KRSR are invitation-only occasions for superyacht house owners, captains and various excessive web price people to community, play ‘boat games’ and party.
No other Southeast Asian nation can declare as wealthy and varied an all-year-round yachting calendar as Thailand – a sadly undervalued and under-utilised ‘resource’ by means of excessive value nationwide tourism advertising..

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