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Asia’s biggest yachting regatta returns to Thailand after two-year absence

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, Asia’s largest sailing regatta returns for a week-long series of racing in the waters of the Andaman Sea in Phuket, Thailand.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta (PKCR) is a week-long event that began in 1987 (the first ever regatta to be held in the Andaman Sea) to celebrate the 60th birthday of the beloved king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was a skilled sailor in his own right. It had been held every year since then until the pandemic shuttered the world in 2020.

The regatta is organized by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, with support from the Royal Veruna Yacht Club, the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), and Phuket Province.

Asia’s most celebrated regatta will surely be a welcomed event for the once packed bars and beaches of the city, with added sponsorship from Kata, Ford, and Coca-Cola.

The inaugural event back in ’87 was largely made up of keel boats, catamarans, lasers, and even windsurfers. However it has become a big boat event with keel boat and ocean-going catamarans and teams from around the world. The annual event routinely draws 90 to 100 boats and over 1,500 sailors from as far away as the U.S.

Past winners that will participate in this this year’s regatta, which begins on December 5 and runs through December 10, include Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood, Kevin Whitcraft’s THA 72, and Sarab Jeet Singh’s Windsikher.

Shashtoosh, Pine Pacific, and Firstlight are King’s Cup veterans that are entered in the Premier Cruising class.

As with any yachting event, the King’s Cup Regatta has some folklore of its own. One sailor, Scott McCook, sailed a beach-launched catamaran 513 nautical miles (590 miles / 950 km) from Singapore to Phuket to participate in the event. He went on to win all five races he entered, then promptly sailed his cat back to Singapore.

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