Contestants flock to 'Asia's maritime capital' for King's Cup
A record turnout of racing yachts and crews is contesting this week's annual Phuket King's Cup Regatta, which was recently voted Asia's premier yachting event. Over a hundred boats are contesting the seven-day regatta in the Andaman Sea, culminating on Saturday.
Included in the international lineup are Hong Kong entries from Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth sailing Mandrake, Sam Chang's TP52 Freefire, Frank Pong's Jelik, and Neil Pryde's re-designed Hi-Fi.
'We are also seeing strong turnouts in all categories involving Thai and Phuket-based sailors joining the event, both Thai and expatriate,' said race management director, Simon James.
South African Philipp Gutsche, a former winner of the South Atlantic Race is expected to be a leading contender with a new yacht commissioned especially for the event.
The Royal Thai Navy, helmed by Lieutenant Commander Peera Sagultem, is looking to win its class in IRC Division 2 for the fourth consecutive year.
Organising committee president Santi Kanchanabandhu added: 'We see this not only as a great sporting event, but an event having a very positive impact on Phuket and Thailand as a whole.'
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the annual King's Cup was this year voted 'Yachting Event of the Year' in the annual Christofle Asia Boating Awards. It was the second year in a row that the event had earned the accolade.
Phuket was also declared 'Asia's maritime capital' in the awards.