Preparations underway for King's Cup
2003 sees a change in the Organising Committee - an influx of new faces and the 'return' of some older ones.
Admiral Daweesak Somabha, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy and President of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, is Honorary Chairman of the Organising Committee, and founding president Chris King returns to take the reigns once again as Organising Committee President.
The Royal Varuna Yacht Club, the yacht club under whose auspices the Regatta is held, display a stronger presence this year with Flag Commodore Robert England joining the Organising Committee, and Royal Varuna’s Oliver Hughes taking on the important role of treasurer. These are backed by long time committee member and former President, Nigel Hardy, who will be responsible for seeking sponsorship.
Admiral Varong Songcharoen, Radab Kanjanavanit, past president Andy Dowden, Simon James and Duncan Worthington all continue as key members of the Organising Committee, while support from the Royal Thai Navy continues to be as strong as ever.
"Interest for the 17th King’s Cup is already high, with many more looking for boats," says Jan Jacobs, Director of charterers Thai Marine Leisure. "Many bookings are from regional regatta entrants but we are expecting an increasing interest in chartering from within Thailand.”
It is similar with sponsors on the island. The King’s Cup has relied on local support since its beginning and continues to receive strong support from the local business community, with long-term support from the likes of Kata Beach Resort, The Evason Phuket, Mom Tri’s Boathouse, Phuket Beer, Sunsail and Phuket Magazine. Discussions are also well advanced with national sponsors who have shown keen interest.
The Phuket King’s Cup is the jewel of the Thai regatta circuit - other regattas on the circuit include the QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta, Koh Samui International Regatta and the recently launched Andaman Sea Rally, all of which prove good preparation for local and regional sailors in their build up to the King’s Cup in early December.
Local sailing clubs are also warming up with race programs providing valuable practice for those considering entering the King’s Cup. As Mark Horwood, Commodore of the Ao Chalong Yacht Club points out, "our membership continues to increase, and a large proportion of our members enter the King’s Cup Regatta - some on their own boats, others as crew."
With the event entering its 17th year, support from the Phuket sailing community remains high. As Gareth Twist, Managing Director of Yacht Solutions, a Phuket-based Marine Consultancy says, "the King’s Cup is more than a regatta, it is the biggest sailing event in Asia. Not only that, it is a focal point for the island’s sailing community. Most participate, whether it is on a boat, as a volunteer or as a spectator enjoying the parties. It’s great for the island."