Thailand hosts a number of international sailing regattas that attract yachts, skippers, crew and spectators from around the world.
Home to glistening azure seas and friendly trade winds, it is no wonder Thailand has become a favourite destination with sailing enthusiasts. The Kingdom's yachting scene has expanded to such an extent in the past decade that it now hosts a whole array of international sailing events, each of which attracts a long list of entrants and visitors every year.
Islands like Phuket and Koh Samui, and the popular coastal city of Pattaya, have collectively earned a reputation as the sailing hubs of Southeast Asia, putting on internationally celebrated events like the King’s Cup Regatta, the Samui Regatta and the Top of the Gulf Regatta.
Here is an overview of the sailing competitions that are drawing more and more yachts to Thailand every year, helping to drive the Kingdom’s marine tourism and oceanside lifestyle.
King of the Seas
The King’s Cup Regatta is undoubtedly Thailand’s most famous yachting event. Held every December, the event features far more than sailing and attracts big name sponsors thanks to the nightly parties and extravagant gala dinner, which attract scores of visitors each year. This year marks the event’s 20th
anniversary on the Asian yachting calendar, in addition to coinciding with the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the regatta’s patron, His Royal Highness the King of Thailand. The Regatta attracts both professional and amateur sailors and in 2014 spectators can look forward to watching at least 86 yachts battle it out for the treasured winners' trophies.
Racing in Andaman Sea
In addition to hosting the ever-popular King’s Cup, Phuket is also well known for another prized regatta – Phuket Race Week. The Pearl of the Andaman hosted its most recent Race Week in this July, attracting crews from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, in addition to the US and UK. As the off this season’s Asian Yachting Grand Prix, a series of the 12 best regattas in the continent. Many visitors flocked to the island for the event, giving a significant boost to marine and sports tourism on the island.
Great Sailing in the Gulf
Thailand’s Top of the Gulf Regatta is widely recognized as Asia’s largest multi-class sailing event. This year marked the event’s 10th
anniversary, and attracted a strong fleet of competitive sailors from across the globe. The event takes place in popular tourist resort Pattaya, and incorporates the Platu Coronation Cup in addition to the Thailand Optimist National Championship. First run in 2005, the Top of the Gulf Regatta continues to attract large number soy sailing enthusiasts to Pattaya, in addition to spectators that simply want to enjoy the electric atmosphere of the event.
Fun in the Bay
Billed as Thailand’s fun sailing event, The Bay Regatta takes place in February each year and spans three provinces with dozens of craft exploring the breathtaking scenery of the Andaman Sea. In addition to sailing off Phuket, the yachts also sail through stunning Phang Nga Bay before heading south to Krabi, stopping off at several more of the Andaman’s island treasures in the process. The event also encompasses a range of sailing classes, including racing, cruising, bareboat charter and multihull. It therefore attracts sailors from as far a field as the Americas and Europe.
Sailing to Samui
2014 marked the 13th
Samui Regatta and each year, this popular sailing event attracts competitive sailors Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and even Australia, along with spectators and revellers keen to join the fun on and off the water. The event, which takes place off the Centara Grand Beach Resort on the island's popular Chaweng Beach, has helped establish Samui's reputation as a hub for high-end outdoor pursuits. Uniting charterers, cruisers and multihulls, in addition to a wide array of smaller sailing craft, it is a special event for sailing enthusiasts and also particularly important on the regional yachting scene, as it marks the final races of the entire Asian Yachting Grand Prix season.
by Max Vee