All change for Phuket’s favourite regatta

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The Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek got underway Thursday morning in what is forecast to be perfect ‘champagne sailing’ conditions for the entire 4-day regatta.

Raced across seven classes and divisions, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek incorporates four intense days of yacht racing around the spectacular islands off Phuket’s southeast coast – and four nights of superb parties on Cape Panwa Hotel’s beachside lawns.

Competition is always fierce during Phuket Raceweek. Competition is always fierce during Phuket Raceweek.

The regatta’s new home, Cape Panwa Hotel, was abuzz with activity in the lead up to the event, as the regatta organisers and the hotel’s team worked together to ensure the onshore side of the regatta kept up with its reputation as Phuket’s favourite yachting event.

Entries, at 33 yachts, are slightly down on last year – on a par with this year’s Koh Samui Regatta and the main fleet at the Top of the Gulf Regatta – a reflection of the global economic scenario.

Yachts racing in Phuket Raceweek include the never-before-raced, Reichel Pugh design, Aquila RP45, Katsu, which arrived in Phuket only a few days ago.  Built in China by Sino-Eagle, this 45ft yacht is an all-carbon, high tech pure racing machine.

Another first is the super-lightweight catamaran, Hurricane, launched on Monday and heading straight for the start line.

Coming by road from Pattaya, the smallest yacht in the fleet, at just 25ft and aptly named Brace! Brace!! Brace!!!, is a high tech Welbourne 25 sports boat that has raced only one other regatta and managed a third place on its first time out.  They’ll be looking to better that result and are sure to provide some nail-biting moments for crew and spectators alike.

A youth sailing team, 91.5 FM-Sunsail Youth Racing, comprised of Thai youngsters aged between 10-15, from Sunshine Home in Phuket, will compete for the first time.  These youngsters have been learning to sail and race on small dinghies, but this will be their first time on a ‘big boat’ in an international regatta.

Participants are coming from all four corners of the globe, including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Laos, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, England, Netherlands, Germany, USA.  And coming from the furthest corner of all is the skipper of the classic yacht, Idiom, who was flying in from Alaska to take part in the Seraph Classic Invitational Class, sponsored by the regatta’s oldest ‘lady’, the 106-year old Danish schooner, Seraph.

Check out the next issue of Pattaya Mail for a full round up of this exciting regatta.