Phuket King’s Cup Regatta breaks record with 150 individual races

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In honor of the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the recently completed 2014 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, sailed from November 30 – December 6, staged a truly world class sailing event.  New class ratings delivered exceptionally close racing as intended this year, with some epic confrontations across the classes.

In the headlining IRC0 and IRC1 grand prix classes, as well as amongst the vast Bareboat Charter fleet and in the catamaran classes, racing came right down to the wire, with seconds between first and second throughout the week, and marginal points victories determining winners and runners-up.

His Excellency Admiral M.L. Usni Pramoj, His Majesty the King’s Personal Representative (centre), poses with individual champions and winning teams during the trophy presentation at this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.His Excellency Admiral M.L. Usni Pramoj, His Majesty the King’s Personal Representative (centre), poses with individual champions and winning teams during the trophy presentation at this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.

The final day’s racing was set up beautifully to host some epic, close-quarters King’s Cup clashes.  Winds were good, crews were psyched, and the racing didn’t disappoint!  Saturday, December 6 saw all classes come to a close with a total of 123 keelboat races taking place during the week, in addition to 27 dinghy races; the combined 150 races is the biggest ever in the competition’s history, and one of the largest in Asia.

Of the two exceptional competitors in IRC0 this year, it was Team Beau Geste who had the strength and consistency to carry their excellent performances throughout the regatta.  A win in one of the final two races was enough to put them five points clear, earning Karl Kwok’s team overall Phuket King’s Cup Regatta glory.

Beau Geste was the standout performer in the IRC0 class. (Poto by Guy Nowell)Beau Geste was the standout performer in the IRC0 class. (Poto by Guy Nowell)

Island Fling and EFG Mandrake shared the points in the final IRC1 runs, with Winkelmann’s Island Fling team claiming overall victory by six points.  Both Hong Kong competitors were locked in battle all week, with EFG Mandrake performing well in several races but picking up a few fourth place finishes to their eventual detriment.

Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI took the last two wins in IRC2, but it was too little too late for the Singaporean team; TBG Team Premier had already put the class to rest by Saturday, claiming a well-deserved PKCR victory which has broken Bill Bremner’s nine-straight-win run in the Phuket King’s Cup.

Staying cool at the King’s Cup Regatta.

The Foreign Affair crew were in a class of their own all week in IRC3, beating both Navy boats (2nd and 3rd) in the last races.  They had this one sewn up from mid-week with an unbroken string of first place finishes.

Thai team Sansiri (Windstar) had a brilliant 2014 Phuket King’s Cup, taking one of the last two races to win the Modern Classic class.  Skipper Patinyakorn Buranrom inspired his crew to beat every rival in the class, and they thoroughly deserved their victory; a testament to the rapidly developing skills and commitment to the sport by Thai sailors.

The crew on H-Trip give the thumbs up between races.The crew on H-Trip give the thumbs up between races.

Saranwong Poonpat performed exceptionally well throughout the regatta to win Optimist boys, while Intira Parnpibul was second overall and fastest of the girls.  In the Laser class, Nattawut Paenyaem was the winner, and Apiwat Sringam won the Topper class.

Phuket delivered a week of beautiful weather, reasonably consistent winds and great hospitality, contributing to the ever-growing reputation of the Regatta on the worldwide stage; indeed, it lends superb credibility to the reputation of Thailand as a great sports sailing nation.

The fleet performs a ceremonial sail past a Royal Thai Navy warship to mark the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand on December 5. (Photo by Max Ranchi)The fleet performs a ceremonial sail past a Royal Thai Navy warship to mark the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand on December 5. (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, said, “We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency Admiral M.L. Usni Pramoj, His Majesty the King’s Personal Representative, Khun Pramook Achariyachai, President of Kata Group Resorts Thailand, the Governor and staff of the Phuket Governor’s Office, members of the Royal Thai Navy and the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand for making the 2014 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta an international success.”

Uranus, Wan Ma Rang and Island Fling head for the mark.Uranus, Wan Ma Rang and Island Fling head for the mark.

This classic race continues to grow the sport of sailing in Thailand, encouraging people of all ages and especially youngsters into the sport.

“The exponential increase in taking to yachting and water sports by the Thai people is certainly a legacy of His Majesty the King, a skilled helmsman himself, and regattas such as this greatly encourage Thai sailors, and a new generation of superb Thai competitors,” said Kevin.

This year’s event featured a revised class structure which was instigated specifically to allow every single boat in the fleet to individually share in the joyous occasion of the birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand.

For a full list of the class winners at this year’s Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, visit website: www.kingscup.com.

(Source: King’s Cup Regatta Media)

A young sailor competes in the Optimist dinghy class. (Photo by Guy Nowell)A young sailor competes in the Optimist dinghy class. (Photo by Guy Nowell)

Hanging tough on EFG Mandrake.Hanging tough on EFG Mandrake.