Come July 20, up to 500 sailors from more than 25 countries will compete at the 14th Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek hosted at the Cape Panwa Hotel. Taking place off Phuket’s east coast, the four-day regatta expects approximately 40 boats on the starting line, each competing for their respective IRC class in what promises to be a world-class yacht race in one of the most picturesque sailing areas in Asia.
The event, now in its 14th year, comprises six or more classes including IRC, multihull, charter and one-design classes. It has also gained a reputation for its competitive racing for serious boat crews and moderate courses around several islands for less experienced racers. It is also the first event to kick off the prestigious 2017/18 Asian Yachting Grand Prix.
With four multihull classes planned this year, the multihull fleet looks set to be the biggest ever with a packed one-design Pulse 600 class, up to seven of the superfast Firefly sport catamarans, an impressive Multihull Racing class including no less than seven Stealth designs from the Asia Catamarans yard as well as many others, and a Multihull Cruising class introduced for the first time.
“Awareness of the event continues to grow overseas, and as word of what a great place Phuket is to sail and the exceptional service provided by host venue of Cape Panwa Hotel spreads, sailors from all corners of the world are putting Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek on their must-do list of regattas in Asia,” commented Byron Jones, Managing Director of organisers Media Business Services Co. Ltd.
This year’s line-up of monohulls and multihulls is certainly impressive both in quality and diversity, with a number of international newcomers joining regulars from the Asian region. From sports boats to cruisers, Swans to the grand-prix TP52 racing yachts, the skippers and crew lists read like a who’s who of the Asian sailing scene.
Ray Roberts returns on his newly modified TP52 Team Hollywood and looking to defend his title, while Singapore-based sailor and stalwart of the Asian regatta scene, Sarab Singh will be competing for the first time on his custom Welbourn 52 Windsikher II.
The two Sydney 40’s Emagine (Scott Bradley) and Rerefine (Kenn Eyears) will be on the start-line as Keith Garry’s X-412 BeauX Esprits returns together with the Swan 42 Loco, Niels Degenkolw’s Phoenix and an all-female team on the Farr 1104 Sailescapes Farrgo Ladies.
Joining the IRC fleet for the first time is the Farr 40 Ramrod, skippered by Steve McConaghy, the Ker 32 Discover Sailing Asia Getaway Ichi, skippered by Chong Wei Yong, and the Mark Mills design Meraki, skippered by Geoff Masters.
Newcomers in the Cruising fleet include the 54-foot Swan Who Dares Win, skippered by Ian Kennedy, and the Farr 11.06 Plus 16, which has sailed up from Australia to take part. They will join a strong fleet including Chris Mitchell’s Lady Bubbly (second overall in the 2016/17 AYGP), Rick Blomfield’s Linda and Cape Panwa Hotel’s Kantus Bride.
For racing participants (and even non-sailors looking for some fun), what better way to unwind after a day on the seas than a night spent at a luxurious beachfront party? With four nights of fabulous beachfront parties, delicious buffets, quality entertainment and free-flow drinks, relish a Caribbean-themed buffet on the opening night and a spectacular sit-down Gala Dinner and prize presentation to conclude the regatta on 23rd July—all overlooking a private beach and hosted by the exquisite five-star Cape Panwa Hotel.
The organisers of the Raceweek are also committed to reducing ocean waste as well as their carbon footprint. This is especially so in the wake of recent research that has shown a number of Asian countries, Thailand included, as among the world’s top ocean polluters.
In 2014, the regatta adopted the “Clean Regattas” initiative by Sailors for the Sea—the first regatta in South East Asia to do so. The Clean Regattas programme is a global certification system that encourages regatta organisers and yacht clubs to manage and run environmentally responsible events with the main goal of reducing marine debris and preserving coastal land and waters.
Keeping it Social
To stay abreast of all the fun and festivities, follow the event’s social media channels and posts! And if you’re lucky enough to score a front-row seat for all the action, spread the word whilst sharing your love for the regatta and Phuket at #phuketsailing.