Phuket King's Cup Regatta
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The Phuket King's Cup Regatta (PKCR) is Asia's biggest and most popular regatta. It is a one-week event held annually in Phuket, Thailand. The regatta was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of the King of Thailand. The event has been held every year since during the first week of December. With royal patronage, the regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC), in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), and Phuket Province. In 2016 the event will be held from 3–10 December.
Origins of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta
In 1986, a number of Thailand's yachting fraternity met to discuss what they could do as a tribute to the king on the occasion of his forthcoming fifth cycle, or 60th birthday, the following year on 5 December 1987. It was decided to hold a regatta in Phuket, the first ever held in the Andaman Sea.
The inaugural regatta was held in 1987. The regatta began with a mixture of keelboats, catamarans, Lasers, and even windsurfers. More recently the regatta has become a big boat event, attracting keelboats and ocean-going catamaran teams from around the world. As a fixture on the Asian yachting circuit, the regatta annually features upwards of 90 boats (record of 103 in 2007) and 2,000 sailors, ranging from the Formula One of the sea lanes, the racing class, to live-aboard ocean cruisers, multihulls, and classics.
The Royal Varuna Yacht Club and the Phuket King's Cup Regatta
The regatta is sailed under the authority of RVYC, with extensive logistical help from both the Royal Thai Navy and the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT).
Origin of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club
The history of RVYC is the history of yacht-racing, sailing, and cruising in Thailand. One of RVYC's co-founders, Prince Bhisatej Rajani, could be regarded as the godfather of sailing in Thailand. His contributions go well beyond the founding of RVYC, for it was he who introduced the king to dinghy sailing.
Prince Bhisatej was one of the 10 persons who answered Walter Meyer's advertisement in the Bangkok Post in April, 1957, seeking boating friends to form a boating club. An Australian, an Italian, two Swiss, and a Thai met at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant in Bangkok. By the end of that lunch, Prince Bhisatej, Sid Watkins, Robert (Rachiman) Gintzburger, Roberto Maestrini, and Walter Meyer launched the Varuna Marine Club, with the aim of promoting all water sports, including power-boating, water-skiing, scuba diving, sailing, cruising, and yacht-racing. The Varuna Marine Club was officially opened on the weekend of 15–16 February 1958.
In March 1965, the Varuna Marine Club membership was invited to the king's own newly established Royal Chitralada Yacht Squadron at the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin. After the races, Prince Bhisatej announced that the king had extended royal patronage to the Varuna Marine Club. A month later, on 26 April 1965, the Varuna Marine Club become the Royal Varuna Yacht Club. On 14 September 1968, the king, accompanied by the queen, the crown prince, and princesses, officially inaugurated the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.
The King's Cup trophy
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta trophy was designed by architect and entrepreneur ML Tridhosyuth Devakul. As King Bhumipol Adulyadej is the ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty and a skilled sailor and boating enthusiast, sailing and the number nine provide the themes that define the trophy.
- "Phuket King's Cup Regatta". King's Cup Regatta Office. Retrieved 9 July 2016.