Southeast Asia is one of the top destinations for a number of international and local sailing regattas and events throughout the year. Many of them attract top sailors and internationally competing boats and crews.
Whenever you find yourself in the region, there is sure to be at least one event happening to coincide with your holiday. Whether you are a sailing enthusiast or a land lubber, happy to rub shoulders with some of the finest sailors, the spectacle of a regatta viewed from a chic beach bar, a comfy sun lounger or by mingling with the sea dogs, is an experience not to miss.
While traditional, long-running regattas such as Phuket King’s Cup, Raja Muda and China Sea Race still attract visitors from around the world, newer, exciting events have come onto the scene in the last 20 years. The Andaman region particularly is renowned for its regattas and boating events, due to its perfect sailing conditions and stunning backdrop. So, make sure you check out the regatta calendar before you pack your spinnaker and rigging and set sail for the glorious waters of Southeast Asia.
Phuket Kings Cup Regatta – Thailand
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, held in December every year, started in 1987 and is currently considered Asia’s premier yachting event. The Regatta has traditionally been held in honour of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s birthday and has grown in size and reputation with the largest races of keel boats, multi-hulls and traditional sailing craft in Southeast Asia.
The regatta is organised by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee in association with the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket and attracts keelboats and ocean-going catamaran teams from around the world with around 90 boats and 2,000 sailors competing.
The regatta comprises of five days of races on challenging, picturesque courses around the stunning Andaman Sea islands. When the Regatta is in full swing, take a stroll along the southern end of Kata Beach at sunset, and enjoy the spectacular sight of the boats moored off shore and the beach buzzing with the celebrating sailors and crew. As the sun goes down, the beach bars and clubs come alive with local and international bands, Thai dancing and firework displays and an enchanting candlelight ceremony. If you are in Phuket for the Regatta and are a keen sailor or a novice there are opportunities to crew on a boat as the teams often look for extra hands on deck.
Royal Langkawi International Regatta – Malaysia
The Royal Langkawi International Regatta is held on Langkawi Island off the mainland of Malaysia and is known as “the sailing Mecca of Malaysia”. It is held in early January and heralds in the new year of sailing. It has been hosted by the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club since 2003 and has become one of the most popular international-level events in the sailing calendar in Southeast Asia with up to 50 top boats competing from Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The regatta is made up of two different types of races – The Kuah Harbor Race with windy conditions and flat waters and The Coastal Race with windy conditions and choppy waters. There are a number of prized awards for the different categories, from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy for Racing Class yachts, to the Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award for fairness, competitiveness and camaraderie demonstrated by the crew on land and sea.
If the regatta whets your appetite for some holiday, recreational sailing, Langkawi’s 99 islands offer a perfect environment for a sunset cruise, picnic in a private bay or a day of island-hopping.
All Souls Regatta- The Philippines
All Souls Regatta, held in October each year, started in 2004 and is now the largest yachting event in the Philippines. It is held at The Puerto Galera Yacht Club, in the bay of the same name on Mindoro Island, reputed to be the most beautiful bay in the world. The regatta attracts international as well as national yachtsmen who are keen pursuit racers.
Pursuit racing involves different classes of boats, sailed by crews of equal ability, aiming to cross the finishing line together. The course follows island markers through stunning scenery with perfect sailing conditions. There are a variety of different racing classes, from cruising yachts to Hobie 16s and beach catamarans so all sailors have a chance to win a trophy in their boating class.
The weather in October is superb for racing due to the northeast monsoon winds bringing easterly breezes. If you have some sailing experience and would like the opportunity to join as crew on a boat, many skippers are delighted to welcome you on board. Once the sailing is done for the day, the sailing club puts on fun and welcoming post-race parties to celebrate the day’s winners.
- For information regarding the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta see http://www.kingscup.com
- Visit http://www.langkawiyachtclub.com for upcoming events and The Royal Langkawi International Regatta dates and details.
- See http://www.allsoulsregatta.com for dates and information about the All Saints Regatta or to sign up as crew.