Yearly Archives: 2013

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In 1986, a number of Thailand’s yachting fraternity met to discuss what they could do as a special tribute to His Majesty the King’s forthcoming Fifth Cycle, or 60th birthday, the following year on December 5, 1987.

The Kings Cup Regatta

After considerable discussion, it was decided to hold a Royal Regatta – in Phuket – the first ever held in the beautiful waters of the Andaman Sea. Phuket’s famous international yachting event returns to the azure waters of the Andaman Ocean in December for a week of partying, sailing, beautiful people and great fun.

This year marks the event’s 25th year of prominence on the Asian yacht racing calendar.
The King’s Cup Regatta attracts some of the world’s best yachtsmen, ‘yachtswomen’ and their expensive boats to the waters of Kata Beach, off the island’s west coast, where these local and visiting sailors vie for the coveted trophy, creating a truly spectacular sight in the process. Beginning on November 30th, the races run until December 7th.

Origins of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta (source –

The inaugural Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was founded in 1987 by Royal Varuna sailors including Commodore Chris King, Dr Rachot Kanjanavanit, Al Chandler, Adolph Knees and others. It was yachting and Phuket aficionado M.L. Tridosyuth Devakul, better known as renowned architect and developer Mom Tri, who placed the resources of his then recently opened Phuket Yacht Club Hotel at Nai Harn Bay in Phuket at the regatta organiser’s disposal.

The regatta began with a mixture of keelboats, catamarans, Lasers and even windsurfers. Few who were there at the time will ever forget Varuna member Reg Chambers, who sailed a Laser, calling “starboard” on a 45-ft keelboat, which had to give way.

Like any prominent yacht racing event, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has developed its own folk-lore. Scott McCook, for example, who sailed his beach-launched catamaran up from Singapore, won all five races one year, then sailed the small cat back to Singapore.

More recently the regatta has become a big boat event, attracting keelboats and ocean-going catamaran teams from around the world. As a principal 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.

International-standard race management has been combined with lively beach parties on most nights during regatta week to create a world-renowned yacht racing event.

Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.



On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, creating a romantic setting ideal for lovers. The Thai people choose this day to hold the ‘Loy Kratong’ festival aka ‘The Festival of Light’. Loy Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the country.

Loy Kratong Festival

Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. ‘Loy’ literally means ‘to float,’ while ‘kratong’ refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials are available.

They watch intently as the float drifts silently away, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfilment of wishes and release from sins. Altogether it is considered a romantic night for couples or lovers. Couples who make a wish together on Loy Kratong are thought to stay together in the future.

Meanwhile, up above, thousands of ‘khom loy’ (floating lanterns) drift into the night sky. These large balloon-like lanterns are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky in the hope that misfortune flies away with them.