Bay Regatta kicks off in Phuket
The Bay Regatta takes to the sea in Phuket tomorrow, with more than 30 sailing yachts and 250 competitors joining this year’s race.
Unlike most other sailing regattas, this event takes the fleet from Phuket through the spectacular scenery of Phang Nga Bay to a new anchorage each evening, with awards parties held in a wide variety of locales.
The event attracts a number of first-time racers joining just for the experience of sailing through some of the world’s most amazing maritime scenery.
Often billed “Asia’s fun regatta”, the hallmark of this event is the casual, fun-filled atmosphere with many families and faces familiar with the Phuket yachting scene returning to the race course, preferring the regatta’s more relaxed approach to racing for the four-day adventure.
The competing yachts are divided into four main classes based on their designs. The “Racing” class has many new entries this year with teams travelling from Australia, Singapore, Russia and Malaysia to challenge defending champion Evgenil Nikiforov on First.
After a number of last minutes cancellations in the bareboat charter class, cruising and charter yachts will be merged into two divisions, and will see the return of last year’s Cruising B winner Kevin Gillow to defend his title.
The largest class of the regatta is the Multihull Class consisting of 10 yachts out to challenge 2014 champion, John Newnham’s Twin Sharks.
The competition starts today with registration and the opening party at the Chandara Resort and Spa Ao Po on the east coast of Phuket.
The first race day, tomorrow, will see competitors sailing out from Ao Po and racing north to the top of Phang Nga Bay, past the famous ramparts of Koh Phanak, the Koh Hong islands and James Bond Island. Racers will then cross the bay, ending the day at one of the area’s unique island hideaways, the Paradise on Koh Yao.
The second race day, Friday, will see the fleet running through the many secluded Koh Pak Bia islands before heading south toward Leam Tong on the northern point of Phi Phi Don Island for a beach party and prize giveaway at PP Erawan Palms Resort.
Saturday will be an opportunity for the yachts to race in crystal clear blue water around the stunning islands of Koh Mai Phi (Bamboo Island) and Koh Yung (Mosquito Island) before racing along the east coast of Phi Phi Don, rounding Koh Bida and returning past Phi Phi Leh to finish in Ton Sai Bay for a party at the Arayaburi Resort.
The final day, Sunday, will see an early start off Tonsai Bay with a spectacular “Spinnaker” start for the traditional downwind sprint to Phuket’s all-year anchorage of Ao Chalong.
The closing party will be held at O2 Beach Club in Chalong and will include live music, a buffet dinner and presentation of the overall prizes by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.