Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces in the south of Thailand were significantly damaged by tidal waves on December 26th. Areas that received the most damage were Khao Lak in Phang Nga province, to the north of Phuket Island and Phi Phi Island. Phuket itself, the largest island in Thailand and the most populated in the region, sustained less damage in comparison to these other outer lying areas.
Areas such as Krabi also escaped heavy damage, and the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort (Thailand) has re-confirmed their commitment as a race sponsor and prize-giving night host.
The QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta has for many years sailed a course that leaves Phuket, travels through Phang Nga to Krabi, on then to Phi Phi and back to Phuket - without question one of the world's most scenic and unique cruising grounds. Organisers and crews rely heavily on the local community, resorts and restaurants to help make this event what it is - Asia's most fun regatta.
In an effort to support local people as they strive to rebuild their lives and communities following the tragic events of December 26, the organising committee feels it is essential to run this event and encourage as many participants as possible so as to raise funds to help in the process of reconstruction.
One way to help people recover from the disaster, restore the local economy and demonstrate the determination and resourcefulness of our community to the world is to bring tourism back as quickly as possible. It is now time for the yachting community to give back to a region that they have utilised and enjoyed for so long in the past.
The world famous Phi Phi Island, which has suffered major damage, is now in re-build mode, however much assistance is needed. Phi Phi will not be a scheduled stop for the regatta in 2005 as a sign of respect, and an alternate destination is currently being decided upon. However, all proceeds collected by the regatta this year will be donated to the rebuilding of this magnificent island which has in previous years played host to our event.
Donations will be given to the rebuilding of the school and the repair to infrastructure in an effort to help those who have helped us for many years in the past.
For those unable to attend the regatta, donations can still be made to the regatta organising committee to ensure that funds are distributed diligently to those most in need.
The spirit of both local people and foreigners who have made Thailand their home has not been broken by these recent events. Indeed, it has brought us closer together, and we can all make our contribution to making this rebuilding process easier and quicker for all involved. It is against this background that the QBE Phang Nga Bay Regatta will take place.