After reintroducing dinghy sailing on the opening weekend at the 2009 Regatta, the Regatta Organizing Committee has gone one-step further for 2010. Having supported sailing in the kingdom for many years, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta decided this year to take a grass roots approach and have established the Phuket Dinghy Series with the aim to encourage more young sailors and make sailing more accessible. It is the first time an event of this scale, comprising Optimists Lasers and Tasars, will take place on the southern island of Phuket.
Each event in the Phuket Dinghy Series will consist of five races - a total of 20 races over the series. The Sailing of Phuket sailing school, run by Royal Thai Navy Sailor Lt. Crd. Pornprom Sakultem, will host the first three events in September, October and November.
The fourth event of the series, in December, will take place over the opening weekend of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, off Kata Beach. His Majesty the King of Thailand's personal representative will award the prizes for the overall series winners at the Royal Awards Ceremony on Saturday 11 December at Kata Beach Resort & Spa.
Divisions will include: Optimist boys, born in 1995 or later; Optimist girls, born in 1995 or later; Laser Standard men; Laser Standard women; and Tasar.
"As host of the prestigious Phuket King's Cup Regatta for 23 years, it's time for the Phuket community to go further and to support youth sailing. The Phuket Dinghy Series is a good start and will help make the sport of sailing more accessible in Phuket," commented Chairman of Kata Group Resorts Thailand, and Host Sponsor of the Phuket King's Cup Regatta, Pamuke Achariyachai.
Phuket is home to the Phuket Yacht Club and the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, as well as two new sailing schools Sailing of Phuket and Phuket Sailing Club. Phuket Yacht Club has a long tradition of encouraging youth sailing. Earlier this year they sent six children to compete in the Thailand Optimist Nationals held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in the Gulf of Thailand, and more recently to the Open Championships held at the Hua Hin Regatta where Phuket junior Akapoj Kankeaw took second place overall, out of 64 sailors in the Optimist Division B fleet.
The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is now in its 24th year, first sailed in 1987 to celebrate His Majesty the King of Thailand's 60th birthday. Under Royal Patronage, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta is organized by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing 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.