With a record 37 confirmed entries already in the bag by mid-June (compared to a total 38 entries in 2010), organisers and rights owners Image Asia Events Co., Ltd. are expecting to beat all previous entry levels. “We always get a rush of entries nearer the regatta, so the early signs are excellent for a strong fleet this year,” said Image Asia’s MD, Grenville Fordham. Confirmed entries include several first-timers, led by David Ross’s brand new Ker 40 pure racing yacht, KukuKERchu, which will debut at Phuket Raceweek 2011.
Responding to the ‘Best Regatta’ win, Fordham commented: “Naturally, we’re delighted with the ‘Best Regatta’ accolade, which reflects what our participants have been telling us for the past several years.”
On the sponsorship front, Phuket Raceweek has scored a first in Thailand; Mount Gay Rum – the oldest brand of rum in the world and sponsor of 120 regattas worldwide – has chosen Six Senses Phuket Raceweek as the launch platform for the brand in Thailand. The launch will take place at the regatta’s opening party, with a Caribbean buffet and entertainment – and plenty of Mount Gay rum.
“We’re honoured to have been selected by Mount Gay Rum as the launch event of their celebrated brand in Thailand, and delighted to be the first regatta in Southeast Asia to be able to offer participants the coveted Mount Gay ‘Red Cap’ – a symbol of the passion, spirit and identity that unite the seafaring family,” said Fordham.
Kittipat Chaiyakul, Marketing Director for Remy Cointreau, Mount Gay’s parent company, added: "Since its origin, Mount Gay Rum has been intimately linked to the sailing world. We’re delighted to support Six Senses Phuket Raceweek for the first time.”
On the water, this year’s event will count a couple of well-known ‘yachting personalities’, Dee Caffari and Paul Larsen. In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.
More recently, she competed in the 2008/9 Vendée Globe – a gruelling race around the world, non-stop and alone – crossing the finish line in 6th place out of an original fleet of 30 competitors. In June of the same year, Dee and an all-female crew went on to smash the mono-hull speed record around Britain and Ireland. Dee will race on board the Andaman Cabriolet catamaran, Niña.
Paul Larsen has a history of sailing some of the wildest and fastest boats ever to grace the oceans and is project leader of the Vestas Sailrocket team, which is currently preparing in Namibia for an attempt at the ‘Outright World Speed Sailing Record’. Paul was a member of Pete Goss’s ill-fated Team Philips and his many achievements include a winning non-stop circumnavigation in the Oryx Quest and a double handed lap of Britain with Pete Goss on a 30 foot Seacart trimaran. Paul will be racing on the Andaman Cabriolet catamaran, Da Vinci.
Back onshore, participants will be treated to the regatta’s hallmark 5-star buffet parties, free flow regatta bar, courtesy of Siam Winery & Mount Gay, and great entertainment – although this year with a difference. In response to feedback from previous years’ racers, two of the parties will start early and finish early. On these days, sailors will be welcomed ashore at the Evason regatta venue with a full free-flow bar from 3pm until 7pm, with a prizegiving at 5pm and buffet at 5.30pm. These two ‘easy’ nights offer a break for exhausted sailors between the Mount Gay Launch Party, the hugely popular Da Vinci off-site party after the first day’s racing and the extravagant final night party and series prizegiving.
An addition to the onshore fun and games this year comes from Co-sponsor, Franke. The Switzerland-based international kitchen equipment supplier, which also sponsors the Alinghi America’s Cup team, is celebrating 100 years in business with its regatta sponsorship and is staging a cooking competition (broadcast live on Phuket Radio 91.5FM) at Evason exclusively for those unsung heroes – the yacht charter cooks of Phuket. To find out more about this competition with some fabulous prizes on offer, contact FTH-Info@franke.com. Entry deadline 10 July.
Perhaps of more direct interest to regatta participants, Co-sponsor QBE Insurance will liven up the skippers’ briefing with a 20,000 Baht contribution to someone’s regatta entry fee – no claim forms required!
Last but not least, there’s the ‘explosion’ of the skipper’s bag… “We’re in the process of calculating the value of the traditional bags this year and are confident that the value will exceed the cost of entry to the regatta!” said Fordham.
In addition to the mandatory Sailing Instructions, the Six Senses Phuket Raceweek 2011 skippers’ bag (actually three bags – a kitbag by Rodenstock, a document case by Nautica and a Quantum bag) will be packed with Rodenstock sunglasses, Nautica T-shirts and polo shirts, Gybe caps for every participant, the coveted Mount Gay red cap, a B&G cap, a Franke dry bag, top-of-the-line Nivea suncare products and beer coolers by Paul Poole and Andaman Cabriolet.
“Unfortunately, there won’t be a bottle of Mount Gay Rum in every bag,” said Fordham, adding, “but participants will be the first in Thailand to be able to buy a bottle – and every purchase will be accompanied by a Mount Gay red cap (while stocks last).”
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