While Bangkok was going through its worst spate of unrest in modern times, peaceful Phuket – 900 km south of Thailand’s troubled capital – received a well deserved accolade. Voted ‘Best Asian Maritime Capital’ in the annual Asian Boating Awards 2010, the island home of four annual regattas and four marinas was finally recognized for what it is: THE place in Asia to go boating.
So it is fitting that one of Phuket’s most popular regattas, Six Senses Phuket Raceweek, should kick off the 2010/2011 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, where Asia’s top racing yachtsmen and women compete over the course of several Asian regattas.
Six Senses Phuket Raceweek, unique in the regional yacht racing calendar for its expectation of strong breezes, scenic race courses and its 5-star social scene, is held at the Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa from 21-25 July.
With 37days to go to the start, entries are looking strong in all classes, with a record number of first-time participants. “With Top of the Gulf and Koh Samui regattas now over, we usually get a flurry of entries over the next two or three weeks from sailors who have been focused on those events,” said Grenville Fordham, MD of organisers and rights owners, Image Asia Events, adding, “It looks as though we’ll have a strong Racing Class this year, although – as usual – we never really know the final line-up until shortly before the event. The logistics and costs of getting a boat and crew ready to take part in an event away from home are horrendous, so quite often boat owners are never sure if they can make it until all the pieces come together.”
To encourage participants to think ahead, Six Senses Phuket Raceweek has an ‘Early Bird’ entry scheme (qualifying deadline 18 June) with impressive savings on boat and crew fees for those who register and pay online. And this year, thanks to sponsor Global Investments (Far East), one lucky entry will have boat and crew fees refunded in full. To register go to -phuketraceweek.com/registration.htm and follow the simple instructions for registration and payment.
If you thought that a regatta like this is only for the serious racers, think again. “We have separate courses and start lines for cruising yachts so it really doesn’t matter if you’re not the best racer in the world. We find that those cruising yachts who join in have the time of their life – both on the water and off,” said Fordham, adding that there is a large available fleet of locally-based yachts available for charter at very reasonable ‘low season’ rates.
Sponsorship is a big part of any sporting event but first finding sponsors, and then keeping them, is a challenge. “We’re proud of the fact that we manage to keep many of our key sponsors, including Six Senses and Jaguar Cars, coming back year after year,” said Fordham.
First time Co-sponsor for 2010 is local restaurant Da Vinci, who hit regatta fame in 2009 by sponsoring Racing Catamaran winner, the Andaman Cabriolet Niña. In response to their win, at the closing party of last year’s event, Da Vinci owners placed an order for a sister yacht, which will be launched just in time to race in Six Senses Phuket Raceweek 2010. “We gained a lot of valuable exposure just by branding and naming a boat last year,” said Da Vinci partner Mark Norris. “Now that we have our own yacht, we decided it made sense to leverage our participation by becoming an event sponsor too. We’re also hosting one of the regatta parties at Da Vinci, so participants get a chance to see who and what we are,” he added.
For the first time, Six Senses Phuket Raceweek will see two boats branded by event co-sponsors (Jaguar Cars and Da Vinci), demonstrating an increasing awareness that combining event and boat sponsorship is the way to achieve maximum brand exposure. “Naturally, as organisers, we maximise the exposure in photographs and TV programming of event sponsors’ branding. Sponsoring the event as well as a racing yacht is the smart way to get more for your money,” said Fordham.
2 51920 Elan Hammel 1.0190 New York Beneteau 36.7 10 3 1 4 2
3 1976 Mischief Schwartz 1.0070 Bristol Seguin 40 10 1 2 3 4
Rolex Cup Results – Team top score combined, Around the Island Race
Top 3 (of 8 teams)
Team – Boat and Boat
1. THE ISLANDERS – Rush and Spitfire
2. RAMBLER – Act 1 and Rambler
3. FORTY THIEVES – Upgrade and Nasty Medicine
NYYC Swan 42 Class
June 10 – Two races
1 Vitesse, John Halbert (Dallas, Texas), 1-1 2
2 Arethusa Lotz Newport RI 2-4, 6
3 Hoss Darden / Williamson Fort Worth 6-2, 8