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High calibre fleet to line-up for 10th Anniversary Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek

Phuket Raceweek to kick off 2013/14 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship

The award-winning Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, presented by Mount Gay Rum, is set to welcome a large multinational fleet of boats to the 10th Anniversary edition, and buck the trend of decreasing entry numbers in regattas around the region with over 30 boats already signed up in six classes, and more than 400 sailors taking part.

A quality IRC fleet is shaping up, and depending on final entries, class splits will likely be IRC Racing I, IRC Racing II and IRC Cruising. Leading the fleet in length is the TP52 Team Premier, skippered by new owner and circuit veteran, Peter Ahern. Up against Team Premier will be a newcomer to Phuket Raceweek, the Beneteau 44.7 Fuujin. Formerly known as Ichi Ban, the boat has been campaigned with much success on the Thai sailing circuit in recent years and will be skippered by familiar face, Peter Sorensen. While Ben Copley's Aquila Reichel Pugh 45 Katsu and Kevin Whitcraft's modified GP42 Wan Marang – both of which have been scoring podiums recently – make them likely contenders also.

The standard of competition in IRC Cruising class is equally high, with a number of chartered boats and crew from as far a field as the USA, UK and New Zealand, to line-up against a strong local fleet who are hoping local knowledge will be their advantage.

After success at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta earlier this year, Rob Azzopardi's Dreamtime is set to compete against Venture, Eloise, Lucky Lady Lucy, and local stalwart Linda, to name just a few, while the all-Thai crew on Ooh La La – without regular skipper Patinyakorn Buranrom who is competing in the TRANSPAC – will also be in the mix.

Phuket is home to a sizable multihull fleet, in large part due to the strong local boat-building industry. The multihull-only ACYC Multihull Regatta, a precursor to Phuket Raceweek, is likely to give an indicator of the in-form crews and provide a tune-up for crews heading to Raceweek.

Designed for Phuket and built in Phuket are the one-design Firefly 850 Sport catamarans, and as always a competitive line-up is again expected, including returning champion Voodoo and regulars Twin Sharks and The Frog, and the all-female Lady Sevenstar Sailing Team.

2011 Multihull class winner DaVinci, also a Phuket-built catamaran, is back to defend their crown, this time with Peter Gallagher at the helm, and they are up against three other local builds – Hurricane, Java and Nina – as well as the G Force 1500 Schionning design and Australian-built Mojo.

Having a genuine Classic class is something unique to Phuket Raceweek and something the organisers have supported and encouraged since the beginning. Entries are already looking good with five having registered to date, including two newcomers, as well as perennial competitor Seraph, who at 106 years old is the oldest in the fleet. All in the Classic class will be racing for the perpetual Seraph Trophy.

Onshore scene
There is no let up onshore with lots of meetings and new ideas in the works. Cape Panwa Hotel are pulling out all stops to make 2013 even better than last year. No small feat following last years' success, but improvements and additions to the Race Village, new menus for the parties and some surprises will make the 10th Anniversary the best yet.

Over the years Phuket Raceweek has had some top class final night entertainment and this year, the tradition will be upheld. Organisers are pleased to announce that the 5-piece Cannonball blues/rock band will be flown in especially for the final night of frivolities, ensuring the regatta ends in style.

Spreading the word
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek has developed a reputation for great sailing and the word is spreading wide and far with support of the media. This year the message is being spread wide and far through newspapers, magazines, radio, online and TV, in Phuket, Thailand, Asia and around the world. As well as receiving great coverage during Raceweek itself, media partners help promote the event long in advance and special thanks go to 91.5FM Phuket Island Radio, Asia-Pacific Boating, cape+kantary magazine, Esquire, HELM Superyacht Asia-Pacific, MyDestinationPhuket, Phuket Gazette and PGTV, Prestige Magazine, SEA Yachting, The Greater Phuket Magazine, and The Nation.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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