Asia's favourite “Tropical Island Regatta” is set to return to Samui Island's shores from 25 May to 1 June on Chaweng Beach and this year will be at a new venue, Synergy Samui Resort. Known for its high calibre of racing and tropical-chic parties, Samui Regatta is popular with sailors from around Austral-Asia and organisers expect to welcome competitors of more than 20 nationalities in what is also the season-ending event in the 2018/19 AsianYachting Grand Prix.
“The regatta has a new home this year. We will be headquartered at the stunning 5-star Synergy Samui Resort which has welcomed us with open arms and will be our base throughout the event, providing us with a beachfront hub from which to operate the regatta as well as hosting a number of daily prize givings,” said Orawintanee Wattana, Regatta Director.
“The resort is just a few hundred metres along Chaweng Beach from our previous home so the popular anchorage remains unchanged, as does the stunning sailing area off the east and north coasts, and our many repeat sailors can continue to enjoy their favourite hangouts onshore.”
Speaking of their involvement in the regatta, Sukhatat Chokkanapitak, Deputy Managing Director of Synergy Samui said, “Growing up, seeing Koh Samui develop into a world class destination was something we always dreamed of. We believed and realised in the potential of this home island of ours, and today we are here; being once again picked as one of a few places in Southeast Asia for an international regatta such as this.”
“On top of that, as third generation members of this small local business, we cannot overstate how much this event means to us. We are ecstatic to not only be a partner of this great event like many years prior, but to be trusted and given a chance to host the event for the first time. We promise to do our very best in ensuring a smooth running of the whole regatta period. We sincerely hope that guests, participants and everyone associated with this regatta will enjoy their time on this island we love so dearly.”
Organisers are expecting a top draw line-up of some of the best IRC yachts and crews in the region. The ever-green Jelik (HKG), which has a new bulb configuration, intends to give the region's top TP52 crews a run for their money including Kevin and Tom Whitcraft's THA72 (defending champion), Team Hollywood (AUS) and Freefire (HKG), as well as WindSikher II (SIN) and Zannekin (HKG) in IRC Zero.
Returning to the regatta this year is the Premier Cruising Class with MoonBlue 2 (HKG), Bella Uno (HKG) and Lawana (THA) towing the startline.
Meanwhile in IRC 1, last year's regatta and 2017/18 AYGP winner, Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth's Mandrake III (HKG), will be up against some tough competition from the likes of Fujin (AUS), Tenacious (AUS) and Over Here (THA).
Lead by Samui veteran Mick Grover, the 'new' MoonShadow2 will race all-comers in IRC Cruising, including a number of boats based around the Gulf of Thailand as well as the Pattaya-based SailQuest Hi Jinks (USA) which will be sailed by students from the SailQuest Sailing School, and Holding Patten (AUS), a newcomer to the regatta with a well known face at the helm, Michael Spies.
“Early entries are looking good with a strong line-up of boats and crew from Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Thailand. We also have interest from sailors in China and are working with Thailand-based cruising sailors to grow a fun and competitive cruising class,” added Wattana.
Samui Regatta, however, isn't all about the racing. The social scene is a big part of the Tropical Island Regatta's appeal for the international crews and the boost to the local community from accommodation and on-island spend by the 500-plus participants and friends, is significant.
“While the racing is important, so are the onshore activities. Our daily social programme this year includes a number of events at Synergy Samui Resort as well as some official offsite functions nearby. The final presentation dinner format will also be new this year – we are collaborating with local resorts and businesses to host a new experience alongside Chaweng Lake. We encourage participants, families and friends to enjoy Samui and its facilities while here, and in the process contribute to the local economy,” concluded Wattana.
The 18th Samui Regatta will take place 25 May to 1 June, 2019 and is organised by Regattas Asia in conjunction with the Samui Yacht Club Regatta, under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Municipal of Koh Samui, the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.