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A look at the Samui Regatta.

A look at the Samui Regatta.It comes as a surprise to many that Samui has its very own regatta, drawing in huge numbers of both sailors and spectators. The Samui Regatta is one of the island’s calendar fixtures, highly anticipated by yachting enthusiasts, while for others it’s the biggest social event of the year!


Those doing the actual sailing often find it a hair-raising experience, but for casual onlookers any regatta can seem almost genteel – from afar there’s little sense of those powerful winds, or the split-second decisions, the mistakes that can capsize a boat and, along with it, a fortune in just minutes. Watching through binoculars from the comfort of the shore, a regatta resembles no more than that old cliché: yes, it really does look like a handful of coloured quills scribbling across the sea. But once you’re on the water and close up, the action begins to thrill; on board it’s pure adrenalin, driven concentration and the hope of a win.


The regatta maintains is prime position as the final event in the season-long Asian Yachting Grand Prix championship, at which the 2017/18 Skipper and Yacht of the Year are awarded based on scores from the best regattas around Asia. The 17th Samui Regatta will take place from 26 May – 2nd June, 2018 off Chaweng Beach. Hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort, the event is organised by Regattas Asia, in conjunction with the Samui Yacht Club Regatta, under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Municipality of Koh Samui and the Sports Authority of Thailand.


In addition to the on-water activities, Samui Regatta is famous for its on-shore hospitality, with a spectacular opening party, daily prize presentations on the beach and a gala dinner. Strictly limited, entry tickets can be bought in advance at the regatta office at Centara for the opening and closing dinners or at the gate for the daily events.


Back to the sailing itself. “We are expecting a very competitive line-up this year,” says Simon James, Race Director. “As well as the 50-plusfooters in IRC 0, we have a strong class of 40-footers racing in IRC 1 and a strong turnout of sailors from around Thailand.” This year sees the introduction of hydrofoil kiteboards during the final three days of the regatta. It’s a fast-growing sport,A look at the Samui Regatta. and spectators will be able to watch directly from the beach.


The Samui Regatta has always been committed to developing youth sailing in the region, and Simon is happy to confirm that events include Youth Dinghy Sailing during the opening weekend (26th - 27th May), with children competing from Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Hua Hin, Songkla and Phuket. Prizes will presented by the Governor of Suratthani at the opening party.


The regatta guarantees excitement and competition. Simon’s expecting some 500 sailors to take part, with participants coming from some 20 countries. He adds, “We actively encourage tourists and Samui residents to come out and enjoy the regatta.” For those who want to view the on water activities, limited spaces can be booked on a daily spectator boat that will leave from the beach in front of Centara to view every race day, and will allow guests to enjoy the spectacular sailing up close. Bookings can be made at the regatta office during the regatta week. All the events are well-attended by the media, and co-sponsors are pitching in with some great support.


The action will kick off again next year, and hearts and minds are already engaged in future battles for victory. Meanwhile, take the chance if you possibly can to see this year’s Samui Regatta; it’s not just yacht enthusiasts who love regatta week!


Dimitri Waring


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