The Koh Samui Regatta 2013 once again showed how this annual event has become one of Samui’s most exciting occasions. As the concluding event of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship – a series of 5-star racing events held throughout Asia – it was a festive happening on the island. Organized by Regattas Asia, the competition has become known as the “Tropical Island Regatta,” thanks to the lovely surroundings Koh Samui offers both offshore and on.
As the party-laden seasonal wrap-up of south east Asia’s regional major sailing events, Koh Samui Regatta 2013 brought many colourful smaller sail boats and quite a few massive yachts of various designs to the seas off of Samui’s beaches. It is certainly fun to watch from shore – and it’s even more exciting if you rent a speed boat or sail boat to get a bit closer to watch the action.
Established in 2011 with only 11 boats, the regatta gained international status in 2004. The 2012 affair included over 40 boats, with more than 500 participants from over 20 countries worldwide. It has become a “boutique regatta” many sailors love to join, just as they love to attend the many great parties at day’s end, held around Samui at different bars following each race.
The Koh Samui Regatta 2013, held from May 24 to June 1, was a fantastic event for all, with many competitors, volunteers, supporters and a massive gaggle of media in attendance. Announced the “Best Sailing in Asia” by many participants, this year’s regatta was one to remember.
The final day was truly wondrous on the Gulf of Thailand’s waters, as sailors experienced over 10 knots of breeze, blue skies and calm seas. Sailing was more pleasure to discuss at evening parties than the previous year’s event, which saw overnight storms push a few boats ashore when moored off of nearby Koh Phangan island.
Category winners in Samui Regatta 2013 were Jelik (IRC Zero), Foxy Lady VI (IRC 1), Ichiban (IRC 2), Freewind (Cruising) and Miss Saigon (Multihull). Racing boats come from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and assorted locations across the region to join in the fray with spray. Many sailors noted the improvement of the Royal Malaysian Navy team on their boat.
Race 2 saw a course change – to what is locally known as the “Samui Course” – that had significant effects on results, shifting race positions for several boats. One category, including boats ranging from 45 feet to 72 feet, had Race 1 winning boat (with Line Honours and handicap win), Jelik, slip to fifth place. Hong Kong boat Antipodes, the 72-footer, crossed the finish line at first with only 30 seconds separating her from the next craft.
Centara Grand Beach Resort, where the event has long been held, served as Koh Samui Regatta 2013 headquarters and location for the lavish wrap-up Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony.