Opinion: Handing over the sails to Phuket’s next generation

PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette is pleased to welcome sailing enthusiasts from across the region to Phuket for Asia’s premier sailing competition, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.

As this year’s competition marks the 30th anniversary of the event, this week is an ideal time to reflect on the three decades of the event’s development, as well as to consider ways to improve the Regatta so that it remains as exciting and relevant 30 years from now as it is today.

All of the excitement of this year’s competition must of course be tempered with due respect to the ongoing nationwide mourning over the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Father of Thai Sailing, His Majesty was an avid boat-builder whose pioneering contributions to the sport will be remembered throughout the ages. Pictures of His Majesty sailing one of his hand-crafted dinghies remain among the most iconic images of the beloved Monarch. First staged in 1986 to mark His Majesty’s 60th birthday, the King’s Cup has been held every year since.

As a ten-year sponsor of the Regatta, the Gazette encourages participants and the general public to join us in remembering Rama IX by taking part in the planned ‘sail past’ ceremony to take place on December 9.

Looking forward, it is good to remember that nature teaches us that few things remain in stasis; they either grow or decline. Fortunately, the Regatta continues to evolve in ways that draw scores of true ‘quality tourists’ each year, thus helping to dispel long-held perceptions that jet-skis are somehow much sought after additions to our marine leisure fleet.

As just a few examples of this growth, this year’s event marks the introduction of the ‘CR:X Kiteboard Class’ competition, and will also serve as the award-giving stage for the recently-completed ‘Kids’ Racing Series’.

Sailing can go a long way in helping distracted youth to drop their tablets and iPhones for a spell and learn to develop themselves mentally and physically, getting in touch with nature and learning to work as a team in the process.

Hopefully the Regatta will continue to develop and grow in directions that include attraction of more newcomers to the joys of sailing, so that it can be handed over in full trust, and with joy, to the next generation of sailors when that time comes.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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