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Phuket Raceweek: Fast boats, slick crews to make most of blustery weather

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Raceweek: Fast boats, slick crews to make most of blustery weather | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The shift to heavy weather this week has set the scene for dramatic racing off Phuket’s east coast as a fleet of 36 yachts compete in this year’s edition of the renowned Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek Regatta.

Racing began today following last night’s gala opening party. Setting the courses over the next four days is Simon James, who has served as Principal Race Officer at Phuket Raceweek for the past 10 years.

Courses are set specifically to not favor any boats in particular, but the condition of each boat and their respective crews are critical factors, James told the Phuket Gazette this week.

“Only days ago the weather forecast for the regatta was for light winds… Now we’re facing blustery conditions, blasting upwards of 20 knots come Friday afternoon,” he said on Tuesday.

Racing and the strong westerly gusts are both set to continue through Saturday and Sunday.

“This week the waves have been hitting the west coast direct onshore. That means they keep standing up when they round the island, making the main race area of Chalong Bay a bit lumpy,” he said.

The start line will be in the sheltered area off the southern coast of Koh Lone so boats can start in flat water. After that they’ll have to battle the elements as well as their competitors.

Making sure the boats are in ship shape for racing has become a critical factor.

“As the Multihull Solutions Regatta last week pointed out, any boats that suffer breakages will suffer in the points rankings,” James explained. “But beyond that it will all be down to the crews.”

In the “big gun” IRC Racing 1 class, Perter Ahern’s TP52 Australian racer Oi! Is expected to set the pace.

“It’s the biggest boat in the regatta, and it’ll handle the stronger winds and waves better,” James noted.

Yet, the Australian crew on Oi! will be up against some of the best crews in Southeast Asia.

“The crew on Foxy Lady have done very well in recent regattas, and although Fujin is a smaller boat, the crew is also in good racing form,” James said.

Blue Note has just completed a refit, so it will be interesting to see how well they perform, but the pick of the bunch would have to be Island Fling. They are the rock stars to beat.”

In the IRC Racing 2 class, James has his eye on the 30-footers, and on Jessandra II, skippered by Red Bull Racing Australia Principal Roland Dane.

But even they will be up against local hotshots Neils Degenkowl on Phoenix, John Vause’s RubyTuesday and Ray Waldron’s Surf Patrol.

“There are no sure bets,” said James. “Skandia Endeavour of Whitby, up from Malaysia, always races well at Raceweek.”

In the Firefly 850 class, James’ top choice is Neil Ayre and his Advanced Racing Team on Mamba, who won the class in the Multihull Solutions Regatta.

Ayre will have to race well to beat Hans Rahman’s Voodoo, a regular winner at Raceweek, and fend off challenges from local racers Roger Kingdon on Moto Inzi and John Newnham on Twin Sharks.

“Even the bareboat charter class will be competitive through the performance-based handicap system,” James noted.

“Although these are the slower boats, we used this system at the Langkawi and Samui regattas and more recently produced some of the most competitive racing in the Multihull Solutions Regatta last week, when the class honors went down to the last race with only seconds separating the winners.”

For the best viewing of the yachts competing in the Cape Panwa Phuket Raceweek Regatta, spectators can take to the high ground south of the Evason to see boats heading for the marshalling area and start line.

Alternatively, the Khao Khad Viewpoint offers expansive views of Chalong Bay, or viewers can head to the Cape Panwa Resort to see boats mixing it up in the approach channel to Phuket Bay as they head to the safe water mark and beyond.

For more information about Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek Regatta, go to phuketraceweek.com, facebook.com/PhuketRaceweekRegatta,twitter.com/phuketraceweek and youtube.com/phuketraceweek

The Phuket Gazette and PGTV’s ‘Phuket Today’ show, the island’s only nationally broadcast television program (aired daily on True Visions channels HD-79 and SD-107), are proud to sponsor the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek 2014.

— Chris Husted

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

Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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