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Some Phuket racers looked like winners even before the regatta

Phuket Regatta Starting Party: Photo Special

Monday, November 30, 2009
Phuketwan Photo Special Above

PHUKET unfurled the welcome flags last night to greet the fleet of sailors who will contest this year's 23rd King's Cup Regatta off Kata.

Hundreds of yachties, spectators and Phuket's party inclined folk turned out for the official opening ceremony at the Kata Beach Resort, feasting on a smorgasbord and quaffing cool drinks in large quantities.

It was the first of what will be a week of great after-race parties, including a full moon party under the stars on Karon Beach on Wednesday night. The official awards ceremony and closing party comes on Saturday.

The closing party will also feature a special candlelight ceremony to wish HM The King a happy birthday.

A record international fleet of 110 boats will contest this year's regatta, ranging in size from Kevin Whitcraft's GP42 up to Frank Pong's 76-foot Jelik II.

Ray Roberts, whose team won last year's Kings Cup Racing Division, is once again favorite to take out this year's race honors with Evolution Racing.

The crew used last week's Raja Muda Selangor Regatta in Malaysia as a ''training run'' to fine-tune their boat and assess their competition in the King's Cup, but still finished second to Neil Pryde's Hi-Fi.

Roberts said he had ''tweaked'' his yacht's sail wardrobe to be ship-shape for Monday's first race of the regatta.

''We will have a new spinnaker, and because the King's Cup is mostly a coastal course, we are getting a specialist sail made for those tight reaching conditions,'' he said.

Roberts said he was expecting some ''good, close racing''.

Special Phuket Events

THE Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket-Phang Na, a short drive north of the island, is on Monday evening releasing two sea turtles fitted with GPS tracking devices, funded through the donations received during Aleenta's 2009 turtle charity event. A shuttle bus will run from StereoLab at Surin beach for Phuket residents, leaving at 5pm and returning at midnight. Entertainment and dinner, details 076 580333 or e:

ON December 3 Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa holds an Infinity Sunset Session, partnered by Jim Thompson and noted international DJ Jose Padilla, to mark the start of Phuket's high season in ''sensational chill-out style''. The innovative Mai Kao beach resort's fashion and music presentation features fine beach wear and accessories. At twilight this ''unmissable'' sunset session takes off in refreshing island style by the infinity pool and beachside lounging area. Tickets range from 1200 baht to 2700 baht. Telephone 076 336100 or
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