Yachting is huge in Phuket these days, with three massive annual events on the island’s seafaring social calendar
By Bruce Scott
Phuket, along with nearby Phang-Nga and Krabi provinces, offer such stunning scenery and anchorages that it is now considered Asia’s top cruising destination. All manner of leisure watercraft, from 80-year-old wooden sloops to the latest high-tech mega yachts, can be found moored among the island’s four privately owned marinas, government marina and deep sea port at Chalong Bay, where the government provides a one-stop service for immigration and customs for any boat or ship arriving in Phuket.
Traditionally superyachts would restrict themselves to the Mediterranean for summer, and then cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, in order to escape the bite of the European winter. However, in the last decade or so many yachts have dropped the Caribbean from their itinerary and chosen to come out to Asia instead. In response to this new found interest, Phuket has recently hosted three superyacht events, and will no doubt host many more in the months and years to come. These are relatively unexplored waters, with less than 10 percent of all superyachts having ever dropped anchor here.
KATA ROCKS SUPERYACHT RENDEZVOUS:
For the 2nd year in a row the prestigious Kata Rocks Resort, in collaboration with Infinite Luxury, hosted the annual Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous (KRSR), which ran from December 8th to 10th, 2017. By bringing some of the world’s most iconic superyacht brands to Phuket, this event promotes the island as not only a leading Southeast Asian luxury destination, but also a superyacht hot spot. The KRSR is an invitation only event, and features a series of bespoke activities, glamorous parties, and social events that effortlessly mix networking and socializing in a relaxed and luxurious environment. It’s an event that appeals to an elite crowd by enticing them to sample a multitude of new and exciting experiences. The next KRSR is scheduled for December 7th to 9th, 2018, but if you can’t wait that long remember that Kata Rocks Resort is open year round, has a great selection of dining outlets and chic accommodations, and hosts a number of interesting events throughout the year.
THE PHUKET RENDEZVOUS:
From January 4th to the 7th, 2018, boating enthusiasts made their way to the Royal Phuket Marina which was the site of the inaugural Phuket RendezVous, a new yachting event showcasing the region’s leading brokers and global boat manufacturers, with the biggest names in both the marine and luxury lifestyle industries. Combining a mix of exhibitions, seminars, activities, and social activities, the four-day event was an unqualified success. The Royal Phuket Marina’s Town Square was transformed into a dynamic hub of activity, with exotic cars on display, daily fashion shows, and a variety of gourmet cuisine pop-ups. On the boardwalk, visitors were treated to an English-themed ‘Garden Party’ atmosphere—with decorative sculptures on display and a wide variety of beers, wines, and mouth-watering snacks on offer—while those who wanted to get a closer look at today’s leading marine and luxury products browsed through the displays in the marina and exhibition areas.
High-calibre visitors attending the event numbered over 6,000, coming from approximately 70 countries across the globe, including Thailand, Australia, Singapore, USA, the United Kingdom and Russia. Over 100 local and international exhibitors, sponsors, and partners were on hand, as well as 50 on-water boats, plus five superyachts moored off Koh Rang Noi that were accessible by private shuttle. The lavish yacht parties and the elegant surroundings of Royal Phuket Marina both contributed to the overall French Riviera atmosphere. And, most importantly for retailers, a total of eight yachts were sold, including an Azimut 64 Flybrige, an Aquila 36, a Lagoon 450, a Silvercraft 31 HT, a Princess P62 (which was premiered during the show), as well as several of the luxury properties being showcased during the event.
Working with partners in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and across the region, the organizers hosted exclusive VIP programmes for guests to experience the yachting lifestyle, and a full programme of daily activities and entertainment. The next Phuket Rendezvous is already slated for January 3rd to the 6th, 2019, so mark it in your calendar.
THAILAND YACHT SHOW:
By the time you read this the 3rd annual Thailand Yacht Show, organized in partnership with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), will have just concluded—running from February 22nd to the 25th at the Ao Po Grand Marina. The event focuses on superyacht tourism and charters in Thailand and the region, offering visitors the opportunity to discover and enjoy luxury yachting lifestyle at its finest. In addition to a grand opening ceremony, visitors this year were treated to sea trails and yacht hops, supercar parades, stunning soirées, fashion shows, and experiential demonstrations.
THE HISTORIC KING’S CUP REGATTA
Established in 1987, and today considered by many to be Asia’s biggest and most popular sailboat competition, the annual King’s Cup Regatta in Phuket attracts international yachtsmen from all over the globe. In the water off Kata Beach, competitive sailors will race in dinghies, keelboats, and multi-hull vessels. For over 30 years this acclaimed sporting event has been a major island attraction, and those making the trip this year will once again see world-class race teams competing and then celebrating in style at various parties around the island. The King’s Cup Regatta is traditionally held in the first week of December.