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24/11/2009 - The Phuket King's cup Regatta begins on 28th November  24/11/2009 - The Phuket King's cup Regatta begins on 28th November

Yachting enthustiasts from across the globe will join together next week for Asia's largest and most popular yachting event - The Phuket King's Cup Regatta.

The race, now in it's 23rd year, was inaugurated in 1987 as a celebration to mark The King of Thailand's 60th birthday. The King, himself a keen sailor, was awarded the ''Insignia of the Olympic Order" for his sailing endeavours by the International Olympic Committee - the only reigning Monarch ever to receive such an honour. The regatta is traditionally held during the first week of December each year and this year the final day of racing and the closing party will fall on His Majesty's birthday.

The Regatta is a fun event for all the family and consists of great parties as well as plenty of sailing.  This year a full moon party will be help on Karon Beach, hosted by Chang, one of the Regattas major sponsors.  The whole of Phuket island has been invited and it is anticipated that up to 20,000 people could be in attendance.

The event has it's headquarters at Kata Beach with the main racing taking place in Kata Bay. This year has seen a record number of entrants with over one hundred boats competing in the event from small sports boats through to a super yacht.  

Regatta Director Simon James is enthusiastic about the week ahead and the good weather expected, ''Certainly the Phuket King's Cup 2009 is heading for another big year, with a record fleet and even the wind is on schedule, with a strong north easterly now settling into its regular pattern.  

''The Phuket economy is picking up. It's been a fairly quiet year as far as hotels and flights but there are a lot of positive things happening. Thai Airways have just opened up direct flights from Hong Kong again, which have been missing since before the Tsunami.  Air Asia has established Phuket as one of its regional hubs so there's now flights straight in from Indonesia and the surrounding areas. Last week we had the first direct flights from Berlin into Phuket, so it's all on the up.

The recession might be flagged as finishing now but it normally takes people about nine months to book their holidays, so there is a little lag, but it does seem we are heading for a better 2010 and a great 2011''.

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