Thailand is No. 1 sailing destination in Asia

Tropical sailing in the Gulf of Thailand at the Top of the Gulf Regatta.
Duncan Worthington
Thailand was voted the favourite sailing venue and best regatta location in Asia in a survey conducted at the 2011 Phuket King's Cup Regatta of international sailors from around the world. Thailand was voted as having the best sailing grounds and destinations due to an ideal geography, good weather conditions and beautiful scenery.

The sailing survey was undertaken by the Top of the Gulf Regatta (www.topofthegulfregatta.com) in co-operation with the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta (www.kingscup.com), with the aim to find out sailing trends in the region, provide useful information in helping to attract more sailors to the region, and to improve facilities and services in the region.

The survey found that of the sailors who came to the 25th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, 53% were resident in Asia and 47% lived outside of Asia. Over 27% of the survey respondents were found to have been sailing in Thailand for more than 10 years, while 53% are relative newcomers – sailing in Thailand for only 1-3 years.

The survey found that Thailand is a popular sailing destination for international sailors, with many returning numerous times to enjoy the cruising grounds and sailing events Thailand has to offer. There are five major regattas in Thailand that local and international sailors are aware of and have participated in, including the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Top of the Gulf Regatta, Phuket Raceweek, Samui Regatta and the Bay Regatta – Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi.

Thailand's Andaman Coast, home of the Phuket King's Cup, Phuket Raceweek and Bay Regatta is well established as a cruising and regatta destination. On the opposite coast, the Gulf of Thailand, the Top of the Gulf Regatta continues to grow attracting a large mixed fleet of 200+ boats each year from youths sailing in dinghy classes, to beach catamarans, multihulls and the big boat monohull fleet.

Of those surveyed, 62% have, at some point, brought their boat to Thailand from another country. The most popular ports of entry were found to be (in order of popularity): Phuket, Samui and Pattaya. Of those yachts coming to Thailand from overseas, 60% stayed approximately one month while 40% stayed approximately six months.

Asia continues to be a popular sailing area with 32% of the respondents saying they have been sailing in Asia for more than 10 years, 14% for 4-6 years and 40% were newcomers (having sailed in Asia for only 1-3 years).

When asked how they found out about regatta’s/sailing events in Asia, 74% of respondents said “Friend/ Sailing community”, followed by 54% who said “specific event website”.

One of the aims of the survey was to find out what kind of people, and from where, attend the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, and other sailing events in Thailand. It was found that participants in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta are truly international with 32% from Europe, 23% from Australia and New Zealand, and 20% from Asia, as well as strong participation from US, and Russia.