Action Stations!


Portrait of Tammy Strobel
My Reading Room
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek

Phuket, Thailand

July 19-23, 2017

Edition: 14

Founded: 2004

Now up for its 14th edition, it seems only yesterday that someone had the bright idea of running a regatta in Phuket in the summer, “the green season, when the wind blows”. The delightful environs of Cape Panwa Hotel make for a first-class regatta venue. Go sailing… and stay for the party afterwards. 

Phuket Raceweek regularly attracts fleets of up to 50 boats, offering divisions for IRC Racers, Cruisers, Multihulls and One Designs (Corsairs, Firefly 850s or collect five boats and ask for your own class). The southwest corner of Phuket regularly provides good racing in delightful island scenery.

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Western Circuit Regatta 


August 19-20 & 26, 2017

Edition: 20

Founded: 1998

Western Circuit is probably Singapore’s biggest regatta these days, after everything else has been stifled by ‘regulations’. Co-organised by Raffles Marina and the Singapore Management University (SMU), the regatta includes IRC Racing classes, SB20 and J/24 One Designs, a Club class and the Access 2.3 dinghies of Singapore Sailability.

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Volvo China Coast Regatta

Hong Kong

October 13-15, 2017

Edition: 25

Founded: 1993

The Volvo China Coast Regatta is Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s flagship inshore regatta. Over the years, it has moved location and changed format quite a bit, but was particularly successful when run as a windward-leeward series with a couple of islands courses thrown into the mix, raced in waters on the south side of Hong Kong. Recent variations, with a variety of start areas, have met with mixed reactions.

Three days of big boat racing at the optimum time of year, with starts for five IRC divisions and an HKPN class ensure that everyone gets a look-in. When the monsoon blows, and if 15 to 20 knots of northeasterly breeze in shorts and T-shirt weather is your sort of sailing, you need to be there.

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Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam Race

Hong Kong – Nha Trang, Vietnam

October 18 (start), 2017

Edition: 8

Founded: 1996

The Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam Race is straight after the China Coast Regatta and the two events combine to make up Volvo China Coast Race Week. The 673nm passage to Nha Trang is the longest offshore race in Asia and the northeast monsoon makes it a white-knuckle downwind slide. Not for the faint hearted.

Nha Trang is a very pleasant destination and the race is a convenient feeder for boats going south for regattas in Thailand and Malaysia. The 2017 race has once again been recognised as a qualifying race for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

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China Cup International Regatta

Hong Kong – Shenzhen, China

October 26-29, 2017

Edition: 11

Founded: 2007

Now 11 years old and the China Cup still promotes charter fleets (Beneteau 40.7, Bavaria 37, Far East 28R) before Grand Prix racing. It is, however, the biggest regatta in Asia with 130 entries last year, although it often seems to be more about the branding than the sailing, and the social programme outranks the racing.

The regatta venue is functional, if not quite as picturesque as the brochure suggests, but the nearest accommodation is almost an hour away by bus, making this a ‘commuter regatta’. Race Management is contracted out to Regattas Asia, meaning the on-water part works fine (within certain limits laid down by non-sailing local authorities).

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Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta

Klang – Langkawi, Malaysia

November 17-25, 2017

Edition: 28

Founded: 1990

The Raja Muda is unique, consisting of three passage races along the west coast of Malaysia (Port Klang – Pangkor – Penang – Langkawi), plus inshore racing in Penang and Langkawi. Nine races, no discards. It is probably the hardest regatta to win in Asia. Sailors can reasonably expect light breeze, no breeze, 30 knots of breeze, coastal currents, violent thunderstorms, fishing nets and torrential rain.

Competitors can also expect a very lively social scene at all ports, which when coupled with late starts and night-time finishes for the long races, creates a regatta version of jet lag and makes this event a marathon, not a series of sprints. All welcome – IRC Racers, Cruisers, Multihulls.

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Phuket King’s Cup Regatta

Phuket, Thailand

December 2-9, 2017

Edition: 31

Founded: 1987

The King’s Cup was inaugurated in 1987 to mark the 60th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej of Thailand, himself a keen sailor. The death of His Majesty in October 2016 initially shed some doubts on the event’s status, but there will be a regatta at Kata Beach in early December, although the event’s name was unconfirmed at time of writing.

After 30 years, this is still the biggest regatta in Asia and still ‘the one to win’. The King’s Cup regularly attracts up to 100 boats and really does cater for everyone – IRC Racing, Cruisers, Multihulls, One Designs, bareboat charters and even Classics when sufficient numbers turn up.

Two race areas and the programme includes windward-leeward and round-the-islands courses for everyone. The après-sail parties may not be quite as ‘huge’ as once upon a time, but regatta HQ at the Kata Beach Resort is mere yards from a multitude of restaurants, bars and other Thai-style entertainment spots.

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Royal Langkawi International Regatta

Langkawi, Malaysia

January 6-13, 2018

Edition: 16

Founded: 2003

The Royal Langkawi International Regatta is Royal Langkawi Yacht Club’s one and only annual event, which started with a well-sponsored bang in 2003, but has seen much smaller entry lists in recent years, when it has often been guilty of handing out prizes to three-boat divisions.

The RLYC location is grand and the racing area – in and around the islands of the Langkawi archipelago – is nothing short of spectacular. The top prize for the IRC divisions is the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy, presented on prizegiving night by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

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The Bay Regatta

Phuket – Phang Nga – Krabi, Thailand

January 31-February 4, 2018

Edition: 21

Founded: 1997

The Bay Regatta was created by sailing photographer John Everingham who wanted an excuse to put nice boats into pretty scenery, like Phang Nga Bay. Over two decades later, it attracts the cruisers more than the diehard racers and is often referred to as “a party that moves around”.

Starting at Chandara Resort, Ao Po, the regatta races between resorts in the provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi, with overnight stops at each. Enjoy the scenery: it’s fantastic!

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Neptune Regatta

Batam, Indonesia

February 10-17, 2018

Edition: 8

Founded: 2011

The Neptune Regatta is a bona fide cruising adventure – there was no Racing class last year. From Nongsa Point Marina (just across the Straits from Singapore), sail through the Riau Archipelago and race to a finish line on the equator. Rub rancid spaghetti and rum (or whatever) in your crewmates’ hair and celebrate ‘Crossing the Line’ with King Neptune and Queen Codfish – all very traditional! Sail and race back to Nongsa.

Accommodation on the last jumping-off point, Pulau Sikeling (aka Neptune Island) used to be a tent encampment, but is gradually becoming more sophisticated. Uniquely, motor yachts are welcome to join in, and they do: they are very useful for helping to carry supplies!

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Hong Kong Race Week

Hong Kong

February*, 2018

Edition: 5

Founded: 2014

* Dates TBC

Run by the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club – who are looking at a late February slot for 2018 – the Hong Kong Race Week is a constituent part of the ASAF Youth Cup and the region’s biggest dinghy regatta. There are classes for Lasers, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Optimist, 420s, 470s, 29er, 2.4mR, and Techno 293, RS:X Youth and RS:ONE windsurfers.

The 2016 edition involved 249 entries, 273 sailors and 11 nationalities. Racing took place in four course areas and a whole army of volunteers kept everything running smoothly. If you are into small-boat sailing, this is Asia’s top event. Roll up, roll up!

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Standard Insurance Subic Bay to Boracay Race & Boracay Cup Regatta

Subic Bay – Boracay, Philippines

February 23-March 2, 2018

Edition: 9 (Subic Bay to Boracay Race)

Founded: 2010 (Subic Bay to Boracay Race)

Founded: 2011 (Boracay Cup Regatta)

The same stalwarts who go there every year come back with tales of “the best sailing in Asia” – 20 knots throughout the regatta, fabulous sailing and the laid-back island lifestyle. It sounds almost too good to be true.

Unfortunately, the organisers are not very good at spreading the word either before, during or after the event. Last year there were only 12 entries, so it is not getting the support it deserves. Boats? If it floats, they’ll make a division for you.

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Philippine Hobie Challenge

Palawan, Philippines

March 10-17, 2018

Edition: 18

Founded: 2001

A ‘raid’ event sailed on Hobie 16s that visits a different part of the beautiful Philippines every year and goes from island to island, resort to resort. The 2018 Philippine Hobie Challenge will be based at the Busuanga Bay Lodge in Coron in the northeast of Palawan.

If you can handle 20-30 mile races across open and sometimes rough water on a beach cat, then this is your ticket. The islands around Busuanga are absolutely glorious and hospitality at the end of every day is second to none. And to make it all very easy, you can fly from Manila direct to Busuanga by floatplane.

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Commodore’s Cup Regatta

Subic Bay, Philippines

April 2-6, 2018

Edition: 11

Founded: 2008

The Commodore’s Cup in Subic Bay starts just a day or two after the Rolex China Sea Race fleet arrives from Hong Kong. It is a regatta with huge potential, sailed in five-star conditions, and features IRC and Cruising divisions.

The on-water race management is properly run, so why do the Hong Kong boats go home instead of staying for the inshore series? Mostly because the shoreside organisation leaves a lot to be desired. A bit like the Boracay Cup, this regatta needs some noise and some good event planning to resuscitate it. Features IRC and Cruising divisions.

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Rolex China Sea Race

Hong Kong – Subic Bay, Philippines

March 28 (start), 2018

Edition: 29

Founded: 1962

The China Sea Race is the senior offshore in the region, the one that started offshore racing in Asia in 1962, when Reverie finished after six days of sailing. The present record for the 565nm race to Subic Bay in the Philippines is 47h 31m, set by Alive in 2016.

The race is properly considered a classic: it provides a testing mix of sailing conditions and is described sometimes as “exhilarating”, often as “infuriating”! After a start among the skyscrapers of Victoria Harbour, the Easter weekend weather usually gives the fleet a good blow out of Hong Kong, a steady ‘centre’ section and a light-airs finish in which everything hinges on where – and when – you close the coast. Defeats have been plucked from the jaws of victory within sight of the finish line.

The race is run biennially, in even-numbered years. It was added to the list of Royal Ocean Racing Club ‘overseas’ events in 1972 and always attracts a smattering of international interest. Features IRC, Premier Cruising, Cruising and HKPN divisions.

My Reading Room
Top of the Gulf Regatta

Pattaya, Thailand

May 3-6, 2018

Edition: 14

Founded: 2005

A big-boat regatta, the Coronation Cup (Platu OD), the Thailand Optimist National Championships and a dinghy regatta all rolled into one makes for a decent number of total entries, but big-boat numbers were substantially down at the 2017 Top of the Gulf Regatta and everyone won a prize (almost). IRC, Cruising and Ocean Multihull divisions.

Certainly, Ocean Marina Yacht Club is a top-class regatta venue – a good place from which to race and the après sail on the lawn is hugely pleasant. The race management is good and so are the sailing conditions.

My Reading Room
Samui Regatta

Koh Samui, Thailand

May 19-26, 2018

Edition: 17

Founded: 2002

Waving palm trees, sugar-sand beaches, a thatched-roof airport just 4km from regatta HQ, laid-back Thai island style and Brazilian carnival dancers – what’s not to like?

However, overall numbers are down here, too, although the quality of the fleet at the top end (IRC 0, IRC 1) is excellent. Koh Samui has a Cruising class and space for Multihulls as well.