Senses Phuket Raceweek boosts
confidence in an ailing economy.
July 21st: Just seven months after Phuket’s first boat show (PIMEX) was conceived, Image Asia Events Co. Ltd., launched into the first Phuket Raceweek at the spectacular Evason Phuket in 2004 and later the Evason’s parent company, Six Senses Resorts & Spas, allowed the organisers to start building an event that today rivals the best in the region. The regatta started with just 19 boats racing, most locally-based. It enjoyed the support of Ao Chalong Yacht Club but had very little sponsorship. Even so, Phuket Raceweek’s reputation was instantly established – not least because of the superb Evason Phuket venue and Image Asia’s one-regatta-one-venue policy.
“In 2008, Phuket Raceweek had 44 boats on the water, the wind was kind to us – and we were away!” said Image Asia’s MD, Grenville Fordham. “With breathtaking racing, a stunning set of courses just offshore from Rawai and around the local islands, the best race management and an unrivalled onshore party scene, we just knew we’d break the ‘magic 50’ in 2009,” he added.
Then came the global melt-down... and it seemed people had other, more serious things to focus on. In 2009 back down to 33 boats, nevertheless Raceweek attracted the best fleet yet, including top Asia-Pacific racing yachtsmen, Neil Pryde's custom Welbourn 52 Hi-Fi and Ray Roberts on DK46 Evolution Racing, both here to check out the ‘new’ first event on the 2009 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship – and to notch up a few early points on the championship scoreboard.
“This year, Raceweek looks set to break the 40-boat barrier again – something of a miracle given the political mayhem Thailand’s been suffering for the past several months – with the best all-round fleet of fast IRC classes and multihull yachts we’ve seen yet, albeit minus last year’s two ‘rock stars’,” said Fordham.
Especially encouraging for Phuket’s beleaguered tourism industry, is the number of ‘out of town’ participants that increases each year – both with boats coming from different waters and crew and sponsors’ guests flying in from... well, all over the world. 2010 is the third year that Six Senses Phuket Raceweek will be televised, going out to 140 million households across Europe, UK, Asia, USA, Australia and New Zealand as the first feature on the Hot Water program on major sporting channels. “We’re still the only regatta in the region that has this guaranteed international TV exposure,” said local media guru Fordham whose Image Asia continues to break through new boundaries to gain their share of main stream multi media coverage around the globe.
Riots and mayhem are not the best environment in which to find sponsors, yet many of Phuket Raceweek's loyal partners have remained on board this year, and some new faces have joined the sponsorship line-up. Fordham, added, "We believe that it’s better to keep sponsors than to scratch around for new ones every year, so we work hard to make sure our sponsors get the results they’re looking for – which means understanding their objectives, so that their input adds value for all involved and work together to achieve them.
2010 sees Six Senses return as Title Sponsor, with Jaguar Cars and TAT returning as Co-sponsors. Da Vinci have upped the ante from Island Supporter to Co-sponsor, while QBE have returned after a couple of years absence, also as Co-sponsor. Amongst Media Partners, Official Suppliers and Island Partners, most are returning for at least a second year.
ROBERTSON Six Senses ambassador
launching to threaten the Multihull racing class.
Andrews wins 2010 Raceweek Photo Contest
2010 - AY Photo Gallery http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?PRW10
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