Story & Photography by Scott Murray
Regattas Asia have done what no one else in this region were able to do: stage a regatta every year throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s right, the Bay Regatta didn’t miss a beat – this year’s version being the 26th straight.
Twenty-six international crews registered and were spread over five classes (IRC Monohull, IRC Cruising, Cruising Monohull, OMR Multihull & Cruising Multihull) sailing through some of the world’s most stunning karst topography on their four-day nautical journey. This was the largest number of entries in a big-boat regional regatta since the Phuket King’s Cup in 2019.
Held from February 22-26 this year, the Bay Regatta is a series of passage races – an event format that catches the attention of the region’s best sailors. This four-day sailing trek throughout Phang Nga Bay focuses on fun. Attracting the serious, the not-so-serious and the not-at-all-serious “racing” sailors, the regatta appeals to those who enjoy the stunning sailing grounds of the area and a different destination each day.
Each evening, the regatta anchors at a different venue and the sailors go ashore. Those staying ashore –the majority of the fleet – book accommodation and either eat in the local restaurants or enjoy the official event functions, which engage with the local community. Most of the expenditure of the regatta goes directly into the local economies of the areas the regatta visits. This has been the case since the regatta was launched and it will remain so for the future - an excellent example of how sports tourism works to the benefit of communities and local economies.