Kings Cup, Phuket - 2002
How To Sail ItKings cup offers some great coastal courses and some shorter windward leeward courses. We highly recommend chartering as large a boat as you can handle because the winds are so light that the days can get very long in anything cruisy and under 40 feet.
The round the island race at Phi Phi is a long one but very beautiful. The worry is the availability of wind. The wind generally is up in the morning then dies early in the afternoon and it gets hot so remember water - water - and more water. (We ran out one day and were saved by rain water off the main during a squall!) Get a big boat to get there quickly in the available wind is probably the first thing to say. Be careful to listen to the radio for shortened course instructions and know the location of the markers so you can know where to sail to. Radio coverage at the back of the island is not good so get a good radio!
You may find your self in irons for some periods of time so do not hesitate to anchor if the tide is pushing you backwards. You want to be near the front when the wind picks up.
Prepare your boat for lighter winds. Take the unnecessary weight off and keep crew weight down. Another reason not to worry about getting a larger boat with little crew weight, unless you're in a rain squall, you won't need to worry about weight on the rail.
Keep an eye on the breeze it seemingly can come from anywhere so you need to be thinking about where you want to be on the course at all times and ahead of time. Local knowledge really helps here so look out for the boats that have been there done that.
The tide produces some strong current channeling down through the islands. Research and local knowledge here really helps to plan your race strategy.
On the final day of racing the wind came up so it does happen. This made for some exciting racing on the shorter courses.