Danes Racing the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta

Two Danish teams, as well as one Norwegian boat participated in the increasingly popular Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, held for the 20th time in Phuket in early December 2006.
Inaugurated in 1987 this regatta is sailed in the warm, tropical waters off Kata Beach, Phuket each December. This year, the regatta attracted a record fleet of 102 boats from all parts of the world with way over a thousand sailors attending.
“This is by far the biggest most popular regatta held in Asia,” confirmed Jens Overgaard, a long time resident Dane in Thailand, while enjoying the Royal Phuket Marina’s ‘party extravaganza’. The party was one of the regatta’s many evening events which has helped make the Phuket King’s Cup gain popularity amongst sailors as a lifestyle event more than just a yacht race.
Having lived in Thailand for 34 years and worked for the United Nations most of his life, Jens is located in Krabi these days, sailing whatever racing there is on the circuit.

Among the founders
It also turned out that Jens Overgaard is one of the founding starters behind King’s Cup.
“I was a Race Officer during the first 8 years. Then I thought: ‘Now it’s time for me to race.’ I had worked enough and enjoy racing it too. So I have raced for the last 6-7 years.”
This time he sailed together with some Danish friends that come over for the race, along with skipper Niels Degenkolw, who has also lived in Thailand for some years now.
They sailed on ‘Phoenix’ is a 33 foot Danish designed X-Yacht rated as a 3/4 Tonner.
In fact Niels is a boat builder and the boat was brought up from Malaysia half a year ago and “didn’t look very good”. Niels’ company Vision Yachts in Yacht Haven renovated the yacht in time for the regatta.
The rest of the team from Denmark, deeply devoted sailors who build sails by profession – brought over brand new ones for the brushed up Phoenix.

Boat charter
Niels Degenkolw’s intention is to make it available for charter for upcoming regattas in Asia.
“We were keen on putting on a good performance so there will be people interested in chartering it,” said Jens.
Competing in racing class 2 they did well – even if the weather was very challenging during the first three days, racing in less than five knots of breeze and up to two knots of unfavourable current – and finished as second in the end result, after winning two of the races.
During the race week Nils was actually staying on board another boat which was famous long before it came to Thailand seven years ago. It used to belong to Paul Elvstrøm, the Danish yachtsman who dominated Olympic Finn class sailing between 1948 and 1960 and is considered the greatest sailor in Olympic history.
“Nobody has won more gold medals in sailing than Paul,” Jens pointed out.

Valdemar Bandolowski
And it’s a small world, because another Danish skipper attending the regatta, Valdemar Bandolowski, turned out also to be a former Olympic sailor who won gold medals in 1976 and 1980 and sailed with Paul Elvstrøm in the 1972 Olympics.
Valdemar did four Olympic Games for Denmark within yachting.
As the Skipper on ‘Di Hard’, and racing in class Irc 1, Valdemar had come to King’s Cup and was meant to sail together with Prince Henrik of Denmark. After Valdemar quit sailing competitively the Prince was his sailing companion during three to four years.
“I sailed with the Prince at lots of places around the world and we went here for the first time 13 years ago. We joined the King’s Cup twice and enjoyed it very much. ‘Why don’t we go to the King’s Cup again and combine it with the Regatta in Hong Kong?’ I suggested,” explained Valdemar.
Regrettably the Prince was forced by the Danish government to cancel since a visit from him could have been interpreted as official recognition of Thailand’s military current rule, which would go against EU regulations.
So Prince Henrik went to travel in China and Macau instead after the Hong Kong race, while the rest of the team decided to go ahead with the sail.
“This is a very professional regatta. They’ve had problems with the weather this year, but I think they’re doing a very good job. It’s always fun to be here; there’s always some parties running so people like to come.”
After having severe problems with the initial difficult sailing conditions Valdemar and his team ended fifth in the final result.
“The light wind is a big problem,” explained Valdemar on the lay day. “The boat we are using was built 25 years ago and too heavy. But it’s not exactly a world championship so we’re here to enjoy the time and then I can combine it a bit with my business.”
Also being a golf tour operator and about to launch golf trips to Phuket, Valdemar combined the visit with some inspections of golf courses and resorts.
Hopefully, he can be back for the race again in 2007 – with Prince Henrik on board.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

View all posts by Joakim Persson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *