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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Eight Bells: Andy Dowden 1952-2023

by Guy Nowell with help from Scott Murray 25 Jul 2023 09:07 BST 22 July 2023
Andy Dowden © Guy Nowell

Sail-World Asia is very sad to report the passing of Andy Dowden, stalwart of the Thai sailing scene. He will be missed by many, and we offer our condolences to his family.

Andy was at various times President of the Phuket King’s Cup Organising Committee, co-founder of both PIMEX and Phuket Raceweek (with Gren Fordham), a Committee member of the Bay Regatta, and Race Officer for any number of events in between, including the Phuket Superyacht Rendezvous (Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous). By the end of almost every event, Andy had talked himself to a standstill and lost his voice, and so became ‘Whispering’ Andy.

A structural engineer by training, Andy departed England with his then wife, Jenny, in 1982 on board a 46 ft sloop named Buccabu, and arrived in Phuket (for the first time) in 1984, after long and salty experiences that included a sinking in the Red Sea, running dive charters out of Port Sudan, and chartering in Sri Lanka. Restarting in 1985, Buccabu cruised all the way to Sydney via Borneo, Sabah, Sarawak, the Philippines, PNG and Cairns, before sailing back to Phuket, arriving in 1986.

Over the next 17 years Andy worked with Pansea Yacht Services (Jan Jacobs), and Asia Voyages (Vincent Tabuteau), and established Phuket Yacht Services and Thai Marine Leisure at Boat Lagoon. Phuket Yacht Services was also the first-ever bareboat charter operation in Phuket, representing Sunsail.

In 2003 Andy and Grenville Fordham launched PIMEX, Phuket’s first boat show, in Boat Lagoon, and a new regatta, the Six Senses Phuket Raceweek, in 2004. Informa Group (owners of the Monaco Yacht Show) bought PIMEX in 2008, keeping Andy on the run the show, so to speak.

At the 2018 edition of Phuket Raceweek, Andy was presented with an award for ‘Services to Sailing in Thailand’, which was richly deserved, and probably an excuse (if one were needed) for a large gin and tonic.

RIP Mr Dowden. Sorry, speak up Andy, what did you say?

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