Trip 2007: Phuket/TH

Susan and myself, we decided to go for something different to make a new experience around sailing. Its winter anyway and Hullu Poro is still in storage. Therefore we turned away from our normally “cosy cruising“ in the Baltic Sea and booked two berths on “BIG A”, a SWAN 55, which participated from 16th to 20th February 2007 in the Phang Nga Bay Regatta in Phuket/Thailand.

The regatta started with an opening party in the Chandara Resort located at the east coast of Phuket. After enjoying typical Thai Cuisine with a few drinks we made friends with our teammates on BIG A and other “competitors“. Not counting the “competitors“, we realized that there will be 14 people staying onboard of the SWAN 55 - overbookings do not only seem to be common in the airline industry but apparently also happen on sailing boats. Sure, not everybody got a proper berth but we did. However, after the first night in the muggy and stuffy cabin we were not sure, if you get better sleep below or on top of the deck, where blue sky and stars where included.

The first racing leg started in front of the Chandara Resort and ended at Koh Yao Noi Island. With huge enthusiasm all crews were fighting for the best starting position. To end up on the podium in the evening became for all skippers a big challenge of motivating their crew to sit on the tactical (but most likely shadeless), best position on the boat, despite calm winds and scorcing heat and sun. For sure, our crew wanted to win, but not for anything in the world and therefore stayed together at the few rare spots, where shade gave some relief. Therefore we finally only finished the regatta at lower ranking, which was not a problem, especially not for more “cosy cruising“ oriented sailors like ourselves and others on BIG A.

Every day, the race ended at very idyllically situated places within the Phang Nga Bay. We anchored at gorgeous bays/beaches/resorts and went ashore with our dinghy or the Longtails, which provided taxi-service among the boats to the shore, organized by the regatta committee. In the evening there was a beach party at the resort including price giving for the day (not for us!) up to dancing after midnight. We had to drink a lot as we lost so much body fluid during the day. They served a wonderful rum punch and the later the evening the less rum was admixed, which made it healthy and ensured that everybody was up next day for the start of the next leg. From day to day we realized a thicker and thicker layer of salt and perspiration on our skin, which we could not remove, as the water consumption was highly limited. The tanks were empty – we were sailing regatta! To wash your hair and shower with half a liter of fresh water showed us the luxury we are normally taking for granted. We had more and more fun with our teammates, very interesting people from Thailand, Philippines, Australia, USA, Vietnam and Germany, not to forget our Skipper from Austria.

After four days sailing in calm winds and hot conditions, going from Chandara Resort to Koh Yao Noi to Ao Nang, to Krabi and to Phi Phi Island, we passed the final finishing line at 20th February 2007 in front of Nai Harn, which is located at the south tip of Phuket. We enjoyed the final party with our crew in the Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club and had an extra rum punch that night!

No need to mention the overall result of our boat, but important to know is, that our “Race Skipper“ Andreas, flown in from Europe for this event, has given everything to make it happen. Was the reason that the crew was not fast enough to execute his instructions or was it the toast, toast and another toast served at breakfast and lunch every day? Or a mixture of both? Maybe also the fusillades of abusive language, which the skipper Horst articulated sometimes, not always sure if talking to himself or to one of the female crewmembers? Whatever, it is not important! For us it was a wonderful time within this mixed group of people and for sure, we would do it again. With mixed feelings we said good bye to our crew members Annegret, Christa, Nan, Bunny, Knut, Siegfried, Stefan, Andreas, Rob, Jack, Chan and Skipper Horst.

Best regards,
Your HP Crew
Susan & Bernd