Preparing for First Adventure

Next week I'm heading back to Phuket, this time as owner of my own sailboat. In the period since my last visit, I've been busy at work in Shanghai - and the boat has been busy doing all kinds of interesting boat things in Thailand. While I've been working on video games, she's had her bottom scraped, sanded, repaired and anti-fouled; sailed down to Langkawi, Malaysia to check out of Thai waters; sailed back to Thailand; experienced a not-small number of break-downs and failures; and racked up some impressive bills. All according to plan. No surprises... yet.

These days I'm working on a new plan - the plan I'll follow (or try) during the next visit. With 4 days on the ground (and water), I'm hoping to divide the trip into 2 parts. Part #1: preparing, cleaning and repairing things onboard. Part #2: sailing out of sight of the marina to Koh Phanak and anchoring there overnight.

During Part #1 I expect to make lists of what's needed onboard to make the boat a more comfortable and safe floating home. I'm taking with me no less than 43 items (25kg) from Shanghai - including the aforementioned tool kit, along with zip-ties, a collection of "boat clothes," sailing knives, LED headlamps, work gloves, various chargers/solar panels, bathroom supplies, and so on. These are the things I feel can be reasonably brought into Thailand under the guise of "vacation items" (yeah, the tool kit is a bit of a stretch). Another list of items, to be purchased in Thailand, includes stuff like tableware, cleaning supplies, cordless tools, an ice chest, bed sheets - all sorts of things I think would be hard to explain to Thai customs officers. (Then again, I'm arriving on a red-eye flight, and I've never seen customs people actually working at 2AM. Fingers crossed).

Koh Phanak

During Part #2 things get more interesting. I'll weigh anchor (actually, just leave the marina slip), raise the sails and... go somewhere! The plan is to sail towards the nearest island out of sight of the marina, with decent overnight anchoring - that being Koh Phanak (+8┬║ 10' 28.7", +98┬║ 29' 23"). The island itself features opportunities for dinghy exploring under spectacular limestone overhands along the entire west coast - and entrances to caves and hongs (an interior lagoon within the island, accessible from the sea) on the east coast. My goal in sailing to and anchoring at Koh Phanak isn't exploring though, it's to see how well I can sail single-handed to a known location, anchor and care for the boat. If all goes well, after a night on the hook, I'll weigh anchor (for real this time) and head back towards the marina. All in, this is a ~30 mile round-trip.

Once this mini-adventure is over and I'm back at the marina I'll have a chance to create a proper accounting of the boat and its need for improvement. More lists, more items to acquire, repairs to be made ad infinitum - as it is with boats.