When I started out planning to get my own boat built, I also realized that it had been quite a long time ago since I sailed on anything bigger than 8 meters long. I needed to refresh my knowledge, and hopefully learn a lot of new things about sailing and cruising.
With sailing and cruising still in the infancy stage in China, I started to look around for information about sailing instruction in Asia.
A friend recommended YachtPro in Phuket (Thailand) to me, and gave me the contact details of the owner, Rob Williams.
YachtPro is located near Yacht Haven Marina, in the North of Phuket. A perfect location, giving good shelter during the SW monsoon season.
Rob, who is originally from Melbourne, had a long and active racing career before he decided to settle in Phuket 10 years ago. His company YachtPro provides sailing instruction and charter services. When I contacted him, and explained about my plans, he recommended to do the fast track to Coastal Skipper program. The whole program, as set out by the American Sailing Association, consists of 5 modules with a theoretical and practical part. The duration of the whole course is about 5 – 6 weeks. As it is difficult for me to get 5 weeks away from work in one go, Rob was very flexible and helpful by dividing the program in two blocks. I took the first block in February this year, during the Chinese New Year holidays, and completed the course in October.
Rob and his staff are a great team. Rob believes in quality, rather than quantity, and I could not have come to a better place for what I wanted to learn. What Rob does not know about sailing is not worth knowing, and I learned a lot of things you would never find in any book.
The area around Phuket, Krabi, and the beautiful Phang Nga Bay is truly paradise. During the live-aboard parts of the course, we would anchor every evening in another bay, giving us an opportunity to see a lot of different places in a short time. One of the highlights was the trip to Langkawi (Malaysia) in October.
When ‘Waratah’ is ready, I will sail her to Phuket where she will stay in Yacht Haven Marina for the time being. So I know now already quite a few beautiful places to sail to.
Below a few impressions of sailing in paradise.