SY Esper sailed herself, and felt steady as a rock. An over-nighter in the shadow of mighty Ko Phetra had us gently rolling, but at anchor next to Ko Tarutao the next afternoon even Millie-the-cat turned green from the relentless swell.
‘Phuket’ conjures different images to different folks. To some it’s a luxurious holiday destination of palm-tree-white-sand clichés. Those with a different perspective might think of ping-pong girls, seedy ex-pats and Patong’s Bangla Road. To yachties it’s a useful destination, a great base from which to start a season sailing around the islands, or to begin the long voyage westwards across the Indian Ocean.
You know when everything is going along really well? And you sit back and enjoy yourself? And the wind is good, and the sky is clear? We discover just how long that feeling lasts in this next episode of our sailing log.
Welcome to the written version of our FTB Extra repowering video, in which we discuss in more detail Esper’s engine issues. After posting our initial issues up on social media we received an overwhelming level of support from around the world, from advice and ideas to links to spare parts and even a couple of engines. We really appreciate it, thank you to everyone who contributed.
We’ve taken on board all your suggestions and carefully considered each option. In this essay we break them down for you and look at repairing the engine, getting a recon engine, consider an electric/hybrid engine alternative and look at new diesel engines.
Wanderlust article: A call for help crackling over the Esper’s VHF radio reminds Liz Cleere how dependent round-the-world sailors are on the help of others
In this clip we show you our Patreon 300 t-shirt, which was designed specifically for all our Patreon supporters when we hit $300. We have another, exclusively designed t-shirt when we hit $800. At $500 YOU get to decide on the prize, and when we hit $1000 you’re in with a chance of sailing with us aboard Esper!
Apart from the deep joy of discovering that our engine has seized, it feels like some kind of nautical episode of ‘Back to the Future’ here on SY Esper
Our regular Sailing Log Diary on YouTube–which out of necessity runs a few months behind real time–shows Jamie sailing alone in Thailand with Liz back in the UK looking after her ailing mum. And yet, right now, Liz has just returned from her >second visit home to tend to Dottie while Jamie has been solo-sailing in Thailand.
In the words of Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads , “…it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…”
Jamie didn’t like the darkening skies, so he took a look at the forecast to discover some big weather coming in from the west. Fishing vessels, large and small, arrived from deeper water, dropping noisy anchor chain and crowding into the anchorage behind Ko Tarutao’s high hills. He told the others to prepare themselves for some potential big winds.
Sadly, for reasons beyond our control we are both on opposite sides of the globe this year, and can’t enjoy our usual special day. So we thought it would be nice to extend the seasonal tradition of exchanging gifts to include every one of our followtheboat subscribers across the world.
We made our run down the east side of imposing Tarutao, one of Thailand’s largest islands and the country’s first national marine park. Once a penal colony, it was the perfect place to cast away undesirables. With its unforgiving tropical rainforest, strong tidal currents and fierce salt-water crocodiles escape would have been impossible.
We arrived back at beautiful Ko Rok, the same point where we had broken the passage on our way north from Langkawi. It was as serene and scenic as we remembered and this time we were able to quickly find our old mooring buoy and get settled for the night. Within minutes Liz had the fishing line over the side…
While the boys played in 15 metres of water for 45 minutes, following fish, admiring the coral, playing with an eel and finding their lost equipment, Alicia and Liz stayed on the beach. The silk-smooth white sand only appears at low tide and they wanted to make the most of it.
…we received an unexpected call from the officer in charge, who invited Jamie to meet the skipper of the barge that rammed us. So he went back with Alica, leaving Liz and Millie-the-cat to guard Esper. After five cups of coffee Wat the translator arrived…
After a regular columnist for Wanderlust’s huge travel website dropped out, Liz was approached to step in for a one-off. With Peter, the editor, loving her feature so much, and Liz rediscovered her passion for writing once more, she is now a regular columnist, writing about our alternative lifestyle afloat.
We started to look on the bright side. We were insured. We were floating. The Portabote–swinging from the new davits–had taken most of the impact, acting like a large fender. If we had been hit anywhere other than the stern, Esper could have just started her life as Phi Phi Don’s new wreck dive.
We’re using so much music on our videos these days that we’ve decided to hold them all in one place. We have a new Soundcloud account, and each episode we’re adding our tracks for you to listen to at your leisure. You can listen to them as a playlist in the order in which they’re uploaded, or just pick and choose which track you want to hear.
We’ve embedded an audio player into our website. Just go to www.followtheboat.com/playlist and you’ll find all the tracks in one easy-to-navigate playlist. Scroll down over the playlist to see all the tracks.
We use DL-Sounds a lot for our audio tracks. They’re a great source of royalty free music and their downtempo/lounge selection is not only extensive but also really good quality. This type of music lends itself perfectly to many of our sailing scenes and ‘Get those vibes’ works perfectly in this week’s video clip.