The first in a series of articles on Esper’s complete refit in Thailand, originally written for Sailing Today magazine. We are reproducing the original articles on FTB complete with new photographs… Remaining on a pontoon in India for two years, despite basic servicing and upkeep, had led to some general deterioration of our boat. But for SY Esper to stand a chance of completing a passage to South Africa, she needed to be in the best possible shape. So we spent a full season planning, servicing and preparing.
Koh Phayam, a tiny island off Thailand’s Andaman coast, has long been a favourite with intrepid yachties. As we secured our anchorage at the Sun Resort on Buffalo Bay, we quickly discovered why.
It sometimes feels like there are few islands left in Thailand that haven’t been turned into tourist hotspots. Koh Phayam is still one of them, but development is fast bringing it into line with its more famous rivals. There are still no cars, no post and no hotel blocks. Hot water is a luxury and air conditioning is available in only one bungalow resort.
Long term sailor Liz Cleere remembers her best Christmases at sea and reveals how to enjoy the festive season away from home in style
Around-the-world sailors Liz Cleere and Jamie Furlong are noticing dangerous changes in weather patterns on their travels, which is affecting their plans and causing concern
A new word for an age-old problem: people who anchor right next to you in a bay three miles wide. No excuse for it, it comes down to lack of etiquette and politeness.
Wanderlust article: Liz Cleere and Jamie Furlong are celebrating a decade on the high seas. Liz reveals the highs and the lows and why she hopes their sailing adventure never ends
With visitors to Thailand being asked to show more respect while the nation mourns the passing of their King, Liz Cleere ponders on how to travel with sensitivity and understanding.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll no doubt have heard that we lost Millie overboard. In our latest vlog we cover off the story. We’ve changed things around a bit on the video front. The editing is faster and we’re trying to engage more with our viewers by answering questions and covering off topics that you might find interesting. If you have any questions about being a cruiser, or about anything else for that matter, please do send us a message and we’ll try our best to answer it in a future episode.
As Jamie and Liz sail into areas that were devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, they consider their options should the unthinkable happen again.
How/when/why did we end up living this alternative, slightly crazy life? It will be 10 years in December. Blimey!
There were still a few more days before our Thai visas expired, so we took a slow sail south from Phang Nga bay. Ao Chalong sits on the south-eastern corner of Phuket and is the place where sailors and boats go to check in and out of Thailand.
With stealth-like cunning and Lulu’s voice still ringing in our ears above the sound of our outboard motor, we were up before the sun. As we sped towards Khao Phing Kan, we just lacked black wetsuits and Walther PPKs to make the Bond-esque picture complete. Ten minutes later, we had our reward for missing out on breakfast and coffee: we dragged our dinghy up an empty beach.
Just as we left Langkawi Liz had a call from her brother to say their mum, who was diagnosed with Parkinsons ten years ago, wasn’t doing very well. So Liz helped Jamie take SY Esper a couple of hundred miles north to Ao Chalong before jumping on a plane back to the UK. This could be our last sail together for a long time, so we needed to make it count.
We undertook a complete refit of SY Esper in 2014. We were told it would take three months, BUT we knew it would probably be six months. Pretty soon nine months seemed optimistic, then as we kept adding new jobs we reached a year! In February 2015 we left PSS Shipyard with what was almost a brand new boat. Here’s the whole refit squished down to a couple of minutes.
It took nine months to line up an interview with Steve and Brandy of The Sailing Rode but we got there in the end, and it was great fun chatting on Skype.
The Sailing Rode is a great series of podcasts put together by two cruisers, Steve and Brandy, aboard their boat S/V Wiki Honu. They document their sailing adventures but also broadcast interviews with other yachties, and this week it was our turn.
Wanderlust article: After a few months stuck on land, sailor Liz Cleere hits the water again and heads for the legendary hongs of Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay.
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.