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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Langkawi and Phuket

It is the time to sail again. Tomorrow we will begin our next passage and there will be nothing in the ocean to tell us which era we are sailing in.
After the brief stay in Langkawi and a change of crew we sailed out on the 29th of Apr heading out to a destination where we should have stopped first. But bureaucracy being what it is the ports and timings assembled in a manner that would make sense to bureaucratic logic but would not appeal to the reason of a sailor.
We headed into the night and squally weather which dispersed 20 knot winds. The boat heeled, first on starboard tack and then on port,  and as the wind died the following day she sauntered a slow passage to Phuket. We passed magnificent phallic rock crops enroute and never left sight of shore to the east.
By 0100 on 01 May we were knocking on the gates of Phuket. I had planned to arrive early so that i could kick start work on the same day and make best use of the short stop. But there was a minor glitch- I had not accounted for the fact that it was May Day. We delayed arrival to later in the day and were greeted by the DA, the agent and a beaming shore support who had already spent a couple of days preparing Phuket for out arrival.
Ottavio threw in a surprise with his wife and k1ds  visit the day we arrived. He is here for his Yatchmasters certification. To quote his wife, it was an "emotional experience ".
Work began in earnest soon enough though. The leak in the engine fuel pump and spurious alarms were looked into by the local Volvo Engineers. Muzza of Canvas Creations redid our rope bags and the stack pack while Rolly Tasker mended the A4.
The support crew did well to absent themselves from the boat for all but one day, which too was a glancing visit. I am glad the Mhadei has a high freeboard and all but the most determined make their way into her.
It has been more than a year since I took over as the skipper and did the treacherous South Atlantic crossing where we faced headwinds for the first 15 days. I had sworn then never to plan a sail into head winds but as luck would have it I am staring at another passage of 1500 miles bang into the South Westerlies that have already set it. As per the proposed plan we should have completed the voyage two months ago when the north easterlies were still blowing. Remind me not to accede to such plans ever.

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