Koh Phi Phi Don - 07° 43’ 34” N 98° 46’ 20” E

Shake-down sails are just that – a test of all systems to find out the problems before a race.  A few hours after we motored out of Krabi marina, we decided to bring up the brand-new headsail (the headie) and see how it looked.  As sheets were pulled and , a terrible rrrriiiipppp-ing sound came back from the front of the boat.  The track the sail travels up had jammed, the sail filled with wind and headie had torn all the way along the leading edge!

Storm clouds in the distance
Suddenly, we had repairs to make and a situation.  A VERY ominous-looking cloud and rain squall had been developing behind us, but we hadn’t been too concerned because we expected to sail away from it. As well, we needed to get underway as we really shouldn’t take our illegal alien selves back to Krabi Marina to get another headsail.  Craig was able to negotiate the marina staff jumping in their runabout and meeting us halfway.  Cam volunteered to be hoisted up the mast to check the track for the headsail, hoping the whole time that the squall behind us didn’t develop into a thunderstorm.  Being up a twenty-seven metre metal pole when there is lightning about isn’t a situation you want to be in.  

All went smoothly though: thanks to Craig’s negotiating skills, three workers from the boatyard came in a runabout and brought us a fresh headie in the pattering rain; Cam cleared the headie track without getting electrocuted and we outran the storm and made it to a busy anchorage offshore of Ko Phi Phi Don by 10 pm.  We all went ashore, happy to have completed the first leg of the journey, roughly on schedule.  We treated ourselves to a marvelous and inexpensive curry dinner and beer, then set off behind Cam who insisted he knew of a great local hotspot called The Reggae Bar that would be completely devoid of reggae music but that featured Thai boxing. 

The island vibe, even at 11 pm, was very ‘backpacker’.  Scores of tiny, little two-metre-wide souvenir shops, thump-thump discos, bars and full-with-a-waiting-line tattoo parlours lined the path Cam took us down.  Finally, there we were, watching drunken tourists climb into the ring to be fitted with headgear, gloves and leg padding.  They then tried to knock each other more senseless, Thai boxing style, in order to get a fake gold medal and a free bucket of drinks.  Young, scantily-clad twenty-something temporary runaways from western civilization sat with their new body art and cold Singhas, watching the world go by.

Time for us oldies to head for our bunks!

Cameron up the mast
Sun above us
The 'bucket' is full of a mixed drink
Sean happily at the helm


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