From sun worshipping holidays, to walking treks and regular skiing trips, it would be fair to say that Steve and Anna have not only enjoyed travelling all over the world, but the couple appear to have embraced most forms of recreational and relaxation experiences that can be derived from one’s annual leave! At the beginning of this year, with four friends, they left England to explore the stunning coastlines of Thailand on a chartered Lagoon 440. Upon request, they have kindly agreed to put themselves in the spotlight because, they told us, “It turned out to be one of the best holiday choices we have ever made.”
What made you decide on a sailing holiday in Thailand?
1: “ We’d been to Thailand about 4 years ago when we chartered a 55 foot Jeanneau bare boat, which 10 of us sailed around the islands. We absolutely loved the spectacular shoreline scenery and coupled with such a wonderfully relaxing sailing experience, we were determined to return with other friends to give them a taste of what we considered to be the ultimate break ‘away from it all’“
Why did you charter a Lagoon 440?
2: “ Having made the decision to return, we knew that we wanted a catamaran because you can get in so much closer to the beaches and obviously the big plus is, you’re also benefitting from far more spacious living accommodation. Basically, you are only ever in your cabins to sleep because it is so hot, so we wanted as much outdoor living space as possible. We went specifically to catamaran charterers and immediately picked on the Lagoon 440 owners version because it had three double berths with three separate heads, PLUS it was the only one that had air conditioning. However, the electric fans in the cabin proved to be just as effective!”
Once on board, how did you find the cruising experience?
3: “ Understandably, we were somewhat wary initially, having only ever sailed keel boats, but with the twin engines it was incredibly easy to manoeuvre, surprisingly quick and as easy to handle as quoted. There are no marinas on the whole of the Andaman Sea, aside from two in Phuket, so you are in the main, dropping anchor off beach resorts when you want to go ashore and dine in the restaurants or simply take in the local Island life. Sailing was absolutely effortless, especially given the electric winches, and out of the six of us, only two had any previous sailing experience so it was great fun and an extremely safe learning ground for our novice crew. As soon as a sunny bay was found the sails were brought down and the girls would be sunbathing on the trampolines. The scenery in this area is absolutely breath taking and with fantastic restaurants and resorts on the Islands, they are all catering for this sort of holiday. There are also a lot of deserted islands to explore. The beauty of this sort of holiday is, as you pass something, or an island of interest, you have the time and ease of ability to simply stop and explore. We immediately discovered that we could get to places which are ridiculously busy such as Maya Bay ( where the famous Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed), early in the morning before the crowds arrived, and sight see the very best at our own pace. These destinations now get absolutely packed since Hollywood arrived. However, in total contrast, the afternoon might see us enjoying a barbeque off the pushpit on the back of the boat, where long tail fishing boats would come and sell us langoustines and their ‘catch of the day’ for a couple of cans of beer and a couple of baht!
Did the boat meet and/or exceed your expectations?
4: "It was, for all six of us, above and beyond all expectation. The flybridge was just brilliant because of the panoramic views; it was easy to moor, and again, the freedom and the amount of space the Lagoon offers, we believe are unrivalled, Anchoring was a joy, because it so easy – as was navigating with the chart plotter, both downstairs and on the helm. Basically you are able, if you choose, to set your course and simply head off on autopilot. Obviously we kept our eyes peeled for fishing buoys!"
What were your favourite aspects of this shared holiday experience ?
5: "The independence that gave us a completely stress free holiday dictated by our own timetable. The peace, the beauty and the privacy we were able to enjoy, despite having six people on board. It was absolutely idyllic. We would not hesitate in recommending this kind of total ‘unwind’ to anyone else."
Any plans for another similar journey ?
"Absolutely! We’re already ‘debating’ whether to go and explore the Med or the Caribbean."