KO RACHA YAI, Thailand // I always thought you could just take out the sails on any sailboat and go wherever you wanted. It turned out that was not the case. In the middle of the Andaman Sea on a random Tuesday at 11 o'clock in the morning there was no wind. Maybe there was 2 knots of wind, but that was it. At 2 knots with the full jib and mainsail out we were going at a pace of 1 nautical mile per hour.
Our destination was Koh Phi Phi which was over 20 miles away. Assuming the wind would not change direction, this would take us over 20 hours, and it felt as if we were physically not even moving. Instead, we turned the engine on and went at a pace of 5 knots and was there in 4 hours, right before sundown.
We also noticed that although sailing can seem fun and exhilarating at times, there is an incredible amount of downtime. After motoring for 6 hours in one direction with autopilot on you get restless. Think about a long car ride for 6 hours where you are on cruise control and you don't even have to touch the wheel. We found ways to entertain ourselves listening to Thai radio stations, playing ukulele, and making food.
When the wind did pick up to 7 knots we were finally able to sail and do some tacks and jibes. We also got a chance to play around with moving the boat from close hauled to a beam reach, taking out the sails, and trimming them in. This was fun, and sailing around southern Thailand was awesome. We got to see so much of the country this way, especially areas where few people visit. Sailing was a skill that we decided to learn a few years ago, and this adventure makes that investment of time so worth it.