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Phuket sailor plans world record attempt

PHUKET: A Phuket man is on the hunt for support crew and a boat to help assist him set a new world record for the longest distance sailed in a Laser dinghy.


Claire Connell

Thursday 14 March 2013, 05:23PM


Yassine Darkaoui, originally from Morocco but resident in Phuket for around 18 months, decided to attempt the impressive task as a way to show that “it is possible to make your dreams a reality”.

Yassine was a drug addict for more than eight years, but has been ‘clean’ and medication free for the last two. He now says he’s a “dinghy addict” instead, and sails on the water whenever he can.

“The main purpose of this is to show people it is possible to take control of their life again. It is possible to change the direction of your life and make your dreams a reality.

“I love sailing, and this is a challenge for me. I’m not just going to try, I will do this. But of course, the sea has its challenges.”

Yassine has been sailing boats for the last 22 years, including the Laser for around two decades. He was in the Moroccan national Laser team, and now sails regularly in Phuket.

He plans to leave Nai Yang Beach for the Similans in his Laser, on loan from the Royal Thai Navy, before sailing to Koh Tarutao, close to the Malaysian island of Langkwai, and then returning to Ao Yon – a total distance of 370 nautical miles.

While the previous record is around 300 nautical miles, Yassine will aim for 370 for logistical reasons.

He currently works in Phuket as a freelance internet marketer, while studying English (he already speaks Spanish, French, Arabic and his native Moroccan dialect).

“Once I do this I will move onto my other goal, of creating an international sailing school. And there’s another record I want to do, but that’s a surprise.”

The world record attempt will need to be done under strict watch, with officials requiring GPS tracking records, videos and photos in order to confirm the attempt is legitimate.

All the documents, plus the journey itself, needs to be verified by a notary – something Yassine doesn’t think will be a problem.

Something more difficult to find, however, are qualified people for a support boat.

He needs at least one more person and ideally up to four people, to sail alongside him on a support boat to keep an eye on him throughout the journey. Already confirmed is Pornprom Sagultem, a captain in the Royal Thai Navy and the commander of the Thai Navy sailing school.

“I’m an experienced sailor,” Yassine said. “But the laser is a very small boat, only four metres long.

“In rough weather it is difficult to spot [on the sea], and it’s my life too – so I want to be okay if something happens.”

Anyone interested in helping Yassine should visit his blog andamanlaserchallenge.blogspot.com or email totemtech@gmail.com.



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