The Adventure Begins - 17 Oct 2003

Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 6:53 AM
Subject: The Adventure Begins

To all those receiving this letter, this is a sort of story of our travels and the trials and adventures we will encounter. I hope it entertains as well as makes it clear where we are going and how soon we will likely arrive.
The boat is named "Wind Spirit" or "Jao Lom" in Thai. The present crew is comprised of Tony Vernetti and myself. We are expecting more crew and "passengers" in January and February. We are going to leave the Bang Bakong River in a couple of days. My father Jan and my younger brother Alex will hopefully join us for the first few days of our trip. My father has other obligations but Alex might stay for a while.
Tony and I have both been slaving away to get the boat ready to sail as well as outfitted to live in comfortably. This has involved bringing the essential sailing systems up to good running condition. I have worked on the electrical system and Tony has done quite a lot with the water systems; toilet, pumps etc. The anchors have been galvanized and two good rodes are set up.
I have worked extensively on the engine with the cooling system, the manifold, the exhaust system as well as the gear system which Tony help disassemble a few too many times.
The sails are prepared and ready and we are going to pick up a new fiberglass dingy in Pattaya on Saturday. Today is Thursday and we will be done painting the antifouling paint by Saturday morning and the boat is scheduled to go back into the water on Sunday. I think we will be leaving on Tuesday in the early morning. This should be the day before Christmas.
It seems less relevant here in Bang Bakong. It's a sleepy town with a small industrial / shipping district and a morning and evening market. So far we haven't managed to wake up in time for the morning market. It starts at about 4:30 am. It's a nice escape from Bangkok though and I find myself feeling more and more that the boat is home.
Merry Christmas to all of you in the States.
Our first destination will be Koh Sri Chang. There is a beautiful cove there, which we can spend our first night at. It is a place I am comfortable with which is important on our first night out in the Gulf of Thailand.
We will spend a day or two here and then move on to Koh Lan and some of the outer islands near the coast of Pattaya. Then we will head to southern Pattaya and possibly anchor in front of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club. This one is an "IF" because we are not members but I have been a member through my father for years. But it doesn't matter that much because we can anchor where ever we choose.
We will re-supply in Pattaya and hopefully I will be able to put in the second edition of this letter. If we do not spend long in Pattaya then we will definitely spend a few days off of Koh Samet around the point from Sattahip. I should have the opportunity there to send off a letter.
I am beginning to feel quite excited. It is getting harder to sleep at night. I have been working for a long time with all of my being to sail on this boat, to cruise and live that lifestyle. I must admit that sometimes it feels like too much work and effort.
I have been into Bangkok and the Harbor Department about four times now trying to get a piloting license. It takes me about 3 hours to get there and the time before last, I spent about six hours sitting around waiting for the "Front Ladies" (people who fill out all your forms and take them to the government officials and take your money and bribes as well) to complete my forms in Thai, get the registration and the piloting license I need. After 6 hours they told me that it was impossible to get a piloting license and I should just get a job in Thailand, work a year and then I could get the right visa and come back and get a piloting license.
I just about broke down and cried right there. Two years of work and some crooked old lady tells me I should just work for another year before I can sail.
The solution to this problem is obvious. Use my Fathers multitudinous connections to the elite, the holders of power and influence in Thailand. This solution worked quite well. The license will be issued this Monday and it will last for five years. I think I should have used that route from the beginning.
The next edition we should have some stunning shots for you all. Unfortunately I can only send 3 photos per letter but Tony seems to be able to send more so I will talk to him about this. For now I will just send a few letters for the photos.
Feel free to forward this letter to anyone I have missed. Craig and Marilyn, I did not include everyone at GenStar on my list so please forward it to everyone in Manufacturing for me.
Have a Merry Holiday season and I hope you spend it with people you love dearly.