Connect with us


Phuket sailor breaks two records

Legacy Phuket Gazette




PHUKET: “I’m hoping it will take me no more than 48 hours,” Yassine Darkaou told me when I met him in Ao Yon in Cape Panwa, on Wednesday May 28, minutes before he took off for his record breaking journey. A grueling 77 hours later he reached the shore again, with not one, but two records in his possession, neither of them, however, were the one he was aiming for.

Darkaou was trying to sail the longest distance ever in a single handed dinghy. The current record is held by Tania Elías Calles from Mexico, who sailed 300 nautical miles, which took her 65 hours to achieve. Even though Yassine spent 77 hours on the water, he covered 89 miles less – 211 nautical miles. Still enough to make him the world record holder for the longest time spent sailing a dinghy and Asian record holder for the longest sail in this type of boat.

“Tania Elías Calles was sailing from point A to point B. We, on the other hand, have a lot of islands here and changeable winds so I had to adjust the route on the go.”

“About 40 per cent of the time I didn’t have wind so to finish 300 miles I’d have to stay on water for 5-6 days,” explained Yassine, “Once I was on the water I had to adapt my strategy. There were a lot of surprises, the wind wasn’t at all like in the forecast and I had to find new ways to finish.”

Sitting for 77 hours in the limited space and exposed to the elements took its toll on the 35-year-old, Moroccan sailor. Salt water, sweat and humidity caused serious skin irritation eventually leading to bleeding “At the end, I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit anymore. I tried different positions, even on my knees, but it was not possible.”

All this time fighting against the elements was also a challenge to his adventurer’s spirit, “The most difficult part was when I was coming back for the food and I had to say goodbye to my girlfriend Adelaide. She was the representation of comfort that I had to say goodbye to again and again.”

“I also had hallucinations. For a while I could clearly hear Sufi music ringing in my ears. It was beautiful.”

It took two years of preparations – both physical and formal, to take up the challenge. No wonder Darkaou feels relieved having completed his goal. “I feel relaxed because this was something I was waiting for for a long time, it took a long time to happen and I’m glad we did it.”

“It was definitely worth it and a lot of fun. It was a big pleasure. Sailing is beautiful and I like the dinghy because it keeps you closer to the elements, you have to be their friend, feel the current, the wind.”

Even though Yassine has just completed the challenge he isn’t daunted by the idea of getting back on water. In fact, he’s already dreaming of another challenge.

“Next, I want to sail from the North to the South of Phuket in the fastest possible time, maybe in July or August. But for now, I’ll go back on the water just to have fun.”

Yassine and his team will celebrate his achievement on Thursday (June 5) in the newly opened La Boucherie Grill & Steakhouse in Chalong. For more details go to or

— Maciek Klimowicz


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 mins ago

Australia, Asia, and Africa deal with the Covid-19 Omicron variant

Thailand11 mins ago

HM The King returns to Thailand for Father’s Day commemorations

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Omicron spreads to 38 countries, 10 US states; Remdesivir recalled

Transport3 hours ago

Hua Lamphong “won’t be torn down” | VIDEO

North East3 hours ago

Penis park in Khon Kaen is urging visitors to hug a member

Food4 hours ago

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Bangkok | VIDEO

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism4 hours ago

Maya Bay on hold, but preparations for an eventual reopening continue | VIDEOS

Indonesia14 hours ago

Volcano eruption in Indonesia; 1 dead, thousands flee

Drugs15 hours ago

Customs department seizes 897 kg of meth headed to Taiwan

Northern Thailand17 hours ago

Tiger in Kamphaeng Phet on the loose for a fifth day

Chiang Mai18 hours ago

Chiang Mai and Hua Hin can now serve alcohol in restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Koh Samui Airport scrutinising international arrivals for Omicron

Thailand19 hours ago

PM says government move to digital technology will grow economy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

COVID-19 SATURDAY: 5,896 infections, 37 deaths, provincial data

Tourism24 hours ago

Chon Buri and Pattaya bar scene get good news, but at what cost?

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11