Connect with us

Thai Life

At the mercy of the sea



There are two crazy Frenchmen sailing around the world on a tiny boat and they are here in Phuket but leaving in one hour. That was the first word we heard at the Gazette of the adventurers who were in Phuket on a brief hiatus from their voyage in Poseidon’s watery world.

Scenes from great ocean-faring tales were instantly resurrected in my mind, such as In the Heart of Sea, the real-life story full of tragedy, suffering and cannibalism, which was the inspiration for Moby Dick, and Sailing Alone Around the World, the epic maritime journey of Joshua Slocum’s solo sail around the world.

While they were scrambling to stock up on provisions and prepare for the next leg of their journey from Phuket to Sri Lanka before the tide started going out, intrepid sailors Alexandre Seux, 27, and Florian Masniere, 26, were gracious enough to sit down for a word with the Gazette.

Having departed Normandy, France in September 2012, the two Frenchmen looked the part: shoulder length hair bleached by the sun and whipped into a frenzy by the wind, bronzed skin from a year and a half out in the elements and a certain look in the eye that hints at some sort of water-borne wisdom only obtainable from time spent at sea.

“The project was to do a world tour, circumnavigation, on a 6.5 meter (21 foot) boat, so the challenge was to do the world tour with a small boat,” says Alexandre matter-of-factly.

The looming question was… why use a small boat? “The small boat is because we had no money. If we had bought a big boat, the sponsors would have looked at us and said ‘enjoy your trip on your 40 foot’, it’s too easy.”

The boat they chose to use is a Mini Transat 6.50 named Adonf. The Mini Transat is a purpose-built yacht designed for the solo transatlantic yacht race of the same name. Because of the extreme isolation one must endure in the race it has been called “mad” – likely as a reference to the state of mind one must be in by the finish.

Built in 1992, the Frenchmen’s Mini Transat lives up to its name, it is quite small indeed, having a length of 6.5 meters and a beam of 3 meters. However, the design enables the craft to plane like a motorboat and is capable of speeds up to 25 knots. Designed to sail single-handed, the rigging and quarters below deck were only intended for a single person. Since they have been exceeding the boats intended weight, they have had to deal with constant repairs of failing equipment.

“We have been sailing from Normandy to Spain, Portugal, Caribbean, then we crossed the Panama canal, we sailed to Galapagos and then the Marquesas in Polynesia. We stopped in Polynesia for four months because we broke our mast and at that time we needed to find more money,” explained Alexandre. “We were going upwind and that was not a good idea, we should have gone downwind. We didn’t make a good choice.”

After limping their boat from the “middle of nowhere” to Polynesia with a storm sail and the boom upended pretending to be a mast, they were forced to wait it out on the hard for a new mast to be shipped from the US. This delay gave them an opportunity to follow-up on another facet of their journey.

“The other part of the project is the economic project. When we tried to raise sponsorship, we talked about the sailing project, but we also told them that we will meet entrepreneurs around the world and write articles about them,” said Alexandre. The two sailors are passionate about sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). A significant focus of their project has been to search out entrepreneurs whose work promotes environmental stewardship.

With the new mast finding its way to Polynesia, and being fitted in place, they pointed the bow of their tiny boat west north-west and continued on to Bora Bora, the Philippines, Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore and, finally, Phuket. After a year and a half and roughy 15,000 nautical miles, they were able to rendezvous with family and friends for three weeks on Phuket.

There are far too many stories from their incredible adventure to publish on this page and they still have another six months to go. Alexandre told the terrifying story of Florian falling overboard in the middle of the night, the 19 tedious days it took to cover 1,000 miles to the Galapagos in the doldrums and the saddening truth of not being able to catch any fish for two months in the empty seas around Southeast Asia.

Preparing their boat, which looked like a tender compared to the boats surrounding it at the Royal Phuket Marina (RPM), they looked at home and eager to ride the tide out to sea on the next week-long leg of their journey to Sri Lanka. There, they hope to secure sponsorship to continue on the final push back to Normandy. Alexandre explained that, “After Sri Lanka there is a lot of piracy, we are not sure how we will manage it. The idea might be to load the boat on a cargo [ship] from maybe India to Egypt to avoid the risk and go sailing in the Mediterranean.”

The sailors wanted to thank Assistant General Manager of RPM Mete Izmen for allowing them to dock there for their stay as well as providing them with equipment to dry dock their boat for repairs.

It appeared that they have been the subject of certain judgments thus far in their trip. As they “battened down the hatches” and prepared to depart, Alexandre offered a final thought, “We know what it looks like, ‘two guys on a small boat sailing together’, but it’s not what you think.” So, ladies, have at them.

To learn more about or follow the rest of their sailing journey, visit or find them on Facebook at Defi Voile 6.50

— Jeremie Schatz


Get more from The Thaiger

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Travel14 hours ago

10 Isan food you need to try at least once

Thailand15 hours ago

VIDEO: Floods tear through highway in northeast Thailand

Crime15 hours ago

13 murdered, including 7 kids by Russian neo-Nazi

Sponsored24 hours ago

International money transfers made fast, secure and transparent with DeeMoney Neo App

Thailand16 hours ago

Vegetarian Festival on Yaowarat Road starts today

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Baht continues surge against strong dollar

Bangkok16 hours ago

VIDEO: Fire falls like rain from communication cables in Bangkok

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand17 hours ago

Father allegedy kills daughter’s cat for stealing his meatballs

Central Thailand17 hours ago

Whale watching season begins in Phetcha Buri

Special Features17 hours ago

Top 10 studio condos in Phuket (2022)

Crime18 hours ago

Thai court overwhelmed with evidence in Forex-3D fraud case

Tourism18 hours ago

Airport expansion plans hastened across Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Viral video: American man joins Thai dance in Isaan rite

Politics19 hours ago

China backs Thailand to make APEC a success

Politics20 hours ago

Gen-Z students oppose an unelected senate 17 to 1

Thailand20 hours ago

Foreigner allegedly using dogs to scam Chiang Mai locals

Thailand1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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