Some charter yachts are crewed, others are available as bareboats. Pride of the fleet at present is the brand new Lagoon 52F Blue Moon, which charters for €19,999 to €23,000 (approx. USD24,500 to USD28,200) a week excluding food and fuel, and comes with a skipper and hostess. The vessel sleeps 10 guests.

Launched last December, the Lagoon 52F is the first model in a whole new generation of Lagoons devised by the yard and its design partner VPLP. “With its diamond-shaped vertical bows, contemporary-styled hulls, levitated hardtop and a taller rig moved aft, the Lagoon 52 stands out from the crowd, says its makers. “Its originality goes a great deal further than just its outer appearance, or even its interior layout. The salon encompasses a lounge and dining table to starboard, a large galley to port which leads directly into the cockpit, and a chart table in the middle, facing out to sea.

Sunbathing off Phi Phi. Limestone cliffs are simply spectacular in these waters

“The 2018 Lagoon 52F is in five-cabin versions, including four queen cabins all with ensuite bathrooms and separate showers, plus a bunk-bed cabin with ensuite head. The cabins have incomparable natural lighting thanks to the fixed hull windows, plus excellent ventilation from deck hatches and portholes that open out hull-side or into the cockpit.

“The master is located further aft, which has many advantages on a cruising catamaran. A large forward triangle allows choice of fuller sails, and in turn the promise of great performance. The shorter boom makes the mainsail easier to manoeuvre. The mainsail itself, which is relatively narrower and higher, benefits from better winds at the top, thus enhancing performance by re-centering the weight in this way. Pitching is considerably reduced.

Chartering allows gourmet dining aboard, and Blue Moon comes with all mod cons

“The yacht is accessed by open aft transoms, facilitating boarding and disembarking. She has broad side decks, with recessed deck hatches. The cockpit is level with the salon, and has an outdoor lounge and sun-lounging area to starboard.

“The flybridge is reached either by a staircase leading from the cockpit, or by another from the deck on the starboard side. The steering station is positioned in the centre of the flybridge, giving the skipper optimum visibility. All ropes and controls are located on the flybridge, away from the living areas. The steering wheel also tilts and can be adjusted to three different positions, again to improve visibility under sail or when manoeuvring.”

For a week-long charter, Simpson suggests heading out from its Ao Po Grand Marina base, and as this is in the northern part of Phang Nga Bay strewn with sheer limestone cliffs, the so-called James Bond Islands, where The Man With The Golden Gun was part-filmed, and the interesting Sea Gipsy Village are within easy reach. Should this be regarded as too touristy, there are plenty of other spectacular and more isolated islands and passages to choose from.

Next Pelay Beach at Ko Hong, with its inland lake and bird’s nest collectors. By day four see Ko Kai or Chicken Island named after a rock formation at one end, where coral reefs and fishing are the principal attractions, and on to Ko Poda south of Ao Nang.

Day five is devoted to lovely Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley, although Yacht Style would be inclined to speed up the earlier itinerary and give Phi Phi two days, for there is much to do here. One inlet where The Beach was filmed now has restricted access.

Sail back to southern Phuket and maybe call ashore for lunch at Ao Chalong on day six, and on the last day head back up the east coast to Ao Po near the airport.

Other options could include visiting Krabi on the isthmus, the Racha islands used as a “gate” for Phuket-Pangkor Races in years past, or one may try visiting a Pearl Farm. A little trolling while under way often yields results. Simply round up to windward, to take way off, while reeling the fish in.

The late November-April, northeast monsoon, provides best sailing conditions in Phang Nga Bay, but the generally wet southwest monsoon often sees surprisingly good weather, fewer people and lower charter prices.

More details can be found at www.simpsonyachtcharter.com.

Words by Janet Ridley | Images courtesy of Simpson Yacht Charters

***This article is republished from Issue 42 of Yacht Style

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