At 1220 yesterday (28 May) Yassine Darkaoui launched himself and his Laser from Ao Yon Sailing School in Phuket, Thailand, and set off on his own personal Andaman Laser Challenge, attempting to break the world record for a non-stop Laser voyage. He has to go five times around his specified route to make the distance - 301nm
Yassine Darkaoui takes off on his Andaman Laser Challenge
The record he is trying to break is that of Tania Elías Calles Wolf, a Mexican Olympian laser sailor who, in 2010, sailed 300nm non-stop in a Laser.
However, it is very likely that Guinness will not accept the Andaman Laser Challenge as a bona fide record attempt – Yassine describes it as ‘a kind of free style sailing, with no support boat – but he considers the trip to be more of a private challenge than a public feat. The recorded GPS track will be the proof of the distance, and local media and the French Consul are enrolled as witnesses.
After several months of waiting – for a mast, for sails, for a support boat and for some help with insurance – Darkaoui finally took off alone, unsupported, in an attempt to break the Guinness Record for Longest Sea Journey in a Open Dinghy – all he has to do is sail more than 301 nm around a self-designed course of ‘loops’ in the Phuket area – around Phuket, Phi Phi and Racha, all to be recorded on a GPS. He set off without a support boat (not forthcoming) and without insurance (no offers).
Looking for a quiet and undramatic departure, Darkaoui set off with only a few people to wish him well – a few close friends, the owner of the Ao Yon Sailing School (Paul Firmin) and a journo to keep ‘em all honest.
You can follow Yassine Darkaoui’s progress on the Andaman Laser Challenge FB page and on andamanlaserchallenge.blogspot.com
At 2300h last night Darkaoui was suffering from lack of breeze, somewhere near Koh Racha, but by the morning of 29 May had completed a full lap of the Phuket - Phi Phi - Racha triangle, constituting one-fifth of the requisite distance.
Watch this space...