Please select your home edition
ETNZShop-Merch-728x90 HR Top

Yassine Darkaoui: off on a long trip, again.

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 16 Dec 2018 01:08 PST
Yassine Darkaoui - the Long Trip © Yassine Darkaoui

In 2014 Yassine Darkaoui attempted to beat the long distance single-handed dinghy record – variously reported as being 50nm (Asia), 300 nm (Tania Callas, in Mexico) and 798 nm (Christian Kargl, Croatia) but with overnight stops.

On that occasion, Darkaoui sailed 211 nm in 77 hours, on a route from Ao Yon to Phi Phi and Koh Racha and back, returning to Phuket more than once to collect food and water from a support boat anchored off Ao Yon.

Squalls were his worst enemy. “Every time I saw a squally coming, I had to change my route. For the first maybe six hours I was scared, because I had a bad experience sailing around Racha before, and I was thinking I should stop. But after that, I started getting more comfortable and I decided I should stay and enjoy it.”

“It is part of the game, to feel scared and cold. It was scary because a lot of fishing boats don’t have lights. When there were storms and lightning, it was a bit scary because the dinghy is a very small boat. Many times I didn’t have cellphone reception, and it was impossible for me to call [for help].” Darkaoui ended up returning to Ao Yon after suffering severe pain and bleeding buttocks, caused by the humidity, the salt water and the rain. He says he also suffered hallucinations.

“I had to wait a lot because there wasn’t much wind, and it was very difficult to sail. I had to sit in very uncomfortable conditions. Physically I was okay, it was more about the pain – it was just too much. I was bleeding. The last 15 or 20 kilometres I had to kneel, because I couldn’t sit anymore. I knew I already had the Asian record and the time record, so I decided to stop.”

Now Darkaoui is off on another adventure, having found support from the Hua Hin Sailing Club in the shape of a new, fully rigged, Laser. “A few months ago – July or even earlier - I decided to go for another long journey on a Laser. Instead of finding sponsors first and then training for the challenge, I started with body and mind conditioning, and will move soon to Hua Hin for a couple of weeks of sailing training. I already have one sponsor, and I’m actively looking for another - I sell spots on my sail. Once I find the second one I'll settle in Hua Hin for few weeks, using the time to prepare body and mind better, and also "learn" more about the Gulf of Thailand.

The distance that Darkaoui intends to use as a benchmark is 800km. “My journey will be from Hua Hin to Sattahip (same as the King of Thailand sailed 1966), and then down to Koh Chang, back to Hua Hin, then Sattahip and finally back to Hua Hin to finish where I started.”

“I'm doing this as a personal challenge, looking for the ‘natural high’. For water, Darkaoui will carry a small Katadyn desalinator, and for food he will prepare a paste made with different nuts and local leafy vegetables. He intends to fish along the way. “Raw meals, of course.”

“What will be, I think, most challenging is finding the turning marks (Sattahip and Hua Hin) especially if the weather and visibility is poor. Rain and darkness won’t help. And on the leg from Koh Chang to Hua Hin – well, that is 300km across open sea, and I am going to have to look out for commercial traffic.

Interested readers will be able to follow his forthcoming journey online through YBTRACKING, and Yassine’s blog can be found at His Facebook page is "Always higher 4.0"

Related Articles

2020 Laser Masters Europeans in Andora overall
Two races held on the final day in difficult conditions The 2020 Laser Master European Championships successfully concluded today in Andora, Italy, after five days of competition. Posted on 22 Oct
2020 Laser Masters Europeans in Andora day 4
Much stronger winds with a 2 metre swell Sailing conditions changed dramatically on the fourth day at the 2020 Laser Master European Championships in Andora, Italy. Sunny days with light breeze and flat water were over and switched to dark grey sky with 12-16 knots from the East. Posted on 22 Oct
UKLA Noble Marine ILCA7 Autumn Qualifier
Weymouth hosts first and only autumn qualifier It was a rather cold affair with the first and only autumn qualifier getting under way at WPNSA. The racing was once again in the harbour and on the Saturday there was 10-12 knots of breeze coming from the East. Posted on 21 Oct
2020 Laser Masters Europeans in Andora day 3
Two races held for both fleets after a long postponement A light breeze in the morning forced a postponement on shore. The Race Committee removed the AP flag at 13:50, sending both fleets to the course for two new races in the afternoon with around 6-8 knots from NE – ENE. Posted on 20 Oct
2021 Catalyst IT Laser Nationals preview
Sam Meech is planning to make the most of the available domestic racing opportunities With limited ability to travel, Sam Meech, the 2021 New Zealand Laser Olympic representative is planning to make the most of the available domestic racing opportunities on the calendar. Posted on 19 Oct
2020 Laser Masters Europeans in Andora day 2
First scoring race held as light winds continue This second day of competition started with very light breeze. The Race Committeee could start a first race in the morning but the wind died after three legs and the race was abandoned. Posted on 19 Oct
Liam Glynn secures PB
At Laser European Championships in Poland Ballyholme Yacht Club's Liam Glynn has secured a personal best and 43rd overall after six days of racing against 126 international competitors in Gorki Zachodnie, Poland. Posted on 19 Oct
2020 Laser Masters Europeans in Andora day 1
No racing possible due to light winds The 2020 Laser Master European Championships racing started today in Andora, Italy, but unfortunately no racing could be held due to the light wind conditions. Posted on 18 Oct
ILCA/Laser - High Performance Tips with Sam Whaley
In the video Sam gives us his set up top tips on getting the best performance In the video Sam gives us his set up top tips on getting the best performance from the Laser on the race course. Posted on 15 Oct
2020 ILCA 7 Masters at Pevensey Bay
Six high quality races held for the 23 sailors A great weekend of wonderful racing, for both the experienced Laser/ILCA sailor and the club sailor (over 33 years old) with Orlando Gledhill becoming the new ILCA7 Masters Champion. Posted on 14 Oct
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 BottomVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1RS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - FOOTER