Gone with the Wynns

Setting off again for Thailand

The American couple left their conventional life behind in 2011 to set off on the roads of North America. Five years later, with virtually no sailing experience, they bought a Leopard 43, and have been living on the water ever since. They recently took delivery of their brand new HH44, marking a new chapter in their lives.

Two months after taking delivery of Curiosity (the second boat of theirs to bear the name) at the HH Catamarans factory in China, Jason and Nikki sailed to Thailand with the help of members of the HH team, who were on hand for the first few weeks of sailing. But now it’s just the two of them leaving Subic Bay and heading for the north of Palawan province, aboard a catamaran that they are still getting to know. Nikki is still enthusing about the advantages of having an electric motor on board: “You can’t hear a thing! It is a beautiful thing to be able to leave an anchorage under electric. It’s so much quieter, so much calmer”.

This calmer ambience is made all the more enjoyable by the fact that the couple use a system of headsets to communicate during maneuvers, which means they can avoid shouting to each other from one end of the boat to the other.
In this part of the world, you need to be on your guard at all times to avoid the numerous fishermen’s traps, which prohibit night sailing. Another reason to be extra careful: the wind is particularly changeable, forcing Nikki and Jason to regularly adapt their sail trim: “We’ve just made our 18th sail change of the day! The wind has been all over the map!” explains Nikki, “There’s currently 9 knots of wind, 15 minutes from now it’ll be 20, then it goes to 25 then it goes to 30. It has been the weirdest day, but for good because it has been so active”. Jason continues, “It’s been a crazy hour and a half non-stop. When I was filming earlier it went from like 15 knots all the way up to 30 knots, so we quickly scrambled to put a reef in the main sail. We’re just getting used to this boat and it’s too hard to try and capture it and do it and think about all the steps and be safe.” This lively passage meant the opportunity to test the reliability of their new 44 in more challenging conditions. “It was more beating than we expected for sure, but the boat handles really well. It really punches through the waves, when it hits one hard and then pushes right through, that’s pretty exciting”.
Leaving Ambil Island behind, and with some trepidation, the pair entered a channel where the wind was blowing at 30 knots. However, they managed to successfully negotiate it. After that, the wind dropped back to 5 knots: the hardest part was over. It was time to make a stopover at Apo Reef, a small reef in the middle of nowhere, where they could take a break and enjoy its clear waters full of coral and fish. They couldn’t anchor there, as they didn’t want to damage the seabed, and so they had to tie up to one of the only three buoys available. As Jason grabbed the mooring line with the boat hook, the line slipped out of his hand. They got it right at the second attempt, but then had to attend to Jason’s fingernail, which had been damaged during the first attempt. “We were against the wind, so we came forward over the mooring ...

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