La Vagabonde

A baptism of fire in the South China Sea

The family of adventurers has finally witnessed the launch of La Vagabonde, the third boat to bear this name, a brand new Rapido 60 trimaran. Mixing emotion and excitement, the crew are learning how to handle their new floating home... and facing up to the difficulties of their first voyages.

Who: Elayna, Riley, Darwin and Lenny
Where: Nha Trang, Thailand to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Multihull: Rapido 60
YouTube : @SailingLaVagabonde
The long-awaited launch of La Vagabonde III finally arrived! Elayna and Riley took part in a traditional ceremony for their Rapido 60, which was resting comfortably on her chocks, in the company of the shipyard staff. Counterfeit banknotes were burnt, and incense and food were placed on an altar near the trimaran to grant her the protection and goodwill of the sea gods. Almost three years after announcing on their YouTube channel that they had chosen a Rapido 60 as the successor to their Outremer 45, Elayna and Riley were delighted to discover the finishing touches and layout of their new home, where they chose almost every detail. “Seeing ideas and dreams of ours come to life like this is so addictive,” says a delighted Elayna. As well as going from two to three hulls, one of the big new features for the couple is access to Starlink, an essential tool for their lifestyle as seafaring influencers: “Over the years, we’ve struggled to traverse the world as digital nomads,” she recalls, “During the early days, it was a challenge of living with my ancient laptop trying to edit whilst uploading episodes from strange offices or hotel lobbies around the world. If only the Elayna of 2015 had known just 8 years later, we’d be calling this place home…”

But it was finally time to get down to business, which consisted of craning the boat up and then lifting it over the many trees that still separated it from the water. Riley climbed aboard while Elayna watched from the ground, not without apprehension: “That was terrifying for me to watch, but they did a good job,” she announced once the perilous operation was complete. It was an emotional moment for the new owners and the shipyard representatives, with a sense of relief, excitement and the start of a new adventure.

The Rapido team, made up of Mark, Paul and Zam, then took charge of delivering the boat from Ho Chi Minh City to a marina in Nha Trang, where the family could begin loading their belongings on board, shipped from the States where they had been waiting since parting company with La Vagabonde II. It was also an opportunity to learn more about the trimaran from Mark... and to battle with the authorities over a visa problem for Riley and Darwin, which forced them to leave Vietnam temporarily while Elayna and the Rapido team embarked on a few short sails to detect any problems that might need sortingout. “I really wish Riley could be here, but at the same time, I’m happy he’s not because I’m learning more. It’s the default situation for the man to take charge and take the helm and crank the winches but… I’m the captain today!” smiled Elayna. For the first time, she discovered the potential of their brand new trimaran: “I was so amazed by the tacking angles we can tack through pm the Rapido, they had to be seriously close to 90°. It’s like a racing monohull, when you trying to make way that is such a huge win.”

Once the visa problem had been sorted out and Riley and Darwin were back on board, it was time to leave Vietnam and head for Malaysia, still in the company of Mark, Paul and Zam. Their presence was reassuring, and a few extra hands were welcome for this first long sail, especially as the weather conditions were rather complicated: “There is a typhoon that has just come over the Philippines. The sky is so full of rain it is dumping down on us right now and there is lighting everywhere, it is so loud…”
Nevertheless, these conditions enabled Riley to see the potential of the Rapido for himself: “We’re hitting a lot of 15 and 16 knots. I’m just starting to experience the power of this boat and It’s pretty incredible!”
The first night at sea proved to be a difficult one. While Elayna was looking after the feverish, seasick children, the 50 knots of wind took its toll on one of the sails, and it was a struggle to secure the torn remains. “The crew was surprised by a wall of wind and water, destroying not only our external microphone but our whole staysail.” On top of that there were problems with the two engines, which wouldn’t start, and lots of water in the cabin, where one of the windows hadn’t been closed properly... Riley summed up that tumultuous first night as follows: “We did quite a good job of learning and staying alive!”

The second night, which was calmer both in terms of the weather and seasickness, enabled the crew to get some rest and then take full advantage of the much more comfortable sailing conditions on the third day (8 knots over the ground in 19 knots of wind). The calmer conditions enabled Riley to resolve some battery and electric propulsion problems with the help of the equipment suppliers and the welcome presence of Starlink. The crew put in at a Malaysian marina for repairs and work, which were badly needed before they could set off again to discover Asia.

To follow the adventures of the crew of La Vagabonde on their brand-new multihull, visit their YouTube channel @SailingLaVagabonde

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