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Phuket had been hampered for years by political, infrastructural and tax problems, from a sailing prspective, that made the growth of the sport slower than it normally would have been. Today, with marinas full, more being planned and the number of amazing sailboats soending time here on the increase, the future is bright and Phuket is on the road to becoming one of the top destinations in the world for sailing, as it should have been for a long time. The list of sailors who have travelled the world, and settled here due to the unique qualities on offer here is long, a good example of why this island will become a greate sailing destination.

We began ourexploration of the great routes to sail from Phuket by interviewing the great local sailors based here, those that know these waters inside and out. Most of the somewhat hidden locations and areas to sail and explore were unanimous. Thailand has over one thousand miles of mainland coastline bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. With thousands of islands, the opportunities are endless. The climate is tropical and the beaches are palm fringed, with pristine white sand, crystal water and superb coral reefs.

Phuket is also a great place from which to explore surrounding countries with the luxury resorts here and ease of transportation in and out. Add to that the renowned friendliness of the Thai people, their magnificent cuisine and culture - and Thailand has deservedly become Asia's premier cruising destination. The Thai coastline and islands are not in a hazardous weather zone; there are no typhoons and even the seasonal monsoons are mild in comparison with ocean weather and stroms. Great sailing is available all year, even on the Andaman Sea coast which does have some seasonal monsoons. As we found out last month in the history, this weather and breeze directions led to Phuket and surrounding areas becoming a great stopover throughout maritime history for boats working the spice trade.