The SY Raja Laut in Myanmar
Gustav and I have been living aboard the SY Raja Laut for almost 11 months now. She’s a 100ft classic wooden sailing schooner built in 2006 in a shipyard somewhere in Malaysia – one of a kind. We joined her when she was still based in Myanmar. The first few months were spent sailing around the remote Mergui Archipelago. It took us a while to learn the ropes ( literally ) and adapt to a life full-time at sea.
For the first we weeks we didn’t have a cabin and slept on deck. Eventually, we converted the old deck wetsuit closet into our little room ( small but cosy ). The fellow Indonesian crewman had limited English skills so we were forced to pick up the Indonesian language pretty fast. It didn’t take us long to get fully settled onboard and become a part of the crew family.
Previous to the Raja Laut, both Gustav and I had limited sailing experience. Though we both grew up with the ocean as the center of our universe, moving onto the Raja Laut would be our first time living on a boat at sea for an extended period of time. We had a lot to learn.
January 2017, we sailed the Raja Laut from Myanmar south into Indonesian waters where she will be based for the upcoming years.
It did not take us long to discover that the highs are higher and the lows are lower aboard our floating home. When it comes to life at sea, everything is more exaggerated than life on land. When things are good, they truly are incredible. But when things are bad, there is no escape.
Within the 10 crew onboard, we each have our duty and job. Gustav and I are in charge of all water activities, excursions, adventures and general operations of running the entire vessel. Other jobs include the engineer and chef, the two stewards, the deckhands and of course the captain. All equally important. We are small team and family. So whenever possible, we help each other.
Akram is from Sulawesi and has been with the boat the longest ( over 10 years ) . He actually built the boat, even chopping down the trees to collect the wood that has now become her hull. He knows every inch of her like the back of his hand.
A sailing yacht becomes a very small space when offshore. When I say there is no escape, I really mean it. During our last 10 months aboard, we have learnt a great deal about each other and ourselves. With a full time crew of 10 people on a 100ft boat, personal space is the biggest challenge. Gustav and I share a 2 x 2 x 1 meter old closet as a room. It is crucial to give yourself and your each other personal space. Aboard the Raja Laut, we each have our favorite places to read, listen to music or just contemplate life and our world.
Why do we do this? Simply put, on a boat we can go places others can’t. We get the chance to visit and immerse ourselves in remote places that have not yet been destroyed by tourism. We spend months at remote island archipelagos with no airports or roads or ferry terminals. We have the freedom of picking a spot on a map and just going. As cheesy as this quote is, Mark Twain’s got a point:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disppointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain