Jason was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He first came to Thailand after being laid off from his corporate job working for a music record label (after a big merger). He hadn’t taken any time off between secondary school and university studies so it was a ripe time to go traveling. He left Calgary and never really looked back.
How did you get started in sailing?
I dinghy sailed a bit on the lakes in Canada but wasn’t very good as I didn’t want to fall into the cold water. I really caught on to keel boats while living in Vietnam when Morgan Hayes came into the mix establishing a yacht charter base out there and we started going out on the boats regularly. A few deliveries, sea shanties and countless beers later and I became hooked on yachting. Morgan is still one of best mates. (He’s a local Phuket yachtie as well.)
Favourite Sailing Film?
Captain Ron, but also recently The Mercy (2018) was very powerful.
Favourite Sailing Book?
Anything Dave Perry writes as he’s a great communicator and even more funny and approachable in person. Being from Canada - Farley Mowat’s The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float is a standard, and right now I’m reading Surveying Small Craft by Ian Nicolson.
Favourite Fictional Sailing Hero?
Well, my name is Jason so I’m kind of partial to that Argonaut fella but haven’t found my golden fleece yet. But I like Charles Vain and Anne Bonny from the Black Sails TV series - bad asses.
Favourite Real-Life Sailing Hero?
I’ve had the privilege of sailing with and against some Ocean Race, America’s Cup, and legendary world famous sailors but I’d have to say Henry Kaye. The guy is 80, has and is battling cancer and other ailments, and he still sails hard when he gets the chance to jump on the helm. Always provides constructive sailing chat in person, always aggressive on the water...living legend.
Edgartown Yacht Club - Martha’s Vineyard, USA - maneuver through a skinny channel, don’t hit the small car ferry, weave through some traffic, “Captain Ron handbrake turn” and tie up to the dock literally right next to the pub. Although, if you fail the park, you will never live it down. Fortunately, I nailed the park so got the almighty head nods from all the patrons and handed a cold one.
I’d have to say the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race is still up there. Start in iconic Victoria Harbour amongst the Hong Kong skyline. Almost 700nm, sending it downwind, offshore, racing from warm to warmer. Get into Nha Trang and rack up a multi-million Dong bar tab. Awesome.
Macleod Island, Myanmar. Imagine Koh Phi Phi in Thailand with nobody there. Crystal clear water, white sands, no big development (although it’s coming for sure).
Favourite Sailing Bar?
Three: IYAC in Newport, Corner Bar in Palma, Ska Bar in Phuket.
Favourite type of sailing boat?
Love racing multihulls, TPs, Fast 40s but I think if I could have a choice it’s the Marten 49. Racing, cruising, round the cans, round the world...my pick!
You have been living in places like New York and Poland, yet you come back to race in Phuket – what is it about the Andaman region that keeps drawing you back?
It’s just a great mix of good racing, camaraderie, and venue - on and off the water. Fierce battles on the race course become great chatter in the pub and most teams intermix in the regatta parties quite well. Delivery crews, world cruisers, pros, etc., all seem to mingle together. Besides racing, when I get a chance to cruise around as well, it’s a fantastic holiday yachting ground.
If you hadn’t spent so much time sailing, you would be...?
You studied anthropology at university; did you ever work in that field?
Not directly, but I apply things I learned every day, especially in a cross-cultural context traveling so much. Sailing with multinational teams and with a few languages on board, negotiating for spare parts in random places, etc, the degree comes in handy.