SEAP Southeast Asia Pilot-1

The authors & other contributors

Bill O'Leary - author

Bill O’Leary

Author, subject matter expert & photography

Bill (aka Billo’) is an Australian multi-ticketed professional mariner who arrived in Thailand as crew on the renowned racer-cruiser, Stormvogel, in 1987. He joined Amanresorts as founder of Amancruises, the first hotel-affiliated luxury yacht charter company in Southeast Asia. Over his 21 years based at Amanpuri in Phuket he managed more than 60 luxury vessels and trained upwards of 150 crew in the waters off eight of the countries described here.

He spent eight years consulting for the Malaysian Government’s Sovereign Fund Khazanah Nasional as general manager marine operations, project champion and subject matter expert for several green field, ground zero luxury beachfront resorts, marinas and international ferry terminals.

Granted Thai citizenship in 2013, he believes sustainable development of yachting services and facilities is a key catalytic driver for economic multipliers directly benefiting local communities. His knowledge of the locations described in this guide is based on 38 years chartering, guiding, managing and delivering vessels and marine-related developments all over Southeast Asia. He is a director of the crew training facility Galileo Maritime Academy at Yacht Haven and co-founder of Miracles Asia, Thailand’s leading Drug and Alcohol rehab.

Bill is married to Carolyn, has four grown children and calls Phuket home.

Grenville Fordham - author

Grenville Fordham

Author, charts, photography, editing, design, layout & project management

British-born Grenville moved to Thailand in 1995 after a career in international marketing, which saw him travel the world many times over, including a two-year spell living in Singapore in the 80s. An established international freelance writer, he’s been editor of two national magazines and currently is the prime mover behind Southeast Asia Pilot’s new publishers, Phuket Publicity Services. In mid-2019, he sold his 20-year-old publishing and events company, Image Asia, to focus exclusively on Southeast Asia Pilot.

On moving to Phuket in 1998, Grenville discovered boats, an accident that led to his company founding the first Phuket Boatshow (PIMEX) and Phuket Raceweek (a regatta), both in their 21st years as this book goes to print. In 2009, he led the team redeveloping the Phuket Yacht Club (then Ao Chalong Yacht Club) and served as Commodore in 2011/2012. Having sold his sailing catamaran in 2018, he plans to spend his new-found free time exploring the Southeast Asia coastline by land – and on other people’s boats.

Grenville lives in Phuket with his Thai wife, Jiab. Having fled the nest, his daughter Nina lives in Bangkok.

Anil Thadani - Contributor

Anil Thadani

Vessels & logistics for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Palau, Vanuatu & The Solomons

Anil founded Asia’s first private equity business in 1981 and now runs his private equity business out of Singapore. He moved to Asia in 1975 after doing his Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and Business Administration at the Universities of Wisconsin and California. After nine years with Bank of America, he set up his own investment business in Hong Kong in 1981. He imported the first private luxury vessels into Phuket, Thailand in the late 80s.

Anil founded Asia’s first private equity business in 1981 and now runs his private equity business out of Singapore. He moved to Asia in 1975 after doing his Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and Business Administration at the Universities of Wisconsin and California. After nine years with Bank of America, he set up his own investment business in Hong Kong in 1981. He imported the first private luxury vessels into Phuket, Thailand in the late 80s. An experienced scuba diver and high speed skipper in his own right, Anil has piloted six of his own vessels over tens of thousands of miles, exploring many of the destinations included in this guide. In the summers of 2014 and 2015 he navigated the Northwest Passage in his superyacht, M/Y Latitude. Anil and his crew have cruised Thailand, Komodo and eastern Indonesia extensively and had many extraordinary dive adventures in Rajah Ampat.

Captain Ed Shiels -Contributor

Captain Ed Shiels:

East Malaysia & Indonesia

Captain Ed’s maritime career began at 15 when he joined the Royal Australian Navy.

Ed holds Australian commercial and IYT qualifications. He is into his 10th year as captain of a 50-metre private luxury expeditionary motor yacht engaged in an extended world circumnavigation, visiting and diving some of the remotest regions of the planet.

Prior to this, he spent six years in Southeast Asia diving and exploring some of the most remote islands and coral reefs in the region. He has captained vessels and cruised extensively in the Andaman Islands, Mergui Archipelago, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia.

Morgan Hayes - Contributor

Morgan Hayes

Langkawi, Koh Chang, Koh Samui, Vietnam & Palawan

As is the case with the majority of Phuket’s marine industry residents, Morgan was lucky enough to escape the shores of England ‘working’ for Chris Gordon’s Sunsail during the universally acknowledged fun years of the 1990s, soon after graduating from Warsash Maritime College in 1993.

Skippering and teaching sailing around Sunsail’s worldwide cruising destinations, Morgan discovered his wife Mellissa hiding in a workshed on Hamilton Island in 2000 and found his ideal island home on Phuket in 2003. The couple spent several years establishing and running seasonal yacht charter bases in Malaysia, the Gulf of Thailand and Vietnam, scribbling pilotage notes along the way, before returning to live in Phuket in 2009.

In 2014 Morgan set up Cobra Kia Marine Ltd, skippering and managing private sailing and power yachts for owners in Phuket, Myanmar, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the Mediterranean. For help or advice on refit and repair work, finding reliable crew, learning new sailing skills, sailing around Southeast Asia – or how not to parent twins – contact:

Captain Sean P. Meagher - Contributor

Captain Sean P. Meagher

Vanuatu & The Solomons

Hailing from Cape Cod, USA, Captain Sean P. Meagher has been enjoying boats since the age of eight. He currently holds a USCG Master’s unlimited tonnage for all oceans in sail and power.

Throughout his long career, Captain Sean has commanded ferries, search and rescue craft and some of the worlds finest superyachts. He has voyaged from the polar ice cap, the atolls of the south pacific and extensively through areas described in this guide.

He captained the MY Latitude for three historic award winning Arctic journeys, including circumnavigating Svalbard and twice navigating the NW passage in both directions in consecutive years.

Sean has managed many superyacht purchases, cruising itineraries and passage planning, as well as refits, manning and extensive maintenance works, winning awards for his diligence and designs.

An Avid scuba diver and lifelong conservationist, Captain Sean has spoken internationally about his incredible voyages, the environment and leadership. Catch his videos on the Worth Avenue Yachts YouTube channel under’ Dive in with Captain Sean’. To contact the Captain for live or virtual events, email Sean at

Gert Noordzij - Contributor

Gert Noordzij

Greater China

Gert Noordzij is an international hotelier, hotel opening expert and Managing Director of Northside Consulting Company Limited, which specialises in ‘Organisational Project Management’ for the hospitality industry.

Originally from Vlaardingen, the famous herring fishery town in southern Holland, Gert left the Netherlands in 1990 to travel the world. An avid scuba diver, blogger and author, today he calls Macau S.A.R. home.

Contact Gert at |

Bob Mott - Contributor

Bob Mott

West Malaysia

Bob Mott is an offshore racing sailor and cruiser. He has several Sydney to Hobart, Sydney Mooloolaba, Brisbane Gladstone and Sydney to Lord Howe Island races, as well as lots of around the buoys in Sydney Harbour, to his credit. Bob gave up a 20 year career in the pharmaceutical industry to go cruising.

He arrived in Phuket on his 43 foot alloy catamaran, Lizard of Oz, on his 40th birthday in 1994 and within a year of arrival he set up a marine business. Over 30 years in Phuket, Bob has covered many aspects of the marine industry including charter, designing and building catamarans, international yacht deliveries, marine journalism and racing in regional regattas. Now his main focus is as a specialist importer/exporter of marine equipment. Bob is the Thailand agent for Rainman Watermakers, Rocna Anchors, GME EPIRBS and AISB

Nigel Tang - Contributor

Captain Nigel Tang


Captain Nigel spent most of his career on tanker vessels from VLCCs to bunker barges. A recommendation from a friend brought him to the yachting lifestyle and he has not looked back since. His father being a former cable ship marine engineer meant that Nigel was well familiar with the seafaring life from a young age, getting his first glance of a commercial ship’s navigation bridge at just 5 years old.

Nigel is presently in command of a 54-metre 942GT superyacht which has spent the last five years in Asia – 13 months of which were in Cambodia.

David Luekens - Contributor

David Luekens

Thailand islands & coastline research

David Luekens first came to Thailand from Vermont in 2005 but didn’t fall for the Thai islands until a 2011 swing through Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong and other islands of Trang province.

Since then he has written many travel guides and articles, including as a full-time writer and photographer for from 2012-19, but also for CNN Travel, Business Traveller, Horizon Guides and several others. As of early 2024 he is gradually releasing a book covering all 24 coastal Thai provinces, and their islands, via his e-newsletter / website, Thai Island Quest

Ian Hewett - Contributor

Ian Hewett

Langkawi & Koh Samui

Ian first came to Phuket on a brief visit in 1993, when backpacking through Asia. He returned and stayed for a year in 1996 to work as a scuba diving instructor at various sites from the Surin Islands in the north to Hin Daeng in the south.

In 1999 he joined Sunsail and, after a variety of positions in the Med, UK and Canaries, he moved to Langkawi in 2002 to take up the position of base manager. In 2004 he moved to the Phuket base and was base manger until 2013. Ian now works with for Derani Yachts in the Phuket Boat Lagoon. He has a Thai wife and two children.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

The copyright holders of all content, in print and digital editions, are: Published book © Phuket Publicity Services Ltd. Part. / Texts © Bill O’Leary, Andy Dowden & Grenville Fordham / Design, layout & charts © Grenville Fordham / Photography: © as indicated in photo credits. All rights reserved
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