The guests – the boats – arrive quietly in the late afternoon, and all of a sudden there is a small fleet of superyachts at anchor in front of the Kata Rocks. Divert your attention from that excellent G&T for a moment, turn round, and look across the pool at the beautiful ladies with sails – Lamima, Lady Thuraya, L’Aventure and Bliss. And the motor yachts – Vie Sans Soucis, Darling and After 8.
Yes, the curtain’s up on another Asia Superyacht Rendezvous, hosted at the Kata Rocks and organised by Asia Pacific Superyachts.A ‘midweek long weekend’ when crews take a short break from duties, captains share cruising notes with each other, and owners mix and mingle and hear about the far away places that the yacht next door has just visited. Relax. Enjoy the view. Take a look at some of the most beautiful boats in the world, in one of the most beautiful settings. Have another something-on-the rocks. Kata Rocks, of course.
Yesterday afternoon the gathered fleet was blessed by Buddhist monks, starting with a ceremony on board s/y Lamima and followed by a presentation of garlands to all boats participating in the Rendezvous. It was an unusual sight, three gentlemen in orange robes boarding a 65m luxury charter yacht, and then making a trip around the anchorage by RIB.
Formal proceedings – if there is such a thing as ‘formal’ at the ASR – started with a Skippers’ Briefing by long-serving Race Officer Andy Dowden and his amanuensis, Simon James. It was solemnly announced that “the object of the exercise is to have fun, and for everyone – crew and guests – to enjoy themselves. This is not a tropical leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. It is a cruise, with purpose.” Understood. “Start here, go around Koh Kaeo Noi, and back. If there’s enough wind we’ll send you around the sausage a second time.” Flexible race management, then.
After that it was time to take a tender out to the handsomely appointed Lamima for some conviviality and refreshment. The mojitos were exemplary. Lamima is a Indonesian phinisi-style boat, built for charter in Sulawesi by Haji Baso and Haji Saka. At 65m she is said to be the largest operational wooden sailing vessel. You can define and redefine this sort of thing as many ways as you have breakfast, but the point is she is big. And comfortable. And luxurious. Two double cabins and three twins below, and the master suite on the main deck just behind the wheelhouse. This is a GT boat properly suited for long distances and voyages of exploration. On board Lamima you could retrace the steps of Wallace, sail the old routes of the Spice Trade, or dive into the glories of the Raja Ampat, reputedly the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world, and the beating heart of the Coral Triangle. Captain and Owner Dominique Gerardin is an avid ecologist, and Lamima minimises her carbon footprint by setting her majestic sails at every opportunity – an immediate bonus for those who really appreciate sailing. They also do damn good cocktail parties.
Tomorrow: racing. Brace yourselves.