December 16 to 18, 2014 saw the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous celebrate its fourteenth anniversary in a unique fun-loving fashion. The event featured an eclectic mix of luxury superyachts, moored off host venue Kata Rocks – the international award-winning resort and residences, nestled in the enchanting Thailand yacht charter location – Phuket.
“The growth in the number of superyachts coming to Asia has been phenomenal, especially over the last three years,” said Gordon Fernandes of Asia Pacific Superyachts, who co-organizes the Rendezvous with Captain Charles Dwyer. “Our aim has always been to promote the fun side of yachting so this event offers owners and crew the chance to bond and share their love of yachts in a relaxed environment while making the most of stunning location.”
The fleet for the 2014 Asia Superyacht Rendezvous featured some of the most impressive motor and sailing yachts to grace the world’s oceans this year.
The motor yacht fleet featured four stunning vessels, all over 50 metres: motor yacht Samax, luxury yacht Moon Sand, 73 metre charter yacht Titania joining for the first time, and the iconic charter yacht Northern Sun, which assumed the role of committee boat for the two days of races.
Four captivating sailing yachts also graced the waters of Kata Bay, including the beautiful Indonesian Phinisi charter yacht Si Datu Bua, S/Y Yanneke Too, S/Y Sunshine and recently launched sailing yacht Escapade.
The latter vessel is a cutting edge 37.5m fast-cruising sloop and the first superyacht of her size to feature solid carbon aerofoil rigging, fixed keel and a four-meter draft – all intended to deliver top performance.
All the participating vessels combined world-class engineering with sophisticated marine architecture and elegant interiors, offering participants and spectators a rare display of collective on-water magnificence. The boats were welcomed with a range of gifts, presented by Farouk Nefiz of Feadship, Kata Rocks’ Richard Pope and Luca Vaile of Boat International.
During the first captains briefing conducted by Race Officers Simon James and Andy Dowden of PIMEX champagne was presented to the captains by Yacht Style’s Suzy Rayment, courtesy of HKCruise Plaza Hong Kong.
Thrills and Spills
On the first day of sailing, experienced Phuket-based race officers Andy Dowden and Simon James set a course that took full advantage of the 12 knot northwesterly wind to produce some fascinating racing.
S/Y Sunshine initially pushed S/Y Escapade and her muscular form as they cut through the clear waters of the Andaman Sea. Si Datu Bua provided the perfect platform for spectators and the press, who watched intently as the two-boat race unfolded in front of them.
S/Y Escapade’s Captain David Rawlinson and crew’s performance belied the short time they have sailed together. They achieved a very satisfying 14.4 knots, some 120 percent of wind-speed. Meanwhile, Schooner S/Y Sunshine, with all eight sails in full bloom, was later described as a beautiful phoenix soaring above the waves by media, but sadly had to cease her chase suffering minor damage in the attempt.
The racing on the second day was replaced by more of a leisure cruise for the sailing vessels as Captain Peter Wood of S/Y Sunshine rightly erred on the side of caution. The traditional Rendezvous Booty followed in the early afternoon – a pirate treasure hunt that saw teams dress up in costumes and search for clues on land and in the sea using their marine navigation skills; running and swimming to discover the hidden treasure.
The crew from M/Y Samax was the first to find the Booty as they passed the ‘bendy’ woman challenge; the ‘pirates’ of Si Datu Bua descending upon all the booty was somehow forgotten amid the high spirits of kids and crews alike.
The Asia Superyacht Rendezvous is well known in luxury boating circles for its lavish parties, and Kata Rocks provided the perfect upscale venue for these, with delicious food, top quality beverages and superlative service offered to participants and guests throughout the three-day event.
The celebratory scene was suitably set on the first evening aboard Si Datu Bua, with a party hosted by the wonderful Patti Seery and her talented crew who entertained guests with traditional Kroncong music. Guests were also treated to mixology flair of EBS during the cocktail party, as Indonesian delights were served.
The second evening’s revelry took place around Kata Rocks’ elegant poolside bar and restaurant, culminating with the return of the now famous “Feadship Challenge’.
After warming up on free flow drinks and delicious canapés, the teams of owners and crew gathered to build model sailboats from sets of basic materials in 40 minutes, which they then had to race up and down troughs of water using only their lungs to fill the sails.
As always, the heat rounds were hotly contested, with a range of clever designs on display and some closely “blown” races. The crew from M/Y Samax eventually won after the crowd demanded a rematch following a photo finish in the first head-to-head leg.
The only sinking to take place during the evening was M/Y Titania’s attempt to maximize sail – the required ‘cargo’ unsettled the balance and she capsized. The fun-loving crew from Indonesia took the plaudits winning the Asia Pacific Superyachts design award with a near-perfect scale model of their own yacht. British honorary consul Martin Carpenter did a fantastic job in his role of master of ceremonies; ensuring rules were suitably bent, though not completely broken.
Kata Rocks hosted a “private dining experience” for owners and special guests which ran concurrently with the Feadship Challenge, but was timed to perfection allowing guests to join the party with the racing about to commence. Diners were treated to sumptuous delicacies created by Kata Rocks executive chef, Steve Baker.
The Gala Dinner took place on the evening of the final day, with a superb spread once again prepared by Chef Steve. The champagne and wine flowed freely as guests were ‘wowed’ by violin-playing trio Vietrio with modern interpretations – reflective of Phuket’s most forward thinking oceanfront settings, made all the more spectacular with a backdrop of superyachts.
“With more high-end resort developments like Kata Rocks being built on Phuket, more superyachts are attracted to the island,” said Fernandes. “Owners can party at a Phuket beach club, go diving in the Similan islands or find total peace and seclusion cruising to Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago just up the coast. The huge variety means more owners are choosing to base their boats here for the cruising season and the success of the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous reflects that growth.”
Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards, Boat International and Asia Pacific Superyachts have long been the event’s main sponsors, and this year, regional media sponsors included Helm Superyacht Lifestyle Magazine, Sail World, Power Boat World and Yacht Style Magazine, with local media support from Phuket Gazette and television channel, Phuket Today.
Every year, superyachts from around the world arrive on Phuket to take part in the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous and all the participants agreed that the luxury oceanfront resort, Kata Rocks, suited the event perfectly. Several owners and captains promised to return next year, and with more stunning superyachts choosing Phuket as a preferred destination, the fleet seems certain to grow in 2015.