Aphrodite (above) may have won the first-ever Asia Superyacht Rendezvous Winner’s Cup. But, but several other yachts, along with their owners and guests, turned the 16th-annual get-together into a weekend’s worth of revelry. What’s more, the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous, organized by Asia Pacific Superyachts, shone a light on a region gaining more popularity with superyacht cruisers.
December 16 to 18 saw power and sailing yachts gather in Thailand for the largest event of this kind held in Asian waters. The Asia Superyacht Rendezvous is also the longest-running event of its type in the region. Motoryacht attendees included After 8, Azul A, and Vie San Soucis, with Azul A also serving as the committee boat. They marked the race course where the sailing yachts competed for bragging rights. Those competitors were Aphrodite, Bliss, Dallinghoo, and Tiara.
Day one of racing kicked off with calm seas and light wind—not terribly exciting, you might think. However, three of the yachts finished within a minute of each other. The second, and last, day of racing was promising, with stiff winds—and double points earned. Capt. Simon Blundell of Aphrodite cheerfully ribbed his fellow captains and competitors in accepting the trophy cup at the gala dinner that evening. They can get back at him, though, as he pledged Aphrodite will be back for 2017’s Asia Superyacht Rendezvous.
Other events over the weekend captured the attention and imagination of owners, guests, captains, and crew, too. These included a cocktail party aboard Dunia Baru, the sailing superyacht built as traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. Another activity was the annual Benetti Challenge. Crews and sponsors’ representatives formed teams to build a model boat from a simple kit. “Simple” is the key word, as organizers described the contents as being “bits and pieces of wood, fabric, plastic.” Not only did they have to build a model boat, but they also had to sail it. That required blowing with all their might into the tiny sails as the boat floated along a three-foot trough.
All of the on-land activities took place at the SALA Resort Phuket, a resort on the famous Mai Khao beach. It’s the longest beach in Phuket and remains mostly undeveloped. The resort’s general manager, Jon Ashenden, says that sponsoring the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous “was the best thing we did. It’s brought exposure to the brand, and brought great recognition to the destination on Mai Khao.”
Mark Robba, owner of Dunia Baru, agrees with the regional recognition. “The cruising grounds around Southeast Asia are a superyacht owner’s dream,” he avers. “Phuket is a wonderful place for such a prestigious global gathering of superyachts, their owners, VIP guests, and crew.” He adds, “We have wanted to join the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous for a number of years, but our schedules have never before matched. However, last year we had such positive feedback from our clients in regards to chartering in the Mergui Archipelago, we decided to come to Thailand earlier this year, lending us the opportunity to also join this prestigious event.”