A cruise is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in your surroundings—we test this theory out by going sailing on a private yacht in Phuket. By Gayatri Moodliar
Berthed languidly alongside Koh Rang Noi, a private island that’s a short ferry ride away from the Royal Phuket Marina, is a yacht that makes the other ones envious—a difficult feat because being a yacht itself seems like a luxury milestone. But Titania is unique. Rumour has it that a Russian oligarch owns it but charters it out for INR 42 million approx. per week—the price, a summertime low; the duration, a minimum. Others keep the pool going by speculating over a British tycoon-ownership. Whichever it is, a billionaire pedigree is a given. But the yachting sector is an accommodating one, allowing entry at most levels and offering a product that still isn’t able to belie the vastness of the sea—if anything, it’s just a sharper spotlight.
Departing from the east coast-located marina, an MCY 70 has made its way out of the shallow waters and into the depths of Phang Nga Bay. Just shy of 22 metres in length, the Monte Carlo Yachts’ creation cruises past the bay’s characteristic limestone monuments at a pace that’s clearly lazy for its top speed of 33 knots. The destination is James Bond Island, a towering cliff that featured in the spy-movie franchise (The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974), and which has since become a tourist lightning rod. But it’s not just the sights outside the yacht that are drawing attention.
Perhaps it’s the seminal design of the yacht that first catches my eye. What starts out as a novice appreciation of the sharp, sleek lines from the dock, turns into bewilderment once I am inside and faced with the fusion of engineering and design required to turn every nook and cranny into something utilitarian. It becomes a toss-up between the two levels for me, but the hull turns out to be the eventual winner. Its open space makes it the perfect vantage point to spot the mangroves, and the hi-lo tables and refined details bring out the elegant fluidity of the machine that seems to be slicing through the water. This yacht, though, is not the only one delivering a lesson in tranquillity.
A stroll through the Thailand Yacht Show & RendezVous 2019 at the Royal Phuket Marina before venturing off on the MCY 70 showed me that the market for luxury sailing is a burgeoning one, and Phuket is doing all that it can to establish its position as Asia’s premier yachting playground. Whether it’s constructing a world-class marina that can accommodate over 200 vessels, or offering a bevy of services to make sure the boat-in-berth is taken care of, no stone is left unturned.
Once the 007 homage is paid, golden-tinged waters become the theme of the evening return. It’s this window of the golden hour that lets you enjoy scenic vistas and the cool sea breeze in their full glory. While a destination port is appreciated, merely roaming the seas on a yacht is rewarding enough. Some journeys are best enjoyed slowly. Just remember to carry your sunscreen.
GoAir operates daily direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru to Phuket.