Boat Asia 2012, Marina @ Keppel Bay
Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium overlooking Boat Asia 2012, Marina @ Keppel Bay, Keppel Island. Was pleased to see the French Beneteau First 40.7 i spent 5 days on for my RYA competent crew cert.
There was a long queue to see the Westport 130 christened “Sea Bear” which used to be owned by Jack Nicklaus (a visiting teen, unable to distinguish the two, thought it was Jack Nicholson’s). Decent enough interior, though “golf museum” it isn’t really, unless you count a bunch of clubs and rooms named after championships. We weren’t allowed to see the pilot house, which i was most curious about. For sale at S$60 million or rent.
The rest of the boats were rather entry-level crafts, probably pitched at the tentative new boat owner.
Many visitors couldn’t help but admire the classic American beauty of the Chris Craft exhibits. Gelled blonde hair and preppy popped polo collar not included.
Aussie ship-builder, Horizon, offered sea-trials on a little electric solar-power boat called “Ecoholic”, though its showcase was the 90-ft “Amadeus”. The electric engine gave ample opportunity for conversations on the water, but didn’t seem quite as responsive as a good old smelly diesel.
There were a few trimarans, catamarans around as well:
Not for sale: the historic Vega, on a break from her humanitarian efforts. The boys fancied it was really a pirate ship and indulged in wide-eyed fantasies about sword-fighting and sailing the seas (except that pirates generally don’t brawl when their mishandling of a certain bit of string releases their balloons into the atmosphere).
Despite a great love for the sea, the continual emphasis on luxurious bathtubs, plush seating, dark wood panelling didn’t quite attract me, or the so-called yachting lifestyle. Of course it would be nice to get a hot shower and not have to snuggle up to some stranger in a crowded smelly sailboat at the end of a hot tiring day; but what i was really after was a boat i could drive and/or sail myself or with the help of a few crew, gliding on the green-blue sea, salty breeze in our faces. I suppose i feel the same about sports cars or private jets – quite a waste of time unless i can helm them myself. But this wasn’t the show for people with such aspirations and so the only thing i could have test-driven was an Audi.
In lieu of test-driving boats, the highlight of the visit was gawking at Andrey Melnichenko’s Philippe Starck-designed 394-ft “A“, which wasn’t part of the show. It was docked on the other side of the island. See The Wall Street Journal’s “tour“.
In superyacht terms, Roman Abramovich’s 163.5 metres (536-ft) “Eclipse” is much larger (so as to fit in two helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, two swimming pools, several hot tubs, a disco hall, three launch boats, a mini escape submarine, intruder detection systems, a German-built missile defence system, armour plating, bullet-proof windows and an anti-paparazzi shield) – it blocked the view of locals in Venice and was not able to even dock at the Antibes (unfortunately, the only parking space had been taken up by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud’s little 265-ft “Kingdom KR5″). But the Eclipse is not the looker that is Anto Marden’s recently unveiled John Shuttleworth-designed 42.5m “Adastra“, which can be controlled by iPad.
For some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head that it wasn’t named “Aspidistra” (“Keep The Aspidistra Flying” eh, George Orwell).