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Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Sequoia: Hosting family adventures in Indonesia

Sequoia: Hosting family adventures in Indonesia

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With Indonesia reopening to visitors, the luxurious three-cabin Sequoia celebrates her fifth birthday by again welcoming charter guests looking for “an experience of a lifetime in a private setting”. Available through Camper & Nicholsons.

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Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Kayaking from Sequoia

 

Fresh from a refit completed ahead of her fifth birthday in September 2022, the 26m Sequoia is enjoying a second wind as one of Indonesia’s leading luxury charter yachts, having had a two-year lull due to the pandemic.

 

The wooden schooner is again plying her trade in Raja Ampat and surrounding regions for the winter season from November to March before heading west to Komodo National Park from May to October

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Sequoia has added a master cabin on the top deck since the photo was taken

 

Yessi Maya Sari, who owns Sequoia and Coral Triangle Safaris with her husband Kevin Corcoran, is relieved and delighted to see her beloved yacht and its 10-strong crew sailing again and doing what they do best – revealing Indonesia’s most spectacular coastal scenery to families or small groups.

 

“The greatest reward of owning Sequoia has been seeing the joy brought to families as they explore and connect to these precious reefs. The lack of tourism for the past two years was a down side, but fortunately the world has now largely opened again and we’re almost where we were before Covid,” says Yessi, who was born and raised in Sumatra, among the largest of Indonesia’s 18,000 islands.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Family time on the sky deck

 

“We offer a product and service that’s attractive to a specific niche, as Sequoia is one of only a few three-cabin wooden yachts for parties of six or less. We cater to ultra-high end clients looking for a connection to nature and their loved ones. In the end, it’s life’s experiences and not material things that bring joy. More than ever, we’re aware that experiences with those we love are what really matter most in life.”

 

LABOUR OF LOVE

A Certified Public Accountant, Yessi began her career at Johnson and Johnson, later working at L’Oreal, and Unilever, while also becoming increasingly interested in adventure travel, whether it was hiking Everest, skiing in the Rockies or scuba diving in Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle, the latter inspiring the name of their company.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Paddleboards are among many toys

 

“I enjoyed my work, but I came to realise that my true passion was exploration of remote parts of the globe. This led Kevin and I to found Coral Triangle Safaris and build Sequoia. We believe our product is unmatched and can provide a family with an experience of a lifetime in a private setting.”

 

Kevin, who hails from Syracuse in New York state, worked in the implantable medical device market, bringing new technologies to market, and said his career helped the couple look ahead to the growing emphasis on experiences and exploration for discerning travellers.

 

“I was fortunate to be able work with some of the world’s most innovative doctors and I learned to work towards understanding future demand,” he says.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Island visits and hikes are popular activities

 

“In the case of our business, it may be that families are bored of going to luxury hotels and staring at their computer or phone. They now appear to be favouring more adventurous and active experiences that connect them to nature and each other.”

 

Designed for eco-conscious cruising, the hardwood yacht was hand-crafted by the Konjo boatbuilders over four years, yet with an American emphasis on safety and sustainability.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

The Coral Triangle has the world’s most diverse marine life

 

Sequoia remains the only yacht in Indonesian waters built to US Coast Guard Safety Standards, and all components, including a low-consumption John Deere engine, generators and sanitation systems, were imported from the US. Completed in September 2017, the yacht conforms to EPA Tier 2 and Tier 3 emissions limits, while no single-use plastics are permitted.

 

“Our goal was to allow families to explore the world’s most pristine and biodiverse reefs in comfort and safety. It took over four years to complete because we took our time to build a classic, heirloom wooden yacht for future generations to enjoy,” Yessi says.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

The new Sky Suite on the sky deck

 

Sequoia is like an ultra-luxury Swiss chalet on water. Although purposely modest in size at 86ft, it’s one of the most sophisticated, luxurious wooden yachts in Southeast Asia. Many of our guests never imagined that a wooden boat could be so comfortable and luxurious.”

 

REACHING FOR THE SKY

In fact, Sequoia’s modest size also enables a shallow draft of just 2m, enabling the yacht to cruise closer to beaches and mangroves that may be out of reach for large phinisis with a draft of over 3m or even 4m.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayakThe sky deck provides a spectacular venue in the evening

 

Sequoia’s experienced Indonesian crew include several who have been with the yacht all her life. Depending on the guests’ desired activities and itinerary, the roster can include a cruise manager, butler, master therapist for spa treatments and a dive master.

 

The yacht is equipped with a Bauer Dive Mate air compressor and 10 full sets of new scuba and snorkelling gear, including children’s sizes, while PADI Scuba Diving courses are included in the weekly charter rate, which starts from about US$59,500.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayakIsland Suite on the main deck

 

For many guests, chartering Sequoia is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and ties in with a major family celebration such as an anniversary or birthday or even a child’s graduation.

 

“Many of our guests have already been to the finest hotels and resorts, so are looking for a deeper, more meaningful holiday,” Yessi says. “Our typical guest profile is an active family of four ready to travel to the other side of the planet to experience coastal waters and dive sites that look like Finding Nemo.”

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Stairs down to the Island Suite

 

The all-wooden Sequoia provides a warm, welcoming home for a week or longer. Life for guests revolves around the main and upper decks, with the lower level dedicated to technical areas.

 

On the main deck, the central ‘Great Room’ is a cosy, covered alfresco dining area that sits beside the main galley and between two of the three en-suite guest cabins. Aft is the Island Suite, entered by an elegant, curved staircase, while forward is the Ocean Suite, which has an aft-facing bed.

 

The Ocean Suite is also on the main deck

 

The upper deck is also known as the sky deck and is home to the aft Sky Suite. Forward is Sequoia’s iconic sky dining area featuring two large circular loungers with folding canopies along with tables that can be set up for snacks, cocktails or full meals.

 

In the evening, the sky deck can be set up as an outdoor cinema for movies under the stars, offering a stunning setting to watch Finding Nemo or Finding Dori if you haven’t had enough of the underwater world.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayakThe Great Room is typically used for breakfast

 

Further forward are stairs down to the foredeck or ‘middle deck’, another great outdoor area that has space for sunbeds, while down a couple more steps are more seating areas in the bow.

 

“We were extremely thoughtful in how we utilise space. Although we’re on the small side with only three large suites for up to six guests, there are no wasted spaces. Guests have multiple areas to dine, relax and connect, including a spa area and stunning outdoor dining areas,” Yessi says.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

There are more hangouts in the bow

 

“We’re focused on a very specific market that places high value on comfort, luxury and unique experiences. For small families, we’ve created an intimate setting that can’t be found even in the top end resorts or other yachts. Also, Sequoia moves every day, creating entirely different landscapes, seascapes and experiences for guests.”

 

FUN ON AND IN THE WATER

As proud as they are of Sequoia, the owners are most proud of the experiences she offers. Onboard activities can range from cooking classes to arts and crafts activities for kids, while there are a huge number of toys suitable for both adults and children.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Sequoia’s activities include tube riding

 

The toy store includes inflatable kayaks and paddleboards, with waterskis and a two-person inflatable tube among high-adrenaline activities led by the 21ft Boston Whaler tender. Fishing is also available where permitted.

 

Underwater exploration is arguably the highlight of any holiday, with the dive instructor managing a full dive centre in one of the world’s best regions for diversity of marine life, whether you’re chartering in summer or winter. As Indonesia straddles the equator, yachts can sail pretty much sail and charter year-round, with April typically allocated for Sequoia’s annual maintenance.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Water-skiing is another activity with the tender

 

The popular summer hub is Komodo National Park, about 200nm east of Bali. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and among the New 7 Wonders of Nature, it’s well known for its namesake dragons and on-land attractions while also being ranked among the globe’s best for coral and marine life, with over 60 dive sites.

 

To the west, also among the Lesser Sunda Islands, is Sumbawa, home to Mount Tambora crater, site of the largest eruption in modern history. East of Komodo is Solor Alor, a chain of 95 islands with over 70 dive sites in an area boasting 1,200 species of coral reef fish and 500 species of colourful coral.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Whale sharks are an attraction

 

Come winter, Raja Ampat in West Papua province is among the most popular destinations. The ‘Amazon of the Sea’ is widely recognised as one of the world’s top dive locations, with the most biodiverse marine life.

 

Guests can also head southeast to Kaimana and Triton Bay for more exceptional diving, including with whale sharks, then west to Maluku province and the Banda Islands, where the renowned ‘Spice Islands’ offer great underwater life but also great insight into the country’s history of trade and its colonial era.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayakKayaking is a nice way to explore coastlines and reach islands

 

“Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat/West Papua are considered the most spectacular dive and snorkel locations on earth,” Yessi says. “In either of these world-renowned venues, the kaleidoscope of colours found in both the soft and hard coral and schools of fish is incomparable.”

 

Land activities are also diverse and can include paddling or kayaking around coastlines featuring macaque monkeys and flying foxes, exploring tropical rainforests, birdwatching and hikes up mountains and volcanoes.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayakBeach picnics can be arranged

 

Coral Triangle Safaris can also arrange cultural experiences with village communities, as well as picnics and romantic dinners on a beach. It all depends on what guests want to do.

 

“Guests can customise their daily schedule and there are multiple activities for all to enjoy both above and below the water line,” Yessi continues.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Land activities can include cultural visits to local villages

 

“The coral reefs in these multi-million-hectare national parks are the main attraction but island cultural visits, exploring islands by speedboat, and sampling some of the world’s finest cuisine also rank highly.”

 

GOOD TASTE

The meals prepared by Sequoia’s chef are of the highest order and typically involve the sourcing of fresh, local ingredients, many of which are found in the surrounding seas.

 

Cooking classes are popular

 

The cuisine is matched by the settings. Just imagine dining alfresco on the sky deck and enjoying otak-otak (ground fish with spices in banana leaf) as a starter and prawn sambal for mains. It’s as good as it sounds.

 

Like everything on the charter, the menu is designed around guests, with all diets catered for. Furthermore, Sequoia’s all-inclusive rate includes wine and spirits, with an additional wine cellar stocked with vintages from the Napa Valley and Burgundy.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Food can be enjoyed on or off the boat

 

“The culinary experience aboard Sequoia is unmatched and a critical aspect of our success. Our guests have dined in the best restaurants in the world, so the bar is high,” Yessi says.

 

“We’ve invested heavily in this aspect, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, employing five-star chefs and using the finest ingredients available. Our menu is crafted with some of the leading chefs in Indonesia. The availability of unique ingredients, particularly fish and spices, means Sequoia offers a perfect venue to create world-class dishes.”

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

Sequoia is all about family time

 

All in all, Sequoia allows guests to do as little or as much as they want, with the emphasis on spending quality time together, whether it’s on the yacht, in a kayak, on a beach, in the water or up a mountain.

 

“As we offer highly customised ‘sea safaris’, we first understand what the guests hope to experience, then adjust our staff, itinerary and activities,” Yessi says.

 

Sequoia, Camper & Nicholsons, luxury, yacht, wooden, schooner, charter, Camper & Nicholsons, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, Yessi Maya Sari, Kevin Corcoran, Sumatra, diving, waterski, kayak

A movie under the stars is one of Sequoia’s signature attractions

 

“Ultimately, our greatest achievement is bringing families together to enjoy brilliantly coloured reefs and fish, seascapes of unimaginable beauty, exotic dishes and a cinema under the stars.”

www.camperandnicholsons.com

 

Note: The original article appears in YACHT STYLE Issue 67

 

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Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Exploring Croatia on the 48m superyacht Freedom (Pt 2)

Exploring Croatia on the 48m superyacht Freedom (Pt 2)

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In the conclusion of a two-part article, Yacht Style explores Croatia on the 48m Freedom operated by Goolets, which offers the 11-cabin superyacht packed with toys from €100,000 per week.
Words: John Higginson
Photos: Goolets

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SUNNY PLAYGROUND

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Aft, the jacuzzi is a guest favourite

 

The sun deck is Freedom’s winning card, an adult’s playground with world-beating views. The raised jacuzzi at the aft end is a firm favourite, especially since being surrounded by sunpads following the refit.

 

Otherwise, the deck is dominated by a remarkably long U-shaped arrangement of sofas, with space for up to 20 people to sit within reach of one of four coffee tables along the centre line. To port is the staircase from the upper deck, two sun loungers and a hanging chair, while to starboard is another hanging chair and six sun loungers.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia Just some of the seating on the sun deck

 

All the seats and sun loungers have a forward view of a well-stocked bar, which can become a social hub before dinner and even livelier afterwards when the two huge speakers come into play.

 

There’s more fun up ahead. The air-conditioned gym offers sea views forward and to both sides, and a good range of equipment including a treadmill, exercise bike and rowing machine, as well as free weights and more.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

The sun deck has an air-conditioned gym

 

In front of the gym is the pool, which is about 5m wide and has a forward-facing bench seat inside and a feature ‘tap’ to port. Even with 20 or so guests on this deck alone, there’s enough space and activities for people to have as much or as little company as they want.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

The 5m-wide pool is at the forward end

 

Furthermore, the layout is flexible enough to have a ‘zen’ theme as a health and wellbeing area for yoga, fitness and smoothies, or as a lively entertainment venue for sunbathing, swimming, music and cocktails. In fact, Freedom even has a fifth level, with a large roof deck above accessible by ladder and used to carry the two tenders (4.8m and 6m) and two jetskis, which can be deployed by a crane.

 

That’s not all. The full menu of water toys includes an electric foil board, motorised surfboard, Seabob, several paddleboards, kayak, wakeboard, waterskis, inflatables and huge waterslide. And thanks to the amazing crew, you’ll find many of these in the water before you even dive off the back of Freedom after anchoring.

 

ISLAND ATTRACTIONS

Goolets’ wide range of seven-day itineraries for Freedom or their other CA yachts include starting and finishing in Split, and a one-way route from Split to Dubrovnik. This year it even has two-week and three-week charter bookings for groups wanting more of Freedom and Croatia.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Aerial view of the island of Brac

 

A typical week-long round trip can include the islands of Brac, Vis, Hvar, Korcula and Pelješac, then stop at different parts of Hvar and Brac on the way back to Split or even nearby Trogir, just a half-hour drive away.

 

A Split-Dubrovnik route could also take in Brac, Hvar and Korcula before continuing to the likes of Mljet and Lopud on the way to Dubrovnik, about 112nm southeast of Split.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

The 48m Freedom berths in Bol on Brac

 

Brac is typically a first stop as it’s just 10nm south of Split and well worth a visit for Zlatni Rat, billed as Croatia’s most famous beach and otherwise known as the Golden Horn or Golden Cape.

 

Dock in the southern harbour town of Bol and it’s a 15-minute walk along a tree-covered promenade beside some exclusive homes to this iconic beach, a stunning spit of land that offers clear water on both sides and plenty of space for sunbathing, bars and restaurants. Other spots in Brac include the pretty fishing village of Milna in a protected harbour on the west coast.

 

On Brac, Zlatni Rat is Croatia’s most famous beach

 

Hvar is just south of Brac and its attractions include the quaint town of Jelsa on the north, but the island is most famous for the port town of Hvar on the west.

 

One of the most popular destinations for day trips from Split and busy during the summer, Hvar has an historic ‘old town’ and many visitors enjoy a walk up to the 16th-century Spanish Fortress for great views of the city.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Hvar is one of Croatia’s most famous islands

 

It also has a beautiful waterfront packed with shops, restaurants and bars, while there are beach clubs and swimming spots within walking distance. Just off Hvar town are the Pakleni Islands, a chain of wooded islands where you can enjoy wonderful beaches or anchor in the bays to enjoy watersports in clear, protected waters.

 

Vis is the small island southwest of Hvar where they shot the 2018 hit Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, with Goolets staff saying Pierce Brosnan enjoyed it so much that he never wanted to leave. Nearby attractions include the Blue Cave to the west and Green Cave to the south.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

The Mamma Mia sequel was shot in Vis

 

Yachts typically berth at the town of Vis in a beautiful, protected bay in the northeast, and there’s an air of ‘time stands still’ in this postcard-perfect coastal town. On our penultimate day, we anchored just off Vis town for a fantastic few hours of swimming and trying to use every water toy on board Freedom.

 

Yachts can also visit the western port town of Komiza, where the Jastoreza restaurant doubled as the ‘Greek Taverna’ in the Mamma Mia sequel.

 

Korcula is home to a stunning historic fortified town

 

Korcula is the island south of Hvar and home to Korcula, a stunning historic fortified town described by Goolets as ‘one of the most breathtakingly beautiful towns imaginable’. Known as the birthplace of Marco Polo, it has themed shops and a museum in his honour, and offers another mesmerising on-land experience.

 

GOOLETS, THE SUPER HOST

These are just four of the Dalmatian islands and the options are almost endless. Goolets’ existing routes are all proven winners, but the company can tailor an itinerary for each charter, which also includes booking all restaurants and on-land activities, sometimes months in advance.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Freedom is packed with water toys

 

“In the last couple of years, Goolets has made an extra effort to integrate itself into the local communities and become close with all the service providers on all the islands and cities we visit,” says Ivan Ramljak, Goolets’ Country Manager for Croatia.

 

“We know the owners of the restaurants and the wineries, even the fishermen, so we go the extra mile to create a special occasion for the client.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Dubrovnik is a nice place to finish a charter

 

“Sometimes a special meal for 35 people can be a two-month process to prepare the food, the tables and set-up, the music. We must consider the weather to know if it should be indoors or outdoors, or if it’s right season for the seafood. The clients appreciate this care and so do the restaurants.”

 

For each trip aboard Freedom, Goolets offers guests a private ‘concierge assistant’ who prepares daily suggestions on how to maximise the charter experience based around the structure of each group, whether it be families with young children, teenagers, active seniors, couples only, or mixed groups of all ages, which you’re likely to have in a group of 20 or so.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Freedom guests walk around Vis

 

It’s an exciting time for Goolets, whose name is a ‘Google’-inspired twist on gulets, the classic wooden Turkish sailing craft, an equivalent of Indonesia’s phinisis.

 

The company started 17 years ago by focusing on gulets and chartering them in Turkey and later in Italy, Greece and Croatia, which has now become its leading market.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Sunbathing on the sun deck of Freedom

 

Goolets still operates many gulets, but has expanded and diversified to include many modern motor yachts in its CA fleet, which now numbers about 20 and ranges in size up to the 52m, 18-cabin Alfa Mario. Business is good overall and this year’s bookings on Goolets yachts in the Med even include a five-week multi-country trip and a nine-week journey through the Greek islands.

 

However, following its refit, Freedom is the company’s leading light and was quickly booked out for the season, which in Croatia usually runs from April through to October.

 

Croatia, Charter, superyacht, Freedom, Goolets, Split, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mamma Mia, Pierce Brosnan, Zlatni Rat, Golden Horn, Golden Cape, Ivan Ramljak, Dalmatia

Freedom offers multiple ways to relax

 

Her facilities, cuisine, crew and water toys make Freedom a match for most sub-50m yachts on the charter circuit. And from 2023, she’ll be available to charter from €100,000 per week, so you don’t need the bank account of a rock star, NBA legend or Microsoft founder to afford her.
www.goolets.net

 

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Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Exploring Croatia on the 48m superyacht Freedom (Pt 1)

Savouring a Croatian superyacht charter on the 48m Freedom (Part 1)

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Fresh from a refit, the 48m Freedom operated by Goolets offers two full-beam master suites among 11 guest cabins, a jacuzzi, bar, gym and pool on the sun deck, a cinema, sauna and massage room on the lower deck, and water toys galore – all from €100,000 per week.
Words: John Higginson
Photos: Goolets

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Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Goolets manages charters on 48m Croatia-built Freedom

 

“Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson. Beyonce and Jay-Z,” our driver says. I feel a bit embarrassed to join the list of people he has picked up from Split Airport and driven to a superyacht. “Also, Rod Stewart and Bill Gates are regular visitors.” Okay, I get it.

 

Situated across from Italy on the east side of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia emerged as a popular hot spot for superyachts at the start of this century. The country’s remarkably clear water is among its main attractions, but what makes the southerly Dalmatia region different to most Mediterranean destinations is the remarkable network of islands that are close to each other and the mainland.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Croatia is renowned for its clear water

 

This means short, relaxed voyages of just an hour or two between destinations, so more time to enjoy swimming and watersports or exploring historic coastal cities, towns and villages. Its remarkable geography makes Croatia ideal for everything from day trips to three-week charter bookings when you could stay somewhere different every day.

 

While many of the world’s most famous superyachts have been visiting Croatia for the past two decades, an alternative superyacht market has also evolved, with locally built yachts in the 50m range offering 18 or so cabins.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Freedom’s new-look sun deck

 

Due to international maritime regulations, such yachts are restricted to chartering in Croatia and can be booked by the cabin, so are effectively ‘cruise yachts’ compared to the giant cruise ships that also ply this remarkable coastline.

 

However, a new trend has emerged, with a handful of owners converting these large yachts into 11-cabin versions and offering superyacht-like amenities and service, yet at surprisingly affordable prices.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Captain Ivan Rakuljic and Goolets’ Ivan Ramljak

 

Freedom, among Goolets’ Central Agency charter fleet, is only the third yacht to make this transition and the best according to Captain Ivan Rakuljic, who owns the 158-footer built in the Radez Shipyard on the island of Korcula and launched in 2019.

 

“I saw the first yachts to make this transition from 18 to 11 cabins, so having seen that it worked commercially, we were able to do more with our redesign and upgrade, and make the experience on Freedom even more luxurious,” says Rakuljic, who also increased the crew from eight to 12.

 

Just a few of Freedom’s welcoming crew

 

Freedom is considered the Goolets flagship – if not quite in length, then certainly in quality, offerings and service. And the company works closely with both the yacht and the charter client to provide a unique experience for one week or more for up to 24 guests, ideal for extended family gatherings or a week-long wedding party and everything in-between.

 

SETTING OFF FROM SPLIT

Ivan Ramljak, Goolets’ Country Manager for Croatia, says the Slovenia-based company founded in 2005 by Mitja and Alenka Mirtic

differs from other charter operators because of its concierge-style service and emphasis on tailor-made journeys and experiences for its clients.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Two long tables seat over 20 guests for indoor dining

 

“Goolets is involved in every aspect of the charter experience, from the enquiry, to planning the trip, during the trip and afterwards, and this separates us from the competition,” says Split-based Ramljak, who’s also a licensed tour guide. “We’re always available for the client, which means the crew can focus on service, operations and hospitality.”

 

Split is a great place to start your visit and you could spend an enjoyable day or two in this historic port before or even after your charter.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Split is a common starting point for Goolets trips

 

Croatia’s largest coastal city and second-biggest overall behind Zagreb, Split is packed with attractions including the iconic Riva promenade along its waterfront. Packed with cafes, restaurants and popup market stalls, the Riva is the centre of waterfront activity and even hosts public events and parades, such as for local hero Goran Ivanisevic following his Wimbledon victory in 2001.

 

Behind the Riva in the ‘old town’ is the beautifully preserved Diocletian Palace, which was built for the Roman emperor from about 300AD – or over 1,700 years ago. More like a fortress, this four-section rectangular slice of history measures 215m by 180m and is well worth a guided tour.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

A water fountain on ‘the Riva’, Split’s iconic waterfront promenade

 

West of the harbour is the stunning hillside Marjan Forest Park featuring jogging trails, a botanical garden and great views over the city centre. East of the harbour, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Riva, is Bacvice Beach, a protected sandy beach with clear, shallow water that leads around to waterfront restaurants and bars, as well as several more swimming beaches and Marina Zenta.

 

FEATURES OF FREEDOM

After boarding Freedom in Split, it’s time to look around the fully air-conditioned yacht and find out how they manage to fit in 11 en-suite guest cabins with TVs, as well as a cinema, massage room, sauna, two bars, a gym, jacuzzi and a pool!

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

One of two master suites among 11 guest cabins

 

Instead of being home to the saloon as on standard layouts, the main deck includes six guest cabins comprising one full-width master stateroom aft, a VIP suite in the bow and four convertible double/twin cabins. The lower deck includes a double, twin and two triples featuring a double and single bed.

 

A separate staircase to the lower deck leads to the massage room, the sauna room with large shower, and the huge movie, media and gaming room, which features two rows of sofa-style seating and is great for an intimate evening or a large gathering. A guitar is included.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

The massage room (above) and cinema (below) are on the lower deck

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

 

The upper deck houses the second master stateroom, a stunning full-beam suite with a curved bathtub in the corner and enormous walk-in dressing room. Forward is the wheelhouse, the domain of Captain Ivan.

 

The central staircase leads to a hall at the front of the saloon where there’s a piano to continue the musical theme. The long saloon features sofas and coffee tables along the port side of the room, while the starboard side features two long dining tables lined tip to tip and capable of seating two-dozen guests.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

The food on Freedom is exceptional

 

The aft deck offers covered alfresco dining, with two long tables either side of the stairs as well as a full-beam sofa aft, a large but quiet lounging area protected from the sun and the action on the deck above.

 

The food is top class and there’s an emphasis on fresh local produce, with seafood to the fore as well as plenty of local wines such as Kozlovic Malvazija and Kozlovic Mušcat Momjanski. Our meals included the daily catch, glazed scallops, tuna steak, cuttlefish and mango salad, homemade tortellini stuffed with crab meat, and scampi risotto with saffron and sheep cheese.

 

Superyacht, charter, Croatia, Freedom, Goolets, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Split, Rod Stewart, Bill Gates, Captain Ivan Rakuljic, Ivan Ramljak, 11, cabins, cinema, massage room, sauna, bars, gym, jacuzzi, pool

Upwards of 20 guests can dine alfresco on the covered aft deck

 

Other dishes included braised veal leg, beef steak, lamb racks and homemade pasta with braised beef tail. A range of cuisines and options such as vegetarian or gluten-free are available, with all menus catered to the charter clients and arranged in advance.

 

For more on Freedom, its activities and destinations, read PART 2, coming soon …

www.goolets.net

 

Note: The full original article appears in ‘Charter’ in YACHT STYLE Issue 66.


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Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark Welch

Sailing superyachts for charter in Polynesia

Sailing superyachts for charter in Polynesia

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The 43m Guillemot and 34m Imagine are available for late-summer charters through Camper & Nicholsons.

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchGuillemot is a Dubois design

The 141ft Vitters sloop Guillemot and the 110ft Imagine by Alloy are both available for late-summer charters in Polynesia through Camper & Nicholsons from €105,000 and US$54,500 per week respectively.

 

Launched in the Netherlands in 2004, the 43m Guillemot is designed by Dubois Naval Architects, has a striking grey hull and had a complete redesign of her interiors as part of a 2021 refit.

 

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchThe fold-out swim platform on Guillemot

The soft furnishings were replaced and her new colour scheme is complemented by freshly oiled teak, birchwood and stainless-steel details. The recent refit includes a new cockpit area, updated saloon and refreshed en-suite bathrooms.

The owner’s cabin, split-level and located aft, offers a private study, a separate dressing room and a walk-in closet. With another two doubles and two twins, the yacht can sleep 10 guests.

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchGuillemot’s saloon

Guillemot is suited for diving and water sports enthusiasts, featuring a dedicated diving and bathing platform as well as a good range of water toys including options for younger guests.

The tender, a Smuggler Strata 650, boasts a large canopy, freshwater shower, ski pole and Bluetooth stereo. Captain Mark Welch heads the crew, which includes a distinguished chef versed in preparing fine vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchImagine was built by New Zealand’s Alloy Yachts

Imagine is also a Dubois design and was launched by Alloy in New Zealand in 1993, with the 34m fully custom build having a refit in 2018. Imagine is currently on her fourth circumnavigation, has completed numerous Atlantic crossings and competed in many regattas.

Refitted to incorporate the latest technology and lifestyle amenities, Imagine has new generators, rigging, mast and sails, among other equipment designed to ensure a safe sailing experience, also offering a superb selection of water toys. 

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchImagine’s well-lit saloon

Imagine is ideal for family charters or groups of friends, with a full-beam master cabin with an adjoining ‘kid’s corner’ for two smaller sailors, another double cabin, and one triple cabin consisting of three single berths. All cabins are air-conditioned and feature en-suite shower-rooms.

Decorated in neutral tones with light oak and with luxurious upholstery, Imagine has well-appointed living areas with plenty of natural light. The main saloon is divided into three areas: a cosy lounge with sofas, an interior dining space and the navigation station where the charter plans can be studied alongside the Captain.

 

Sailing, superyachts, Guillemot, Imagine, charter, Polynesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Alloy, Vitters, New Zealand, Netherlands, Dutch, Mark WelchImagine has accommodation for seven adults

On deck, which is finished in a blonde teak, Imagine’s spacious cockpit with twin helm stations has plenty of seating and a lounging area.

To the rear of the helm, alfresco drinks and dining can be enjoyed at the two tables, surrounded by U-shaped cushioned seating. A large awning can be erected in minutes when not sailing to ensure meal times are shaded and comfortable. In the evenings, a cinema screen can be set up on deck for movies under the stars with friends and family. www.camperandnicholsons.com

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Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Kudanil Explorer offers adventure in Indonesia

Kudanil Explorer offers adventure in Indonesia

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Kudanil Explorer’s bespoke charters around remote areas of Indonesia have attracted royalty, sports stars, actors and musicians, justifying Remi Epstein’s bold decision to convert a 1978 ocean-going tug into a luxury expedition vessel that’s “built to go anywhere – safely and comfortably”.

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Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Kudanil Explorer in Raja Ampat, West Papua

 

What’s nicer than waking up next to waterfall? How about waking up to a waterfall when you’re not expecting to. Remi Epstein recalls this while cruising on Kudanil Explorer, the 50m luxury expedition vessel he owns but usually only stays on for important engagements with customers or agents.

 

The Frenchman was hosting a major surf operator for a mix of recce and promotion in a remote area of Indonesia, the vast archipelago where the eight-cabin Kudanil Explorer has been chartering through Camper & Nicholsons following an extensive three-year conversion completed in 2018.

 

Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Surfing in Raja Ampat

 

“The surf group were great professionals and shot some amazing footage, but on this occasion, we probably stayed a bit too late. It started to rain and the sea became rough,” recalls Epstein, who lives in Singapore.

 

“It was dark by the time we reached the unmarked narrow channel that led to the lagoon where we planned to spend the night. However, it was well described in the admiralty pilot book, so we decided it was safe to enter using radar bearings.

 

“In the morning, when we awoke, we discovered we were near a big waterfall. It almost seemed that the notion of time had disappeared.”

 

Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Surfing in Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara; Photo: Armand Perez

 

Epstein smiles at the memory, adding that they even found a primitive harpoon at the foot of the waterfall. “This is what this ship has been designed for,” he says proudly. “And I think the operator was also impressed. Today he’s one of our major clients.”

 

FOR THE LOVE OF INDONESIA

For 35 years, Epstein owned a 48ft Dutch-built steel trawler called Morroch 2 and sailed a total of 65,000nm, first in Europe and then in Southeast Asia, where he recalls first travelling through Indonesian waters as far back as 1976.

 

Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Kudanil Explorer in Wayag, Raja Ampat

 

Currently, he owns a 70ft steel motor yacht called Keinvor, which he had built to his specifications in Singapore and typically cruised for three or four months a year (before Covid), sailing extensively in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

 

He has also used Keinvor to explore potential destinations in Indonesia for Kudanil Explorer, the hardy, 1,000GT ocean-going tug built by the Teraoka Shipyard in Japan and launched in 1978. A ship owner, Epstein provided marine services in offshore oil exploration and production, and bought the 164ft Japanese build from Swire Pacific in 2004.

 

Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2

Remi Epstein, owner of Kudanil Explorer

 

However, in 2015, he decided to semi-retire and sold all the ships he had except for Kudanil Explorer, as he looked to fulfil his dream of converting her into a luxury charter yacht operating in Indonesia.

 

“When I bought her, I always thought she could be the ideal platform for a true ‘go-anywhere’ expedition yacht. I always had that project in the back of my mind and finally decided it was time to undertake it,” says Epstein, who had regularly cruised between Singapore and Papua province in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago for two decades.

 

Kudanil Explorer, charter, superyacht, Indonesia, Camper & Nicholsons, Remi Epstein, Thibaud Epstein, Teraoka Shipyard, Japan, Alix Thomsen, Raja Ampat, West Papua, surfing, diving, Simon Jupe, Bertrand d’Alencon, Keinvor, Captain Wayan, Morroch 2