A firsthand look at one of Asia’s most exclusive superyacht events—from the high-tech pleasure crafts to the glitzy parties.
Ushered aboard the Lobster Yacht Phuket, a luxurious catamaran and the largest of its kind in Thailand, I found myself among the crème de la crème of Asia’s yachting community.
Flutes of free-flow Moët & Chandon champagne were passed around, as VIP guests gathered for the welcome party of the invite-only Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous (KRSR). On the prestigious guest list were yacht owners, their families and friends, as well as industry partners and representatives of some of the most renowned yachting companies in the world—from Burgess to Sunseeker.
Backdropped by the postcard-perfect scenery of Phuket’s west coast, we sailed on the double-deck, 23-meter sailing catamaran to the chill house beats of Lobster’s own DJ, while luxuriating in the breezy ambience. With a striking candy-cane color scheme, the custom-built catamaran was designed with a Void sound system to reflect its tagline “sail, sip, sound.” Voyagers of all ages got up on their feet to dance, before settling down for canapés and later, grilled meat skewers. Meanwhile, one could go for a spin on the Technohull Sea DNA G6, an impressive Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with a maximum cruising speed of 70 knots and a range of more than 230 nautical miles.
Over the next few days, I caught a glimpse into the private world of superyacht owners and came to understand just what its appeal was. With private jets and over-the-top cruise ships luring these same high rollers, the choice to charter a yacht is a deliberate and calculated one.
When it comes to superyachts—loosely defined as large, luxurious sailing yachts offering unparalleled comfort and style, the journey is as important as the destination. For the wealthy, this translates to unrivaled privacy and the sheer freedom to visit some of the world’s most beautiful coastal destinations on a whim.
By the looks of the participating fleet at this year’s KRSR, these motivations ring true. This year’s stunning lineup included the MY Sapphire by Trinity Yachts, MY Sanook by Princess Yachts, and the Sunseeker Manhattan 66 by Sunseeker Yachts. Elegance is key for these superyachts and each one is designed for an extravagant experience out at sea.
Think beautifully furnished suites, walk-in wardrobes, multicourse meals by a dedicated chef, inflatable water slides, a Jacuzzi and spa, as well as a smorgasbord of marine toys like SeaBob underwater scooters and jet skis. To ensure guest comfort, these vessels utilize a host of high-tech features such as a stabilization system that reduces the ship’s roll motion, while advances in onboard power generation means it’s now possible to cruise with zero carbon emissions. Fortunately, KRSR participants got to enjoy ample time on these pleasure boats with yacht-hopping sessions and sea trials.
As much a highlight as the superyachts themselves, KRSR’s bevy of invite-only parties and gatherings are a pivotal part of the event, meant to encourage networking and collaborations. Our first night at Kata Rocks saw the opening party, which plied guests with drinks, canapés, and thrilling entertainment—from a cabaret show to aerial performances, and incredible fire dancers who turned themselves into human fireworks.
On the second day, we set sail to the newly opened InterContinental Phuket Resort on Kamala Beach for a beach barbecue. Lucky for me, I was able to join a bunch of seasoned sailors on the SY Shahtoosh Warwick 75 for the journey. The handsome vessel stood out with its glistening white sails and shiny black hull, a beast that clocked up to 10.5 knots. After about an hour or so of smooth sailing, we arrived at the beach resort for a spread of local delights and freshly grilled meats, alongside a pop-up spa offering complimentary back, shoulder, and head massages.
By the third night, most of the KRSR guests had made acquaintance and a soirée by the sea seemed like a fitting finale. Presented by The Leading Yachts of the World, The International SeaKeepers Society and Ocean for All Charity Gala Dinner at Kata Rocks started with welcome cocktails, followed by a dinner with entertainment on the side. The different agencies presented speeches that outlined meaningful plans for marine conservation and oceanographic research. Among these were shark breeding, coral replanting, workshops to encourage sustainability efforts, and even a plastic collection movement.
As the sun disappeared from the horizon, the superyachts glimmered like little stars out at sea, a beautiful end to a three-day celebration of Asia’s yachting industry.
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