The forthcoming edition of the Thailand Yacht Show will welcome back Ocean Emerald. She was the first foreign-flagged vessel over 30m to receive a Thai charter licence in 2015. Designed by Norman Foster, this 41m superyacht is based in Thailand, where she is available for charter. We spoke with the yacht's owner, Nigel Plaskett, about his experiences cruising in Asia.
What is it that draws you to yachting and what is the greatest benefit of owning a yacht? How many weeks a year do you spend onboard her, on average?
For me, the most enjoyable thing about yachting is the freedom to go where you want, when you want with friends and family in your own space. I probably spend 12 weeks a year onboard.
How would you recommend – particularly for those who are not familiar with an on-water experience – becoming involved in yacht or boat ownership? Start small and get bigger or perhaps charter first?
It's always best to charter first, try the experience and see if you enjoy it. If you only have enough time to spend, say 4 weeks a year on board, you're always better to charter. It's much cheaper than owning a yacht and also deals with all the problems that come with owning a yacht. Ocean Emerald has been in Asia for quite some time.
What first attracted you to spending time in these parts of the world – was it privacy, adventure or cultural exploration?
I worked in Asia for many years but had a yacht in the Med. One day, I chartered a small yacht here then decided to sell the one I had in the Med and buy one here.
Have there been any unexpected surprises or discoveries you’d like to share?
It's not really a surprise, but one of the fun things is finding new locations you enjoy. There are many small islands uninhabited with clear water and nice coves to stay in overnight.
Is this your first yacht, or have you owned other boats before?
I have had yachts for most of my life, starting when I was 16 buying a small cruiser on the River Thames in England. Then gradually getting larger and larger.
Where is your favourite place on the yacht and why?
My favourite area is the sun deck in the evening when the sun goes down. It's very nice to sit and relax with no one else around.
Was her charter appeal an important consideration when you purchased her?
When buying a large yacht the ability to charter is important, the cost of employing crew and running the yacht is way outside my budget, without charter income contributing towards it.
Does the yacht have many water toys onboard? How often do these get used?
I look upon the yacht as a floating home/hotel and the water toys are an important part. We carry kayaks, paddleboards, 2 jet ski’s, a 4 seater Jetboat, a fast tender and very often take a 10m chase boat with us. As well as fishing equipment and diving equipment, the list goes on and on.
Do you see your yacht as a tool for business and entertainment, or for pleasure with friends and family?
You can’t look upon a yacht as a tool for business, it will never make money, the charters are a contribution towards running costs. It is simply an expensive hobby.
If you would like to view Ocean Emerald at the Thailand Yacht Show, make sure you secure your tickets by clicking here.