he Phuket Cruising Yacht Club (PCYC) is aptly described as Phuket's premier anti-foul and intergalactic affairs convention venue. Club captain and founder Brent McInnes says the club has been around for three years now and that its annual membership fee is Bt3,000, which starts from the day you sign up and are given a photo ID (there's no joiner's fee). The PCYC gives you full-yacht service, and using the club's extensive local knowledge you can get a head start as to where to get your boat fixed, or the supplies you may need.
The club is open from 8am until late, happy hours (reduced prices on alcohol) run from 5-7pm and the full bar includes mixed fruit shakes, coconuts, margaritas, sangria, Bloody Marys and a full range of local and imported, light and regular beers. Manager Somwan Moonsun (Ek) and staff will serve you with a smile and are happy to help out with your requests.
At peak times you don't have to wait longer than half-an-hour for your meal. Brent describes the food as Western style, specializing in Tex-Mex. Eggs Benedict is one of the club's morning specialities along with fresh ground coffee; world-class fish and chips & hamburgers are constantly ordered, and the usual Thai dishes are also available. The PCYC also has a few rooms for let - but they're usually occupied - and the club does have has good broadband wifi service, so important in this day and age. Tide charts and local marine guides are available free of charge.
The club has a good PA system, a mixing board and a mike stands. Many yachties have musical skills, but while on the ocean they don't have access to that kind of equipment, so the PCYC allows them to express that pent-up musical talent. Many impromptu music nights spring up followed by drink specials. The PCYC clubhouse is also available free of charge for members or guests to use as a party venue; the club can cater or you can bring in your own food and the PCYC will supply the bar. During those nights the club has held up to 80 people and makes full use of its 2am closing licence.
There's cable and a nice flat-screen TV if members and guests want to watch a big game, but Brent doesn't want to keep the TV going all the time. There's also a VHF base station, but it's more for outgoing than incoming, and the best contact number for the club is Brent's mobile at 086-269-7138.
The Ao Chalong Yacht Club, of which Brent was a member for many years, had its home at the PCYC's location for a number of years before moving up the beach a few hundred metres. When the ACYC moved out, Brent moved in and started using it as a waterfront bungalow. Soon afterwards, he asked his landlord, Thitti Mokapan, a retired Bangkok lawyer, if he wanted to start a yacht club. Thitti replied, "Sure, I've always wanted to be involved in a yacht club," and a successful partnership was launched with a handshake.
Brent charges members and nonmembers alike, he doesn't believe in a two-tier pricing system; as a result, the PCYC has a large expat following who like hanging by the seashore and chumming with yachties. The club has 127 members and its, with members varying from oil tycoons to sea gypsies.
The PCYC has hassle free motorcycle and dingy rental - no paperwork required. Your dingy will be safe on their flood-lit dingy lines in front of the clubhouse. Khun Thiti is available for sound advice on many levels; he speaks English well, and has assisted many in the past and can be found at the Clubhouse most days. At the time of writing he is organizing a second-story addition to the clubhouse, the view from which will be unmatched in the area.
The PCYC also does extended-period boat minding; the flat rate for this "basic care" is Bt2,000 a month, and this includes checking the mooring lines, the waterline, the companion way (done daily) and making sure things like the lazy Jack bag hasn't blown open or tending to a loose halyard, etc. Brent calls it a "representation of the owner's interests". The clubs' showers are available to all, and there are plenty of outlets for charging phones or running your computers.
The club is also home to man's best friend, a black poodle named Teddy. Teddy is in charge of reception and the three other soi dog all named Pooden (thai for poddle) patrol the premises with waging tails, there is also a large boat cat named meow yai (big cat) that hangs out with the dogs. The cat jumped ship and swam ashore from a cruising yacht a few years ago and made her new home at the PCYC, eventually her owner came by and said she looked happy here and the truth be known she didn't think much of being a boat cat, the owner is now a PCYC member and calls in for beer and to visit his cat.
Last, but not least, the PCYC stages the Twilight Racing series, twice a month on Wednesdays from 3pm. It's open to all who would like to join in the unique race structure, which allows the entire fleet to start and finish together. It's a main & jib only event so forget your spinnaker, but remember your ice box and refreshments; racing rules do NOT apply as the PCYC races under the avoidance of collision at sea rules; you know give way to the right, etc. The Bt150 per head entrance fee goes towards a FREE BBQ at the end of the race. Check the club's website (www.phuketcruisingyachtclub.org) or the Facebook page Phuket Cruising Yacht Club, click "LIKE" if you'd like to get in the loop and receive PCYC info on twilight racing, band nights or overnighters to islands for beach fires, BBQs, etc. The PCYC welcomes all to join in its events. (LAT N 07.49.463 LONG E 098.20.758) How Brent Got Here
Brent was raised on the waterfront in East Gosford between Sydney and Newcastle, on the central coast of New South Wales, growing up with tinnies, and sailing dinghiess and surf. "We sailed when it blew," he says. "If it was blowing 20 knots, out came the sailing boats just because it was fun to do, we didn't do any official racing, We worked on offshore fishing boats, learning ocean skills, primarily how to make it home alive at night in a black nor easterly on a well-loaded boat."
His neighbour had a 45ft ketch, and that's how he developed an interest in blue water cruising. He learnt early through observation, for example, car engine blocks, a series of train wheels or a couple of tons of concrete don't work as moorings when a southerly buster hits, the boats they are attached to usually end up mired in mangrove swamps. The boats that remained secured were those with a descent anchor, plenty of heavy chain and few metres of nylon line. Brent says growing up in that neck of the woods was a good kindergarten for seamanship with no shortage of tutors, good and bad alike.
Brent travelled to Vancouver for Expo 1986 and he worked there as a waiter at the Munich fest haus a huge umpapa band party, but on a visit down to the docks he discovered a ship named Golden Eagle III a 56ft motor sailor looking for a captain. He flashed his NSW boat driver's license and got the job, sailing the boat down to Cabos San Lucas, Mexico, with a retired German sea captain named Karl Bolland who imparted a wealth of knowledge to him on the way. It was far from a routine delivery as everything that could go wrong did and Old Karl was on top of it all. After returning the boat to San Francisco, Brent took a job as project manager for a commercial real estate developer and worked at that that for seven years. He spent many hours in the left seat of a 414 twin engine Cessna Chancellor flying between the company's many projects round the USA.
In 1993, he speculated on low-ground pressure tractors (snow-grooming machines to Canadians) for use in tailing pond maintenance in the Australia mining industry and his company Alpine Venture was founded. These LGPTs can go where others can't, they use hydraulic power, can easily be modified and are environmentally friendly. Rob Kneller, Brent's partner in Australia, has a civil plumbing company, which has 20 employees. It's based in the Snowy Mountains of NSW and oversees Alpine Venture.
Brent first came to Phuket in 2001 to buy a catamaran called No Fixed Address off of Stafford Steer with every intention of taking the boat back to Australia. But while he was refurbishing the boat at the Latitude 8 boat yard with lots of help from Mark Horwood & Mark Pescott, he took a liking to Phuket and decided to stay. Many are glad he did.
Discounts include fifteen percent off from Rolly Tasker, then there's the massive 60 percent discount from Krabi Boat Lagoon on marina slips, hard stands, and haul outs (the PCYC sent Krabi Boat Lagoon many of its early customers). Ratanachai shipyard gives 20% on haul outs and work on the hard, and a PCYC member can also get a twenty percent discount on marina services and thirty percent on F & B at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (this deal is reciprocated by the PCYC). Major Phuket chandleries like AME Marine, GSM and Surapol all give between 10-15% discounts and Chao Fa East Auto Parts gives up to 20% on oil-belts, filters, tools, and diesel algae killer to PCYC card-carrying members. Aqua Master Chalong also offer trade prices with PCYC membership, and the list goes on and is growing. Check out the PCYC web page for full details.
- Prometheus Marine, Singapore's leading luxury yacht dealer and brokerage company, has been providing marine consulting services that have culminated in a nautical extravaganza designed to launch a new blend of Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey.
"Odyssey", which is described as a "triple malt inspired by the golden era of sea travel", has been developed by master blender Jim Beveridge using Sir Alexander Walker's hand-written notes. The new blend has been introduced to selected customers across the Asia-Pacific region by brand ambassador Tom Jones on board Montigne, a beautiful 57m three-masted sailing vessel that was sourced by Prometheus Marine specifically for 'The John Walker & Sons Voyager', an ambitious charter project.
Prometheus Marine has been involved with Diageo, the premium consumer goods business that produces some of the world's leading brands, including Johnnie Walker, since October 2011, when the company was contacted to find a suitable boat for the project. Then, in March of this year, the company was hired to provide Diageo with consulting services on "all matters nautical" pertaining to the regional tour.
The challenges involved in the project have been considerable. Prometheus Marine has completed a reconnaissance tour of all the ports that Montigne will be visiting, in order to secure suitable berthing arrangements for her, and to streamline all administrative procedures for the boat's arrival in each port. Some of the issues have included using commercial docks with significant tidal ranges (which present considerable issues for such a low freeboard yacht as Montigne), fabrication of a special gangway for these types of commercial berth, together with special fendering arrangements to protect the expensive yacht. There have also been numerous administrative challenges; notably in Shanghai, China, which has had almost no visits from sailing boats such as Montigne, and so most arrangements have been 'firsts'.
In addition, Montigne has undergone a number of cosmetic changes, specifically for the Voyager charter. These have included the creation of additional entertainment facilities, cabin refits, special onboard branding for Diageo, and even a temporary "name change" for the boat. The result is a luxurious floating venue for the unique new whisky blend in which every space tells a story about its creation as well as Johnnie Walker's brand heritage.
Says Craig Marcombe, General Manager of Prometheus Marine and the marine consultant in charge of the project, "Prometheus Marine is delighted to be involved in this prestigious project. Although our bread and butter work in the field of marine consulting lies principally in marine and marina feasibility studies and project management, our engagement in 'The John Walker & Sons Voyager' tour reflects the diversity of our experience and expertise as marine consultants in the widest possible context."
Montigne will travel from Shanghai to Mumbai over a period of six months. Other countries to be visited in this extravaganza include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Vietnam, plus Singapore in early January 2013.
About Prometheus Marine
Alan Pickering started ProMarine (ProMetheus Marine Pte Ltd) over two decades ago, after extensive boating experience in Europe, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asia. His vision was to develop a professional operation to help people with a desire to enhance their family and corporate lives through sailing or cruising. ProMarine genuinely understands the joys and pitfalls of boat ownership and it is this insight that drove Alan to assemble the experienced and international team that is ProMarine today.
Today, that vision still holds true and ProMarine is one of the longest standing and most respected marine businesses in Asia. ProMarine is active in all aspects of boating in the Asia Pacific region and features prominently in regional boat shows and seminars. Offices in Singapore and Malaysia (in Puteri Harbour) are staffed by mature, highly competent marine professionals who bring local knowledge - both legislative and practical - to bear in their dealings with prospective and existing clients.
ProMarine also has a successful track record as a consultant and project manager for several major marina developments throughout Asia, including Yacht Haven Phuket, the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, the Sebana Cove Marina, Puteri Harbour and Sutera Harbour. ProMarine provides full brokerage, charter and a wide range of support services.
For more information, please visit http://yachtsasia.com.