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Catching up with John Coffin
Friday, 20 November 2015 14:21    PDF Print E-mail
Catching up with John CoffinCatching up with John Coffin
Catching up with John Coffin
Catching up with
John Coffin
Catching up with John Coffin
Catching up with John Coffin
Background

Please tell us a little about yourself; where you're from, where you grew up, etc.? "I grew up in Cardiff, South Wales, and from a very early age maintained an interest in water sports, particularly rowing and windsurfing. My father and grandfather were from Wroxham and were boat builders. My father taught me to sail on the Norfolk Broads on traditional one-design gaff-rigged halfdeckers. At the age of 16, I joined Port Line as a deck cadet and went to sea. I spent many years sailing on different kinds of commercial vessels and from the age of 27 onwards sailed as Master. In 1995, I came ashore in Shanghai and set up a consultancy and supervision company building ships in China, Vietnam and India. During the time in China I was also involved in building the Clipper Venture sailing boats and established a small boatyard building traditional styled craft and canal boats for the UK."

Catching up with John Coffin What did you do before getting involved in the sailing business?

"I was captain on a variety of commercial vessels trading worldwide. Latterly. I was CEO of a business designing, building and managing different kinds of vessels with offices based in Shanghai."

How did you get interested in sailing?

"My father was the main influence in my sailing from an early age however windsurfing became my main passion on the water particularly sailing off beaches in West Wales. As Master on commercial vessels I was also in a position to enjoy the sport in many different countries and indeed on passages between destinations when I frequently launched my windsurfer off the side of the vessel. Great fun sailing across the Atlantic alongside a 50,000tdw ship! Later on while working in China a few of us expats set up the Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club (latterly, the Shanghai Yacht Club) and developed it into one of the biggest sailing venues on the mainland. I was commodore for a number of years and also started an IYT registered sailing school. The school in China still acts as a conduit for sailors to come down to Thailand to enjoy further sail and power boat training in our Krabi centre and also join us on the regatta circuit. Our philosophy is to train China-based sailors to first have good dinghy sailing abilities and then to bring them onto the bigger boats for cruising and racing."

How did you end up in Thailand?

"I came here to sail on a friend's boat, enjoyed the experience on and off the water, bought a cruising boat and started sailing."

How did the idea for Java Racing & Java Catamaran come about?

"Asia Catamarans built Java (a Stealth 11.8) for me a few years ago and after successfully campaigning the boat an opportunity developed to charter her, and other boats, on the Asian regatta scene." Please tell us what type of boats you have available.

"In our group we have: Java (Stealth 11.8 Cat); Judy (Mumm 30); Mas Alegre (Standfast 40); Sudu 1, 2, 3, 4 (Corsair Pulse 600s); Compass Rose (Seawind 11.8) and Peggy Su (Deben Lugger). Additionally, we have a number of Stingray Cat RIBS available for charter and soon we will have the new foiling C-Fury RIB for clients to test."

What is special about each boat?

"Java is just a great lightweight competitive fast cat designed for the local conditions. Judy, the Mumm 30, is a responsive Farr designed monohull, very competitive. Mas Alegre is a 40ft Franz Mas designed monohull (rich in history); which has competed in the Transpac and Fastnet races. The Corsair Pulses are exciting modern trimarans, forgiving to sail for the not so experienced but also very exciting in a blow. The Deben Lugger gives sailors experience sailing as it was some time ago! The RIBS are all catamarans, with twin engine configurations, they are extremely suitable for island hopping and maintain a stable platform even in rough conditions. Sizes range from 4.2- 7.8m. In addition to the regatta opportunities all the boats are available for day and longer period charters."

Catching up with John Coffin Where do you keep your boats?

"Java, 2 Corsair Pulses, the Deben Lugger and the RIBS are based in Phuket Boat Lagoon. Two Corsair Pulses will be in Ao Chalong. Our training boat Mas Alegre along with the Mumm 30 are in Krabi Boat Lagoon. We can however move the boats around to suit client and regatta needs and the Corsair Pulses can be trailed to other regatta venues."

How does one go about reserving a boat with you?

"We have offices in Phuket and Krabi Boat Lagoons supporting our race and normal charter business. Our main IYT training base is in the Krabi Boat Lagoon where we have our class rooms and teaching facilities. Boats for regattas and training courses can be booked through our websites www.krabisailingschool.com and www.javacharters.com."

SEAY's Quick Q & A
Favourite Sailing Film "Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World."
  • Favourite Sailing Book?
  • "A World of My Own by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston."
  • Favourite Sailing Hero?
  • "Sir Alec Rose (took part in the second single-handed Atlantic race in 1964 and circumnavigated the globe single-handedly in 1967-68, for which he was knighted)."
  • Biggest Sailing Inspiration?
  • "Robin Knox Johnson (In 1969, he became the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.)"
  • Favourite Marina?
  • "Boat Lagoon Phuket"
  • Favourite Regatta?
  • "Cape Panwa Phuket Race Week."
  • Favourite Anchorage?
  • "Doves Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand."
  • Favourite Chandlery?
  • "Force 4."
  • Favourite Boat Show?
  • "Southampton"
  • Favourite Sailing Bar
  • "The Durban Yacht Club."
  • Favourite type of sailing boat?
  • "Difficult one - different boats for different conditions/times. Currently Java, the Stealth 11.8, remains top of the list."
  • Boat you'd most like to design/build?
  • "Classic 45ft sloop."
  • Sailing race you still most want to compete in?
  • "The Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race."
  • Sailing destination you still most want to get to?
  • "None (spent most of my life on the water commercially); all destinations within 48 hours of Phuket are fine!"
  • What could the Thai gov't do to improve sailing/marina business in this country?
  • "Set up a good coastguard and professionally run rescue service and design and build a proper marina in Ao Chalong."
  • If you weren't in the sailing business, you would be…
  • "Bored."