Turning sweet 16 in July, a revitalised Silolona is primed and ready for the 2020-21 charter season in Indonesia, having completed an extensive refit in Bali in May.
The first of Indonesia’s growing fleet of luxury phinisis, Silolona traditionally embarks on a major refit about every five years. And Caroline Payen, Silolona Sojourns’ Yacht Charter Manager, says the 164-footer now looks as fresh as the day she was launched by the Konjo Boat Builders in Sulawesi in July 2004.
“This time, Silolona is like a new phinisi,” Payen says. “A lot of woodwork was processed while keeping the unique Silolona style.”
The 50m Silolona, and her younger 40m sister Si Datu Bua have since been chartering in and around Komodo and neighbouring Flores, where they’ll remain through August. In September, they’ll travel east through the historic Banda ‘Spice Islands’ before heading north to West Papua to explore Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay.
After spending October to May around the country’s most easterly province, the yachts make their way back via the Banda Islands to Komodo for the May-August season.
“The Komodo islands are the natural habitat of the Komodo dragon and a World Heritage Site, and offer world-class diving, deserted pink-sand beaches, while the Flores archipelago has ancient cultures, textiles, world-class diving and scenic volcanoes,” Payen says.
“The beautiful Banda islands have amazing history and stately old Dutch mansions, and are the native home of nutmeg, hence the ‘Spice Islands’. Raja Ampat offers world-class diving and snorkelling in pristine seas, Asmat (West Papua) features ancient tribal customs and powerful art, and guests can swim with whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay.”
Like most large charter yachts in Indonesia, both Silolona and Si Datu Bua are fully equipped for diving, one of the key activities in a country boasting some of the world’s most diverse marine life. Itineraries are tailored by the Silolona Sojourns team headed by CEO Tresno Seery, son of founder Patti Seery and a naval architect who designed Si Datu Bua.
Patti Seery is renowned in the industry for developing both phinisis based upon her extensive interests and knowledge accumulated over three decades in Indonesia, her longstanding friendships with communities, and her passion for Southeast Asia’s art, history and cultures.
“Through our network of traditional villages and peoples, Silolona Sojourns sponsors traditional ceremonies that could not be held due to lack of funds,” says Payen, who adds that it also supports international organisations to raise awareness about the oceans and protect whales, thresher sharks and manta rays in remote islands.
Payen says the yachts and crew are so popular that Silolona Sojourns has had up to 70 per cent repeat clients some years. Chartering both Silolona and Si Datu Bua together is a popular option as it enables large groups of 16-20 to enjoy holidays together, with programmes customised to guests’ preferences.
“The crews are very kid-friendly and have an endless imagination for fun, safe adventures and experiences,” she says. “Also, our chefs specialise in international gourmet cuisine with an Asian flair, and can offer Indonesian cooking lessons upon request.”
Due to Covid-19, Silolona Sojourns is offering to reschedule any charter bookings within a year should a CDC Travel Health Notice of level three or higher for any country to or from the charter destination be issued, or flights be cancelled due to health alerts.
ALL SHAPES AND SIZES
Phinisis inspired by Silolona include the 65.2m Lamima, which was the world’s largest wooden sailing yacht upon its launch in 2014 and is among a range of luxury superyachts offered for charter in Indonesia by Camper & Nicholsons (C&N).
The 214-footer features seven large cabins yacht for 14 guests, and is available in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia in the northern-hemisphere winter.
“Lamima is one of our yachts that offer exciting all-inclusive packages, which are very interesting for guests as they include a vast array of activities and a true immersion in nature,” says Carmen Lau, C&N’s Business Development Director Asia. “Activities can include diving, yoga, trekking on remote islands and much more.”
The 46m Mutiara Laut can also accommodate 14 guests in seven cabins and has a 14-strong crew headed by Captain Andi, who has been with the yacht since her launch in 2009, while the 26m Sequoia launched in 2017 has three cabins for six guests, plus 10 crew.
C&N is offering a 20 per cent discount on bookings made before August 31 on the 50m expedition yacht, Kudanil Explorer. Built in 1978, the motor yacht had a spectacular refit for charter in 2018 that included the creation of eight 330sqft ensuite staterooms, each with a king-size bed and a private balcony with table and chairs.
Indonesia’s other iconic charter yachts include the 51m Dunia Baru, the famed seven-cabin charter phinisi that has been meticulously maintained since its completion in early 2014.
More recent additions include the 55m Prana by Atzaro launched in 2018 by Yacht Sourcing. The Indonesia-based company is also the charter central agent for this expansive yacht, which has over 9,600sqft of usable space across four decks and a remarkable nine cabins.
The original article first appeared in Yacht Style Issue 54 (Charter Issue 2020) – see below:
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Yacht Style Issue 54 Out Now: The Charter Issue 2020