The world’s two largest archipelagos, Indonesia with 14,000 islands and another stunning 7,000 in the Philippines, have had chequered charter histories. Bali and the Nusa Tenggara to its East, plus Borneo, Sulawesi, Maluku and the Spice Islands, have gradually opened up, with more charter yachts available. The Philippines, however, has remained as remote as before and, apart from a few passing superyachts, charter vessels are few and far between.
Now the Dutch owner of a well-kept 32 metre Azimut Grande, Antonia II, hopes to offer a series of itineraries that will surely attract more charter guests. Based between Subic Bay and sometimes Manila Yacht Club, he plans to highlight the Hundred Islands and Lingayan Gulf north of Manila, Manila Bay to Puerto Galera in Mindoro, striking El Nido and Palawan, and various parts of the lovely Visayas, including Boracay, the latter basing from Philippines second city Cebu.
Helping to bring this venture to reality from last month are highly experienced charter agents Sytske Kimman in Hong Kong and Lies Sol in Phuket, both now part of the fast-growing Northrop and Johnson Asia sales and charter network.
Lies advises that Antonia II had one prior American owner from her launch in 2007. He took extremely good care of the vessel,and sailed her mostly in Florida and the Caribbean. The present owner shipped her to Hong Kong, then with a new captain and crew motored across the South China Sea to Subic Bay.
Antonia II has a four-stateroom layout, with the master suite on the principal deck, plus two more doubles and a twin cabin. For an attractive US$75,000-US$85,000 a week plus all expenses, this set-up seems perfect for a family with children, or three or four couples looking for an out-of-the-ordinary boating vacation.
Recent upgrades include a complete respray of the hull and superstructure, and the addition of cleaner and quieter underwater exhausts. Mechanical, electrical and electronic systems have been similarly treated, and the interior has been updated. Other “small things”, says the owner, include new furniture, best quality bed linen and Versace chinaware.
Features, apart from the highly reputable Azimut build, are a relatively wide beam which increases interior volume, fairly shallow draft, Trac stabilisers, newer style profiling, and high-powered halogen lights underwater and aft.
Antonia II is powered by twin 2000 HP MTUs, and she consumes about 150 litres an hour at 12 knots, more fuel-efficient than her cruising speed of 24 knots. She is Cook Islands-flagged, built in GRP with a planning hull, and has air-conditioning , a jacuzzi, and stabilisers for both under way and at anchor. A captain, engineer, chef and two stewardesses trained in the South of France are the usual crew on board for charters.
Tenders and toys include a 4.5 metre Riva with Weber inboard, Seadoo jetski, sundry inflatables, and full fishing and snorkelling gear. Rendezvous diving can be arranged on request.
“Antonia II is ready to showcase some of the Philippines’ best cruising waters, and guests will be voyaging in style”, says Lies, whom we first met in the Asian charter market some 30 years ago.