“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails, Explore. Dream Discover.” – Mark Twain.
Calling all sailors, cruisers, pleasure boaters, and folks who just love to get out on the sea to explore, dream & discover. Luxury yachts and pleasure cruising in the Gulf of Thailand is catching on at a great rate of knots and the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show (OMPBS) is at its center. A stellar array of superbly constructed, state-of-the-art and environmentally sophisticated, luxury craft made this fourth annual event, (Nov 26th to 29th Nov., 2015) the most successful exposition yet.
Exhibits of at least an equivalent value were added to the US$14 billion of moored yachts that permanently call the Ocean Marina & Yacht Club at Pattaya their homeport. Thailand is rapidly developing, luxury marine industry equating itself admirably alongside the finest Australia, France, Italy, South Africa or USA have to offer.
With over 100 exhibitors, there was something for everyone. Day-cruisers, charters to explore eastern Thailand’s dazzling coast, island-hoppers, or those looking to purchase a luxury yacht, were all well served. The OMPBS also featured several, newly developed and newly completed craft, assembled specifically for the exhibition. A key feature of this growing Boat Show is the variety and diversity of its exhibits. Sail or power, keelboats or multi-hull, riverboat or blue-water vessels are all present.
Boats ranged in length from barely 1 meter, (the edgy, ‘must-have’ diving accouterment, ‘Seabob’ at 1.152m,) to the 41m flagship, the glamorous, Ocean Emerald super-yacht, (which plies by charter from Pattaya or Phuket).
Potential buyers were spoiled for choice. Famous and venerable boat-building brands (e.g. Azimut of Italian-design; Princess of British-origin, or Beneteau of France) had on display one or more, single-hull luxury craft, from catalogues with designs from 40 to over 100 feet in length.
Locally produced, Austhai Marine exhibited an innovative, multi-hull, passenger vessel; one of their series ranging from 8m and 18m. New entrant for 2015, South Africa’s Leopard specializes in a range of impressive, blue-water capable catamarans, from 40 to 88 feet. Thailand’s Bakri-Cono shipyards delivers very competitively priced multi-hulls, including the ‘green’ Heliotrope 48, with novel solar panels contributing to up to 7Kw of power for electric running.
“Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made.” – Robert N. Rose
Also on display were the fine automobiles, amphibious toys and residences, befitting those discerning enough to select this maritime playground on the Gulf so close to Bangkok.
Show attendees could enjoy a glimpse of the good life on the Gulf. Free, one-hour yacht cruises on the Gulf off Pattaya, occurred continuous from 11:00am to 17:30 daily throughout the four-day Show.
With Ocean Marina Yacht Club at its center, new destination marinas are springing up around the eastern islands, and as far away as Hua Hin and Koh Samui, placing Thailand’s Gulf on the world’s yachting map.
Ocean Marina Yacht Club
Building on its reputation for hosting the internationally renowned, Top of the Gulf Regatta, and for weekly keelboat races, The Ocean Marina Yacht Club is an ideal location both for the Pattaya Boat Show or to keep a boat. Just 1.5 hours by super-highway from Bangkok, adjacent to Sukhumvit Road and with ample parking, a day-trip is convenient. For longer stays, the Ocean Marina Yacht Club Hotel is on-site, while luxury apartments and resorts are nearby.
HOT Magazine sat down with Scott Finsten, Harbour Master at Ocean Marina, who had this to say about boating on the Gulf; “We don’t get swells, we are out of the typhoon belt and we don’t have to worry about Tsunami’s. You have great islands nearby for day trips, a weekend away you’ve got Koh Samet and then further afield you have Koh Chiang and Koh Samui.” Scott went on to say, “the thing is, people don’t realize what the gulf of Thailand has to offer. Everyone goes to Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket, on the Andaman side but few people come up here, and you go to some of these islands, especially off of Prachuabkirikan with the national park Sam Roi Yat, it’s just beautiful in there.”
Those who established the Ocean Marina exhibited great foresight. This classy facility now includes all the facilities, utilities, and haul-out etc., expected by super-yacht owners, including a million U.S. dollar marine “Travel Lift” capable of lifting and moving a 75 ton yacht. The biggest yacht they’ve lifted so far was 100 feet (30.5 meters). Ocean Marina has dockside berthing for 380 yachts and is able to accommodate new purchasers. Its proven durable breakwater is of an innovative design. Porous walls allow good flushing of the marina, while also minimizing currents at the entrance – leaving one pondering why not all marinas are constructed this way.
The fifth annual Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show will be held from November 24th to 27th, 2016.
Move over the Hamptons, the Greek Aegean, French Riviera or the Hauraki Gulf. The Gulf of Thailand has arrived.