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新加坡唯一高端双语杂志

遨游四海At Peace On The High Seas

要在茫茫大海与朋友不期而遇,应该难如登天。然而,泰国Boat Lagoon Yachting集团董事经理Vrit Yongsakul却非常幸运,他在普吉岛附近的斯米兰群岛海域,与老友“萍水相逢”,喜出望外。
他最近在新加坡游艇展上接受ZBBZ专访时笑说:“我的游艇当时正在海上航行,不料碰到一个从缅甸开着游艇回来的朋友,我们已经两年没见面,能在海上相遇真是意外惊喜,这是我喜欢游艇生活的原因之一。”
偶遇发生在今年3月,当时Vrit正在斯米兰群岛海域上,为公司的游艇客户和他们的亲友举行大型游艇活动,与20多艘游艇约200人共度了三天两夜的美好时光。
他说:“我们把游艇排在一起,大人在船上喝酒聊天,小孩在海里玩闹嬉戏,感觉非常惬意。能把工作和娱乐结合在一起简直太幸运和完美了,我与很多客户成为好友,经常一起出海,有时还能在船上完成几宗交易。我公司约六成的游艇买家是回头客,有些人甚至跟我买过14艘游艇,这是对我们公司优质服务的最佳证明。”
36岁的Vrit Yongsakul是泰国华裔,曾祖父当年离开中国家乡过番到普吉岛的锡矿工作。后来他的祖父在普吉岛和泰国南部买进很多土地,家族开始致富。热爱海上活动的父亲Kanit Yongsakul则在20多年前创立Boat Lagoon游艇俱乐部,帮助奠定普吉岛作为区域游艇业中心的基础。
受父亲影响,Vrit自小就与大海结下不解之缘,一家人经常开游艇到泰国、马来西亚和印度尼西亚的海域游玩。他9岁就被送到英国求学,一呆就是14年,留学期间一直对游艇生活念念不忘。
Vrit说:“到了英国我才发现自己很怀念与家人和朋友出海的日子,那真是一段悠游自在的时光。我们有时也会在过年过节开游艇出海,享受海上的宁静。与心爱的亲友度过的这些欢乐时光是很难忘的。”
从伦敦帝国学院土木工程硕士班毕业后,Vrit回到了泰国,继承家业。Boat Lagoon Yachting自1995年开始在泰国代理英国公主游艇,目前负责该品牌东南亚的销售与服务,在泰国、印尼、马来西亚、新加坡等地都有销售处。去年Boat Lagoon Yachting的营业额约3500万新元,一共售出27艘游艇,其中有九成是公主品牌。
很多游艇爱好者经常把东南亚拿来与地中海相比,Vrit认为两地各有千秋。“地中海的滨海设施比较好,你能上岸享受较高尚的体验。跟地中海相比,东南亚的体验完全不同,这片海域能找到更多私密停泊处,也可欣赏到美丽的大自然。由于气候缘故,东南亚的海底世界更加漂亮,可以看到各种热带鱼和植物,潜水体验更好。东南亚最强的优势是亚洲人很热情,有良好的服务态度,能善待各地来的客人。”随着缅甸和柬埔寨的开放,他看好东南亚游艇业的发展,觉得市场前景无可限量。

What are the chances of running into someone you know while out on the open seas? Not very high at all, which is why Vrit Yongsakul treasures such a chance encounter. 
The group managing director of Thailand’s Boat Lagoon Yachting and Princess Yachts Southeast Asia was sailing at the Similan Islands near Phuket in March when he ran into an old friend, who was on his way back from Myanmar.
“We had not seen each other for two years and this unexpected encounter on the seas was truly a surprise,” he recalled with a laugh during the interview at the Singapore Yacht Show in April.  “This is one reason I like the yachting life.”
Yongsakul was then in the middle of holding a large-scale yachting event for the friends and families of his company’s clients. The occasion drew more than 20 yachts with about 200 people, who mingled and relaxed on the waters over three days and two nights. “We lined up the yachts and while the adults chatted over drinks, the kids swam in the sea. The atmosphere was very leisurely,” he said of the event.
The 36-year-old views his job as a godsend. “It has been absolutely fortunate and perfect for me to be able to marry work and pleasure. I have become good friends with many of my clients and often head out to sea with them. Sometimes, I even ink new deals on board.”
Three in five of the company’s buyers are repeat customers, he added. “I even have customers who have purchased 14 yachts from me. This is the best proof of the quality of service our company delivers.”
His great-grandfather had travelled from his hometown in China to Phuket to work in tin mines. His grandfather later managed to buy several land parcels that paved the way for the family’s prosperity. Yongsakul’s father Kanit, a yachting enthusiast, founded the Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina more than 20 years ago, which helped Phuket to establish itself as a regional centre for the yachting industry.
The younger Yongsakul’s love affair with the high seas began early, as the family often went sailing around Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. He was sent to study in Britain at age nine and yearned for the yachting life during his 14 years there.
Said Yongsakul, who is licensed to pilot a yacht: “It was when I was in the UK that I realised I very much missed yachting with my friends and family. We would eat and drink on the yacht and go diving. It was very leisurely and carefree. Sometimes, we would also take our yacht to sea on New Year’s Day or other festive occasions to enjoy the peace. The happy moments we enjoyed are unforgettable.”
After graduating with a master’s degree in civil engineering from London’s Imperial College, he returned to Thailand and joined the family business. Since 1995, Boat Lagoon Yachting has been a distributor for British luxury manufacturer Princess Yachts. It is currently the sales and service agent for the brand in South-east Asia and operates offices in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Last year, Boat Lagoon Yachting notched up revenue of about $35 million, selling a total of 27 yachts. Around nine in 10 of the yachts sold were Princess yachts.
While many yachting enthusiasts like to draw comparisons between the sailing experience in South-east Asia and the Mediterranean, Yongsakul sees distinct differences between the two. He said: “Marina facilities are better in the Mediterranean, where you can entertain and dine on shore and enjoy a higher-quality experience.”
However, the experience in regional waters is superior in other ways. “Here, there are many more private berthing spots where one can take in the beauty of nature. Due to our climate, the underwater world in South-east Asia is more beautiful, with lots of tropical fish and plants. Thus the diving experience is better.”
South-east Asia’s biggest edge, he added, is the friendly service attitude. “The people here are able to treat guests from all over the world with great hospitality.”
With the opening up of the Myanmar and Cambodia markets, Yongsakul is confident of bright prospects for the regional yachting industry. The room for growth, you could say, is as wide as the open seas.