Yacht charter trade buoyed by rise in boat numbers

A luxury yacht which was a highlight of last month's Singapore Yacht Show at Sentosa Cove can soon by rented out by local customers.

The 20.7m two-hulled yacht is notable for boasting more space than other yachts of the same length. Its living space of nearly 300 sq m is usually seen only in yachts above 24m in length. It is co-owned by Dr Julian Theng and his sister, lawyer Lisa Theng.

The siblings are renting out the Sunreef Supreme 68 Eagle Wings to defray its monthly maintenance costs of $60,000. This amount goes to maintaining a crew, boat maintenance and paying for parking, among other things.

They bought the boat to spend time with their extended family of 17 people and hope to use it once every two weeks. The family has had "great bonding time" every time they chartered boats in the last few years, said Dr Theng, 48, chairman and medical director at Eagle Eye Centre.

The boat-lover added: "The business aspect is secondary but yet we can't leave it lying adock."

The Sunreef Supreme 68 Eagle Wings comes with a karaoke set, a mahjong table, and four bedrooms, each with a bathroom. PHOTO: EAGLE WINGS

The boat's retail price is about $5 million, though Dr Theng purchased it at a discount.

His sister, 49, is managing partner of law firm Colin Ng & Partners.

Next month, the yacht will be offered at a promotional rate of about $3,750 for four to five hours. If demand allows, the siblings hope to gradually raise the rate to about $7,500. At those prices, 44 people can go on board and fine dining will be served at a further promotional cost of $60 per head for up to 20 people.

About 10 people have already expressed interest in renting the yacht, Dr Theng said.

Aimed at the luxury segment, the boat has an air-conditioned central area with glass walls, semi leather chairs and a wooden floor.

It comes with a karaoke set, a piano and a mahjong table. The ship also has four bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, and an open-air bar. Bookings can be made at: www.eaglewingsyachtcharters.com.sg.

Yacht companies told The Straits Times that yacht chartering has been on the rise in the past few years. There are now more charter boats docked at marinas and at sail in the nearby waters, according to Mr Brent Rubbo, general manager at yacht dealer and brokerage Premium Nautical. The number of charter boats here has recently increased by 15 per cent a year, he estimates.

Aqua Voyage Yacht Chartering told The Straits Times that charter inquiries have grown about 15 per cent from 2014 to 2015, even though the haze in late 2015 hit demand.

Mr Desmond Choo, founder and managing director at YachtCharter.sg, said: "With growing affluence, there is definitely an increase in both the supply of yachts made available for charter, as well as the demand for rental of charter yachts in the past few years."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline Yacht charter trade buoyed by rise in boat numbers. Subscribe