Family adventures in a catamaran
When Anthony Lim bought his latest yacht, he knew it needed to be the perfect choice for his wife and four children.
Anthony Lim is not new to sailing. Far from it. The Singapore-based businessman started out dinghy sailing aged just 16 when he went to Outward Bound school – and from there, his passion for the water grew. “I always dreamt of one day owning a yacht,” he says. He achieved his dream many years ago and has since owned a succession of yachts, but it is his latest catamaran, Annette 2, that currently has his heart.
“I first saw a Sunreef in Singapore at Keppel Marina. And a while later I took one for a sea trial,” he explains. “I loved the finish and the detail. I took it through quite hard conditions and the handling was amazing. It is a good sailing machine. Just one person is needed at the helm – no sweat, no issues and the boat was purring. I was sold.” With tennis star Rafa Nadal the latest to take delivery of a Sunreef, Lim is in good company.
He took delivery of Annette 2 in 2017, naming the yacht after his daughter. “I have three other children but they are all boys and they didn’t mind. Meanwhile, my wife wouldn’t want to have it named after her, in fact, she would have killed me!” Lim’s children are all grown up now, in their twenties, and frequently spend time on board with their friends. Of course, there are family holidays, too.
“My son Darren’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve,” says Lim. ”We spent it on the yacht last year, which was great. The family might not be avid sailors like me, but they enjoy the luxury of it.” Before Covid, the Riau Islands were a family favourite. “Everyone’s heard of Bintan,” says Lim, “but there are almost one hundred other islands. You point the yacht south from Singapore and within an hour you’re in Indonesia. On one of the islands, I gave the local children apples and oranges and they told me they had never seen these fruits before. This is just an hour from Singapore – it blows my mind. That’s how undiscovered it is.”
Lim’s wife, Janice, was heavily involved in the design and layout of the yacht, and it was her idea to bring the galley upstairs. “The configuration proposed initially was to have it downstairs, but my wife has better sense than me and suggested we bring it upstairs, so we could hang around it to socialise, like you might in an open kitchen in an apartment.” Lim himself is a ‘weekend chef’ and loves to experiment in the galley without missing out on any action. The revised layout also made room for an office, so that Lim could combine work and play on board.
“As well as family, I often entertain business clients on board,” says Lim. “We might have a BBQ and go out for a short sail; it makes a nice change from the office.” Usually, Lim entertains colleagues in smaller groups, but occasionally, he likes to cast the net a little wider. “Once in a while, I’ll invite an international group of about 30 or 40 people on board for cocktails and finger food and they love it. I remember recently a Korean colleague came to me and thanked me for inviting him, he said it was the first time he’d done anything like it.”
It is this combination of guests new to sailing and family who prioritised luxury that made a catamaran feel like a sensible choice for Lim. “A monohull is good fun, but when you want to invite friends and family, there seems to be more space on a catamaran. Also, whilst I enjoy racing and sailing, some people panic. I’ve got a lot of non-sailing friends and business associates and I didn’t want to expose them to that. It’s more important that their champagne glasses don’t fall over!”
For Lim though, racing is half the fun of ownership and even on Annette 2, he manages to get involved. He served as a commodore at the Changi Sailing Club in Singapore for eight years, during which time he’d organise the Ambassador’s Cup every year. “I used Annette 2 for racing in that – we’d invite all the ambassadors and we put them on different yachts. Then we’d have a big party after. It was fun and it raised money for charity,” says Lim.
So where is still on the bucket list? “Spending time on a yacht is not about getting to the destination, it’s about the journey itself,” says Lim. “You can do things like hiking or golfing, but sailing is more inclusive for the rest of my family. My children get really excited about it and that makes me happy.”