Wow! The US$15m Adastra comes home

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am

It's taken eight years, but Antony Marden's nautical marvel finally made it home to Deep Water Bay last week.

The Hong Kong shipping magnate wanted to build a superyacht to sail around the world. English boat designer John Shuttleworth helped him build one that pushes the boundaries of boatbuilding - the 140-foot Adastra.

Built in Zhuhai by Australian boatbuilder McConaghy at a cost of US$15 million, it is now moored at Deep Water Bay. It looks like a spaceship has just landed in the sleepy cove.

'We sailed her down from Zhuhai without incident and it's great to just have her home at last. There's still a shed load of work to be done but we're getting there,' Marden said. 'I've taken her out a few times but it takes a complicated boat like this about a year to settle down. We're still ironing out all the problems.'

Early next year, Marden plans to start the first leg of his trip by heading off across the Pacific, stopping in Palau before going on to Fiji, Tonga and Tahiti. 'I've been studying my Lonely Planet Guide for the South Pacific,' he joked.

The trimaran, hailed as 'one of the world's most amazing super-yachts, that could spell the future for efficient long-range cruising' by Boat International magazine, combines luxury accommodation with the speed, fuel economy and seafaring capacity of a stripped-down cruiser. The boatbuilder puts its range, at a speed of 17 knots, at 4,000 nautical miles - enough to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

But far from it feeling like a dream come true, Marden, 62, described some very different emotions.

'The whole project has been going on for so long and there's been so many disappointments along the way, it's more a feeling of relief to have the boat finally here,' he said. 'It has lived up to all my expectations so far.'

It's also no coincidence that his pride and joy is sitting in Deep Water Bay. 'This is where my love of sailing began, so it's like I've come full circle,' he said.

Marden, the son of the late John Marden, former head of the Wheelock Marden conglomerate, said the boat would stay in Hong Kong until all the major teething problems were sorted out. It would then go to Manila for some fine-tuning.



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