Smooth sailing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 10:54pm


If you've seen what looks like a rather spectacular boat floating around the waters south of Hong Kong Island recently, rest assured that what you're looking at is in fact far more spectacular than you think.

Owned by Hong Kong-based shipping industry businessman Anto Marden, the Adastra was five years in the making, cost more than US$15 million, and looks like something from outer space. The 42.5-metre stunner is a trimaran, a type of boat based on the design of an outrigger canoe - but this is to an outrigger what a diamond is to a lump of coal.

Designed by British boat-maker John Shuttleworth but built just over the border at the McConaghy shipyard in Zhuhai, the Adastra is so hi-tech that it can even be controlled by the owner's iPad at a range of up to 50 metres. With 1150hp of power from main engine, plus 110hp more from each of the outrigger engines, it's capable of a top speed of 22.5 knots.

The boat employs various technologies to make it more streamlined and more fuel-efficient, including a hull made of glass and kevlar - space-age synthetic fibre - and a honeycomb design inside the superstructure, but at 120 litres an hour at its cruising speed of 17 knots, this is never going to be the greenest of vessels.

Nonetheless, it's capable of a remarkable range of about 7,500 kilometres without refuelling, which could take the owner to the two private islands he also owns in Indonesia and a lot further - in fact, that's pretty much the same distance from Hong Kong to Sydney.