In the latest of our new blog series, we have been talking to some of our regional Country Managers and Sales Managers, who oversee Simpson Marine’s operations in our hubs throughout Asia. Each brings extensive yachting experience, inspirations and aspirations to their role, helping to grow their local boating scenes with passion and dedication.
Today we meet Paul Whelan, Indonesia Country Manager, for 14 quick fire questions and an e-coffee. Enjoy meeting Paul and getting to knowing the Simpson Marine team better. If you would like to hear more from Paul. please send us any questions you would like him to answer for you.
Q: How long have you been with Simpson Marine?
A: I joined Simpson Marine in March 2010, so have just now passed the 10 year mark. Who would have thought it!?
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in yachting?
A: I grew up around boats, with my family always having smaller boats that we enjoyed as kids. I bought my first boat when I was 14 – it was a 14’ wood Clinker-built speed boat that I pulled apart and rebuilt in the garage. I had so much fun with that boat and that project is what inspired me to become a boat builder.
Q: What was your first memory when it comes to yachting?
A: Maybe not my first memory, but I do remember the engine breaking down in one of my Dad’s boats and we had to row all the way back to the dock. My mother was not impressed! In regards to large yachts, I went to Antibes in the South of France in 1993 and I remember the first time I saw real superyachts. In those days a very large yacht was about 50-60m and I was so impressed. The size, build quality and design of those boats just blew my mind. After that I ended up spending the next eight years working as crew on superyachts.
Q: In your opinion, what are the key essentials that potential buyers should consider before purchasing a yacht?
A: For myself, I’m always thinking how suitable the boat is for my needs. Buying a boat that doesn’t suit you can be costly mistake and can make your boating experience not so pleasant. Think about where you will use it, who with, and how many people. Will it be used for family day trips, or extended cruising? There are many factors to consider.
Q: What are some of your favourite islands around your country (Indonesia) that you personally like boating to?
A: Living in Indonesia I am blessed to have some of the best cruising grounds in the world in easy reach. With over 17,000 islands around Indonesia, I have still only explored a few. Personally I love sailing around Komodo and the Flores area. It’s only an hour long flight from our home in Bali but the islands and scenery and marine life are amazing. The islands are protected and the distances between them are small. This makes sailing there very easy.
Q: What is your favourite spot on board a yacht?
A: Depends… On a small boat – behind the helm and in control. On a large boat – on a sunbed with a cocktail.
Q: What are some of your favourite boating activities?
A: Finding sheltered anchorages, enjoying dinners in the cockpit, snorkelling off the boat and waking up in the early morning when it’s super calm.
Q: What are your top three ‘must-haves’ for a boat trip?
A: Sunscreen, good spirits and a friend/partner.
Q: What has been your most memorable sailing regatta?
A: The legendary Sydney to Hobart yacht race would be the top of my list to take part in. I’m not at that level but it’s something I aspire to.
Q: What is your dream sailing yacht and why?
A: Big enough to be comfortable, yet easy to handle for two adults.
Q: Given a chance to sail anywhere, where would you go?
A: The best sailing for me would be through Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia. I’d like to explore places I haven’t been such as Papua and around Sulawesi.
Q: How does Indonesia’s yachting lifestyle differs from where you come from?
A: The yachting lifestyle in Australia is very mature and it’s extremely common for families to own a boat or spend time on the water. A large percentage of the population live close to the coast so boating is very accessible. In contrast, Indonesia has a very undeveloped yachting lifestyle. Despite having so many islands to explore and the best cruising grounds in the world most Indonesians have no idea about boats and don’t relate to the boating lifestyle. This provides enormous opportunity for yachting visitors to explore the world’s most diverse archipelago without the crowds you tend to find in the more developed areas.
Q: What do you envision for Indonesia yachting scene in the next 5 years?
A: I am looking forward to better marine infrastructure such as more marinas and boat yards. The easing of regulations for the charter industry would also be a great improvement.
Q: Which yacht model are you most looking forward to hopping onboard of, and why?
A: That’s difficult, there are so many really beautiful yachts out there. A large impressive motor yacht is always a thrill to be on and I really enjoy exploration style yachts with their rugged, go anywhere design. I think the Sanlorenzo 500EXP is a great example.