The waters around Raja Ampat and Komodo are now filling up with turbo-smart phinisis. They are outrageously comfortable if you’re after full-sail, wind-in-the-rigging romance; hotel brands Alila and Aman Resorts have been cruising around for a few years. But Erik Barreto, co-founder of Rascal, had a different dream. Years of sailing the remote corners of the Indonesian archipelago exploring active volcanoes and pink coral beaches left him wanting to design a new kind of boat, something smaller, more laidback, drawing on the shape and look of the phinisi but losing the masts to transform the interior space. And this 100ft teak yacht is the only such vessel to have all five cabins, and the saloon, above the water line.
Inside it’s a mix of local craftsmanship and notable mod cons, with interiors by Bali-based Charles Orchard (Nihi Sumba, Four Seasons Sayan, The Legian). Spacious, high-ceilinged bedrooms, crisp in white linens, have picture windows on three sides, and the huge flat roof morphs between sun-lounging terrace, night-time cinema and stargazing spot. And yet this is no pastiche: hand-crafted by the ancestral boat-building communities on Sulawesi, the ironwood floors were bent into shape over a bonfire. Each voyage is tailormade, from the choice of food (with menus by haute-hippie Seminyak restaurant Watercress) to the destinations visited – often places yet to be named on the map. A recurring theme is diving: the waters of the Coral Triangle are the most biodiverse on the planet. Rascal has a full quota of diving kit and also runs expeditions where guests are joined by biologists from Conservation International. The first of these discovered two new kinds of fish – a pretty memorable holiday moment.
Original article published in Conde Nast Traveller, in May, 2019