Langkawi Island is a popular duty-free escape destination on the far northern tip of Malaysia and across the gulf from Thailand. The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club is a reliable Southeast Asian standard famous for hosting the prestigious Royal Langkawi International Regatta, held over five days in late January or early February. The Royal Langkawi has berthing for 205 boats and full marina amenities, including two restaurants, a swimming pool and even a PADI dive shop.
Part of $150 million "luxury lifestyle marina community" in Phuket, the Royal Phuket Marina opened in 2006 to great fanfare and instant patronage when the 22nd Phuket King's Cup—a well-heeled international regatta—christened the marina. With its initial condominium shares and marina berths already filled, entreprenuer Gulu Lalvani's luxury resort has plans to expand the marina, add more private villas with their own moorings and build a ritzy hotel. The marina recently won the Best International Design award from the International Property Awards in London.
This is the newest installment in Singapore's $5 billion project to build a high-end resort at the southeastern tip of the island at Sentosa Cove. It also includes Singapore's first casino, numerous condominium complexes, single-family homes with boat docks, a golf course and luxury hotel. With berths large enough for megayachts and enough docks for 270 boats, the marina's purposefully limited 4,000-person membership was filled shortly after its September 2007 debut. In 2009, ONE?15 will be a stopover port and in-port race host in the prestigious around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
Although not technically Southeast Asia, Hong Kong shares the South China Sea with Vietnam and others. Clearwater's name conjures the crystalline waters of the Clearwater Bay peninsula in the southeastern Kowloon peninsula. The 300-berth marina—with six reserved for superyachts—is well-protected from the sea in its own little cove. Members of the marina enjoy access to the extensive dining and recreational facilities, indoor and outdoor tennis and an executive nine-hole golf course at the Country Club. There's even a helicopter pad for trips to Hong Kong island.
Qingdao Yinhai International Yacht Club, Qingdao, China
Flush with investment money from billionaire venture capitalist Chaoyang Wang—one of China's richest businessmen—this newly minted yacht club in the northern city of Qingdao has already serenaded a stopover for the patrician Clipper Worldwide Race. Qingdao is also a jumping-off point for sailing trips around the Southeast Asian countries, making it an important part of the circuit. Qingdao will also play host to the sailing, rowing and water sports events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. China has even gone so far as to christen Qingdao—best known in the West for the Tsingtao brewery—as "The City of Sailing." Wang expects the massive new marina to kick-start a sailing craze in China which will help fill the marina's 366 berths.
With a long and robust history, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is the pride of yacht clubs in Asia. Initially founded by British sportsmen in 1849 as the Victoria Yacht Club, by 1894 the club was granted "Royal" status by the Lords of the Admiralty. Nowadays this large, diverse club covers two islands and two bays and berths hundreds of boats from dinghies to large yachts to sampans. The club features a full-time boatyard, three marinas and hardstanding services. With more than 11,000 members, the RHKYC is one of the largest yacht clubs in the world. It also plays co-host to the annual China Sea Race.
The Raffles name recognized worldwide for its elegance and charm. Mega-yachts, in particular, are catered to year-round as Raffles actively promotes its "nautical lifestyle." The marina is also a long-time host and co-host to numerous area regattas, including the annual Singapore Straits Regatta. There's all the usual boating facilities, as well as tennis, billiards, bowling and a gymnasium available for guests, plus a small theater, a pool, two restaurants and a pub.
The Rebak Marina is part of the exclusive Rebak Island Resort operated by Taj Hotels. The marina has 189 water berths in a no-surge harbor and dry dockage for yachts up to 98 feet, as well as an impressive 65-ton marine travel lift. The Rebak Marina prides itself on seclusion, exclusivity, luxury and natural beauty on the privately owned Rebak Island—one of only three inhabited islands in the duty-free Langkawi archipelago. The marina is connected to the recently developed (and pricey) Rebak Island Resort.
The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club has been around since 1826, back when the Stamford Raffles crew and the first president of Singapore were patrons. RSYC is the oldest club in Singapore, but recent upgrades and expansions mean 168 wet berths, including one that can accommodate a mega-yacht up to 140 feet long. The club has long been active in major regattas, including the Clipper Sea Race and the Singapore Straits Regatta. RSYC was moved to the West End in 1999 and redesigned; it won the SIA Architectural Design Award in 2001.
In the '60s, the Philippines became the first Asian country to enter sailing competitors in the Olympics. Today the members-only Manila Yacht Club keeps racing at the forefront. The club plays host to the annual President's Cup Regatta (begun in 1993), co-host to the China Sea Race (won by a MYC racer in 2008) and regularly sends teams to the major regattas in the region. Visiting yachts are welcome to dock at the club and repair facilities are accessible. Typhoon protection was added in 1998 with a raised seawall and floating berths. The Manila Yacht Club traces its roots back to 1927.