Sri Lanka’s first tourist yachting company, Sail Lanka Charter (Pvt) Ltd, recently announced the launch of public and private cruises along the country’s west coast on board the company’s 48 foot sailboat, Topaz which is moored at the Beruwala Harbour.
Sail Lanka Charter is a partnership between a local shipyard and a French couple, Elodie Le Blevenec and Julien Carayon, who are both professional navigators. The couple has more than 10 years experience in sailing and now manages this brand-new Sri Lankan sailing boat.
“We have been sailing for more than 10 years in the West Indies and Mediterranean Sea. The first time we visited Sri Lanka, we wanted to start something like this but we got to know there was no proper sailing boat to introduce yachting in Sri Lanka and that’s when we chartered the Topaz,” Elodie said.
She explained that sailing on the boat was not for a specific purpose like whale watching or to go from point A to B, but to appreciate sailing while enjoying Sri Lanka’s spectacular coastal scenery.
The boat was manufactured in Koggala by a company called Baramundi Boat Yard especially for this type of cruise.
“It’s a really open boat with a large and open deck which can accommodate up to 30 people,” she said.
Sail Lanka Charter does daily departures from Beruwala harbour and the company has three kinds of programmes.
“The morning programme is called fun and chill out because the sea is calm and the weather beautiful. It’s perfect for a family who wants to experience sailing. We can even stop over for a swim on this 3-hour tour from 9am to 12 pm,” Elodie said.
The afternoon programme is sportier and adventurous which is from 1pm to 4pm, while in the evenings the company offers a sunset cruise from 5-7pm which is limited to 6 couples with a cocktail buffet and priced at Rs.16,000 per guest.
Both the morning and afternoon programmes are priced at Rs.7,500 per adult and Rs.4,700 for children under 12. Babies under 3 years get in free.
“We also provide for any private event like a corporate function, wedding, birthday party etc. Here you can decide the time and the route,” she added.
Baramundi Boat Yard produces boats for the French market and is headed by a Belgian, Jacob Pringiers who noticed the potential for entertainment on the ocean in Sri Lanka.
“We were looking for a partner that understands sailing and the charter business, and that’s when we found this young couple to partner with,” Pringiers explained.
He further stated that the plan now was to get the tour operators involved as well. “We have had talks with Walkers Tours and Jetwing and the response has been excellent since this is a first of its kind,” he said. ny, for a value equivalent to the net book value of the general insurance business as at the date of transfer.