“The idea of building a massive wooden boat in Indonesia to world-class superyacht standards seemed like a worthwhile challenge at the time,” says Mark Robba with a smile as we stand on the bow of the 51m Dunia Baru.
Looking back towards the wide top deck, I can see half of the 17-strong Indonesia crew (from five islands) hauling on lanyards as the mainsail stretches to full height in the buffeting Sumbawa crosswind. The boat’s owner clearly has only half of his sailor’s mind on the rigging. He’s thinking back to a seven-year project that took him from Sulawesi to Borneo to Bali.
“To be host it was a challenge that I totally underestimated. I guessed that the entire project would take between two and three years, but the hull alone took three years to handcraft.”
Dunia Baru (which means New World) was built by fifth-generation Indonesian shipwrights from the Konjo tribe of Sulawesi, but the work had to be carried out on the Makassar Strait coast of Borneo where big ironwood trees were available.
“The boat is a tribute to local shipwrights, but also marine industry professionals from many parts of the world,” Robba continues, as the sails fill and we feel the hull surge underneath us. “When people saw pictures of this giant ark being built deep in the jungle, they wanted to help. Maybe they also felt sorry for the poor sap who was seriously underestimating what he was getting into.”
To read the full story, take a look at the July/August issue of Asia Pacific Boating which – we’re thrilled to say – features an eight-page story on Dunia Baru. Thank you Mark Eveleigh for the words and photographs!