Ask anyone who’s chartered Dunia Baru what the highlight of their trip was, and it’s likely that they’ll all give a different response – from snorkelling with manta rays to enjoying sundowner cocktails in a sublime setting to sailing in a part of the world that fuels a sense of adventure. But one thing that comes up consistently when guests start to chat about what they’ve enjoyed, is Dunia Baru’s crew. The superyacht’s 18 crew members are passionate about their jobs and about making each charter the holiday of a lifetime, and our guests have so appreciated this.
For Dunia Baru’s voyage from Indonesia to Thailand, it’s been a real privilege for our crew to be joined by a new member: Captain Mike. He’s not exactly “new”, though, because for honorary captain Mike this voyage with Dunia Baru has almost been like coming home.
Back when Dunia Baru was still taking shape Mike Johnson, a former captain and naval architect, spent two years designing and working on Dunia Baru’s traditional rig. He came along for this journey to help the crew improve their sailing techniques and as the sails go up, he’s been out there working with the boys, helping them to fine-tune the sail trim, and looking for ways to streamline the process, as well as working on improving the crew’s general seamanship, sail handling, knots and so on. Mike’s also designing a new sail for us: he’s looking into putting up a trisail on the main mast for heavy-weather passages.
Mike first came to Indonesia in 1995 to study traditional fishing boats and communities (he has a masters degree in environmental anthropology), and he started to work with ETS Surabaya, doing research into fishing communities and traditional boat design. After building a replica of a French frigate circa 1890 for the Atlantic Challenge, Mike started to run a training shipyard, before he retired and then continued to work on selected rigging and design contracts for traditional-type sailing vessels.
It took Mike about two years to design and implement Duna Baru’s rig, and he used his contacts from around the world – New Zealand, Canada, the UK and France. It’s a particularly special rig, he says, because it’s a good compromise between power and sail. A trip like the one Dunia Baru’s just done, from Indonesia to Thailand, would take a long time under sail alone, but Captain Mike had designed a rig that gave the yacht not only more power even in high wind conditions, but that added a huge amount of stability. And that’s something that was really important in this journey, where for two days the yacht was sailing head-on into three- and four-meter waves.
It’s been a real privilege to have him onboard with us for almost seven weeks; thanks for the journey, Captain Mike!