The charter market is about to welcome a unique addition to its fleet in Southeast Asia, available for booking through Camper and Nicholsons. The 65.2m sailing yacht, Lamima, is a traditional Indonesian two-masted phinisi with the luxuries of modern yacht design. The Superyacht Owner hears more of her inspiring story and remarkable build in the traditional boat-building community of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Lamima's keel being laid - images courtesy of Naomi Gerardin

With her design completed in 2011, Lamima’s build began in early 2012 with the boat builders of Ara, Sulawesi using only traditional techniques throughout the process. The creation of Lamima emerged from the dreams of Dominique Gerardin, with 20-years experience as a superyacht captain, who became director and shareholder of the project in order to seek out "those hidden treasures that many dream of but very few experience".

It turned out that building such a yacht in Indonesia was an immersive cultural experience in itself. “Lamima’s keel was laid on the beat at Bira, south Sulawesi,” recounts Naomi Gerardin, Dominique's wife. “Honouring the ancient boat-building traditions of the Konjo tribe, the keel-laying ceremony includes rituals of prayers, ceremonial sweet rice and incense burning, all of which are carried out in front of the whole village.”

The keel laying ceremony

When Lamima was ready for the water, a second ceremonial event took place. “For the Konjo people (who have a strong animistic belief in spirits and life forces) an object as essential as a boat has its own life spirit,” Gerardin explains. “Consequently, its future safety, as well as the health and prosperity of those associated with it, can only be assured by working with this supernatural force. We were lucky enough to witness the launching ritual or bersanji, a ceremony essential to her strength and safety at sea.”

Dominique and some of the Ara team at Haji Baso's boatyard

In keeping with tradition in Indonesia, Lamima was launched with no machinery. Chains and ropes that encircled the keel were run through blocks fixed to the ironwood beam so that when the workers heaved on the pulley, the boat would advance towards the water. “To reduce the friction of her passage, a level slipway was constructed of sand bags, each weighing 40 kilos, which also served to stabilise her as she was eased out to deep water,” adds Gerardin. “Ultimately, it took 45 days, 50 men, 18,000 sand bags and the spring tide of a full moon to float Lamima – the largest traditional boat-launch ever undertaken in Indonesia.”

Lamima's traditional boat launch

After much uncertainty, Dominique had made the hard decided to complete the build in Thailand and so Lamima commenced a long tow from Surabaya up the Gulf of Thailand. He had chosen the services of Italthai Marine (ITM) in Samut Prakan, Bangkok, for her final fit-out. “Even though we would have loved to complete the whole project in Indonesia, it was for the best,” he explains. “Since the shipyard there is more suitable for our project, she was fitted to an even higher standard. I think the secret for such a unique project is to be able to put together the right team of passionate people, and I believe we’ve managed that.”

Lamima at ITM shipyard in Bangkok

Available for charter through Camper and Nicholsons, Lamima’s itineraries will be planned according to the cruising conditions for each area. “So whether charterers choose an eastern destination such as the Maluku Archipelago in the Banda Sea or Raja Ampat," explains Naomi, "there will be sure to be a fair wind to blow Lamima to an exotic delight every day." Lamima will also sail to the Komodo, Flores and Alor Islands.