Other forms of transportation…


A short journey on a luxury yacht brings out the wannabe in our editor

The joy of driving lot’s of fancy cars year-in and year-out can sometimes overshadow the potential of other forms of transport to impart fun. A long time ago it became apparent to your’s truly that while cars were mainstream fun, sometimes affordable in the form of a used Volkswagen Beetle, sometimes out of my mind and reach in the guise of a Bentley Arnage, the genre was hogging most of my mindspace over other equally enjoyable forms of non-human movement.

Take airline travel. Despite all its much-publicised problems, something about it gets the old heart pumping. Talk about A380s and 787s and I can’t wait till I make my first journey in them. Even as I have trouble falling asleep on the flight, I can still draw pleasure at the advances in in-flight entertainment or the flight information map and its latest 3D twist. But I draw the line at in-flight telephony.

Other than rocket travel, I have been fortunate enough to travel on or in most forms of vehicles. Hot air balloons, helicopters, cruise liners, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, bicycles, motor launches, whalers… I’ve lost track already.

One special occasion comes to mind when as part of a car launch event in Dubai, the invited guests were treated to a session with sail-equipped boards that could be ‘sailed’, so to speak, across the flat land near the endurance village. It involved blind faith in the design of the flimsy contraption and even more trust in the handful of instructions given before we set off, but in 5 minutes most of us were doing graceful runs across the ground and most of us even managed to finish the afternoon without crashing.

However, the other day I had an opportunity to travel in the private yacht of one of our local dignitaries as part of an event. While travelling from Quriyat to Marina Bandar ar’Rowda, one point was etched very firmly in my mind – you haven’t become anything in life till you could afford to buy and maintain a 7 million Rial yacht with a permanent crew of 5. It wasn’t as if I ran out of the Marina shouting out my version of Eureka, but the essence of how the super-rich live is definitely at the heart of owning a yacht.

As for the rest of us, a trip on the marine beauty is almost as magical and rewarding. The thrum of the twin diesel engines serves as a background symphony to the wind blowing through your hair as you watch the powerful wake thrown out by the propellors.

With staterooms, jacuzzi, air-conditioned lounge and accommodation for guests and crew and a range of 500 plus nautical miles, the privileged few can set sail to a sense of complete freedom, complete with a giant LCD screen to keep your family entertained if the view of the sea outside gets too monotonous. If you really want to set yourself a goal of having reached ‘there’ this is it.

After this trip further glimmers of understanding come through. Like the rationale that governs the purchase of cars like the Phantom, Maybach and Continental. Perhaps even the raison-d’etre for the Bugatti Veyron. To mere mortals, buying large mansions makes sense because of real estate values and the finite nature of living space. It is the accoutrement of luxury in the guise of high value buys like yachts and super luxury cars that needs a first hand revelation.

This brings me back to the topic of the types of transportation left to conquer, in a manner of speaking. Like I noted before, rocket travel is a must-do, but until car companies start selling a lot more moon buggies, it seems even more remote than my chances of buying a yacht.

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