Sail in the name of “Freedom” in Asia
As yachting continues to grow in popularity in Asia, Simpson Marine’s Founder and Managing Director Mike Simpson recently takes ownership of a new Beneteau Oceanis 46.1 sailing yacht. With the current travel restrictions in different parts of Asia, Mike is looking forward to making the most of being in Hong Kong, China by enjoying the delights of time at sea on his beautiful new yacht.
the Oceanis 46.1 ”Freedom”
Mike has an adventurous spirit and a longstanding fondness for sailing and ‘freedom’ at sea. Over the years Mike has sailed on various yachts on most of the seas around the world, being lucky enough to experience countless adventures and fascinating encounters. These adventures span from his early childhood until today, with his most extensive travels having taken place in the 70s and early 80s after his retirement from the British Army.
Mike Simpson and his Oceanis 46.1
In fact, it was sailing that first brought Mike to Asia. Back in 1980 he came to Taiwan to build a yacht for himself and his girlfriend to sail around the world on. He reached Singapore on his first attempt and Hong Kong on his second but each time a ‘dockwalker’ fell in love with the yacht and made Mike an offer he couldn’t refuse! On the third attempt Mike ended up selling his yacht in Singapore again and received an order for another yacht. In Mike’s words “the penny finally dropped and I realised that I had stumbled on a business opportunity!” So, in 1984 Mike set up a yacht business in Hong Kong, called Simpson Marine.
Within a couple of years Mike joined hands with Beneteau, the world’s leading leisure boat builder, and became our dealer in Hong Kong. Later on, Simpson Marine has built a strong partnership with Beneteau and evolves into our dealer in South Asia.
“I was impressed with the efficiency of Beneteau’s modern building methods and the resulting ease of maintenance of their yachts, which was a major benefit for Asia-based yacht owners. From a sales perspective I could also see the appeal of their modern lines and sailing performance among the club racing fraternity.”
Mike has brought in many Beneteau sailing yachts to demonstrate and take part in occasional yacht club races, China Sea Races and to enjoy leisurely cruising with friends.
It has now been over 20 years since Mike had his own yacht, although he still has the vintage Windy speedboat that he uses to commute from his residence in Lamma to the office in the Aberdeen Marina Club.
“I am very fortunate to be able to go boating twice every day on my way to and from the office, while I am in Hong Kong, but like so many people in lockdown and unable to travel, I decided it was time to get myself a real yacht again and go sailing. There’s no better way to unwind after a busy week at the office than relaxing on the sea.”
Mike took his Oceanis 46.1 for her maiden voyage with a few friends and officially christened her “Freedom.” This name evokes his perception of sailing as a pathway to freedom.
Now the few first ‘shake down’ trips on board “Freedom” have been completed, including participating the Four Bays Race on 17 October, 2020 with crew members from Simpson Marine and Beneteau Asia Pacific, Mike’s adventure at sea in Hong Kong is only just beginning. Plans include revisiting Hong Kong’s many islands and bays and its stunning marine parks and enjoying overnight trips with friends. He has even offered to take some of his hard-working team out for the occasional cruise.
the Oceanis 46.1 "Freedom" participates the Four Bays Race
And who knows what else lies ahead for Mike and “Freedom”? Maybe one day he will finally sail away into the sunset as he planned to do back in 1980…
Photo credit : Simpson Marine