“We are now making the Ocean Diamond available for special events of corporates at very special rates. Whether it’s a Board Meeting, a discussion on the Business Plan or bonding with the team, you can now do it as you relax with a good meal, in the middle of the ocean.” This was stated by the newly appointed Managing Director of the Sail Lanka Yachting Group (SLYG) Kaushal Rajapaksa.
The ‘Ocean Diamond’ – Sail Lanka’s 80 ft. catamaran is the company’s prized gem with a passenger capacity of 22, and 10 cabins with attached bathrooms. “It is affordable luxury,” says Rajapaksa. “It is in fact a floating boutique hotel; an entry-level superyacht which offers a unique sailing experience.”
He also outlined what could be expected from the company in the future. “We are planning to have a yacht club in Colombo to cater to a high-level membership interested in sailing. They will most likely be businessmen, entrepreneurs, sportsmen and top executives. They will be people who like the outdoor life, adventurous and hanging out with friends.”
“Colombo is not our only target. In fact, we are planning to educate Sri Lankans all over the island on the marine diversity in the coastal waters. We will harness the talents of some of the most passionate marine explorers to build up a sustainable mechanism to create more awareness about the ocean resources around us and the need to protect it in a sustainable way. We are planning to set up a voluntary organization to rope in the youth and also the corporate sector in a big way.”
Kaushal Rajapaksa‘s appointment as MD comes as the group refocuses its energies following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sail Lanka Yachting Group was created in December 2014 by combining the commercial entities of the Building a Future Foundation “BAFF” to develop the leisure-boat industry in Sri Lanka. The group has the combined experience in three key fields of expertise necessary to develop the yachting industry in Sri Lanka; boat building, boat chartering and infrastructure.
“Our vision is based on sailing boats built, owned, and operated in Sri Lanka and the region as a positive complement to the Sri Lankan tourism industry,” says Pierre Pringiers, Chairman and Founder of SLYG. “The objective is to maximize the socio-economic returns and benefits to the nation and its people. My desire is to create and promote cruising as a new and ecologically sustainable tourist activity in Sri Lanka and the greater Indian Ocean region. With Kaushal at the helm, we expect to sail to new horizons.”
Kaushal Rajapaksa is also Chairman and Managing Director of the Kalhari Group which uses technologically advanced facilities to recycle all types of rubber, plastics and steel waste and exports to countries such as Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Pakistan and India. He is the 1st Vice District Governor of Lions District 306B2. Kaushal is also the current President of the Plastics and Rubber Institute, President of the Chartered Management Institute, Vice President of the National Chamber of Exporters, Vice President of the Confederation of Small and Medium Industries [COSMI], Chairman of The Minuwangoda Industrial Estate and Exco Member of several other trade and professional bodies.
Sail Lanka Charter, the yacht chartering arm of the Sail Lanka Yachting Group is the market leader in Sri Lanka offering luxury sailing facilities all-round the island’s coast. “Sail Lanka has a partnership with the Colombo Port City and is now offering various cruises including sunset cruises, dolphin watching and cruises to Mount Lavinia and Negombo from the marina at the Port City,” said Rajapaksa. “In addition, we offer cruises to and from Mirissa.”
“The three-hour sunset cruise is specially designed for private events such as birthday parties, cocktail events and corporate celebrations,” Kaushal Rajapaksa added. “It is perfect for dress-down events and to have a dip in the sea and enjoy some water sports. We are offering a special introductory rate of Rs. 8,500/- per passenger for groups of 20 or 25.” Snacks, welcome drinks and stand-up paddle boarding is also part of the package, while a Jet Ski and dinner are provided on request at an additional charge. The company is also offering its catamarans for Colombo-based photo-shoots.
“We also have cruises between Colombo and Mirissa with anchorages at Jungle Beach or Hikkaduwa where passengers can enjoy water sports,” Rajapaksa continued. “On most of our cruises they can snorkel and enjoy the beautiful coral formations around the island. We also have cruises around the islands off the Jaffna peninsula. One of the most popular is the seven-hour cruise to the Delft island where passengers can explore and visit places of interest dating back to the Dutch era.
Pierre Pringiers – a well-salted sailor – outlined the high quality of the catamarans built by the local craftsmen. “Our catamarans are built to international standards and have original equipment. There is a desalination plant for drinking water, solar panels and a generator for electricity. Yes, you can charge your phone or use your laptop on-board. We don’t just rely on wind-power; these yachts have powerful engines too. We have a joint-venture with Grand Large Yachting and are now looking to sell our catamarans to the Asian market.”
“In the current Covid-19 situation, families or friends can holiday in a bubble, without the fear of contamination as with large groups,” Kaushal Rajapaksa said. “A cruise on a Sail Lanka yacht is becoming a regular item on the wish-list of most young people, and our rates are designed to make it a memorable experience for a larger section of the island’s pleasure-seekers.”