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When I first heard from my husband and business partner Ric Di Ianni that we would be producing a show introducing yachting culture to China, the first thing that came to my mind – like for a lot of Chinese women – was that I would be badly sunburned and spend the day seasick. That is, if I didn’t fall overboard and sink to the bottom of the ocean like a rock.
I didn’t know many people in China who had an interest in yachting, so for me, this concept had ‘bad idea’ written all over it.
What I didn’t expect was the amazing feeling of freedom I felt when cruising on a beautiful yacht on Thailand’s pristine waters. No seasickness, no sunburn and an amazing, exhilarating feeling when I was surrounded by the stunning beauty of nature. Maybe Ric was onto something …
Yachting in China has not developed as many expected and this is due to several of the initial perceptions I felt, but also because the idea is almost completely foreign to us. Very few of our generation had parents or elders who took them out sailing or yachting.
Many of us don’t understand why anyone would leave the safety of land for the uncertainty of being on a small boat in a large ocean.
I now know that the yachting lifestyle is fantastic for Chinese people. It allows you to travel to the most beautiful places in comfort and style with the people you love to be with. You can share the beauty and spend time together in a way not possible through any other travel, eating whenever you like, going wherever you like.
We started production on our new lifestyle show Yacht Life, Love the Ocean (游 艇生活, 热爱海洋) late last year, partnering with Royal Phuket Marina in Thailand.
A feeling of peace came over me as soon as we left the busy highway and entered the manicured grounds of the marina. I was immediately lured and delighted by the luxurious environment. During our shoot, we stayed in a luxurious apartment overlooking a garden with one of the prettiest pools I’ve ever seen.
Our first day of shooting was aboard Darling, an MCY 70 built by Italy’s Monte Carlo Yachts and belonging to Gulu Lalvani, the marina’s founder and Chairman.
I welcomed aboard beautiful Thai fashionista Wanvisa Maya Goldman for a day of talking Thai fashion, including lunch on the flybridge. After that, we tried on some local Thai fashion and jewellery, taking photos of each other on the bow.
In the next episode, I had the opportunity to welcome aboard ocean cinematographer David Martin, the co-founder of Oceans For All, to talk about an important topic for all Chinese people, as well as one close to my heart: preserving the ocean environment.
I was stunned to learn about how important protecting the ocean is to our own survival, as well as keeping it beautiful and clean. I’m really looking forward to sharing this episode with my fans in China.
Our last episode allowed me to meet the amazing people who keep the marina running so well, including Gulu Lalvani. I learned how he fell in love with Phuket and yachting, and what it has meant to his life, as well as his plans for expanding his vision into the future.
Instead of getting sunburnt or seasick, I fell in love with life on the water and ‘yacht life’, and now truly love the ocean. I’m excited to share this with everyone in China.
Based in China, Sarah Zhang is a lifestyle KOL, a digital marketing expert and a show producer and host with House Films. Before Yacht Life, Love the Ocean, House of Films produced the first Chinese reality show in the US, Quest USA, Da Tiao Zhan; the first international travel reality show in China, Quest China, Da Tiao Zhan; the first fitness reality show in China, The Gym; the first wine show in China, Connoisseur; and other popular lifestyle shows in China.
LinkedIn: Sarah Zhang / [email protected]