When Singapore-based Jing-Yi Wee and her brother Teng Yuan Wee sailed on Dunia Baru a few years ago, the traditional Indonesian wooden sailboat made such an impression on the pair that they purchased her. “Her reputation precedes her,” says Teng Yuan. “From the moment we stepped on board, it was clear that she stood far ahead of other yachts in terms of her beauty, build quality, maintenance, safety, and attention to detail.”
Otherwise known as the grande dame of luxury Phinisis, Dunia Baru, which means ‘New World’, is famed for her exceptional build using finely-tuned traditional methods. Unfolding over seven en suite cabins, the 51-metre, two-masted yacht – which can operate under sail as well as motor – has been expertly handcrafted by the Konjo, a tribe of ancient Indonesian boat builders from South Sulawesi.
Built over an eight-year period and following the classic architecture of traditional Phinisis, the wooden sailboat is fashioned from teak and only the best and longest pieces of ulin ironwood – an extremely rare timber that grows just 0.55mm a year – which, in keeping with Phinisi traditions, extends to the finest details elsewhere. This includes the yacht’s wheel, door hinges, window fittings, balustrades, wall panels and furniture.
Crafted to such meticulous standards, it goes without saying that its new owners were intent only on a soft refurbishment, tasking the Cape Town- and Singapore-based interior designer Deirdre Renniers to breathe new life into the celebrated boat. Also behind the interiors for Amandira, the Aman private yacht, Renniers, who says Dunia Baru is the most beautifully crafted Phinisi yacht in the country’s waters, wanted to expand on the romanticism of slow travel with a subtle enhancement of the ship’s existing beauty.
And so, quietly evoking a sense of nostalgia, Renniers has retained the yacht’s old-world charm and inserted a subtle modern elegance. This includes making more of the outdoor seating areas and dressing the boat with understated luxury accessories such as Frette bath towels, duck-feather pillows and duvets, natural fibre floor rugs that were hand-knotted in Indonesia, and headboards upholstered in luxurious Belgian fabric.
Noting that she wanted to avoid overly ethnic materials, Renniers complemented the yacht’s dark timber cladding with fresh, neutral tones and slight touches of ethnicity revealed through a blend of custom-designed and locally-sourced items from hand-hammered metal vases to bespoke bronze decorative artwork.
This sense of luxury continues to the itinerary, with guests encouraged to create their own bespoke island-hopping journeys. Whether its exploring the wild reefs of Saparua, discovering the legendary dragon lizards at the Komodo National Park, or simply enjoying a beach barbecue with family and friends, Dunia Baru launches a new chapter, as it sets sail once more across the biodiverse waters of Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
See below for pictures of some of the experiences on the Dunia Baru itinerary