Jocelyn Lee and Joanne Soh
The New Paper
10 July 2015
Darren Lim has been living on a yacht with his family for the past four years.
But such an unconventional lifestyle choice isn't enough for the 43-year-old. He is gearing up for a year-long sea expedition next year. The voyage will be on his three-room Lagoon 400S2 catamaran, which is docked at ONE°15 Marina Club at Sentosa Cove.
The local actor told The New Paper: "I am hoping to keep the cost of the trip below $100,000. There is a high possibility of exceeding it as we are planning to go to different ports of call and let the family do various activities on shore."
To save up for the voyage, Lim has been working non-stop since last July, filming travel programmes as well as MediaCorp dramas and will be busy till the end of this year.
He is currently filming Channel 8 drama Crescendo alongside Christopher Lee, Ann Kok, Tay Ping Hui and Jacelyn Tay, Lim is married to former actress-host Evelyn Tan, 41. They have four children - daughter Kristen, 10, and sons Jairus, eight, Way, five, and Elliott, two. They are all homeschooled.
Lim plans to sail to Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, before ending the trip in Okinawa, Japan. But the actual itinerary is still up in the air.
The last time the family went out to sea together was in April to Pulau Sibu in Malaysia for four nights.
As preparation, Lim said they will take a three-month trip to Phuket at the beginning of next year.
"The Phuket trip will be a warm-up to see if the kids are okay with it. We will then come back to rest for another three months," he said.
The big voyage will be planned with the weather in mind, explained Lim, who has 20 years of boating experience. He and his wife have also completed a day skipper course accredited by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).
He said he is researching the geography, trade winds and the monsoon seasons that affect the South China Sea, stressing that they would only sail when "it's absolutely safe".
Lim, who has also hired a "competent and experienced" crew member for the trip, added that they plan to sail "mainly in the day time".
The objective of the expedition, besides fulfilling his dream, is educational - to expose his young children to experiences beyond what they can learn from books.
Lim said: "I want to travel and see the world more, let the kids experience more stuff while they are still young."
For instance, they may dock at Malacca en route to Phuket to let the children explore the city's rich history and culture.
"We are also considering making a stopover in Penang to show the kids the Peranakan culture."
Making the various city stops are necessary, not just to stock up on supplies but also to let the children "stretch their legs after being confined to the boat for so long".
"Our children are really excited about the journey, (but) they are also concerned that it is quite long and will be tedious."
Darren Lim's dream sailing expedition was first reported on www.tnp/sg on July 7. The story went viral overnight, getting more than 9,400 likes on TNP's Facebook page.
Many wished the family well and said they admired their off-the-beaten-track plans, but others raised concerns about safety and the issue of piracy. Here are some comments from TNP readers.
Very blessed kids to have such aspiring parents. This is how life should be. Majority are stuck in a rat race.
I would say Darren's kids are so lucky... Not all kids would be able to experience such adventures, and it takes a dad who is working very hard to try to make this happen.
It's a big challenge - to able to keep up with their studies, (and they would also need) strength and perseverance. Kudos to them!
The catamaran is a magnet for pirates. I hope he has convoys with him for the safety of the young children - the unthinkable things that bandits can do to the little girls they capture.
Yew Kian Chee Andrew
The small kids would have to wear a harness 24 hours and be tethered to prevent them from falling into the sea. My sail once went horizontal in a storm near the South China Sea.
Hope he realises how dangerous the waters around South-east Asia are! Ignorance is dangerous. He had better train his kids to fire some weapons... The waters are infested with pirates!
DARREN LIM SAYS
I really didn't expect the news to capture so much attention. I'm really humbled and am further encouraged to do more research into the geography, astrology, navigation and weather as part of the preparation.
Regarding piracy, I think we're quite safe as ours is a leisure boat - there's nothing much to take from us. Pirates are interested in big ships as they carry crude oil, which is very profitable.
Of course, we'll be keeping as low a profile as possible.
This article was first published on July 10, 2015.
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