Man invests life savings in round-the-world dream

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - Page 5

At a time when much of the world is recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, one Taiwanese decided that he would rather fulfill his dreams than keep his savings.

Chiang Lin-wei (姜臨渭), 50, spent NT$20 million (US$673,000) in September last year on a French-made Lagoon 450 catamaran.

Naming it My Way, Chiang said that the purchase required a decade’s worth of savings as well as a bank loan.

Chiang said that although his siblings said he was foolish, yachting is his passion and he does not regret the purchase, saying: “I can always make more money.”

Chiang said that he had not been interested in yachting while studying in Australia and the US — both countries that are well-known for sailing — but became hooked after visiting a boat show in Toronto, Canada, a decade ago.

“It became my dream to buy a yacht and sail around the world,” Chiang said, adding that he had hoped to take his parents with him.

The sudden passing of his father meant that that wish would remain unfulfilled, but he said: “Everything was worth it when I saw my 80-year-old mother on board enjoying herself, and telling her friends to ‘come take a look at our beautiful yacht.’”

So he could have more time to pursue his nautical passion, Chiang left the technology company he worked for and started his own firm.

Fourteen meters in length, 7.87m across and 20m tall at the main mast, My Way weighs about 15.5 tonnes and can sail at up to 9 knots per hour (16.6kph).

The Lagoon 450 — currently the largest sailboat in Taiwan — is also the largest yacht that can be sailed solo, Chiang said, adding that one tank of gas is good for up to 1,500 nautical miles (2,778km).

“I didn’t make the decision hastily,” Chiang said, adding that he did plenty of research before the purchase.

He also worked hard to learn how to maintain the ship himself to save money.

Chiang has not set a date for when he is to start out on his journey and said that life is unpredictable, but added: “Anything is possible when you have a dream.”

Maybe one day he would just take off from the nearest port and begin his adventure, he added.