Stephan Schaerrer was hesitant about life on the sea, but leaping aboard Heesen’s Lady Azul became another joyous adventure, he tells Grace Trofa
I am from Switzerland and love the mountains. My wife, Maria, is from Malta and loves the sea. I always said I would never buy a boat, but when your wife wants to charter one for her birthday, you do it! We chartered a 39 metre yacht, and we loved it.
At the time a friend who had a Perini Navi showed me a yachting website – it may have been boatinternational.com – and I noticed the 39 metre Heesen Lady Azul. While I was negotiating the price, someone stepped in and offered the asking price, but luckily the deal fell through. With one look from my wife, I knew there would be no discussion this time.
Before launching into an expensive refit we were able to enjoy time aboard. Our captain showed us the beautiful islands off the west coast of Malaysia and Thailand, and we took trips to Myanmar and Sular Kha Mouk Island. The water was so clear and the sea life so colorful that it felt like swimming in an aquarium. I knew I had made the right decision.
I thrive on adventure. I have walked to both the North and South Poles, pulling a sled for two weeks. I’ve done the Iron Man and, with my son and son-in-law, rode on mountain bikes from Tibet to Kathmandu and then biked up to the base camp of Everest on the Chinese side.
Plastic pollution is alarming, which is one of the reasons why we prefer cruising in remote areas. Maria and I collect bags of trash to safely dispose of later. The solution lies in education: we must instil in future generations the need to respect the beauty in the world.
We own a 1,000-acre ranch in Montana where we spend our summer; it reminds me of Switzerland. During hunting season, animals hide out on our land because they know we’re not hunters – in this way our grandchildren are exposed to the animals. Between the sea and the mountains, we are educating our grandchildren about the wonders of the earth.