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Member Spotlight: Fintan & Jennifer Mc Kiernan

Member Spotlight: Fintan & Jennifer Mc Kiernan

May 3, 2020

For Fintan and Jennifer Mc Kiernan, sailing is simply a way of life—for a while, quite literally. After two years living on Singapore’s West Coast, in 2013 they joined ONE°15 Marina, bought a 50-foot yacht and moved on board. Thus began a five-year stint that sounds wildly romantic but was, at times, far from carefree.

“Maintaining a boat, particularly when you live on it, is hard work,” says Fintan. “It is literally a never-ending process—and it is expensive. The bigger the boat, the higher the maintenance, so any notion that it might have been a relaxing existence went straight out the window!”

With both of them hailing from nautical families—Jennifer owned motorboats on Lake Michigan and Fintan has a boating business in Ireland—it certainly wasn’t a surprise that their vessel required such vigilance. But the experience wasn’t, well, plain sailing.


Regardless, the couple indulged in their joint passion, regularly sailing from Singapore to Malaysia and Indonesia—with, as Jennifer points out, the added benefit of never having to pack. They vividly recall a trip to Langkawi in which they found themselves accompanied by a school of around 100 dolphins, who seemed just as taken by Fintan and Jennifer as they were by them.

After five years of living on a boat, the Mc Kiernans decided to return to terra firma, selling their yacht and moving into an apartment not far from the marina. While they had both loved the experience of living at sea, they decided their boating days were over and a life on land seemed more sensible.

However, a month later, Fintan was back on the water. “I think I must have been suffering some sort of land-sickness!” he laughs, recalling his brief boating hiatus. “I didn’t even last a full four weeks, maybe three. I just couldn’t do it!”

“There is definitely an ever-increasing appreciation for the
sea in Singapore and that is truly fantastic.”

So, the couple invested in a more manageable motorboat, and it is here that they now spend their free time. “I could have kept the boat out on a trailer,” explains Fintan. “But my office is in Pasir Panjang and quite often, at 4 or 5 o’clock, I’ll just decide to hit the water. It takes us 10 minutes to get going, and in no time at all we’re sailing out to St John and Lazarus Island, and leaving it all behind. It just doesn’t get better than that.”

Although Fintan and Jennifer could be excused for wanting to preserve these little pieces of paradise for themselves, they are, on the contrary, absolutely delighted with the growing enthusiasm in sailing that they have witnessed in the seven years they’ve been in Singapore. “There is definitely an ever-increasing sense of appreciation for the sea, and that is truly fantastic,” enthuses Fintan.

“I think many people are realising that water leisure really opens up your horizons.” For Jennifer, the allure of the sea is much simpler and all too obvious. “Once you walk through that little gate over there, you’re on holiday,” she smiles, pointing towards the harbour entrance. “You’re only ever minutes away from total escape.”

The camaraderie at the club is also a huge draw for the Mc Kiernans and they are the first to get involved in the numerous events on offer. The ONE15 Christmas Boat Light Parade™ is a particular highlight for them, with fellow boat owners engaged in some seriously fierce competition involving inflatable snowmen and stitching battery-operated LED lights into Santa hats.

“Oh yes, we know who our competition is,” chuckles Fintan. “But to be honest with you, most of our conversations are just about how to keep your boat afloat. Sailing—it’s a real labour of love”.