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Equanimity, Typhoon Series, Boat Shows, Asian Games

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 27 Aug 2018 11:28 BST
Kara Yeung, HKCYIA Executive Director. Not saying much © HKCYI

The ongoing saga of the superyacht Equanimity has provided us with some unusually ‘tabloid’ entertainment. Built by Oceanco in the Netherlands, owned by Malaysian playboy and ‘financier’ Low Taek Jho – otherwise known as Jho Low – and said to have been bought with cash that Low sequestered from the 1MDB sovereign equity fund, Equanimity is 300ft LOA, carries 28 crew, and is powered by two 4,828hp MTU diesels. She can carry 271,000 litres of fuel, and is built to ice class E, although probably won’t be worrying about that too much at present as she is presently tied up alongside the cruise terminal at Port Klang.

The Malaysian government figured out pretty quickly that the maintenance bill for this little darling is huge. RMB2.5m (USD610k) a month the last count, although that may be a conservative estimate. Now they’d like to be shot of her, but it’s a fire sale. Launch price is reputed to have been USD250m, but one broker we spoke to estimated “no more than USD60m” èhen she goes to auction.

Meanwhile, we suggest that m/y Equanimity be pressed into service as Baggage Boat and Media Support Vessel for the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta in November. That would provide a fabulous opportunity for some globe-girdling publicity as Equanimity visited Pangkor, Penang and Langkawi with the crème de la crème of Asia’s yachting press on board. It’s a no-brainer. Equanimity is plenty large enough to accommodate all the social events associated with the RMSIR, and the superyacht’s tenders could be used as mark boats as well.

Last weekend saw the wrap-up of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series presented by Hebe Haven Yacht Club. With 81 entries in seven divisions, and eight races on alternate weekends over almost two months, this is the definition of summer sailing in Hong Kong. Absolutely everyone is there, and every owner will tell you that the biggest headache is organising ‘watch changes’ as crew members fly in and out of Hong Kong on summer holidays. Full results can be found at www.hhyc.org.hk/page.php?page=page4_20.php&limit=1&fid=2397&id=2397

The prospect of an all-new boat show in Hong Kong, based near the HK Cruise Terminal, has largely evaporated. For whatever reason, organisers have decided to move the ‘yacht’ part of the Hong Kong International Cruise & Yacht Festival (HKICYF) all the way to the other end of the harbour to China Merchants Wharf in Kennedy Town – as unsuitable a piece of water as we can imagine. Boats under 60ft will be obliged to stay on dry land. However, if I were a broker or an agent, the prospect of trying to show off an 80-footer whilst the boat crashed against the wharf in the wash from passing Macau jetcats, pilot boats and inter-island ferries, and the champagne sloshed out of the flutes, would be a major disincentive to participation.

We are aware that the HKICYF is not garnering a great deal of support from local boating businesses. Some companies that signed up on day one have even withdrawn. The event has not managed to attract the support of the HK Boating Industry Association, and a good number of uncomplimentary things have been said about the organisers, who don’t seem to know what is going on and aren’t going to tell anyone anything anyway.

At the same time, over in Phuket, there’s an entirely opposite problem as the Thailand Yacht Show & Rendezvous and the Phuket Yacht Show duke it out for primacy and survival. What is it with the boating industry in Asia? It seems that no amount of counselling or cajoling can persuade the brands, the dealers and the brokers in these parts to make a collective strategic decision to suppoort a properly-run event in these two places (HK and Phuket). Just one. This is not the Med, and there really isn’t the room to run multiple half-size half-funded boat shows on top of each other.

As the Typhoon Series blows away in Port Shelter, so the racing season re-starts in Victoria Harbour, with the RHKYC’s Autumn Regatta 15-16 September. All the Club’s ‘class’ boats show up – Etchells, Dragons, Ruffians, Impalas, Flying 15s and more, and a big fistful of cruisers and race boats collectively called ‘Big Boats”- for a three-race series among the skyscrapers. When the weather cooperates, 100-odd spinnakers on a harbour racecourse is nothing short of spectacular. www.rhkyc.org.hk

And lastly (for now) – Asian Games 2018. After three days of competition Hong Kong and China lead the standings in the four winsurfing classes (RS:One Men/Women, RS:X Men/Women). Japan leades the 49er and 470 Men/Women classes, and Singapore, Malaysia and Korea occupy the rest of the leading positions. Most remarkably, the SGP duo of Kimberley Min Lim and Rui Qi Cecilia Low are totally dominating the 49er:FX with eight wins from eight starts, and are currently discarding a 1st place. Very classy!

Standing by on 72.

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