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Cruising China Requires Deep Pockets

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 08, 2011 02:32 PM

Published: 2011-07-08 14:32:43
Countries: China

Last Spring we sailed "Kelaerin" from Subic Bay, Philippines to Hong Kong and then on to Taiwan and back to Subic Bay in August to prepare the boat for our long absence.

While in this part of the world we became interested in the possibility of doing some cruising along the coast of China and started by making enquiries of several yacht clubs and organizations we googled. We received absolutely no answers from any of them, perhaps due to the language barrier more than anything. Then a short teaser was published on Noonsite and about Hainan opening up to allow cruisers to stop in there. So we renewed our enquiries.

This time we contacted Rick Pointon at Beijing Sailing. He, in turn, contacted Visun Yacht Club in Sanya, Hainan with a list of questions any cruiser would have before entering a completely foreign port, especially one with no real experience hosting cruisers such as ourselves. Of big concern to us were the fees we might expect.

This became even more of a real concern as we heard back from Lars Hassler of SY Jennifer who sailed from Kaoshiung, Taiwan to Xiamen, China and paid nearly $5,000 US for agents fees, piloting, and traffic boats to ferry the crew back and forth (exorbitant at $150 per trip) - see report here. He was the first foreign boat ever to dock at the new marina at Wuyan Bay as a guest of the Iron Rock Yacht Club, an exciting but expensive experience for him.

We finally heard back from Shannon, a representative of the Sanya Visun Royal Yacht Club in Hainan. She was very welcoming and encouraged us to visit. The catch is the high cost to do so is beyond the range of simple cruisers such as ourselves.

Entry costs were over $1,000 for our boat. I believe this is in addition to the agent’s fee (TBD). The 15 meter slip at their Yacht Club would be $100 per night with a small break for a month which is the maximum stay. I’m pretty sure this is a luxury, high class facility. If we would want to anchor out or sail around to other locales we would have to post a bond of 43% of the value of our boat to do so.

I believe there are other marinas being built around Hainan which may or may not have lower berthing rates, but I am guessing we will get a similar quote from them as well.

This leaves us out as potential cruisers to China, at least for now. I understand that the yachting circles in China are a little frustrated themselves as they would like to open up to foreign guests. For now, those guests are more likely going to be of the mega yacht variety and those with deeper pockets than we have in our knock off cargo shorts.

Jim Carey
SY Kelaerin