Cruising comments


The COA’s May and June programme was very full with four events in quick succession. First off, the three-day Sails East Midsummer Rally brought us to the enigmatic Sokos, then to relaxing Mui Wo and, finally, charming Po Toi with a party at each destination. We enjoyed warm sunshine, steady winds and great company.

Next the Sails East ‘Not the Macau Race’ took us to Mirs Bay for a seafood meal at Ko Lo Wan, a charming little village close to Tap Mun. The wind built steadily during the day with an enjoyable spinnaker run to the finish. The next day, 15- to 20-knot winds made for an exciting return, while some boats continued cruising through the Tuen Ng holiday.

In early June, the Victoria Recreation Club invited COA members to cruise to VRC Sai Kung for a relaxing Sundowner BBQ party. This was to promote the Emerald Bay Race on the 14th and 15th of October 2017 in aid of the Children’s Cancer Foundation. I hope you can join us for this most enjoyable and rewarding event.

At the end of June, we held our first Solaris Commodores’ Summer Cup. This is a collection race, with three simultaneous races starting from Kellet, Aberdeen and Hebe, timed to bring boats to HHYC for the first race of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series. We had a great race, but did it rain! We bounced from squall to squall arriving soaked to the skin. The day was rounded off with a warming bowl of Pasta-e-fagioli and a glass of Tuscan wine courtesy our generous sponsor, Erico Zanella, who joined the race is his Solaris 48, Everbloom.

There’s lots more coming up, including the Mid Autumn Macau Race and the Lamma Fun Day Music Festival Rally, so check out the Cruising Calender at and follow the Cruiser Owners’ Association on Facebook. If you’re interested in our events why not become a member? You can download the form from our website.

With the summer upon us, my technical subject this month is typhoon preparation. I am surprised how many owners leave their sails bent on with a storm approaching. Not only does it increase windage, it also risks shredding them if they pull out. As a minimum I stow my headsail and covers below and bind up my main with warps. If a big storm is approaching, I strip down to bare poles. It goes without saying that hatches should be locked and dinghies, anchors, tables, BBQs etc should be lashed down or stowed below. Halyards can be fixed fore and aft or run up the mast on retrieving lines.

Since your boat depends on them, it pays to renew your mooring lines every three years. Use nice springy mooring rope, which can absorb shock loads, with plastic pipe or leather sleeving to reduce chafing and long enough for a storm surge. Ensure your lines lead cleanly over the rollers or through fairleads that won’t chafe them. Sharp edges like anchors and toe rails can quickly saw through your warps in a storm. Some people lead their ropes round a single thimble shackled to their mooring, but I prefer to splice in separate thimbles for each warp. Then each line is independent and if one fails you still have the other.

I also use the late Tets Sakai’s trick of tying my genoa sheets through the deck cleat and mooring loop and then tightening them back to the primary winches. If a deck cleat pulls off, the winch takes up the load. Don’t be tempted to use chains as snap loads can easily rip off deck cleats or even break the chain.

If you put on extra lines make sure they are tight enough to stop them catching under the buoy and fixed to the swivel so they cannot twist up into a tangle. If you have a stainless steel swivel and shackle, inspect them regularly for cracks.

Hope to see you on the water this autumn, happy cruising!

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