Cruising Comments

We had a most enjoyable Golden Anniversary Chinese New Year Macau Race, sponsored by Solaris Yachts. You can read the full report on pages 40 & 41 of this issue of Fragrant Harbour.

Our next event will be the Midsummer Rally (29th of April to the 1st of May 2017). The route this year will be first to the Sokos, then Mui Wo and finally back to Po Toi, with races each day to keep you busy between the parties.

Unfortunately, we cannot hold our usual Summer Macau Race on the 27th and 28th of May as the marinas at both Fisherman’s wharf and Club Nautico will be closed for construction work. We will come up with an alternative plan for that weekend, so keep an eye on

On the 17th of June, we have a new event — the Commodores’ Summer Cup. This is a ‘collection race’, similar to our Christmas Cup. Three simultaneous races starting from Kellett, Aberdeen and Hebe Haven will converge at TCS2 east of Hong Kong, followed by a second leg up to HHYC for a Wine & Pasta party. It is timed to position yachts ready for the first HHYC Typhoon Series race on the 18th of June, so now you can race your boat to Hebe rather than deliver it! There will be guest berthing at HHYC for participating boats.

Check out the Cruising Calendar at to see what’s going on around Hong Kong in 2017 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.

My technical subject this month is VHF radio as I have just refurbished mine and can share some experiences. I have a fixed VHF with masthead aerial as this provides a longer range than a hand-held VHF. The reason is because, with VHF, you can only speak to boats in line of sight and you can see further from 50 feet up in the air.

While I never had any problems receiving transmissions, I started having trouble transmitting. So I bought myself a reasonably-priced iCom hand-held VHF from Storm Force Marine, to bridge the gap until I could sort it out. This led to an interesting conversation in the shop with Simon Boyde (Hong Kong’s radio guru) that the likely cause was the aerial, as a VHF can receive with as little as a screwdriver stuck in the aerial socket.

It’s not easy working on your aerial up the mast, so, as the rig was due for inspection, Andy from Dragon Marine helped me to un-step the mast and service it. Removing the aerial cable, we found that it was heavy duty low loss co-axial cable and still in good condition, so back in it went. The antenna looked good too, but the wire shield connections were all corroded.

The trick, I learned, is to tin and solder them to the plugs. I also replaced the spliced joint at the mast base with a pukka soldered UHF connector from Sham Shui Po. My VHF now works a treat.

With the mast down I could inspect all the wires, swages, pins, halyards and pulleys, replace the bulbs with LEDs and solder up all the wire connections for the navigation lights, too. I replaced a sun-degraded halyard, a couple of suspect rigging pins and the rig was cleaned, the paint retouched and reassembled with new split pins.

While it is a dramatic job, it was easier than expected and worth the effort. Suitably blessed by a big green lion, it will hopefully give me a few more years of reliable service.

Hope to see you at our events this summer, happy cruising.                 

— written by Rob Winter, Chairman, Cruiser Owners’ Association, Hong Kong


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