Cruising Comments

The Terraillon Macau Race in September saw light winds on the outward leg, but we had a blast of a reach back across the estuary . . . in all a great weekend. Our next Chinese New Year Macau Race, from the 28th to the 30th of January 2017, will be our 50th anniversary so we are looking to make it a special occasion. More in the next edition of Fragrant Harbour . . .

Sadly Typhoon Aere dashed our plans for the Emerald Bay Race in October, but we have rescheduled and are looking forward to a relaxed sail to the VRC in Sai Kung for a Hog Roast late November. All proceeds in aid of the Children’s Cancer Foundation

Several COA boats took part in a most enjoyable DBYC Middle Island Regatta on the 15th of October. This brought boats together from Port Shelter and Discovery Bay in brilliant sunshine and 10-15 knots of breeze, for a great fancy dress party at the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Middle Island club house.

Looking forwards to the 10th of December, we have the Commodore’s Christmas Cup with boats racing from starts at Port Shelter, Kellett, Aberdeen and Discovery Bay finishing at Middle Island for a prize giving and BBQ party.

Check out all the cruising events around Hong Kong at and follow the Cruiser Owners’ Association page on Facebook.

My technical subject this month is inflatable dinghies.

Fed up with towing and bailing out my rigid dinghy, I have been looking for a small dinghy I can stow below for weekends away at anchor in a quiet bay. As space is my priority, a fold-up with a slatted floor that will carry 3-4 people and a 2hp outboard is perfect.

In this range you have the option of a removable engine bracket or a permanent transom board if you want to use a bigger outboard. Remember, bigger outboards are heavy, especially when you are trying to lift them up from a wobbly dinghy to your side deck!

Next step up in price is an inflatable floor, which reduces weight and improves steering and towing if it incorporates a V-form underside. The V-form bottom may also allow your dinghy to plane with a larger outboard.

If you live-aboard or have davits on the back of your boat, then a rigid-bottomed RIB might be better for you as it provides more stability, allows for much larger motor options and is less easily damaged when beaching. Also you can antifoul the GRP moulding if you plan to leave it in the water for any length of time (using special antifoul if it’s aluminium bottomed), but keep the antifoul well away from the dinghy’s fabric.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of the sun to rot your inflatable. Cheaper dinghies are made from welded PVC; better quality dinghies are made from Hypalon. Hypalon is neoprene-coated nylon, which has better UV resistance and a longer life. You can further improve this by fitting a cloth cover, which reduces chafing alongside and on your back side too!

Happy cruising !

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

Widget is loading comments...