Hong Kong – Gold Coast Marina
The Hong Kong Gold Coast Marina and Country Club is slowly turning itself into a superyacht hub
Hong Kong marinas are becoming crowded, there’s no doubt about that. Yacht buyers are asking their dealers to find them berthing spaces to park their lovely toys. One marina does have plenty of space to develop new berthing spaces, and is doing so in a step-by-step fashion.
The Hong Kong Gold Coast Marina and Country Club, located on the west side of the Kowloon Peninsula, is a world unto itself. The well-equipped and solidly-built marina is surrounded by villas and a hotel. The marina is also home to a number of superyachts, including the 65-metre Benetti Ambrosia, Northern Sun, the new Euroyacht 130 Genesis, and the 65-metre Feadship Double Haven.
Like all other Hong Kong marinas, there isn’t much space left at the Gold Coasts’ existing pontoons. Unlike other marinas, there’s quite a bit of space within its breakwaters, and that space is something to be used, according to Marina Manager David Bowdler. “We have about 50 percent of our water area vacant”, he says.
Bowdler and club GM Albert Wu plan to install two new berths for yachts up to 65 metres. These are to be ready in March (this year) and already they are taken. The level of interest is high, and Bowdler confirms that he is in conversations with owners directly about new berthing spaces. Bowdler and Wu confirm plans to put in two more 65-metre berths after March.
It’s a process that proceeds on the basis of demand – as the payments come in (the right to a space is secured by paying a debenture), the pontoons can be built. There is no master plan (at least on paper) as such, but both Bowdler and Wu are hopeful of creating a “superyacht city” at the Gold Coast.
Looking at the water area from the main terrace (site of the 2010 Asia Boating Awards), you can see what Bowdler and Wu mean. A very large portion of the in-water area can easily be used for new superyachts and is now lying empty. By extending the main connecting pontoon further down to the northern rockwall and then building it further up to the outer wall, Bowdler thinks the marina could then host an additional 12 superyachts full time, with an average length of 60 metres. Bowdler indicates that a pontoon for a superyacht berth can be laid down in just six months.
Bowdler and Wu would also like to see the addition of a set of spaces for visiting superyachts. During the visit last year of the 73-metre Silver Zwei, he said that the captain was able to manoeuvre inside the marina with little difficulty. A chart datum of 3.7 metres means most motor superyachts can be accommodated. Other visitors include the new Kingship pocket superyachts that emerge from the Zhongshan builder’s yards further up the Pearl River. The latest was a Magellan 110 that stayed for commissioning before her Swedish owner took her south to Singapore.
Given these realities, it’s no surprise that the Hong Kong Gold Coast Marina is aiming for the big boats, despite the pressing desire for more berths at the mid-range. Bowdler and Wu know the value of having superyachts around. Both cite the waterfronts of Cannes and Monaco, replete with superyachts near the shoreline, as examples of how the presence of so many status symbols can even act as “the view” for guests at the hotel. Officials at Sino Land, the developer behind the Gold Coast Marina and Country Club, seem to have become more receptive to the idea of expanding their marina holdings. Bowdler hopes to add a set of moorings as well for large visiting yachts, to help use the empty space.
The marina currently has berths for up to 200 yachts, and can accommodate yachts sized up to 70 metres. The marina also has a fuel station, electricity and water supply, holding tank pump, telephone, satellite TV, 24-hour security staff, restaurants and a catering service. Superyachts at the marina can take advantage of the good working relationship between the marina and the Hong Kong Shipyard, which is near the marina and can provide haul out services, refit, repair and maintenance work.
Though located some ways out of Hong Kong Central, the Tsing Ma Bridge lets drivers reach the marina in less than half an hour. And with the back roads of the New Territories, it is possible to have a home in Sai Kung and comfortably reach the Gold Coast Marina with few traffic headaches.
Though most boaters in Hong Kong prefer the waters of Sai Kung, there are plenty of attractions near the Gold Coast/Tuen Mun area. The nearby waters of Lantau Island are well known as the best place to watch for the Chinese White Dolphin, and Wu reports that dolphins are often spotted at the marina. Their regular appearances are most likely due to the fact that the marina’s no-fishing policy leaves more for the dolphins to eat.
Aside from the assortment of club activities that are available to members, (yacht club memberships are available on a individual and corporate basis) the whole club is wrapped up in a very tasteful bit of architecture and design that recalls Spain and the Spanish world of old California. The entrance to the club is a suitably grand three-storey atrium-lobby in the main clubhouse. Italian marble is everywhere, with wall murals depicting neo-classical scenes of nautical lore. Little wonder that many superyacht guests prefer to have their yachts in the marina – everything is provided for. The grandly titled Commander’s Room offers dining with a spectacular view of the marina basin. Weddings are also very popular at the marina, with the club’s floating pontoon drafted into service for newlyweds.
The marina also offers a yacht charter service, with a 58-foot Horizon Yacht (capacity up to 30 people, though there are cabins for four) and a 28-foot Grady White that specialises in fishing expeditions. Local yacht dealership, brokerage and charter firm Asia Yacht Services has its head office at the marina. They have the 62-foot Lady Isabel for charter, plus a 50-foot sailing catamaran and a 42-foot cruiser-racer sailboat. Bart Kimman, owner/operator of Asia Yacht Services, is also the owner of Northrop and Johnson Asia, and is the representative of Asia Pacific Superayachts, providing superyacht management services. This gives visiting superyachts a complete set of services in one location. During the summer of 2010, Kimman handled the visit of the 73-metre Silver Zwei, which was a guest at the marina. s
The marina also plays host to the annual Hong Kong Gold Coast Boat Show, which is rapidly becoming the ‘it’ show in Hong Kong. The addition of the new 65-metre berthing spaces should help to alleviate some of the pressures of finding space for so many yachts that will be at the show. Last year’s event showcased the 95-foot explorer/party boat from Jade Yachts of Taiwan, as well as a big selection of the latest Sunseeker yachts. The 2010 Asia Boating Awards were held at the show, with this being the first time that the event, now in its seventh year, was held in Hong Kong.
The upcoming show this year promises to be as grand as before. With plans now getting underway to add superyacht berthing space to the marina, it may only be a matter of time before the superyacht world winds up at the Gold Coast Marina’s doorstep.
Asia Yacht Services: www.asiayachtservices.com