Despite having the tenth longest coastline in the world, China has never been known for its yachting culture. A cast and mysterious country, it is only over the past that China has started to open up to superyachts and what they can offer – as well as what it can offer them. Issue 9 of The Superyacht Owner investigates the developments of the region, and here brings you what the captains have to say.

Captain Daniel Sutton of motoryacht Blue Sky tells The Superyacht Owner about Serenity Sanya Marina, the yacht’s base since earlier this year.

Serenity marina is the only fully equipped and yacht-specific marina in Hainan. The shore power available is 125amp and 250amp and is very reliable. The Chinese Serenity management made a point of employing several French nationals with a wealth of yachting experience to advise and manage the construction of Serenity marina and the protective breakwater. As a result, the floating docks are well laid out and the facilities are excellent. As part of the marina complex there is a large hotel with large open-air swimming pools, gym, cafe and several restaurants. The crew all enjoy using the pool facilities and French muffins from the bakery. There is also a sailing school based within the marina, a small travel-lift and bunkering facilities for smaller yachts. The staff is helpful and the facilities are secure. The quality of the water inside the marina is also excellent.

Battling Bureaucracy: Mainland China’s immigration process is notoriously arduous and elsewhere in the region is not much easier.

Fend, a 70ft red-hulled catamaran, was delivered earlier this year by Sunreef and is based in Hainan. Credit: Sunreef.

Captain Jo Bartholomeus of the 65m motoryacht Ambrosia recounts his recent red tape experiences in the area.

We just arrived back in Gold Coast Marina after a couple of days in Macau. There is only a yacht club for small vessels; we were moored in the commercial port on the mooring buoys. The marine department was very helpful and so were the people from the Macau Yacht Club who assisted us with immigration. Clearance from immigration took us from 1 o'clock in the afternoon until 8pm. Several nationalities had to go to a different office and our Chinese chef was sent back to Hong Kong because he needed a separate visa. Thankfully immigration at the ferry terminal allowed him to stay for 48 hours, so after a few hours he was back on board. On departure it took the whole morning to arrange our clearance from immigration and we almost missed our tide to leave the port. 

We mainly sail between Hong Kong and Taiwan and skip China because (in the south) there are no marinas for megayachts and to get clearance is a long procedure. We have a berth at Gold Coast Marina in Hong Kong but there are some restrictions. For Marine Department Hong Kong we are allowed to stay for 182 days in a period of 365 days. But for immigration it depends on the nationality of the crew. Visas last between seven days and 90 days, so some crew have to cross the border but even then immigration might refuse the return, as they are aware it is a way to extend the maximum stay. All crew of private yachts must enter as visitors.

The full article is available in issue 9 of The Superyacht Owner. To apply for membership to The Superyacht Owner please click here.

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