on 9 Dec 2021
Here‚Äôs what got readers‚Äô attention over the past year
Asia-Pacific Boating‘s top ten most popular online stories in 2021 touched on a range of things, from nostalgia for Hong Kong’s maritime history to the effects on the charter market due to Covid restrictions. Interest in the America’s Cup and foiling registered highly in the spring of 2021. Environmental sustainability in yachting has become a byword for the future, while Hong Kong’s ongoing struggle to create enough berths for yachts always gets attention.
Yachts presented a way for owners to escape lockdowns, but charter became a hot topic as people looked to yachts, many for the first time. Asia’s many beach resorts offer incredible seascapes and lush environs. Many have added yachts to their offerings and this list got plenty of people thinking about their next vacation.
Hong Kong’s never-ending quest for more berths and moorings, plus better seafront development, is reflected in the popularity of any article that provides a glimmer of hope. Hong Kong readers responded to this piece, and it is easy to see why. Finding a berth has been one of the biggest impediments to new sales, and creativity is required to find new spots. It hasn’t stopped Hong Kong residents from buying yachts at a very fast pace, leaving one to wonder how much the yacht market would grow if major new marina facilities actually came online?
Jack Ma, one of China’s pre-eminent tech billionaires, was spotted in October aboard his 88-metre Feadship superyacht Zen, cruising in the Balearic Islands of Spain. The reason so many readers were interested is perhaps because it was one of the first sightings of the Alibaba Group co-founder in the entire year. He’s been keeping a very low profile since October 2020, when his critical remarks about Chinese financial regulators resulted in the US$37 billion IPO of Ant Group being put on hold. Is it possible to keep a low profile while partying aboard your 88-metre superyacht? It seems perhaps not, if our readers’ clicks are anything to go by.
When the world’s most prolific builder of megayachts says it is experimenting with an alternative fuel like methanol-hydrogen powerplant, the superyacht world takes notice. Half of the world’s top ten biggest yachts are by L√ºrssen, so you can be sure this is not a fanciful experiment in having an emissions-free superyacht. Leave it to L√ºrssen to take the lead in technology. This was also our most popular story among German readers.
While L√ºrssen may have been pushing ahead with alternative fuels for superyachts, ePropulsion, which builds all-electric outboard motors, has been stealthily building up market share. Our guest writer Joyce Yip reviewed the company’s activities and looked at the appeal of an electric outboard. The company was founded in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2012. They are now trying to take on the world!
The shortage of berthing spaces in Hong Kong has prompted some creative thinking among dealers and boat owners alike, including rafting up in typhoon shelters. But this first effort by Bart Kimman to make a business out of dealing with the shortage got a lot of attention in Hong Kong.
When one of the sailing world’s titans decides to buy a yacht, you pay attention – especially if it’s a motor yacht. New Zealander Grant Dalton, a legend in the sailing world for his exploits as a round-the-world racer and as the winning CEO of Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup efforts. When Asia-Pacific Boating was able to reveal the news that Dalton had purchased a power catamaran from McConaghy Boats, it caught fire, particularly among Dalton’s New Zealand countrymen.
Sino-Australian yacht builder McConaghy Boats, with a very busy yard in Zhuhai, gets a double mention this year, thanks to its new foiling pod design. A pet project of General Manager Mark Evans, the Vortex Pod Racer will let users fly a sailing pod on foils much as you would fly a jet plane. This story gathered attention from around the world, particularly in the US, the UK and Australia. We look forward to a test flight on this remarkable new product.
While Hong Kong continues to sit under tight lockdown rules, residents have been eager to get out and enjoy the local seas. That interest is reflected in the wild popularity of this story about a new 24-metre sailing yacht that was refitted for the local charter market. Operated by ASIAMARINE, the yacht is still apparently being used for private members. We will be looking for new news on VIBE in 2022.
By far our most popular story of 2021 came in the early part of the year. That was when the owner of Dot, which we dubbed the Star of Tai Tam, a former Star Ferry that had been converted into a relaxing loft on the water, put his ecologically minded treasure up for sale. Readers finally got to see what was inside the mysterious conversion yacht, which had been moored in Tai Tam Bay for years but was kept out of the public eye. Apart from the chance to peek inside, the story was also a fantastic insight into what it takes to make a conversion truly work.