The Star Ferry conversion yacht now for sale in Tai Tam

One of the most intriguing yacht conversions in Asia now available for HK$21 million in Hong Kong

author icon By Ryan Swift | 10 February 2021

One of the most intriguing boats in Hong Kong, Dot, the converted Star Ferry formerly known as Golden Star, is now available for HK$21 million.

Update: Dot to become a Hong Kong charter yacht

The owner bought Golden Star in 2011 and spent 18 months having her converted at the Leung Wan Kee shipyard in Zhuhai. Leung Wan Kee has had the contract to maintain Star Ferries for decades.

“They have a great and loyal team that have become good friends over the years,” the owner told Asia-Pacific Boating.

The owner hired a full-time project manager to be based at the yard to oversee the incredible and unique conversion.

The owner’s inspiration was to create a New York-style industrial loft, rather than to mimic the interior of a yacht. “For the layout, I worked with a house interior designer in France that I knew, who had renovated a huge Dutch sea going barge for his own use,” the owner says.

Onboard, there is 6,000 square feet of living space, plus another 4,000 square feet of space for storage and utilities.

The owner opted for large, spacious rooms with floor to ceiling windows, creating a tremendous sense of space and openness. A mezzanine level was created above half the salon.

All four cabins have en suite bathrooms with full baths as well as separate showers. There is a dedicated cinema room and an office.

The top deck has a large space for al-fresco dining and sunbathing.

The owner and his family wanted to retain some of the workmanship of the old boat, while adding high end flourishes. Artists applied specially-treated iron powder to the deckhead upstairs for a rust finish. The original teak decks were retained and lovingly restored, which is a great feature of the old vessel. The owner says that the decking on most yachts is about two centimetres, while on Dot, it is five centimetres thick with mature timber, designed to handle heavy traffic of thousands of daily passengers.

The owner installed 30 aircon units for the summer heat, but the galley and salon have sliding doors that open up to allow sea breezes through the vessel.

The owner also designed Dot to be very self-contained. The boat has 57,000-litre water storage capacity, with a roof water collection system. The owner reports that in summer downpours, Dot can collect up to 5000 litres of water in a matter of hours. During drier weather, Dot is a water filter system to convert seawater, and has separate systems for cleaning and filtering sea water and rainwater.

“Managing the high standards of fresh water, grey water, and sewage systems required for a yacht of this size is complex, but well understood by the shipyards,” the owner says. “These systems are fairly straight forward. However, you need different water filters and pressures for just cleaning rainwater rather than salt water. Converting dirty sea water to pure fresh water requires powerful, high-pressure systems.”

Fold up wings were added for additional shade, while 170 square metres of flexible solar panels were installed to provide the bulk of the energy needs, according to the owner.

The transformer system linking battery function, solar and generators is very complicated, as energy is flowing and spiking in various directions depending on sun and loading. We employed a solar specialist in Hong Kong to integrate and put it in

“The transformer system linking battery function, solar and generators is very complicated, as energy is flowing and spiking in various directions depending on sun and loading. We employed a solar specialist in Hong Kong to integrate and put it in,” the owner says.

The roof was given added insulation and the windows are double glazed to help keep the interior cool and cut the energy load in summer.

The owner retained the original 540kW MAN main engine. Two old generators were replaced with four sound-proof generators, which provides plenty of redundancy in case of repairs. The owner says the boat is normally fine running on just one generator or off its battery bank.

The engine room has double-height ceilings and broad corridors for easy maintenance. According to the owner, Dot has a major inspection for license renewal every four years, plus a smaller inspection in dry dock every two years. The owner has retained Leung Wan Kee to handle maintenance. All onboard systems have multiple back ups in the event of failure or maintenance.

After spending the first two years working on specific problems, the owner developed a streamlined maintenance system and schedule. There is an engineer on the crew to fix smaller problems and the owner has access to more specialist engineers in the event of more complex problems.

Dot comes with her swing mooring in Tai Tam, which offers relatively easy access to Central while still being a quiet getaway over the weekends.

The owner says that Dot still “moves beautifully through the water”, saying that he brings an additional two crew for trips. “I always enjoy the journeys.” A favorite destination for the owner is Long Ke Wan in Sai Kung, but generally the owner and family will do day trips using a 20-foot Scorpion RIB to Po Toi and Lamma Island.

Our mooring out by the temple means we don’t feel like we are in a marina at all

“Tai Tam is so perfect and already one of the most popular destinations for Hong Kong motorboats anyway,” the owner says. “Our mooring out by the temple means we don’t feel like we are in a marina at all.” The owner and family are putting Dot up for sale as they are relocating to Europe.

Seanergy Limited, a member of Ocean Independence, is the central agent for the sale of this vessel.

Click to read our full Dot spotlight feature