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Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

Read more about the adventures and boat-projects on board of Alishan

holland and china

April came as smooth as March left….time flies, even when you don’t belong to the J.O.B. force anymore. I can tell you, we are sooo busy with Things to Do, and really can’t understand how we were able to do so much in a day/week/month when we were living in Japan.

As Marijke hadn’t been back to Holland for 2 years, it was her turn to check out the family and the cheese. A cheap ticket with a direct flight to Amsterdam was soon found at a local travel shop (cheaper than on the internet), unfortunately she didn’t have her passport with her to make the booking and when she retuned to the travel shop the next day…all seats were booked! Too bad. The next best deal was via Seoul’s International Airport. The one with the world’s best rating, and she had 6 hours to check that out and indeed…it was “worth” the D-tour.

Can you believe Marijke’s luck regarding the weather in Holland? (Major concern #1 as even in April there is a chance of snow). It was spring and summer at the same time and all the flowers and trees were doing their best. Temperatures not less than 25C!

It was actually so hot that the Rotterdam Marathon (remember Jaap ran the last 2 years) was canceled.

Of course the family was pleased to have Marijke around.

CHEERS, with brother Herman.

Jaap’s mom and nephew Long Tall Tommy

Before we left Holland in 1984, we were living in Arnhem with Ben and Lucy and daughters Lotte and Eline…good to see them after all those years and all is well. Stay in touch.

Here some more Holland shots:

Home Sweet Home if you would like to live in a house in Holland

Beach in Holland, early April.

 And this is the river Rhine, at Wageningen: What an ocean!

You can see where Marijke’s passion for sailing/traveling started.

When Marijke arrived back in Hong Kong, she had just a few days on board…. as the next land adventure was planned, booked a paid for: Mainland China.

Sami from the Australian yacht Avolare was happy to look after Nori and Wakame so off we went to Guilin.

Guilin is a 1 hour flight from HK, direction WSW. The area is famous for its typical limestone formations, the ones you see on Chinese scroll paintings. Steep hills are jutting out of flat land anywhere and they make an absolutely stunning scenery along the River Li.

This region is used for setting of the movie: The PAINTED VEIL, based on a novel by Somerset Maugham. And The Chinese put it on their 20 Yuan note.

We were not the only tourists that day. An average of 1000 people make the down river trip to Yangshou daily on 20 odd “cruise”ships. They all leave the dock south of Guilin more or less at the same time in the morning for the 6 hour journey. We had made reservations via the government tourist information centre at the airport and got a pretty good deal with lunch cooked and served on board.

And this is what we got: Miles and miles of limestone hills. As far as you can see.

The weather is usually hazy, but on our day it was also quite sunny. We spent most of the time on deck watching the sugarloaves float by, glancing at the people living amongst them, who seemed to ignore us mostly.

A fisherman using nets AND cormorants.

At the end of the boat trip most tourists jump on the bus back to Guilin, but we stayed for a few days in this small town. The streets around the dock are loaded with restaurants, copy goods-shops and souvenir stalls, but we found a small clean and quiet(!) hotel a little further on.

Main road in Yangshou. You won’t believe how well un-organized the traffic is. But somehow, everybody seems to take care of other road users. Hong Kong could learn a lesson here.

For the tourists who don’t hurry back to the city there is a water show at night, and the location is of course the Li River. It is very impressive. We think that at least 1000 people take part. Not really suited to our taste, the music and color schemes are very Chinese, but still well worth seeing.

The next day we rented bicycles and after a 10 minute ride were out of town and soon deep in the countryside.

We cycled amongst more of those steep limestone hills but yohoyoho, all the roads were flat. Looks a bit like Holland…. (says Jaap)

Chinese economy is booming… Not for this farmer though.

We just followed the road ahead, and ahead, and ahead for a couple of hours.

Made a zillion photo-stops… and got big smiles from the locals.

  Old china is still there, but things are changing fastttt.

All roads lead to water. I think I saw this bridge in that movie. (Of course we bought a copy). Here we got tired of cycling, actually more of getting on and off, and we rented a raft……..2 deck chairs in the middle, bicycles on the aft deck and a boats man to navigate the river back to Yangshou town. 3 hours of Peace!

The odd rapid caused a bit of excitement every now and then. We took off our shoes and socks, the only items that would get wet.

…..‘ve seen these somewhere…

The other end of the feet….Doesn’t look too uncomfy neh!

(Mr. Lee had some problems with keeping the camera horizontal, hence …..)

This is just a picture; you should see it in real.

Here comes the main road to town. End of the raft trip.

But first some good food: Steamed fish, Peking duck and yummy veggies.

This 90+ year old lady shared us her smile…Of course we bought a couple of sweet oranges from her.

Marijke’s is checking the mail in hotel lobby we were staying at.

HAPPY HOTEL their website is

Friendly staff, English no problem, clean and cheep!

After 3 days Yangshou, we took the bus back to Guilin, checked in at the same hotel as before, got the same room….but as we booked through a tour guide, it was 30% cheaper!

The rest of the time in Guilin we used to buy some silk bedding, visit a Chinese medicine hospital (got a free foot massage …..after spending some Yuan on their pills),

Golden and Silver pagoda in Guilin water park, nicely lit up at night.

Some sightseeing and of course testing out more of the local food.

On a very rainy and windy day we flew back to Hong Kong…and a coupe of hours later were back on board of Alishan…Nori and Wakame hadn’t missed us at all!

We had had a great trip.


Sai Kung had its yearly Chinese Opera. The “tent”, completely constructed from bamboo framing took 2 weeks to build.

Hong Kong likes it up high: to smoke, shine or dry.

Looking for some brass?

These “bloody” Snoopies are all over town, very useful in case of fires, but people walking on the ever so narrow sidewalks are loosing out. HK for sure would benefit from making the New Territories more pedestrian friendly.

Some roads aren’t too wide either.

Need something shiny or rather colorful?

Sea food restaurant in Sai Kung. Our BIG favorite.

Anybody hungry?

Time for a walk along a coastal trail. By the way, Hong Kong is criss-crossed with hiking trails.

Lucky. It was a sunny day

Great views!

That is Hebe Haven, homeport for Alishan these months.

Marijke is sooo happy with her new toy (the camera, not the bug;-))

Big difference with Japan: Here we can read were to go…

Morning red, shepherds delight,

Evening red, sailors delight,

Gale at night, sail makers delight….

A few nights later after this picture we had a thunder storm coming thru HK with something like 5000 bangs in less than 3 hours and winds up to 75 knots…Boats got hammered left and right. Some got directly hit by lighting, others suffered unrolled headfurlers and many lost their awnings.

Alishan lost the masthead wind instruments and the crew gained a few more grey hairs.


The Italian Armada made a pit stop here in HK on their way to Alaska.

sy Snake and sy Mai Stracc. Instant cruising friends with great spaghetti dishes and loads of fun.

 Lucio and Luka of sy Snake. They only just bought their boat, did a total refit and it still needs lots of work… and look at those smiles!

Kika and Andrea (always a bit camera shy;-)) of sy Mai Stracc.

It was great to have met you guys, have fun in Japan and a safe arrival in Alaska….but make sure you get the proper clothing for that part of the world.

Friend Yosuke from Tokyo. Shopping in HK is still as good as ever, when you are looking for “bargains”. Of course he had to score a certain watch…they came cheap and of course without any sales service, so here he is on board of Alishan adjusting the wristband.

Friend Nobuko was just in time to help us to dump the old galley-stove. And then a run was made to the local food stores to get ingredients for the first meal to be cooked on the stove.


Way back in Fukuoka we got hold of this Strong Track and Alishan carried it on board for at least a year… Now it was time to install. What it is? Well, a piece of Spacecraft Plastic semi custom made, to slide into the existing mainsail track on the mast. Once in place (it took less than 10 minutes to roll out and slide in) its job is to take the stainless slides of the New Mainsail…and guarantee a zooff~zooff up and down of the full batten main. Tell you what: It Works!

Alishan also got a new head stay, a new 300 feet of anchor chain, new upholstery and curtains. Nice job Janice! If anyone needs some canvas and upholstery work done here in HK, we recommend Janice Ng from SING KEE [email protected]

These jobs were all done fairly quick and without any problems. But that’s not usually the case.

At one stage the new sails arrived, 3 weeks later than planned (silly us, we had told them we were not in a hurry). On a fine windless day, we tried to hoist the jib and the yankee, only to find out that the luff rope (most forward part of the sail that slides into the groove of the furler) was too thick. Despite all the correct data given to them. Hmm one minus point for “overworked” Lee Sails. Back to the sail maker. 10 Days later the sails returned on board and this time they all fit well. But they are so white…

The next New Item to arrive on board was a brand new Force 10 stove. Also with a delay: 4 weeks! The local dealer was maybe a bit slow to order ;-)) Lesson learned: Order direct from West Marine. It would have taken only 5 days to get the stove on board and as they have bulk rate for shipping …. we could even have saved a few $$.

Why does Marijke look so happy?

She had not looked at the back of the stove yet. Right after this photo we discovered a few bumps and bents on one of the rear panels. As the box it had arrived in was undamaged we suspect that the bumps and bents were factory made!

Bhoobhoo Force 11? (By the way, the thing is made in Canada)

Luckily a local machine shop was able to fix it and so all ended well and our new cooking life could make a start. (That’s Japanese English, I guess).   

Two bumps, one on the left and one on the right side.

We dumped the old stove, of course we hadn’t cleaned it for the last few weeks as we knew the new one was coming….but the delay made it worse. We had used it daily for 4 years and it must have been the original on board: That made it 18 years old. Time for a new generation.

Connecting the new stove to the LPG tank was an other story again as HK rules regarding LPG are very strict and finding the right size hose etc was VERY hard. Then again HK would not be HK if you wouldn’t eventually find what you need;-))

Another item, almost another story. Through a company in Singapore we ordered a SCS Pactor. That is a modem to send emails via SSB HF radio. It’s very expensive; the connection cable to our radio had to be custom made. The Pactor arrived all right, but at the same time came an SOS email from the cable man: He had just remembered that he had forgotten to cut away the not-in-use wires!! (see photo) Could have been the end of the 850 Euro modem! He sent us the instructions on how to do this ourselves and after operation Pactor was completed Jaap hooked it up to the radio and the computer.

BUT, the modem didn’t do its job at all! They also had “forgotten” to put a USB brain chip inside the box. (This thing is made in Germany!)

We found that out after 20+!!! hours of trying to install a driver, heavy Skyping and email contact with the sales staff (sitting at home in Germany). So eventually the problem was found. Now you can expect the guarantee to kick in, right? Sure, but can you believe this: We were friendly asked to return the unit at OUR EXPENSES to the repair shop in Singapore! Not the end of the world, but still…

Anyway it returned back on board Alishan 10 days later in what we think and hope is a healthy condition.

One day the radar, remember we installed it just a year ago, stopped working. (Hmmm, that thing is made in Japan.) Via the local Furuno dealer we got guarantee repair service: A new motor/brain unit in de antenna dome. Once the part arrived in HK, it took less than an hour to install. Now the radar works again. And even better than before, maybe it wasn’t okay from the beginning… Perhaps they weren’t airplanes after all on our screen last year in October.  

So, what do we learn from this? Items made in renowned countries with good quality reputations are not necessarily a guaranteered success!

From the beginning on, we had “starting” problems with the generator (made in the USA). Talking to the dealer here in town, we replaced bit this, bit that. No success.

Finally we decided to get their technician on board, and guess what? The problem was a faulty fuse switch. Job fixed in less than half an hour!

At the start of the summer in May we were quite happy with the warm weather and decided to sell 1 of the 2 units. We were not using them at that time and thought we would hardly need 2. Somebody even seemed very keen to buy one at one stage. However, for some reason this person didn’t show up anymore. While he kept us waiting the temperatures rose and the humidity rose… and now, end of June we are quite happy with both aircon systems. With 33+ degrees we can chill out in a whiff. The “for sale” note is taken off the notice board…


Of course zillion other jobs were done like…..

*cleaning the hull…pffff Jan Haring didn’t have a black hull for no-reason ;-))

*installing a BBQ,

*replacing the chair I’m sitting in now with a very comfy one!

*varnishing around the galley and the toe rail on deck

*changing oil/filter of yanmar and onan,

*making a cover for the outboard engine,

*installing a new filter for our drinking water,

*shopping for more and more spare parts. And that’s fun to do!

There was also one “funny” JOB.

Friends of friends were on their way to Japan. Near Taiwan, they found out they had major engine gearbox problems, so for repair the boat was turned around to head back to HK. (They had left HK only 2 weeks before) And then the wind dropped dead. With no engine they couldn’t go anywhere and were sitting ducks for a couple of days. In the heat. Slowly drifting towards Alaska.

A Pan Pan call (=can you help me, I’m not in danger but for sure not comfortable…) was made to friends of friends here in the bay and Alishan was made The Available Tug Boat to do the 120 odd miles roundtrip to pick them up and tow them into Hebe Haven.

Hey it could have been us, so no complains.

End of the story: Once in port, the gearbox was taken apart, and nothing was found wrong with the gearbox, but….. a peace of plastic sheeting was wrapped around the prop! Cleared in a 5 minute dive job!

Ps. they did refund us the fuel, thanx.

fishing floats

Marijke made a trip on a Chinese junk that is used for parties, sunsets, harbor cruises etc. It’s a copy of course but looks traditional enough…The junk sails are only for decoration and it uses its engine all the time.

Fishing floats in all shapes and colors

In front of the fish market in Aberdeen

At rest.

Where would you rather live: Next door on 25th floor or in next door here on the water?

For sure the fishermen in HK take great care of their vessels.

2 HK fishing vessels working the waters just outside Hebe Haven.

A mainland China fishing vessel

Fishing floats at Sai Kung harbor


Text on a paper tissue wrapper that was handed out at a noodle restaurant in Guilin, China. Great text, but what’s the story?

These instructions came with a HK$ 2 kitchen timer.

Useful information on the packaging of a LED lamp. Our cruising life started off with cozy kerosene lights in the 1980s… Have things over the years become easier or more complicated?

Princess Wakame in her favorite position taking care of her hairy belly.

Nori, a born Sea Scout, never tired of a game of Hide and Seek, inside the 1 day old Zippack for the mainsail.

Can you believe this? A one-pheasant-protest-action against a certain company, downtown Hong Kong!!!