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Relaxing The Rules In Taiwan

Exploring freer waters


We cruised the latest Jade Yachts 90, the most recent issue in the yard’s expedition series, off Kaohsiung a few weeks after surprise new laws made it much easier for Taiwanese to enjoy a full boating lifestyle. Due to tensions between China and Taiwan, and rules that really applied only to commercial craft and fishing boats, pleasure boating has been severely restricted for more than half a century.

But now, says Jade Yachts Vice President Memphis Han, authorities have decided to introduce Med-style handling of pleasure craft, with a few leaves taken out of the marine management books of former British-run territory Hong Kong nearby. “ I expect many more Taiwanese to start buying boats now,” he told us as his ninth steel-hulled, aluminum-topsides explorer design made her debut in the South China Sea.

“And marinas will start to flourish. Approval has been given for one capable of taking superyachts at the entrance to Love River in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southern port city and massive pleasure boatbuilding center. Ambrous Young’s 213' Benetti Ambrosia III is already here, after moving permanently from Hong Kong’s Gold Coast Marina. I understand other Hong Kong owners are considering such a move too. Kaohsiung Harbor is an approved typhoon shelter, and the city has really come alive.”

Memphis thinks others may develop in Tanshui near Taipei and its weekend getaway Yilan, also at Hualien, Tainan, and Makung in the Penghu archipelago. Horizon Yachts CEO John Lu, who is also the Taiwan Yacht Industry Association’s chairman, agreed that the development could see many more Taiwanese on this ultra-wealthy island buying boats. Previously, they were limited to daytrips, with sometimes onerous and time-consuming checks. Now, by contrast, Taiwanese may freely voyage along their own coastline and to outlying islands, and drop anchor wherever they like, for however long. Mainland China still has fairly rigid rules and red tape, but it is hoped that this liberalization in Taiwan will help to spur similar yachting legislation there.

Enjoying this new freedom, our exploration-style Jade Yachts 90 moseyed along the coast, past the largest university in southern Taiwan, testing among other things a new six-bladed prop instead of the five-bladed ones fitted to prior explorers, but the pitch was taking time to adjust properly, and half a dozen technicians were in constant talks with their counterparts ashore.

Jade Yachts—which converted the German ship that became the Top 100 superyacht Amadeus—and has hosted the likes of 295’ Nero and Ambrosia, is currently completing a 10th Jade Yachts 90 Explorer, and has a 170’ explorer vessel in build.

The vessel we were trialing was being shipped to Spain shortly. In fact, all the Jade Yachts Explorers have gone to Europe, which suits their newly aligned dealer Ocean Independence.

A recently launched Jade Yachts 95, with Memphis aboard, has now made shakedown passages to Tsingtao, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hainan and back to Hong Kong, and father and son are thinking of inviting friends and business colleagues to consider charters in unique Asian waters. The latter vessel is also available for sale, at about $10 million­—Bruce Maxwell.

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