The second Fragrant Harbour Maritime Festival will take place on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May 2018 at Pier 8 in the Central district of Hong Kong.
According to the organiser David Robinson, the owner of the Hong Kong leisure boating magazine Fragrant Harbour; “The key objective of the event is to show that marine recreation can be for anyone with displays of recreational craft, related equipment and water sports accessories, a good cross section of the marine businesses and clubs who provide marine recreational needs in Hong Kong. Entrance is free and the location in Central could not be more convenient. For exhibitors the festival is an opportunity to meet the public, to engage and let visitors know that boating is for everyone, not just the rich, It can be affordable and fun. The on-shore exhibition area is undercover, so no need to worry about bad weather. The venue building is home to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and we will be staging a number of cultural events with the museum as part of the Fragrant Harbour Maritime Festival”.
While boating in Hong Kong is perceived to comprise of large motor and sailing yachts from venues such as the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, there is another side to boating in Hong Kong that appeals to a broader segment of the population and includes everything from canoes, windsurfers and small fishing boats to the fast-evolving world of watersports such as paddle boarding and kite surfing.
The 2017 festival attracted 25 exhibitors and some 3,000 visitors and, as a start-up first-time event, was acclaimed as a success by the local industry.
Two of Hong Kong’s major sailing clubs – Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC) and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) – joined the festival in 2017, according to Robinson;
“This was a pleasing sign that the clubs are reaching out to real people, dispelling the myth that sailing and boating are elitist. The ABC displayed an Optimist, which is an entry-level craft for young sailors all around the world. The RHKYC brought along a Laser and signed up visitors for their popular sailing courses”.
The list of exhibitors included local clubs such as the Hong Kong Water Ski Association, ABC and RHKYC. Local companies exhibiting included Absolute Marine, Ferretti Yachts, Northrop and Johnson, Simpson Marine, Sunseeker Asia and Starship Yachts. The largest yacht on the water, moored alongside the venue, was a Ferretti 850.
According to Robinson: “By staging the festival in Central, and in the public eye, it is hoped that the simple message of marine recreation being for everyone [not just the rich] will be conveyed to the public and those in power. With 9,500 licensed pleasure craft in the territory, and a good 5,000 other diverse recreational craft, Hong Kong is paradise for those who know there is more to life than work.”