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Building authentic Chinese Sailing Junks in China

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  • Moran
    Dear All, I have been watching this forum with interest for some time now and for various reasons have not posted any comments. I have been living in Hong Kong
    Message 1 of 36 , Dec 31, 2011
      Dear All,

      I have been watching this forum with interest for some time now and for various reasons have not posted any comments.

      I have been living in Hong Kong for 30 years and first went there with my wife Teresa and son Dylan to buy an authentic sailing junk. The first one we purchased in Macau, renamed her "Duk Ling"(the Chinese thought this sounded like my son Dylan) and reconverted her to sail. She was a "Ha Teng" or shrimp trawler of about 60 feet (18m) LOA. She sailed OK but I discovered over time that there were many things that were nat authentic about her hull design and, in spite of being a 3 masted yawl rig, was very unbalanced. She is still sailing around Hong Kong and has appeared in countless photos and movies as an "authentic" sailing junk, even though she is not very authentic.

      Over the next 10 years I worked in Hong Kong as a marine co-ordinator for countless movies in Hong Kong and China and had an enormous opportunity to experience and document what real working sailing junks were like and sailed on many small and large ones, some over 100 feet (30m) LOA. I discovered a number of very basic hull and rig features which are essential to the ease of handling and the extraordinary ability to balance these vessels on all points of sail as well as the more obvious features of easily reducing sail in rising wind conditions and shallow draft facilitating all sorts of things.

      In 1990 I finished building "Coachin" a 76 feet (23m) "Fuzhou Pole Junk" for an expidition "The Marco Polo Voyage" to retrace Marco Polo's sea route from China to the Middle East. In 1991 we sailed from Hong Kong to Shanghai and back as the first part of the expedition with the intention of carrying on to the Middle East. As the first Gulf War was in full swing by the time we returned to Hong Kong the sponsors all refused to continue to sponsor an expedition sailing to where there was a war on. I spent several years trying to revive the expedition but never succeeded. Cocachin was eventually sold and has sadly been radically altered with a fixed steel rudder and a horrific wheelhouse on the poop deck as well as the masts being replaced as the owners were informed that she would tip over in a typhoon!! This was in-spite of the fact that in the 8 years that I owned her she had seen many typhoons and was never even close to being "blown over"!! I subsequently returned to my profession with the idea that someday I would pick up where I left off and find a shipyard that wold be able to build another authentic sailing junk.

      Almost two decades later I have finally found a shipyard in China that is really capable of building authentic sailing junks. The shipyard is a family business at least 100 years and 4 generations old . They had already been working with a shipbuilder from Europe for some years building small western vessels and are now capable of building any size of authentic Chinese sailing craft to exacting Western standards. I have been working in partnership with them for over a year and we have already constructed 4m and 6m sailing sampans as well as a 10m sailing junk. These are all truly authentic and are fully correctly rigged and have a fully adjustable depth rudder so that balance can be achieved on all points of sail. These vessels are all designed to be shipped in containers and can be shipped to anywhere in the world. Construction of the first 30m super junk will start in February 2012.

      The 4m sailing sampan is a single masted open sailing dinghy which will accommodate 2-3 people and is a lot of fun to sail. It is designed to take an electric outboard if required and has Chinese oars and a "yuloh" or scull. The 6m sailing sampan is a 3 masted open sailing dinghy designed for a sail training vessel and international class racing will be established in China this summer. This accommodates 6-8 people and has 3 sets of oars, a yuloh for sculling and can accommodate and electric outboard. It also has a fourth triangular sail which is rigged between the main mast and foremast. I have yet to find out exactly how this sail is used. The 6m sampan can also be built with closed accommodation forward of the mainmast with a large open cockpit for day sailing or weekend overnighting. Both 4m and 6m have fully adjustable centre boards. A fully decked version of the 6m has also been built with internal ballast and larger accommodation for sailing further afield.

      The first 35 foot (10.5m) 3 masted sailing junk is almost finished in that the hull and superstructure are already complete. The interior fit out will be finished within the next two months. This will include hybrid electric auxiliary propulsion as well as being fitted for blue water cruising and for two people to comfortably live aboard. (If you can manage in a vessel that small). This is the largest size that can be shipped by container meaning that delivery can be made cheaply to anywhere in the world.

      The 30m junk will take several years to build as the wood had to be imported and carefully selected and then the planks and frames cut and dried prior to construction. The whole project will take about 3 years to finish. Much of this will be for interior fit out as this is to be my retirement home that I hope to sail around Asia Pacific for many years to come. I am now semi-retired as I will be 60 in February 2012.

      I am now ready to take orders for any size of Chinese Sailing Junk (I have no interest in building motor boats). I have chosen what I consider to be the most seaworthy and seakindly design (Kai Jao Fa Pei Koo) see attached below, but you can chose whatever style you would like. I have an enormous collection of books with many different styles of junks and sampans.

      I hope this will give an opportunity to the rest of the world to access real Chinese Sailing Junks and have the experience of sailing them rather than a western hull with a modified Chinese rig, which is what I mostly see in the West.

      My company is called MarineXO. If anyone is interested you can contact me directly by phone in Hong Kong +852 94887720 or by company email on marinexo@... or me directly on drwaynemoran@... The website is a work in progress www.marinexo.com with only a few photographs at the moment but we have thousands to choose from. Read the home page it will tell you much of what I am trying to achieve. My personal email is attached in the signature of this email.

      I look forward to hearing from some of you directly or posts to this forum.

      Incidentally one of the projects of the Marco Polo Voyage was to test a scale model of Cocachin in the water tank and wind tunnel at the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University in 1989-90. I met Marchaj (author of "Seaworthiness the forgotten factor" at that time. He was retired and living close to he university. I also had the pleasure of meeting Joseph Needham (author of "Science and Civilisation in China) and David Waters, ex curator of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwhich, which has one of the best collections of Chinese Junk models in the world.

      We did extensive testing of the hull and superstructure on the model. The results were never published as the expedition was never finished. Someday maybe. Now we are testing different sail and rudder types on various styles of 4m sailing sampan and racing them around the cans with a simple hand-held GPS to measure a few things. Much more fun!!

      Thanks and best regards and a happy new 2012 and soon to be year of the Dragon (a very auspicious year for Chinese Junks) to you all.


      Dr. Wayne Moran M.B.,B.S.
      25 Shum Wan Rd,
      Tel : +852 94887720
      Fax : +852 30105801
    • R.C.Whitworth
      glad to know I m not the only one!! Thanks Rodney ... From: kenny c To: junkrig@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 9:28 PM Subject: Re: [junkrig]
      Message 36 of 36 , Jan 17, 2012
        glad to know I'm not the only one!! Thanks

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: kenny c
        To: junkrig@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 9:28 PM
        Subject: Re: [junkrig] Re: Building authentic Chinese Sailing Junks in China

        I've encountered the same problem while using Internet Explorer. But there is no problem while browsing with Google Chrome.

        From: R.C.Whitworth <rodneywhitworth323@...>
        To: junkrig@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 7:50:28 AM
        Subject: Re: [junkrig] Re: Building authentic Chinese Sailing Junks in China

        Thanks. I'll try that route.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: scott
        To: junkrig@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:52 AM
        Subject: [junkrig] Re: Building authentic Chinese Sailing Junks in China

        It is working for me.. Using firefox under linux.


        --- In junkrig@yahoogroups.com, "R.C.Whitworth" <rodneywhitworth323@...> wrote:
        > Dear Robert,
        > Thank you for posting Ultramarine's website but I have to say that I have been unable to access any of its information via its index strip on left hand side of its home page. I have informed them of this problem everytime I have accessed this over the last few months. Perhaps you might know of others who have had this problem. I f I am the only one then I am stumped.
        > Perhaps you also might give them a boot up the stern without damaging the rudder.
        > Yours sincerely
        > R.C.Whitworth

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