Northrop & Johnson return old-world charm to Hong Kong

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Two classic Hong Kong boats have been lovingly restored by their respective owners and are now available, for the very first time, for private charter.

The Wayfoong, a 1930 steam launch, and Wing Sing, one of the last fully operational three-masted sailing junks in Hong Kong, offer a classic, high-end and uniquely alternative charter experience.

These two vessels are the flagships of a new yacht charter collection launched this month by the world’s leading luxury charter brokers, Northrop & Johnson.

Wayfoong is a sleek steam launch built in 1930 on the original plans of its mother-ship, which was launched in 1898. Owned by HSBC for 80 years, it is now privately-owned by entertainment entrepreneur Allan Zeman. Once a common sight in Victoria Harbour, this true and unique classic is one of the last original steam launch designs in Hong Kong.

Wayfoong was commissioned by HSBC to carry gold bullion to and from the ships anchored in Victoria Harbour. In the 1950s, she was also used for ‘burning picnics’, when the junior staff of the bank’s Note Cancellation Department would burn bag-loads of old bank notes as fuel in the boiler room furnace. Appropriately, she was named after a Cantonese phrase that can be translated as “focus of wealth” or “abundance of remittances”. She was subsequently used by the bank for entertaining clients and senior management and renowned for serving the ‘best curry in Hong Kong’.

Wing Sing is one of Hong Kong’s last authentic and fully functional Chinese sailing junks. Commissioned in 1974 and modelled on a traditional shrimp fishing junk, this one-of-a-kind boat was purchased by Hellmann Brothers in 2007 and entirely renovated in 2012. It now boasts some of the most sophisticated finishes and fixtures ever seen in a fully-operational, lug-sail Chinese junk.

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