Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Pair in homemade sailboat navigating around Taiwan

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chen Ming-chung, 63, left, and Chang Tsung-hui, 60, pose for a photograph with the sailboat they built in Pingtung County’s Checheng Township on Sunday during a stop on their sailing trip around Taiwan.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

Two sailors in their 60s are about to finish their tour around Taiwan proper in an sailboat that they built themselves.

Chen Ming-chung (陳明忠), 63, and Chang Tsung-hui (張宗輝), 60, on June 17 set sail from the Jhuwei (竹圍) area in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水).

They originally planned to complete their tour in 25 days, but adverse weather conditions have delayed their progress several times.

On Friday last week, they sailed to the southernmost tip of Taiwan from Haikou Harbor (海口港) in Pingtung County’s Checheng Township (車城).

Over the weekend, they sailed around the Hengchun Peninsula (恆春半島) before arriving in Taitung County.

The sea conditions around Taiwan are constantly changing, Chang told reporters on Sunday.

While they were sailing off the west coast, they had to avoid oyster dredges near Chiayi County and encountered downslope winds caused by southwestern air currents off the coast of Checheng Township, where their boat capsized, he said.

After the accident, they waited for a week for the weather to stabilize before setting sail again, Chang said.

The sailboat does not have a motor, so they control the vessel only by using paddles and sails, Chen said.

They experienced rough waves as they passed Pingtung County’s Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻, the nation’s southernmost tip), but once they entered the waters near Pingtung County’s Manjhou Township (滿州) on the east coast, the sea calmed down and was as still as a mirror, and they could even use their hands to propel the boat, he said.

Taiwan is a maritime nation, but its attitude toward the ocean is conservative, Chen said.

Compared with cycling around Taiwan proper, the most difficult part of sailing around the island is not the sailing itself, but obtaining government documentation for the trip, he said.

They sail during the day and rest on the shore at night, but many cities and counties have refused to grant them permission to enter their harbors or drop anchor, he said.

On several occasions, they were only permitted to enter harbors after telling the authorities that their boat could be pulled ashore and would not occupy any boat slips, he said.

Chen said he hopes that after they complete their journey, they could raise government awareness about marine-related activities and inspire more people to appreciate the beauty of Taiwan’s waters.

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