There's something of a Far Eastern flavour to this month's issue...

There’s something of a Far Eastern flavour to this month’s issue. I realise that it might look like the usual diet of white fibreglass and teak trim with a side order of diesel, but closer inspection of the menu will reveal that the handsome American little ship on the cover hails from Malaysia, and that the equally handsome Island Gypsies featured elsewhere in the issue are from China, of all places.

Grand Banks needs no introduction, of course, and Halvorsen, as the builder of the Island Gypsy range, will also be a familiar name to many European readers. When I used to do my boating in Hong Kong it was still a colony governed by a Scotsman wearing a feathered topi, and a Grand Banks was the thing to have. We gwae lo purists in the Nissen hut bar of the Aberdeen Boat Club felt that the indigenous pleasure junks, for all their solid teak construction and spectacular woodwork, didn’t really measure up in the aesthetics department, whereas there was something in the way a Grand Banks sat in the water that was absolutely right.

There were many examples in the typhoon shelter – our version of a marina – some of them in the original teak. Island Gypsies were just making their mark too, from the New Territories yard of Kong & Halvorsen, and many actually preferred their styling, with the flared bow and raked stem. GB had by then upped sticks and moved to Singapore, which hadn’t dented local customer loyalty one bit, and Halvorsens were about to take the then pioneering step of opening a yard in mainland China.

So it’s good to be able to catch up with Grand Banks, who have now revisited their awesome Alaskan concept but with a modern hull form , and also to find out more about Halvorsens – in particular, why a Far Eastern yard producing American-style boats had Australian-accented staff with a Norwegian name!