Boats were among the biggest casualties of Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong, with hundreds washed ashore, damaged or sunk while at a yacht club the devastation was such that staff had to swim to work.
Luxury vessels, dinghies and other boats of various sizes were battered in Sai Kung while two yacht clubs on Middle Island – off Deep Water Bay on Hong Kong Island – faced destruction on a scale not seen before after the strongest typhoon in the city’s recorded history struck on Sunday.
While the damage was still being assessed on Tuesday, a yacht club manager said “long negotiations on insurance claims” would come next for boat owners.
“I have never seen such a powerful typhoon in my 25-year stint in Hong Kong,” Aberdeen Boat Club general manager Philippe de Manny said on Tuesday.
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“We are still counting inventory because many dinghies and kayaks were piled up or lost during powerful waves.”
Mangkhut mauled Hong Kong with 175km/h (109mph) winds and there was a record storm surge, with floodwaters reaching their highest levels since 1904, according to the city’s forecaster.
Waves ploughed across the two-lane Repulse Bay Road into the periphery of the Hong Kong Golf Club in Deep Water Bay, leaving a layer of sand and knocking over fences.
Because of severe damage, Repulse Bay’s Seaview Promenade was blocked for urgent repairs, which meant the sampan ferry pier to Middle Island was out of service. Also out of action were the power and water supply on the island, with some electricity cables exposed.
De Manny said the club’s kitchen, changing rooms and storage on Middle Island were flooded like “an aquarium”, outdoor lockers were missing and part of the pier surface had been washed away.
“Sailing can be restored in a week, but other facilities will take a longer time,” he said.
The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, which also has facilities on Middle Island, said its dinghy fleet and dragon boats were badly damaged, with many boats either scattered around or missing, according to an internal letter to members on Monday.
Some staff swam about 200 metres to the island from the promenade for work on Monday after sampans were submerged, halting ferry services, the Post learned.
Drone footage taken by the Post showed the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s pontoons had broken up into sections during the typhoon and were drifting around.
In Sai Kung, many yachts and dinghies were submerged at Hebe Haven while a dockyard was inundated with debris.
A 125-foot superyacht was left grounded on the promenade near Sai Kung public pier, with the port side of the vessel ripped open.
A few hundreds meters away at Sha Ha Beach, a 70-foot junk was washed ashore at Beach Boys Football Club.
The club’s Kieron Combes said it was the second time a boat had landed at exactly the same place in the past year, but this one was seriously damaged and the clubhouse would take a while to restore.
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An insurance agent said she had received seven inquiries for claims for damage to yachts in the past 48 hours and expected more in coming days.
“We came across a client whose boat’s hull was damaged during the typhoon, but the boat is only covered by third party liability, which means he cannot claim for the damage,” she said.