After three years in Japan and Korea without new antifouling, and facing a lengthy journey back to New Zealand with few suitable boatyards along the way, we decided to haul Dagon while in Japan. Because of our size and draught (16.8 meters, 2.6 meters), we were not able to lift out in the many small yards that dot the Inland Sea, and the big yards (Marinoa, Shin Nishinomiya etc) were outside our price range.
We chose to haul out at Kaze no Ko boatyard on the northwest coast of Kurahashi Island, about 20 miles (by sea) south of Hiroshima. This family-run yard is tucked into a deep cove and is accessible only by water, making for a quiet, pleasant environment. The young owners, Hideto and Motoko Komura (who both speak English well), and their small team are exceptionally friendly and helpful.
The yard handles all types of boatwork both on the water and on the hardstand and has an impressive array of boatbuilding equipment and machinery in several large sheds. The railway lift has three sets of adjustable side support arms and takes boats up to about 60 feet. Hideto is currently designing a new lift which will take larger vessels. There is also an ongoing program of upgrading some of the more rickety sections of the three pontoons.
You can chose whether to have work done for you, or you can do it yourself. We had our antifouling paint with us, but all of the facilities of the yard – pressure washer, scaffolding, etc. were made available to us. When we unexpectedly needed a part, Hideto arranged to purchase it at a very reasonable price and it was delivered within two days.
You can use the shower, toilet, microwave and fridge in the staff room when it is not in use; internet is available in the office and there is a washing machine as well. Depending on the length of your stay, you can dinghy your bikes across the bay and ride to the nearest supermarket, about 20 picturesque minutes away. Alternatively, Motoko can take you to the supermarket when she is doing errands.
Hauling out and repairing yachts in Japan is never going to be as cheap as some other places in Asia. However, we found the Kaze no ko pricing very fair, and the efficient service, hassle-free, friendly atmosphere made stopping here a surprisingly economic and pleasant option.
We would certainly return here for hauling Dagon, and recommend the yard highly.