Cruise to Tanjung Piayu: My Little Adventure – 9 to 12 August 2019

Eventually only three boats made it to the cruise, three others had to pull out due to unforeseen commitments. This left SDF, Olmeto and Skybird, the only three that made the annual seafood pilgrimage to Tanjung Piayu this year. This year?s cruise also coincides with Singapore?s National Day celebration, that too added to the small numbers that went.

Just a little recap for those who don?t know about Tanjung Piayu. Located at the South Eastern corner of Batam Island, Piayu houses a small fishing kampong with a few seafood restaurants along the coastline. It has now become a very popular seafood haunt for the locals.

I have done this trip umpteen times but what made this trip a little special for me was that I did it single handed. Though I?ve done the crossing to Nongsa alone on my other two boats, this trip was different as I would be out of the comfort of Nongsa Point Marina on my own. I know that others have done much longer trips on the own and survived, others have circumnavigated the world without much fanfare. So, what?s so special about a short trip to Tanjung Piayu, I?m doing it solo.

This is for the benefit of those who have not yet made a trip out of Singapore or for those who, like me, have thought about doing solo sailing but have not come to it yet.

Preparations. Getting the boat ready for any trip is of the utmost importance. I had a few issues on my boat which had to be fixed before I could go. In brief; I had to get my steering fixed as it was too stiff, had the auto-pilot changed due to a faulty drive-motor, had to get the wiring done on the alternator as it wasn?t charging the batteries, had to change the navigation lights and re-wire due to corrosion.

Other checks which I did was to ensure that all necessary electronics worked; chart plotter, AIS, VHF, general lighting plus water, fuel and some food stuff.

The day came for me to set off, I had to ensure that the basic safety items were within reach of me. I had the PFD with me and ready for use, shoes with good grip, a handheld VHF and my documents in a dry bag. Having done the trip I now realise that it would be good to have storage bags within the cockpit area. All loose items should be stored away.

My little adventure began as I left the clubs jetty, I decided to motor-sail with just the headsail until after I cleared immigration. The immigration boat came very quickly, unfortunately, I could not hand the documents over as the waters were extremely choppy. I only managed it after about 20 minutes of bobbing about. My plan was to put up the mainsail to do the crossing, however, as the conditions were too choppy for me to get the mains up, I decided to continue to NPM with only the headsail. The crossing took much longer as the wind, wave and tide were all against me and coming from the direction of Nongsa.

I would also like to suggest that you switch to channel 16 after you have done the immigration clearance. You would then be able to listen to marine traffic and be contactable as I had experienced. The Police Coast Guard called to check on my next port pf call. They must be wondering what I was doing as I taking a long time to make my way towards the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme ? shipping channel). Well I thought that it was cool, having a chat with the coast guard. Cheers! to the guys in blue.

Onboard Skybird

As I had mentioned, the incoming tide was very strong and I was swept further off course even as I motor-sailed. The usual welcome and berthing support from NPM staff were always much appreciated. As I approached my berth, I found myself in familiar company; Katrianne and Windancer. After settling down and having my first beer of the day, the rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning the boat. Dinner was spent with my good friends Samsi from the Riau Sailing Club and Fazdly from XSP and not forgetting Prakash, who I had a beer with earlier.

The first thing to do on the morning of the 9th August was to decorate the boat with some flags and streamers to mark Singapore?s National Day, but at the same time I didn?t want to be too loud about it. Took a shower and put on a T-shirt designed for National Day, just to have the patriotic feel. Happy Birthday Singapore. By early afternoon, SDF, Olmeto and Simba had arrived. After clearing CIQP, we each went about doing our own things but met at Skybird for a sundowner with a hope of catching some fireworks from across the channel but unfortunately, we couldn?t see anything. An on the spot decision was made and dinner was at Setia Budi, a nearby seafood restaurant. We had an early night as we planned to leave for Piayu early.

Skybird at Nongsa Marina

Next morning came and by 10.30am we were off to Tanjung Piayu, this is where my little adventure begins. Did a pre-departure check to ensure that I didn?t missed out anything. Came out of the marina and hoping for some calm waters but it was quite choppy and the winds were up to 15 knots. This made putting up the mainsails a little challenging. I wasn?t going to let the chops deter me so I hoisted the mains and decided to put in two reefs and half furled the genoa and even with that I was still doing an average of 5 knots. After about half an hour into the sail, I thought of shaking of the 2nd reef but the conditions were still bumpy so I decided to leave the 2nd on. Again, the wind and tide were against me so I had to put in a few tacks before turning the top corner of Batam to go down the channel towards Tanjung Piayu. Having reached the top corner, the conditions were still choppy and the wind and tide against me so I had to sail much further towards Bintan before putting in a tack. At this point it was much easier sailing as I could sit on a port tack for a much longer distant.

With the wind and wave coming from the front, the auto-pilot had problems holding the course so I manually sailed most of the way, accept when I had to go down to get a drink and the apples which became my meal for the day. I really enjoyed the 5 hours sailing solo. As mentioned, I know of members who had made longer trips and to faraway places and what I have done is nothing big to brag about but to me it was an achievement.

Boat: Olmeto

Olmeto was already anchored off Pulau Awi but I decided to proceed to Piayu. Dropped the hook in the channel at Tanjung Piayu and allowed the anchor to set, I let out 20m of chain and about 10m of rope. While waiting, I popped my first beer for the day, a self-congratulatory drink for me. When I was satisfied that it was holding, I proceeded to tie the rope to the cleat rather than leaving the load to the windlass.

Becoming complacent. What happened to safety, gloves on when working with anchors and rode.

I held onto the rope as I needed to let out some so that I could tie it down onto the cleat. Without doing a safety check, I hit the button and to my horror my fingers were pulled into the windlass, trapping my middle, fourth and little pinky of my right hand. My fingers were wedged in tight, fortunately for me it wasn?t the chain section. Lost for a few seconds, I just stared at my fingers before I realized what I had done. Reaching for the controller, I then hit the down button and my fingers rolled out free. Oh, it hurt so much. Blood flowed and I quickly got to the wash basin and put my fingers under running water, grabbed a towel and applied pressure onto the wound.

By then, SDF and Olmeto were both anchored off Pulau Awi, hoping to catch some swim time. I wanted to call them for assistance but decided not to because I heard on the radio that SDF had windlass issues and all 80m of chain had been let out. I said to myself, poor Derek, he would have to physically pull in 80m of chain, which he eventually did. SDF finally got things sorted and came into the channel. Derek called and asked as I had earlier told him that I had hurt myself. Once anchored, he came over in his dinghy with his first-aid kit and two cans of iced-cold pain killer. What a man, thanks Derek.

Boat: SDF

With the excitement of the day gone by, we met at the Love Seafood Restaurant for dinner. Thanks, this time to Jon who brought his First-aid kit which had the proper anti-septic solutions, Lucy and Allie played nurse and helped dressed my wounds. The food, as usual, was good and with our bellies filled, we made our way back to our respective boat for a quite evening, so we thought. The loud speakers came alive and some kind of religious chants were blasted across the whole area. I doubt that anyone had any sleep that night. We would probably need to reconsider our timing for the next pilgrimage to Piayu.

Dinner at Love Seafood Restaurant

Love Seafood Restaurant at Tanjung Piayu.

The excitement didn?t end there for me, at about 5am I heard some light scratching sound coming from under. Quickly got on deck to inspect and to my dismay, I realised that the breeze had pushed me towards the little island and I am now sitting in the mud. Checked the water depth at the bow and looked like I was still in deep waters but when I got to the stern, I saw that I only had about a foot if water under my stern. I guessed that I must be sitting at the edge of the drop-off. I went into the cabin, turned on the lights and thought of my next course of action.

First thought was to start the engine and maybe throttle my way out but as I was sitting in mud, the props would probably been in the mud and trapped and a very high possibility of sucking in mud into the cooling system. The breeze was nice then, so the next plan was to try to shake myself loose. So, for the next half hour or so, I backed and release the headsail causing the bow to swing from left to right. This action had helped to wriggle the keel out of the soft mud and thankfully I was freed. Once cleared, I started the engine, retrieved the anchor and reset my position. Lesson learned, do not push the panic button. Size up the situation and put in a plan. But if all fails?.scream for?? HELP!!!!!

Lucy and Alison, from SDF, had earlier offered to help me sail Skybird back to NPM because of my injury. And, it would have been so much easier too but I decided that I just needed to complete my little solo adventure. Also, as they were not on my crew list, I thought that it would be safer if they didn?t come onboard. Would have been hard to explain if we were stopped. Thanks, girls, for the thought, much appreciate. The breeze was nice and with one reef in, it was a beautiful reach to NPM. Better prepared this time, I had bacon sandwiches which I made earlier and kept it cool in the ice chest, so lunch was much better and I still had an apple to go along. I took the most direct course to the top corner, this put me on a very broad reach and I doing a comfortable 4 to 5 knots. But after heading up around the corner, the wind angle changed and now cruising nicely between 6 to 7 plus knots. Sweet sailing.

After tying down at the marina, the rest of the evening was rather routine. Derek treated his family to Japanese at Turi Beach. After dinner I had few drinks with Jon at the marina bar before calling it a night.

The next morning was routine again, breakfast, collect documents and by 10.30am we were off towards CSC. This time immigration took much longer but all was well. As mentioned, others had done much more but this trip was special to me as it may mark more solo trips with just Skybird and I.

Thanks to SDF and Olmeto; good company make good trip.

Batam to starboard – Sailing up the Selat Durian : Expedition on Sprint Corsair trimaran, Cicak (August 2019)

Part 1 ? Head to wind ? the journey South to Ranoh from Nongsa by Lauren Hill (16)

Imagine you?re at the beach in Bali. Never been there? Let me describe it to you. The wind is blowing, strong, causing white caps to appear on the sea, like white harsh lines against the dark blue. Now imagine the waves. 3 metre tall monsters, ones that you could surf on that would take your surf board from a kilometre out all the way to the beach. Pretty right?

Our port ama submarines as we face heavy swell and strong winds on the way South to Ranoh

Now imagine sailing through that on a trimaran. Not so pretty. The waves kept coming and grew taller and stronger the further south we went. I remember thinking ?I wish I brought my boogie board to ride some of these waves?.?Then a big 3 metre monster came hit us and we nearly fell of it and I thought,??ok, maybe not?.

The whole sail down was a constant battle of waves and wind on the nose. We have a running joke in our family, and I?m sure it some sailors would agree with me. Wherever you sail in Singapore or its neighbouring ports/islands, the wind is?always?on the nose. Always. Oh, and the tide too.

We didn?t put the engine on. We knew sailing there would be faster. I doubt our little engine would?ve gotten us through Nongsa?s entrance.

We sailed 50 miles down south, battling wind, waves and tide. Then we hung a right after Kopek Rapat, the southernmost island after Keras Besar.

It was easier after that, the waves were beam on now, and as if by a miracle stroke of luck, so was the wind. We managed to escape the wrath of the sea into the sheltered waters of Pulau Ranoh.

There was lots of coral, and the reef extended far out from the main island, to where the main channel was, connecting Ranoh to the bigger islands around it.

Our first night anchorage at Pulau Mubudarat ? around the corner from where the Neptune Fleet normally stays on the return journey in the NE Monsoon

The resort on the island was a day resort, with small ferry boats bringing passengers from mainland Batam to the island in the early morning, and departing with the passengers in the late afternoon. There were glamping tents available on the island, as well as bunks for those who wanted to stay the night, but only a handful chose to remain each night.

Our route around Batam via Ranoh and Sugi with winds from the Southeast

Later that day we were joined by other boats travelling down from Nongsa. Katrianne, Winddancer, Rehua and Sharkfin. We finished the day as guests of Gary and Karen Matthews for Sundowners with the rest of the fleet on Katrianne in the anchorage off Ranoh.

 

Part 2 ? Dining with the other boats at Pulau Ranoh by Sasha Hill (15)

?Cicak, Cicak, this is Windancer. Are the girls awake over? ?Hello Winddancer this is Cicak, no the girls are still sleeping over? ?Ah, we were wondering if the girls would like to come over to have pancakes for breakfast over?? ?PANCakes!? Lauren and I yelled, wide awake. Apparently our screams of delight carried through the VHF and woke up the rest of the fleet. The crew in Winddancer started laughing while Glenn told us that he would pick us up by dinghy. When we reached there I had at least 10 small pancakes covered with chocolate spread and honey. They were delicious. Thanks very much Barb! After that, we went on shore and joined the other boats in the flotilla from Nongsa for lunch.

Lauren does archery practice on Ranoh with the other boats from the fleet

 

Part 3 ? Returning via the south west side of Batam, by Tim Hill (very old)

The rest of the fleet were planning to return via Tanjong Piayu ? with Winddancer going underneath the Barelam Bridge. We chose the route less travelled ? leaving Batam to starboard.

We set off just after sunrise sailing through the anchorage and waving goodbye to our friends on the other boats.

The girls did their usual 2 hours on, 4 hours off helming duties. We set out west and then rounded Pulau Abang Besar bringing out out big reacher sail (with a big Cicak on it, of course). We then settled down for a beautiful 30 nm reach out to Pulau Sugi and Telunas resort. For most of this passage we saw no other boats ? just the occasional island en route. As the wind picked up by mid morning we had the same swell as the trip down, but it was behind us so we could surf in on the waves. It was a great feeling and we averaged about 11-12 knots for the latter part of the passage.

 

Coming in close to Telunas we saw the resort up close. It looked great. Sasha spotted an unmarked rock off the Northwest side of Telunas and managed to avoid it. The route then took us out into the Durian Strait and then into the Philip Strait towards Singapore ? with 20 knots of wind behind us all the way.

Sailing past Telunas Resort leaving Pulau Sugi to starboard at about 10 knots

We could have made it all the way back to Nongsa by sunset but decided to stop near Buffalo Rock on the Batam side where we found a perfect trimaran anchorage at Pulau Kapal Besar.? A sheltered flat water bay with sandy bottom, deserted island with a view in the far distance of Singapore island silhouetted by a beautiful tropical sunset.

Our final night?s anchorage at Pulau Kapal Besar near Buffalo Rock ? a perfect trimaran anchorage

We settled down for a last dinner and an early night ? with a big breakfast the next day ? and a 20nm reach to Nongsa arriving by lunchtime, around the same time as our friends from the rest of the fleet.

Lauren cooks us all breakfast on the final morning. We managed to position the cooker in the lower part of the table which worked well

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls took a pool break while I tightened up all the fittings that had loosened through several days of extreme banging and shaking in some of the most extreme (and fun) conditions we had taken to the boat into.

The Southwest and West sides of Batam are a beautiful sailing ground with hundreds of hidden anchorages and protected sailing in either monsoon. We also couldn?t believe that we sailed through about 60nm in such a short time ? but I guess the 20knot winds behind us for most of the journey helped!

It was also great to spend part of the trip with friends on other boats down in Ranoh. Thanks Katrianne, Winddancer, Rehua and Sharkfin for joining and hosting us on your boats!

Thanks also to Ronny from CSC for correcting all my mistakes in the paperwork and arranging perfect delivery of forms in time for immigration as well as Prakash, Dwi and the team from Nongsa Point Marina for doing the same at the other end. And the girls from Cicak for making it all happen! A video of our adventure can be seen on the Cicak Youtube channel.

Footnote.? The provisioning and equipment stuff that worked well on this cruise

We were camping and cruising on the boat for 5 days. And although we have done longer cruises, we cooked most of our meals onboard and showered onboard. So what worked well for this extend cruise was

Small wooden foldable table. We were able to put the portable stove on the lower part of the table and use the top for everything else. This also meant the stove did not get any opportunities to melt the deck

2 x 20 litre jerry cans of water, plus an extra 4 litres frozen in reusable bottles in the cooler box and a shower bag of about 15 litres of water. We fill these up at the dock at CSC and load them onto the boat. We used about 6-8 litres a day showering for 3 of us and about 2 litres for drinking. We brought about 10 excess litres back to CSC. The shower bag split during this trip and will likely be replaced by old 2 litre plastic water drink bottles painted black with an alternative perforated lid for hand showers. We would dunk in seawater before lathering and then back in the sea before rinsing in freshwater.

Sarongs. Very useful as sun protection during the day, especially when lying on the net helming. We also used face and neck scarfs as well as hats and hence minimised suncream use.

Tinned food. Because we can?t keep stuff cold for longer than 2 days unless we replenish the ice ashore. So we had tinned beans, vegetables, sardines, tuna, spam ? you name it. These were either heated into a stew for dinner, fried (spam) for breakfast along with eggs, or eaten in wraps for lunch.

Fresh apples and peaches. Good for breakfast in the morning and don?t need chilling ? along with a pre-made bottle of cold ice coffee which also worked luke warm.

Sun screen tent cover for anchorages ? made from the material you get in garden centres that screens the sun but lets the wind blow through. It was very dry during this trip so we didn?t get out the big purpose-made tent that goes over the boom and seals the cockpit and cabin against storms at anchor.

Twilight Series II Race 3

With it being the summer holidays, National Day just around the corner and some sailors off to the west side in preparation for the Western Circuit Regatta – we see a smaller number of boats taking part in yesterday’s Twilight Series II Race 3.

Despite the small numbers overall, we still managed a very healthy fleet of 11 Keelboats participating in the PY Class! This number was boosted by new entrants Birregurra and Petit Bateau, a Hanse 40 and Esse 750 respectively. Both boats had contrasting starts, with the former taking a cautious approach and the latter executing a near perfect start to leeward. A costly mistake of not reading the Notice of Race and flying her spinnaker in a “White-Sails Only” race rewarded Petit Bateau with a shot of rum and a DSQ for her maiden Twilight Race. Birregurra fared much better, scoring second place 7 minutes behind champions Simba after corrected time. Simba‘s racing pedigree was clear for all to see, as her superior boat speed kept her well ahead of the fleet throughout the race. We look forward to her renewed IRC and return to the Class! Amongst the big boys, little Brio held her own, completing the podium in 3rd, 5 minutes ahead of close rivals Balqis.

Skybird kept the flag flying high for the IRC Class, in the absence of Red Rum, Waka Tere, Invictus, Jong Dee and Born in Fire. She was hardly lonely, enjoying the Twilight together with the PY fleet.

In the Cruising Multihull Class, Cicak, Miss Visayan and Jaza Too had an intense 3-way battle, with the Corsair Sprint (Cicak) managing to grind out line honours and a win on corrected time, besting her 2 close rivals. Jaza Too did just enough to finish 18 seconds ahead of Miss V on corrected time, placing both boats in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Thank you everyone for taking part! We now take a break from Club racing, as we prepare for next week’s Cruise to Tanjung Piayu (9-12 August) and the Western Circuit Regatta (17, 18 & 24 August) on the following weekend. Club racing resumes with the Sunday Series II Race 4 on 1st September 2019.

Results

PY Keelboat
Cruising Multihull

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