Sailing in Croatia 2023

Written by Barbara Zuzarte-O’Grady


Sailing has always been a passion of my husband, Glen, and myself and we’ve always seen the Ocean as our home. We’ve spent over a decade on sailboats such as Windancer – a 40-ft Wauquiez – and raced in numerous regattas on our ex Young 88 racing boat – ‘O’Blueyes’.

It’s this love for sailing that has led us to meet numerous like-minded enthusiasts from all over the world.


We first started sailing at Changi Sailing Club (CSC) and together with two mates, Gary and Aspiah, we ‘hatched’ the idea of a two-week sojourn to the Adriatic Sea and exploring Croatia.

With great enthusiasm, a deposit was made with Pitter Yacht Charter in January 2020 and plans were to set sail in May the same year.

Then Covid hit!

The world came to a standstill. Borders closed, countries went into lockdown and the wind was knocked out of our sails along with the dream of traversing the coast of Croatia. A refund was not an option but the good people at Pitter guaranteed that we would be able to continue with our plans as soon as borders were reopened.

Three years later, they held true to this promise!

Covid restrictions (blah!) became a distant memory, and our plans started to take wing… or should I say set sail! Our new departure date was confirmed for 29th April 2023 and would last two weeks. We were finally set for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Although the ideal period to visit Croatia is usually mid-May through to early October – with the peak in August – we decided to beat the maddening summer crowds while still enjoying (fingers crossed) the beginning of the summer. Our gamble paid off with only a trickling of tourists making an appearance throughout the trip.

The expected average temperature in May is 15-22 degrees while the sea temperature would be from 15-18 degrees. Cold? (You think?)

Our vessel of choice for this escapade was a Nautitech 40 Catamaran – Rosa – consisting of four cabins and two heads. For an extra 50 Euros, we rented a Spinnaker as we felt “the need, the need for speed”. Apparently not many who chartered boats opt for a Spinnaker hence why the one we were given looked almost unused! We certainly took care of that and used it for most of our voyage!

Our crew was made up of Gary and Aspiah (speed demon sailors out of CSC on their Corsair Trimaran “Miss Visayan”), Dennis and Cheryl (owners of ‘Ohana’ – a 42 ft Hallberg-Rassy). Our good friends, Raya (an amazing sailor) and her German husband Wolfgang (some sailing experience) – from Mallorca – met us in Croatia at the start of our journey and stayed for the first week only. They then left us at the halfway and turning point in Dubrovnik and were replaced for the rest of the journey by Tonya from Canada (who enjoyed herself thoroughly at the helm) and Akiko from Japan (who ended up being the chef on the boat, constantly whipping up amazing meals for everyone). Both ladies being close friends of Gary and Aspiah.

It almost felt like a gathering of the United Nations with a truly international ‘cast’ of three Singaporeans, two Americans, an Aussie, two Germans, a Canadian and a Japanese.

The plan was to set to sail out of ACI Marina Trogir in Croatia (about 28km from Split) on the 29th of April 2023 and back at port two weeks later. We would meander towards Dubrovnik which would be the mid-point of our travels, drop Raya and Wolfy off, pick up Akiko and Tonya and head back the way we came.

Other than this planned route, we decided we would allow the ‘wind gods’ (with the help of maps of course) to take us where they saw fit.  All other ‘in between’ plans were agreed upon collectively over sunset drinks. We agreed to seek out calm and protected bays or marinas to anchor at every evening.

Pitter Yacht Charter was a very accommodating, helpful, and easy-going company to deal with. The only restriction they had was that we stayed in Croatian waters! (Darn, there goes our idea of sailing off to Italy and beyond). Little did we know that they actually tracked our movements and knew the exact route we took.

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.  Discover.” – Mark Twain


Day 1

On the day of our day of departure, boarding ‘Rosa’ was set for 2pm. Preparation started off with a spree at the supermarkets to fill our victualing list (alcohol being of top importance… surprise surprise) and food enough for a few days as we intended to top up supplies en route. Victualing isn’t as easy as one might think and it’s never possible to stick to the list… but perhaps that’s part of the fun!

Two items were extremely difficult to find in Croatia – an ESKY and ICE. It seems ice isn’t something Croatians need during the colder months. How do they drink their rum (straight out of a bottle like Capt. Jack Sparrow?) and what about cocktails? Baffling! It took several trips through a dozen supermarkets before we finally got what we needed. Tragedy averted…phew!

The boys had discovered Croatian beer Karlovacko and that became their go-to thirst-quencher while the ladies were a little more experimental and tried a variety of Croatian wines and bubblies. I imagined when the boys got through them, beer shelves looked similar to the empty toilet rolls shelves during the peak of covid!

With everything stored neatly on board and each couple in their chosen cabins, we finally threw off the lines and left the marina at 4.30pm.  At the start, it was decided to motor to get a feel for the catamaran and when we were ready, we hoisted our main and self-tacking jib. Sailing at an average of 4-5 knots, everyone looked back and bid the marina goodbye as it got smaller and smaller over the horizon. And so, the adventure began!

“Now … bring me that horizon.” – Capt Jack Sparrow

Drvenik Veli Island is famously referred to as the ‘Blue Lagoon’ – not because of the movie, but because of the way silica (the lagoon’s iconic and most abundant element) reflects visible light when suspended in water. It was 10nm (nautical miles) from our start point and our first destination. It took us two hours to get there, and the sparkling blue hues and glass-like clarity of the surrounding waters was absolutely mesmerising and stunning!

Our first night saw us happily chatting over drinks and a delectable meal cooked up by our German friends – Dennis and Cheryl. This consisted of spargle (white asparagus to the uninitiated) white cream, pan fried ham and a fresh Croatian salad. The waters were tranquil and, although excitement was running high for what was ahead the next day, the gentle rocking of the boat and plenty of tipple made for a good night’s sleep.

It didn’t take long for routine to set in. Everyone had their quirks. Who would be the earliest to rise – Glen (annoyingly) held first place while I came in a close second. Who slept in little longer (ahem… Dennis and Cheryl). Who was insane enough to jump in the icy cold waters to wake up (Cheryl and Glen) and who would go the conventional route and just cradle a strong coffee, gaze at the ocean through sleepy eyes, and let the caffeine kick in.

Everyone took turns making coffee, cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner, doing the dishes and storing everything away.

Glen was ‘unofficially’ the captain and Gary his first mate. If you’ve ever sailed with Gary, you know that he was constantly pottering around the boat. Tweaking, tightening, fixing, pulling ropes, travellers, blocks etc. It would be fair to say that we left Rosa in better condition than when we got her – even making a list of things to ‘fix’ or ‘change’ when we did the final handover.

Day 2

The next day, anchors were up at 9am and we headed for Vis – famed as one of the ten most unspoiled islands in the Mediterranean. It’s no wonder it was the chosen location for the filming of “Mamma Mia 2”. The beauty of the islands was heightened by the pod of frolicking dolphins off our bow! It was a sunny day with an average 20 degrees C, the wind was steady, so we hoisted the Spinnaker. There is something MAGICAL about gliding through turquoise waters with just the sound of waves below us and colourful billowing sails against the canvas of brilliant blue sky above.

The anchorage at Vis was very relaxing. This called for an evening of Liar’s Dice – a game of chance and deception known to be played by pirates – most notably by the crew of lost souls on Davy Jones’ ship the Flying Dutchman in the movie “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. If you are unfamiliar with this game, you haven’t really lived. It can be played with as many players as you like as long as there are enough dice – and rum – to go around.

Capt Jack Sparrow     : Why is the rum gone?

Elizabeth                     :  Because it is a vile drink that turns even the most respectable man        into scoundrels.

Capt Jack Sparrow     : But why is the rum gone?

Day 3

We made a beeline for Bisevo whose main attraction is the famous Blue Cave, which can only be accessed by rental boats. The best time of the day to explore the cave is at midday when the Sun’s rays pass through an underwater opening illuminating the cave in an eerie and almost unearthly bluish hue. Although we were looking forward to experiencing this phenomenon ourselves, our plans were thwarted by really choppy waters. A unanimous decision was made not to anchor there but our disappointment was soon forgotten as we sighted more dolphins on our way to Korcula Island for the night.

Day 4

After pulling up anchor and starting out, we begin to encounter choppy waters with one to two metre waves and 28knots (kts) winds. The forecast over VHF told us to expect winds of up to 35kts. Again, for the safety of the crew and craft, we decided to wait out the bad weather at another protected bay on the island of Scedro. It was an ideal time to paddle the tender to shore (outboard engine was not working) and explore the area while Gary took off to gather mussels for the evening’s meal!

Once on land, we met a friendly local lady named Eurena, who was busy building a cabin on a piece of land she recently purchased on the island. She helpfully gave us directions to the outlook located on the opposite side of the island and we started our track there.

We found the trail full of Rosemary bushes, prickly leaves, gorgeous wildflowers, and poppies before we came upon a lovely old church sitting atop the hill overlooking the picturesque bay.

When we got back to ‘Rosa’, we sat down to a lunch of Cevapcici sausage – grilled sausages made of a mixture of ground beef and pork seasoned with lots of garlic and paprika – traditional meal eaten in Croatia.

When it was safe enough to set sail again, we pulled anchor around 2pm and navigated over four hours of choppy waters before piloting into another protected bay at Prigradica, in the town of Korcula. As it was still off peak, we had a leisurely and uninterrupted walk by the shore and in town. Dinner that evening was a steaming pot of white wine mussels accompanied by crusty bread. Mother Nature decided to put on an enchanting light show of luminescent phosphorescence off the side of our catamaran which added to the euphoria everyone felt that evening.

One thing we learnt as a group traveling together is to chill out and go with the flow, especially when unforeseen changes come along. As we learnt, these can often lead to bigger adventures and awesome discoveries! Such an occasion happened when our malfunctioning outboard engine saw us having to pull into ACI Marina at Korcula for repairs. We did not plan to stay the night due to the steep cost – EUR 230 a night, but we did. It turned out to be the best decision of the trip.

After securing our boat, a handful of us hopped off to explore this enchanting island. It was gorgeous with a plethora of quaint restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops – some of us thinking it even outshone the town of Dubrovnik. Legend has it that renowned explorer, Marco Polo, was born in Korcula – when it was still a part of the Venetian republic. It is chronicled that he took part in the naval battle of Venice in 1298 where he was captured by Genoese army and imprisoned there. We came upon a tourist history board with a map and on it was written: “The journey of Marco Polo with his father and uncle to China 1271-1295”. The route on the map showed that he visited the Indonesian island of Bintan – a close neighbour of Singapore. Fascinating!

That evening we had dinner in a lovely “konoba” – authentic Croatian restaurant with traditional cuisine – and made sure we only ate local fresh catches of the day and Croatian salads while washing it all down with a delightful local Rose!

Although it is not a main tourist attraction, it is easy to fall in love with Korcula and we highly recommend a day or two exploring this island. In our eyes, it definitely boasted the best food and wine experiences of all the Croatian islands on our itinerary.

Day 5

With the tender issues fixed, we made ready to head to our next destination – Mljet Island, Polace. The sun was warm and bright and temperature for the day read 17 degrees C although it felt more like 20. The great winds meant we could hoist our sails immediately and when boat speed hit 8kts, we decided to reef the main. With winds of 25kts, we were flying through the waves. When we arrived, we decided to dock in front of Calypso Restaurant after a little ‘persuasion’ from waving staff from the restaurant.

It is common for the staff of each restaurant along the waterfront to wave you frantically over to moor in front of their establishment. If you favour them for a meal, you are rewarded with free water and electricity! So, unless you’ve done your homework on each eatery by the waters, and know which one to pick, one has zero expectation of the quality and pricing of that particular eating spot. I guess that is half the fun of discovery. In general, Croatia is relatively expensive when it comes to the food and drinks but who wants to stinge when on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage. So, we paid the price… pun intended!

After our meal, Gary, Aspiah, Raya and Wolfgang rented bikes and explored the island while Glen, Dennis, Cheryl, and I decided to test the waters – which was a perky 15 Degrees C. Brave or Insane? Haven’t quite made up my mind yet, but we could not linger too long for fear of going numb. It was definitely refreshing to say the least.

Day 6

The only way to describe Day 6 was perfect champagne sailing weather! Everything was ideal for sailing, and we flew the Spinnaker for six hours to the island of Lopud in the bay of Sunj. It was by far the most stunning day of our travels, and we stayed for the night in glassy smooth waters and discussed our day’s adventure over tipple and a good feed on board ‘Rosa’.

“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”

Van Morrison

Day 7

Today marked the mid-point of our holiday. We were finally heading towards the island of Dubrovnik. This scenic location was the setting for the cult series Game of Thrones and would also be the point where we would have a crew change.

On arrival we sailed back and forth along the coast to capture the gorgeous view of Dubrovnik from the water while loudly playing the theme song from “Game of Thrones” to add to the atmosphere. Corny perhaps, but no one complained! If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, where the hell have you been?

After soaking in the amazing sights, we docked at Frapa Marina where we bid farewell to Raya and Wolfgang. Once the group was joined by Tonya and Akiko, we set about exploring our surrounds.

Dubrovnik is regarded as the most picturesque city on the Dalmatian coast and is referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Its rich history, culture, stunning architecture, and picturesque landscapes made for many an exciting discussion over drinks at several quaint cafes and restaurants dotting the island.

The city’s Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding medieval architecture and fortified old town. Most visitors who have watched “Game of Thrones” make it a point to seek out the famous Jesuit church staircase as it was the spot where the scene of Cersei Lannister, walking down the steps naked, was shot.

The beautiful day ended on a high note with a sumptuous dinner and chatter before the crew called it a night.

Day 8

Our arrival at Kobas, a dock in the small coastal town of Ston, the whole crew was teeming with anticipation. The breath-taking beauty that greeted us as we pulled up in front of Niko Restaurant was heightened by its reputation for having some of the freshest oysters and mussels in Croatia!

Larger-than-lift owner, Niko, happily moved from table to table talking to customers and helping them with their orders while his super nice wife, Magda, was our very attentive and gorgeous server. Niko insisted (and we did not resist) that he would prepare a plethora of seafood for our dinner. We were served oysters and mussels freshly pulled out of the net, shucked, or cooked and served to us immediately. It could not have been any fresher if we had harvested them ourselves! We were recommended an excellent array of local wines and drinks to accompany our meal.

At the end of the evening, we were expecting the bill to shock BUT it turned out to be one of the cheaper meals we’ve had in Croatia. Restaurant Niko comes highly recommended by all.


Day 9 & 10

Before we departed today, Niko was kind enough to give us what little ice he had left to top up our Esky. We left promising him that we would let others know about his amazing restaurant by the water.

Tonya helmed most of the way and suffice to say, she deserved the ‘Captain of the Day’ tiara we made out of aluminium foil.

Although the day started with perfect Spinnaker weather and temperatures around 21 degrees C with an average speed of 6kts, VHF updates warned of bad weather approaching with wind speeds of 35-45kts topping at 55kts.

Safety being a priority, we took shelter at Lokva at Mljet and spent the night peacefully while the bad weather passed over.

With the myriad of small islands dotting our route, each offered interesting sights like the uninhabited Island of Saplun. It had a nice bay and we spotted goats grazing there and wondered how they got onto the island which seemed pretty desolate.

Day 11 and 12

Wednesday 10th July, Day 11, we woke to windy and overcast skies. We started off at 8am and sailed at an average of four to five knots. We headed for HvarStarigrad Marina – and chose to tie up there for the night so everyone could stretch their legs on shore. It was a relatively easy, chill out day.

The next morning the weather was no better. It poured down buckets! A decision was made to wait out the storm and when it let up to a drizzle, we set sail again and conditions cleared enough for us to fly the Spinnaker. We reached the bay at BRAC at 2:30pm. On arrival we booked a bow and stern mooring buoy for EUR 60 facilitated by a nice gentleman who seemed to appear out of nowhere in his tender to help us and collect the fee.

The bay was gorgeous and waters, pristine! We enjoyed a fantastic sunset and sat on deck on the trampoline and chatted over drinks and dinner.

Day 13

Time flies when you’re having fun and it was the dawn on the last day of our sojourn around Croatia. The gods decided to throw every manner of weather at us today. Almost like a last Hurrah! – sunshine, cloudy skies, chilly winds, big fat raindrops, slight drizzle etc… The temperature evened out to a pleasant 19 – 20 degrees C as we headed back to Trogir Marina. The plan was to sail past Old Town Split for a final au revoir. The sea enroute was quite rough with white caps and with Aspiah on the helm, she took us up to 9kts (a record during this journey).

With all smooth sailing over the two weeks, the biggest drama was to be found at, of all places, the refuelling dock!

The wind was blowing boats against the dock where vessels were expected to do the normal “stern into dock”. There was a 15kts crosswind, and we managed to wrangle our boat in with a little help from the staff. Then we spent the rest of the time protecting our craft from others – many of which were million-dollar vessels – coming in fast and furious from all sides. One monohull went sideways and almost took our bow sprit off. If not for the quick action of Dennis who managed to protect Rosa with a fender and pushed the mono-hull off with his hands thus avoiding a disaster. Mooring lines were snagged. Boats were being pulled in wrong directions. Vessels were in places they were not supposed to be. Screaming staff with colouful language could be heard in every corner… what a shemozzle!

During one of our many conversations, we learned a German word from Dennis – Hafenkeno – which literally translates to “harbour cinema”. One would sit on their boat already anchored, with drinks in hand and watch others struggle to moor or anchor as if watching a movie, commenting and enjoying the scene that unfolded.. At this point, however, we were all actors in the HafenKeno, ensuring that we refuelled safely and without damage.

But all’s well that ends well. We managed to top up our fuel for the rental and discovered we used only half of the 400 Litre fuel we started with. We arrived at Trogir Marina around 3pm and were greeted with a record 27 degrees C – the hottest day in two weeks.

A staff from Pitter yacht charter came on board to settle the paperwork while a diver checked under the boat, as they do with all charters. A conversation overheard nearby – Diver: Where is your anchor? Charterer: Oh! We dropped it.

Sounded like they had more interesting tales to tell!

We finally disembarked Rosa at 6pm and headed to our accommodations in Old Town Split but not before making plans to meet up for dinner and drinks that evening.

One more wonderful surprise lay in wait on this last day! Glen and I spent the afternoon strolling through the farmers market in town when we ran into Choy from CSC and his wife Nicole! Small world indeed! They had spent the last week sailing around Croatia and although we knew they were sailing in vicinity, we did not expect to bump into them. So, the last meet with everyone, including Choy and Nicole, was indeed an evening of great camaraderie… each sharing stories of a voyage we would all soon not forget!

“The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever” – Jacques Cousteau

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CSC @ Tioman Regatta 17 – 22 June 2023

After a 3 year hiatus from cruising / racing in Malaysia, it is with great relish that we resumed these precious activities in 2023 with the first ever CSC@Tioman Regatta. Inspired by the very successful pre-covid annual CSC@Besar Regatta , this event’s main objective was to bring sailors to a scenic destination for a week of casual racing and recreational activities. Scheduled on 17 – 23 June, the racing consists of 2 passage races: A challenging overnighter (CSC – Tioman) and a slightly more leisurely day-race (Round-Island).

CSC-Tioman Passage Race, 17-18 June

A total of 8 boats participated in the CSC-Tioman Passage Race, comprising of 7 Keelboats and 1 Multihull. The CIQP process prior to the start was smooth and uneventful, all thanks to the helpful ICA staff and transport operators ferrying our sailors from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to their boats post-clearance. With this new system, sailors no longer have to clear out of Singapore on water, aiding the logistics for running cross-border passage races.

Up north, Race Committee consisting of Choy and Edwin laid the groundwork in preparation for the fleet’s finishing, setting up the noticeboard, outdoor office (beach bar), finish mark, ferry service and CIQP facilitation. They were not alone, as they received fantastic support from the team at Berjaya Tioman Resort, together with the shipping agency in charge of CIQP and Port clearance.

The weather was unfortunately light and underwhelming at the start – thankfully picking up in the late morning to carry the fleet to Lima Channel within daylight hours. As the hours passed, not all boats managed to survive the crawl up north, as sailors were faced with extremely light to no breeze for many sections of the overnight passage. First to retire was JACKS, followed by Fei Yu, First Light and finally at the break of dawn – Birregurra. This half of the fleet may have been the smartest of the lot, as the remaining 4 teams persevered to race a maximum total of 31hrs, 35mins and 46 secs! This feat was achieved by Minx – and despite being the last boat to complete the passage, the X342 was victorious on handicap correction, having caught up on the final stretch between Tinggi and Tioman with a late but consistent Southwesterly breeze helping to close the gap between her and Silhouette. The Beneteau First 40.7 had no time to be looking back for her rivals, as she had her hands full with an exciting neck and neck photo-finish between her and the sole PY finisher, Invictus! The Mumm 30 emerged ahead in the battle, flying her spinnaker across the line in 31hrs, 8mins and 54 secs. Right at the top with a new passage record was none other than the dashing Bula! Following in the footsteps of the legendary Cicak from the previous editions of CSC@Besar Regatta, skipper Michael was accompanied by family, sailing all 26hrs, 21 mins and 55 secs with his daughter and her friend aboard. We look forward to Bula besting this timing next year!

Round-Island Race, 20 June

Following a much needed rest and recovery on Monday, 6 teams showed up for the start of the Round-Island Race. Determined to attempt the passage despite the dubious conditions, the sailors started on a positive note, embarking on the journey to circumnavigate the island in an anti-clockwise direction in about 6 knots of wind. Winds picked up as they approached Paya Beach, allowing leaders Silhouette to pull away from the fleet. She enjoyed solid breeze further offshore – in stark contrast to the 2 other boats in the IRC fleet, which made slow progress closer to land.

The strong winds were unsustainable, as Silhouette slowed on the approach to the south eastern tip of Tioman. It was then that the Race Committee decided to Shorten the Course in the vicinity of Pulo Jehat, allowing for the slower boats enough time to make their journey back to the anchorage in daylight.

Despite attaining line honours, Silhouette yet again succumbed to a late assault from Minx, taking 2nd place on corrected time. The difference between both boats this time was however much closer – the First 40.7 just over 4 minutes behind the X342 in a 3 hour race. In similar fashion, Invictus struggled to gain further distance on debutants Fei Yu – placing as runner-ups to the Flying Fish by a slim 3 minutes! In yet another amazing achievement, Bula attempted the Round-Island Race solo – completing the shortened version of the passage in a respectable 3hrs and 12 mins.

Recreation and Prize-Giving

In-between the racing, there were pockets of opportunities to participate in activities around the island. Sailors indulged in snorkeling, diving, trekking, archery and ATV tours – just to name a few. In the evenings, sailors met at the outdoor race office for a free-flow of cold beers and selected housepours. That coupled with live music every night kept the morale high for many crew members.

On the last evening, Prize-giving and BBQ Dinner was well-organized by the Team from Berjaya Tioman Resort. Clearly experienced in this field, the temporary outdoor stage, dinner set up and delicious BBQ buffet spread was a smooth and excellent arrangement. That paired with perfect weather and live music by Dansen John (singer-songwriter and musician based in singapore) made for a perfect ending to a terrific week in Tioman.

On this note, we would like to thank the following people / groups of people for supporting the event in various capacities:

  1. GM Simon Tan and Team from Berjaya Tioman Resort. A huge thank you to his very accommodating team which includes Selvam, Naza, Sheila, Wei, Chef Law and so many more. The hospitality and service from all staff was excellent – and that played a huge part in the success of this inaugural event.
  2. Ms Shahidah and Team. As our designated CIQP and Port Clearance officer in Tioman, she had been helpful and responsive throughout the week, going above and beyond for the boaters – documentation and communication was smooth and hassle-free.
  3. Ferry Service Team of Aci, Mubin and Ngah. Thank you for providing ferry service throughout the week and providing us with the safety boat for the round-island race!
  4. May Ling and CSC Admin Team. as CSC’s in-house CIQP and port clearance officer for SG, she was on standby around the clock from pre to post event, ensuring all boats are cleared in and out of Singapore safely and precisely.
  5. Dansen John – for the smooth tunes on our last night in Tioman!

Last but not least, thank you all sailors for supporting this event!

  1. Minx
  2. Silhouette
  3. Bula
  4. Invictus
  5. Fei Yu
  6. JACKS
  7. Birregurra
  8. Firstlight
  9. Exodus
  10. Skybird

We are elated to have concluded this milestone regatta, and look forward to commencing plans to make this an annual tradition – returning for the next edition in 2024.


Passage Race Results 2023

Round Island Results 2023

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Hangover Race 2023

Every year we joke about how sailors should be seriously hungover to qualify for the Hangover Race. This year, we believe it was extra authentic, as the Race Committee sounded like he had one on the VHF Radio when giving instructions to the fleet of 13. Though the winds could not compare to what we had on the last day of 2022, it was still great NE Sailing conditions on a pennant 4 course. Having not sailed to Tekong Buoy for many months due to the inconsistent weather, it was satisfying to finally race Course 4, a natural beat to the north-western tip of Pulau Tekong and long run back along the Kuala Johor Straits.

At the tip of the fleet, it was a fierce tussle between the quartet of Trimarans, with Bula leading the competition. It was a close fight to the very end, and Bula emerged victorious by the slimmest of margins – 6 seconds ahead of Phoenix on corrected time. In 3rd place we have Miss Visayan – helmed by guest Skipper, Ad Smit from Adona! Jan Verdaasdonk had a great day on water as well – this is the first time we have Ragnarok racing with us! Despite missing out on podium, she had a respectable finish, trailing just 2 minutes behind the more experienced trio.

Not far off from the Multihull fleet, the Keelboat IRC Class also had plenty of excitement on the course, a two-way tekong tango between Waka Tere and Silhouette quickly developed on the beat to Tekong Buoy. It was kept close all the way to finish, but Waka Tere excelled both across the line and on corrected time. After an extended break due to boat issues, the mighty Skybird finally shook off the rust, sailing well to keep within a stone’s throw from the leading pair to claim 3rd across the line and 2nd on corrected time!

The biggest fleet was none other than the Keelboat PY Class! Boasting 6 boats, the fleet welcomed back Brio and Genesis after their long hiatus – great to see increased participation all round. At the top, Marut had 2 persons onboard today, which made a huge difference to his performance. With the extra strength and weight, the Jeanneau Fun looked like she was having fun on the course, staying well ahead of bigger and faster boats to claim line honours and handicap victory. It was a day for the small boats, as Brio scored a 2nd place finish on corrected time, ahead of Jock in 3rd. Bravo Zulu to Pedro and Lionel for the 2-man effort and never-say-die attitude – bouncing back from a false start to finish off as podium winners in 3rd.

Congratulations to all the winners – the Race Officer is now signing out to continue nursing his hangover. Happy 2023 everyone.


Results_2023 Hangover Race

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Anambas and back – from Birregurra


CSC, Nongsa, Airabu, Jemaja, Murbur South, Terempa, Moonrock Lagoon, CSC


Some of us at the Club had been talking about a cruise to Anambas for some time, and 5 CSC yachts were up for the challenge. Led by GMM Edwin on Skybird with Kim Soon and Deborah, Exodus – Desmond, Joseph and their father, Amideau – Maarten and Monique, Andiamo – Paul and Frances and Birregurra – Basil, Brian and Luke. Derek and Katy  had planned to join on SDF but couldn’t make it this time. We’d had a few meetings at the club and at the bar, and the biggest issue seemed to be the international clearances post Covid 19. Edwin and Mayling did a great job arranging exit at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, and we set off for Nongsa on the morning of Wednesday the 3rd of August, so we could clear in to Indonesia

I’d recruited a mate of mine who used to sail on Simba – Brian, to join me for the trip. He  arrived from Vietnam a couple of days early and helped with the provisioning and loading. We took lots of stuff – 160L + 85L of fuel, 350L of water, plenty of beer, spare chain, anchor and prop, engines spares, life raft, dive hookah (Luke’s sleeping companion), sat phone, etc.

The plan was for Brian and I to sail to Nongsa and then Anambas, and for Luke (Marut) to catch the ferry to Batam a couple of days later, and fly to Letung and we would somehow find him there?

A minor problem was uncovered just b4 we set off. The propane gas fume detector wasn’t working, which meant we had a fridge full of food, full gas bottles but no gas to the oven! Anyway, it was time to go and we’ll sort that one out in Nongsa. We sailed down the channel in good wind then across the shipping channel to Nongsa. About 16nm and we made a good 7kn for most of the way. Sorted out the required flags on entry and customs boarded us for a chat and photo’s. Nongsa Marina were then arranging for the clearances and visa on arrivals. It took 2 days and 4M IDR for the two of us and the boat including visa on arrivals – the most expensive part of the trip

We gave the Marina bar a good work out on the first night, and when back on board, Edwin’s crew came past with a bottle of scotch to finish off a great day

After breakfast in the Marina, we worked out a plan, and Brian went into town to buy parts, whilst I arranged the extra fuel (the marina ran out) and did some work. Later in the day after several hours work, we had managed to solder up a dc connector and run a cable under the floor and up the other side and get power to the solenoid and put in a control switch so we could cook with gas – success. A late dinner, some drinks and final wind forecasts were downloaded

Skybird and Exodus set off at 6am. Amideau, Andiamo and ourselves had breakfast and got fresh ice and departed 8am. Birregurra had departed Nongsa exactly one day earlier for Anambas 4yrs earlier, so we had a good idea what to expect. We sailed parallel to the channel, then where it heads north east, we set sail for Anambas on a starboard tack,  making good progress at around 7kn

Andiamo and Amideau under full sail on the way up

As the wind went more astern, Amideau and Andiamo got away a bit with their larger head sails, but we all kept in radio and AIS contact. By 10pm, the wind had died completely and the current was taking Birregurra off course, so we dropped sails and motored for a good part of the night. No fishing nets and hardly any shipping traffic at all. We approached the private resort of Bawah around 6am, but its now USD200 to moor and USD500 to go ashore for their spa package! We continued on to Airabu under full sail, English muffin with bacon and coffee for breakfast. Astonishingly, we all arrived on the s/w of Airabu within a mile or two of each other around 1pm. Skybird and Birregurra took the n/w passage in following the Howarth’s detailed notes (well, at least one of us did), whilst the other yachts went around the southern islands to meet us at the anchorage. We went into the anchorage first but quickly ended up amongst dangerous coral bommies, so went back out to 14M and dropped anchor in clear sand. We tried to paddle ashore in the inflatable kayak, but without the tiny fin rudder, meant we just went in circles, and had to go back and fit it and then we could paddle straight. All five yachts were now well anchored and either snorkeling, fishing or sleeping after the overnight passage. Brian cooked up a ripping chili con carne, and after some red, we had a great sleep in a very peaceful anchorage.

We pulled up anchor at 7am, and set off around the top of Airabu for Jemaja. Consistent wind of 15kn, just behind the beam, which picked up to 18 and a decent swell by the time we arrived.


Surging along to Jemaja

We went around the top and into Teluk Mampo bay, anchoring in sand some 3-400M from shore. The skipper paddled into the wind to the beach, whilst Brian kept watch onboard, and we could see the Lion Air prop plane coming in to land. Luke got a ride around on a motorbike, as he had spotted our mast from the air, so knew where we were

Teluk Mampo beach where we found Luke                  The view from the air

Back to the mothership and a welcome aboard beer, and then a gentle sail on the jib around to Pulau Ayam, following the waypoints in and anchoring in 8M. We sailed close to 50NM all up today. A GnT and balance of the chili con carne and rice, and a very peaceful night’s sleep aboard, as the locals dragged their towable squid rigs out for the night

After breakfast, we had a snorkel over a reef with some quite interesting tropical fish. Our bread from Nongsa had gone mouldy already, so the skipper got a bread mix going. Following the no measurement approach, much to Engineer Brian’s dismay, but it actually turned out quite ok when we baked if for breakfast the next day.

Anchor up and we immediately hoisted the main in the lee of the island, but we’d only gone a few hundred meters and got whacked by the clear wind so we looped around and immediately put a reef in the main

Departing Pulau Ayam b4 the wind hit

We had 15-17kn for an excellent sail toward Terempa. It’s a really good strategy to crisscross your way from the south to the north, as you’ll get great sailing just aft of the beam all the way. The Harbour Master would have been closed by the time we would arrive, so we changed plan and headed to Murbur South and sailed all the way up the fjord and anchored in 20+M, with all 60M of chain out and a 10M bridle attached. Another 37NM today in quite hot conditions.The wind calmed later in the evening and it turned out to be a millpond

Homemade pizza and Brian managed to find some great Aussie music from the 80’s for a great night aboard

The fishing village extends around the end of the fjord, and in the morning after the local wake up call, we watched the kids be ferried to school in Terempa in small boats.

It was a challenge to get the bridle up, given the weight of the chain, but we somehow managed and motored the 6nm to Terempa. An enormous new mosque now greats visitors, and we anchored up as close as we could to the corner of the causeway in 16+M

The huge new mosque on approach to Terempa           Anchored in Terempa

First stop the Harbour Master. After some paperwork, three friendly uniformed officers took us on their motorbikes to Quarantine. Lots of forms and chops and then back on the bikes to Customs, but they wanted some forms the HM had kept, so back to square one. Realizing Luke wasn’t on the crew list, we got the HM to make up a new one, which took for ages, and by then it was lunchtime and everything closes down. After a very cheap local lunch, we finally passed Customs requirements, but they insisted to go onboard

When they saw our tender was an inflatable kayak, they quickly accepted a few pics as good enough. Then on to Immigrasi, however, their IT was a bit delayed and Luke apparently wasn’t yet in the country? Luke helped them navigate their IT, and after a few hours it was sorted out. Then they asked Luke to help them record a 77th anniversary video clip – in Bahasa

He did a sterling job, then we were back to the HM for final clearance at 3:15pm, and fried banana which they insisted we have. Back on board and we were hurrying now as we wanted to get to Moonrock b4 dark and it’s 16NM away

Moonrock Bluff                                                   Andiamo and Amideau at anchor

We motored through a series of channels, navigating around shallows, and arrived at 5:45pm with maybe 20mins of daylight left. We followed the Howarth’s waypoints in and rendezvoused with Amideau and Andiamo. Luke made an excellent Italian pasta for dinner, and we had a great night in the signature anchorage of the Anambas Islands

Up early the next morning, we topped up with fuel, passed a spare drum to Maarten (just in case), had more homemade bread with ham, cheese and tomatoes, good coffee and a swim b4 departure

Then we retraced our path out through the reefs and motored south. Sails up after 1.5hrs and we made 6kn close hauled in 10kn of wind. Later in the day, Luke reset the autopilot to sail to apparent wind, and we gain about a knot. However the south west wind progressively pushed us up the Malaysian coast during the night. The wind picked up and we had a big heel up and a bit of slamming but all under control

The skipper wedged himself down below and later came up with sausages, gravy, mash and veg for a proper feed for the overnight passage. We sailed all the way, and had a fairly close encounter with a Chinese tanker, who didn’t answer their radio and passed within 50M, overtaking us from our starboard stern on a very dark night. When the sun came up, we were close to Jason’s Bay so turned left and motored south directly into the wind, then through the Lima Channel and headed towards Frontier

Entering SG waters again

The wind picked up to 15kn and we had a great sail all the way to CSC, coming alongside the jetty for the evening just b4 dark. We’d just missed Immigration so had to have another night onboard, but only after a shower and a few beers at the club.

Approaching CSC

After clearing Immigration after 7am, we cleaned up the boat and put her back on the mooring. All up we did close to 500nm. As Brian says – about a ¼ of an Atlantic crossing. It was mostly great sailing, some fabulous anchorages, good snorkeling, great food onboard, no issues or drama, and an excellent cruise. Birregurra performed very well, and got us home safely. We are definitely up for it again next year, but hopefully we can take 2-3 weeks and have more time at anchor and to explore the islands some more.

CSC x Rainbow Centre Centre Joy Sail 24 September 2022

On 24th September, CSC once again hosted hosted students and caregivers from Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School for a morning of joy on water. Although on a smaller scale compared to the earlier run in May, it was nevertheless another successful outing – providing new experiences and opportunities for the students and their families.

Rainbow Centre: Empowered, Included, Thriving

The Centre regularly work with partners (such as us!) to create opportunities for persons with disabilities to make the most of their abilities and participate meaningfully in society. Through practical education, meaningful support and effective training programmes, Rainbow Centre strives to increase the quality of life for persons with autism and their families.

Despite the initial downpour earlier in the day, the Captains and crew were unperturbed, and eventually rewarded with calm waters, cool weather and a gentle breeze. Big thank you to the following boats and skippers for supporting this meaningful sailing event:

  1. Birregurra / Basil
  2. Baby Beluga / Soo Chong
  3. Marut / Luke
  4. Kaze / Xavier
  5. Miss Visayan / Gary
  6. Windflirt / Jasper
  7. Genesis / Desmond
  8. Summer Breeze / Edward
  9. Kristina / Allan

Not forgetting the amazing Aunty Sharifah (teacher in-charge) for organizing this every year, providing precious opportunities for our beneficiaries. Finally, a solid bravo zulu to the operations crew from CSC – for providing the necessary support throughout the entire event.

We look forward to our next collaboration. Until then, stay safe and keep sailing!

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The Anambas Cruise 2022

The Anambas Cruise

3 – 17 August 2022

(The article is written only from the views from Skybird)


3 August; the day began with us reporting to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (CPFT) for the immigration process. The opening of the CPFT for immigration clearance has been a gift to us, the process was as smooth as it can be. It was only about a week before our trip where we were supposed to have our immigration done at the One15 Marina. This would have been an extreme inconvenience to us.  However, after several meetings with the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA), they made the decision to open CPFT to facilitate immigration clearance for clubs on this side of the island; namely the SAFYC, Punggol Marina and Changi Sailing Club.


We left our mooring by 1045hrs and were on our way to our 2-week adventure to the Anambas Islands; our first stop would be Nongsa Point Marina, NPM. With a steady breeze and a strong outgoing tide, it took us only about two and a half hours to get from CSC to NPM.


The idea to sail to the Anambas was mooted during one of our many beer-talks at the club. It was one of those, I should do it someday kind of talk. Well, I must thank Justin from Invictus who had pushed us to seriously plan for the trip. As the day’s past, words got around and soon we were joined by Exodus, Birregurra, Amideau, Andiamo and SDF, who unfortunately had to withdraw from the trip.


At NPM, we spent the afternoon lazing around at the boat as we waited to be cleared by the Customs and Immigration. The latest requirement was for us to be at NPM for at least 2 days for the immigration process. As also required, we flew the Indonesian flag (courtesy flag), the Q over N (customs, immigration & quarantine).


It was nice sailing into NPM as we were greeted by the familiar staff at the marina. Good ole Acok was there with his ever-smiling face and willingly waiting to render assistance. It was also good to catch with Prakash, who is recovering from some medical issues.


4 August; it was pleasant waking up in a marina, our first morning away from the comforts of home. After 2 years of being confined due to the Covid pandemic, just being at NPM felt like being a bird out of its cage. The day went by without much happening as we all prepared for the 0700hr start for our sail to the Anambas.


5 August; up by 0400hr, we made a quick breakfast of bacon and eggs and were soon ready to cast off. We had planned to break the journey into two legs; first stop was Pulau Airabu and then to Terempah the next day.


As we left the marina, the breeze quickly filled in and blew to a comfortable 8 to 10 knots on our beam. Our first target was Horsburgh Lighthouse which we planned to keep well to our port. The breeze held on for the rest of the day and even into the earlier part after sunset. We were doing between 6 to 7 knots on the average. As it got darker, we decided to put in a reef on the mainsail. The process of reefing was quite an excitement by itself. Being shorthanded and in a near pitch-dark condition, didn’t help the process much. Well, the three of us managed to get things under control and we were soon back on track. The rest of the night wasn’t fantastic and the wind died on us and we bobbed around for at least an hour before turning on the engine.


6 August; it was in the early hours before we caught sight of the other three sailboats approaching from the rear. They had left the marina slightly later and had finally caught up with us. By then, the smallest light of the new day had allowed us to see the blurred shape of an island in the distance. Pulau Repong, a smallish rock face was the first island in our pathway. As the horizon brightened, so did the sight of Pulau Bawah and further back was Pulau Airabu which was still some 8 hours away.


Pulau Bawah would have been a nice first stop but we were told that there were some restrictions and hefty charges so we decided to give it a miss. By now the winds had freshened again as we continued our passage to Airabu. After receiving a call from Birregurra, we both decided to take a shorter route through a very narrow and shallow passage as we made our way towards our intended anchorage. The depth went from 51m down to 2.8m in less than two minutes. It was quite scary but the sight was stunning. Beautiful coral heads were clearly visible. It would have been a dream spot if we could anchor among the coral reef but that wouldn’t have been a smart thing to do. Thinking back, I doubt I would ever try doing this stunt again, too risky for keelboats.


It was 1630hrs when we anchored off at the Southeastern corner of Airabu; the large bay easily accommodated all five boats. We had the bay to ourselves and everyone settled in quickly and enjoyed the well-deserved rest after the 30 odd hours of sailing.


7 August; Basil in Birregurra had to leave early to make his way to Pulau Jemaja as he had planned to rendezvous with Luke who had made arrangements to fly in to meet up. That’s being a diehard for you, fly into the Anamb