Changi Sailing Club organized a loose flotilla of 8 boats from Changi Sailing Club to Nongsa Point Marina, Batam, Indonesia
. Club plans were for a 10AM departure on Friday and unfortunately we would be fighting an incoming current
to get out of our channel. I wanted to get our boat to the pontoon for loading and get a jump on everyone in the hopes we wouldn't be jammed up in immigration at sea so I called for an 0830 pitch
up. Nongsa is only about 16nm from CSC but we planned for 6 hours on the water
due to unpredictable winds, incoming current
and immigration wait time.
Of course it wouldn’t be boating
without a boat drama. I had recently done a 2+ hour motorsail with a fouled prop. So before the guests and crew arrived fired the engine
, I dropped the mooring
line and put her in gear
only to have the engine
stall. It repeated 3 times as we started to drift through the moorings. On a hunch I put it in reverse and the engine held but only in reverse with low rpm
and quite a bit of black smoke at full throttle. With great embarrassment I backed the boat all the way to the pontoon.
I had the bottom and prop cleaned since the motorsail and so I thought I might have a rope
wrap. I dove in and the prop was clean. Uh, oh. This doesn’t bode well. I started the engine again and it started fine. It made full rpm
in neutral and died in forward. I put her in reverse and gave it full throttle at the dock
. Black smoke and sludge continued to pump out the exhaust
and it acted like fuel
starvation – what it really was, I think, was a completely carboned up exhaust
system. As she sat there for 3-4 minutes the rpm started to rise. I then put it in forward and she held about 2,000 RPM. Well, nothing for it. I cast off and set across the moorings at WOT. RPM continued to rise to about 2,200. I decided to go and turn back if it got dodgy. I would not cross the busiest shipping
channel around without reliable engine power.
Note to self - Don't be so stupid as to run a fouled engine for 3 hours again.
Beating up and out
We launched at 0930 as planned and unfortunately we also had unusual southeast winds at <10kts. We tacked a few times and came across a couple of patches of oil
from our tanker collision
last week. I dodged the worst ones by ducking further giving up distance to tide and wind
. After an hour I decided that motorsailing was the prudent move. The good news was that at WOT the engine continued to improve, belching her black bile until we were getting full RPM and a clean exhaust.
Immigration & Lunch
We made immigration in about 2 ˝ hours and good news, we were first from the club. Further good news we waited like 60 seconds for the immigration boat to show up and the total stop was about 5 minutes. We unfurled the genny and were seeing 3-3.5 knots – not great but we had plenty of daylight. Lunch was in order and everyone enjoyed a sandwich and some trimmings before the crossing.
Not knowing exactly where Nongsa was I drifted west a bit, which later turned out to be an OK move due to a huge shift. As we approached the Strait I could see ships strung out east and west. There was a big assed tanker nearby and I was not sure what he was doing. He was underway but not making way. The prudent move was to east and duck him. Good move as when we rounded his stern a pilot boat appeared and the ship fired up her screws. Apparently she was dropping the pilot ready to head
We had light winds still steady from the southeast so we motorsailed under full sail as I wanted to keep close to 5 knots crossing. I kissed the St. Christopher and asked him to keep the donk running strong. About half way across a thunderstorm to the west finished developing and started to spit out some pretty good wind
. The boat tacked without a heading changed and I killed the engine and shorted sail. The wind built and started getting whipped up so I shorted a bit more for prudence's sake. We ended up seeing 5-5 ˝ kts close hauled under short sail.
The rest of the trip was locating the entrance as it is a bit hazardous. There are two channels, a ferry
terminal channel and the marina channel and some very large submerged rocks at the entrance. There are poles in the water
marking the two side by side channels and its easy to line up the wrong poles and hed in all googly-foot.
6+ hours on the water to go 15 miles but overall a very enjoyable trip over.