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Old 31-05-2010, 04:43   #1
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Weekend Trip to Indonesia

The Plan
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.

The Drama
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 west.

The Crossing
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.
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Old 31-05-2010, 04:49   #2
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Nongsa Trip Part II

The Facilities
Nongsa Resorts has 3 facilities – Nongsa Marina and Resort, Turi Beach and Nongsa Golf Course and Resort. We opted to stay at Turi beach which having now seen the Marina and Turi is a much nicer facility. It has better outlets a nice “yachtie” bar and the pool area is much less cramped because they have a lot more level land area by the shore. The rooms and chalets are all piled up the very steep hillsides.


The Dinner
The club had arranged a bus ride to Batu Besar Kampong for a seafood dinner. The food was absolutely awesome and for Singapore prices very cheap – working out to $20 per head for all you can eat plus sufficient quantities of beer. However, being used to Indonesia prices I found the overall prices at the resort to be basically Singapore prices (expensive). I am sure this reflects the captive Singapore boater & ferry passenger market that frequents the resort.


Saturday Chillin' Saturday was a day of rest. A leisurely breakfast buffet followed by 3-4 hours napping, reading and splashing around a bit in the sea and pool. A big thunderstorm moved in after 2PM so we retreated to the room to sit on the balcony sipping coffee and getting cleaned up for the poolside BBQ planned for that night. Before dinner, we rented a hotel car for 2 hours (S$10 per hour) and went back to the little Batu Besar town to poke around in the minimarket and fruit stalls. – here we found Indonesia prices and stocked up a bit for the Sunday trip home.

With our goods dropped off in the room we joined the club folks for the BBQ on the Marina side. The food was acceptable the atmosphere OK but hats off to our club manager for arranging not only a big break off the BBQ price but basically free flow beer included!


A Nightcap & A New Plan
The night was capped off by a nice moonlit walk to the Turi side for drinks at the Yachtie bar. They had a 4 piece band playing oldies but goodies, a pretty good fruity rum drink and a couple of pool tables.

With the Sunday tide running out at 2PM most of the boaters were planning to leave around 10AM, dreading the haul up our channel against 2kts+ of current. I figured that all we really had to do was get to immigration by 6PM and really sort of suffer the up channel part. At least it would be downwind!

Weekend boating means not really being able to plan for the tides. I told my crew that we would be leaving at 1PM, right after lunch and that they should eat before departure or pack a lunch from the hotel. We would again supply plenty of nibblies, ice and drinks.

As we walked back to our room it was clear still and humid. I predicted rain and no wind for Sunday.


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Old 31-05-2010, 04:57   #3
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Nongsa Trip Part III

Sunday Morning
Our Sunday plans are usually a leisurely wake up, brunch and no rush to get the boat launched. My only concern was clearing immigration and getting our port clearance. Indonesia is the king of bureaucracy and the check in procedure was about an hour. When I told the marina guy I wanted to leave at 1PM he suggested I show up at 8AM for check out!

In reality the check out took only about 20 minutes and more Rupiah to be paid for berthing, clearance etc. I checked the water in the engine, oil level, refilled the diesel and organized the inbound paperwork for Singapore. As I predicted it was cloudy and still in the early morning.

The Departure
By departure time however I could see puffy cumulus and a high cirrus. The prevailing wind had become nw which is also not normal for us and proved again the maxim that the wind will always blow from where you are going! So much for my downwind run home.

However the absolute best thing was a perfect close reach putting us on the best polar for the boat. As we hoisted sails just past the hidden rocks I could tell it would be a good run across the straight.

Kicking Butt!
It was only 15-20 minutes later I learned how good. You can argue hull speeds and whether my speed log needs calibration but 6.4 knots is a blast in our boat! It was so good I made a video.



I did overrestimate the set and the current, which was not yet running, and ended further upwind to the west than I should have been. I figured upwind of the buoy would be better than downwind of it. So we finished off with a 30 minute training run to the immigration buoy at 5 ˝ knots practicing our surfing.

Clearing In
Immigration was a bit backed up although we were boat number 2 in line. And the skipper forgot to sign the 9 copies of the crew and passenger list needed for inbound immigration, for which the immigration guy did not chew me out. 20 minutes later we headed for the channel.

The Beat From Hell!
All good things come to an end and the current was now running full speed at probably 2 kts. At least we still had excellent wind so I decided to let the crew helm, not get to anal about pointing and practice upwind tacks. We beat and beat and beat. Until about 17:30. In a dying wind with <3 1/2kts boat speed we called it a day and motor sailed the last mile or so home.

Once again the engine started right up and gave us 5.2 knots all the way home. Stupid exhaust coking…

An awesome trip and an awesome weekend. Will I go again? For sure. Although I might try sleeping on the boat next time and save the pretty high hotel costs.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:01   #4
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My first trip over to Nongsa as well and enjoyed the whole weekend. On the way out decided to beat all the way down the channel. It was very slow going, but we had plenty of time. Overall it took 8 hours to complete the 16 mile crossing.

We decided to stay an extra day and returned on Monday. We had perfect conditions for the return trip - slightly overcast so not too hot and between 10 and 16 knot winds. Made the return crossing in just under 5 hours, reaching speeds of 6.2 knots coming back up the channel.

A very enjoyable weekend - I will also be returning to Nongsa.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:10   #5
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Great news - We wondered about you having been about the last boat to leave the marina. The extra day must have been nice and private. Apparently 42 boats checked in on Friday and 40 checked out on Sunday!

We missed the opportunity for 3 maxi's to go out in flotilla and impress everyone - LOL!
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