Mercedes Don't get better than this! Our taxi in Port Dickson, 1976 240D! Superb.
Senibong Cove. A top little marina in Johor, Malaysia. It's directly opposite Sembwang Wharves has really protected waters, 3 great restaurants and very helpful marina staff.
Mesh. Don't leave home without it! Four degrees cooler on deck as the heat can escape.
Get one from Team Pro Sail so you won't fry your bacon!
No Limits. Sail a Nacra 5.0 beach cat from Singapore to Phuket and back and you might find a few!
Pisang. Remember the banana run? Last time we came here was in a white-out!
RAWing up the coast.
It seemed like a good idea..
Get RAW to Phuket for December's, Kings Cup, take part and then RAW back down to Nongsa Point Marina in time for the January Nongsa Point Regatta. It's a good idea and not a totally unfamilar one!
In 1993 we set off from Changi Sailing Club heading to Phuket for the king's Cup on a Nacra 5.0 sport cat! Upon returning to Changi alamost a month later after successful snatching the trophy away, we were asked, "would you do it again?" We had to think for a moment but the answer was a resounding "YES - but on a bigger boat".
Not exactly a dozen years later, that's exactly what we were doing. Now instead of a miniscule 5.0m beach cat we have RAW, a 30' all carbon trimaran, oh my! how times have changed! Departing Singapore in November is never going to light the reocrd books as the Monsoon Transition Period seldom generates winds of any repute - except when you don't really want them!
As we pulled into Pulau Pisang on RAW and dropped anchor the first falshback came. Remembering how on the Nacra we had drifted all day to make the 80miles to Pisang only to not be able to stop and so had continued onto Water Islands Malacca another 70miles further up.
Life on RAW was much easier!
RAW was fresh out of the boat yard and as such we didn't have the main installed on the new Marstrom mast. So we did this first sector with just the jib and the little Tohatsu purring away. One thing for sure, in Southeast Asia, to do any decent miles you do need a suitable engine. Sad, but true! This is more so around the Monsoon Transition period (Oct/Nov) as the winds swing from SW to the NE Monsoon. This would be a trip of flashback memories and it's a little uncanny how we experienced similar conditions all the way up!
Changi to Pulau Pisang
It's a good 80nmiles and most of it is hard slugging around the Singapore fairways dodging ships. Whilst on the Nacra 5.0 we hadn't been able to stop at Pisang, on RAW we found a nice anchorage between Pulau Pisang and P. Sauh. This was in about 8m of water right in front of a fisherman's hut on the NE side of Pisang. Good holding, and protected.
Taking advantage of the morning's flat waters to slide the batten cars into the rig for the very first time was sort of exciting as the new sail package is a rather special one. An hour later, we were off as a nice little breeze filtered in from the SW. The Rob Meizer sails fitted like a glove and soon we were watching the speed hover around 13 knots.
Typical at this time of year, the onshore wind springs up in the morning, fades at midday and then goes offshore in the afternoon. You have to endure the sweltering heat of mdday so make sure you have a good sunshade, it's imperative!
We had been experimenting with a new lightweight mesh and have found this to be the best thing so far. It's very light weight and stows away in a very small bundle. As it's a mesh, the hot air can escape. Sure the rain will come through, but that's a much lesser problem than the midday heat. Interested, just email us!
Pisang to Malacca
Malacca was once the Queen City on the old traders route, its heritage is of nautical significance and today Malacca still makes for an interesting stop. Well it will get a lot easier when they finish the new marina!
Its about 90nm's up from Pisang and knowing the fickle winds of this time of the year, we decided that stopping at Water Islands (just south of Malacca) was the best idea.
The anchorage between P. Dodol and the SE of P. Besar has good holding in 7m of water. Water Islands were famous as this is where the galleons of yesteryear anchored to take on, water! Today there is a huge power cable running from the mainland to P. Besar so be a bit careful in that channel!
We anchored in the company of a few cruising boats, one of which had been RAW's neighbour in Senibong Cove, Johor just after we launched. With a steady offshore breeze blowing all night we figured it was best to take off early and put as many miles in before the middday fade.
On RAW, we dropped anchor in the bay at about 8:30pm as I looked at the lights on shore, I remembered scrunching the Nacra on the beach and walking into the hotel looby looking hoping they had a room with a hot shower. That was our first day out on the Nacra Epic, two days and two nights onboard, nearly no sleep but that was a lot better than what was to come.
Water Islands to Port Dickson
If you are transiting this coast P.D is a great stopover. A marina with full facilities and a town with almost everything you might need. In this case, some more butane bottles for our cooker!
As I was to find out, not all butane bottles are created equal. RAW has a designer cooker onboard. A flip out variety from Italy that contains a crafty sink with faucet and the cooker itself. But we like to use these Japanese Technology portable cookers! They cost about $30 and run off butane bottles. They fire up in an instant and if they ever breakdown, it's an easy replacement. They are so portable that you can cook anywhere, in the boat, on the deck or at the beach.
This was a nice day on the water!
As the Nacra crew checked out and hit the water they would make Royal Port Dickson Yacht Club at 6pm. Not bad going for a totally unassisted sail! Unfortunately, we'd told our welcoming committee that we will arrive at 3pm on the Epic sail. Sadly by the time we got ashore everyone had gone home and we had to sleep in our 'trash bag' plastic tents on their lawn!
Pop the kite, zoom past the cruising fleet that had left some hours earlier. PD is on the final approach to Kuala Lumpur International. Everytime a jetliner passes overhead I always think, "they'll do in 15 minutes what is going to take us all day!" So as we zoomed past the cruising boats, I just wondered if they felt the same way!?
RAW peaked at 17.1 knots on this leg and so we were in PD at about 4 in the afternoon. PD was an old Shell port and has a nice sleepy town feel to it. We scored a taxi which was a real treat, 1976 Mercedes 240D for our errands of petrol, gas and groceries. Seems that Mercedes haven't made such a good car since then!
PD to Lumut
This is a long one of about 150nm.
What's long about it is... we were trying to avoid Port Klang. Although Port Klang is home to the Royal Selangor Yacht Club and has an adequate marina it is not known as the 'River of Death' for nothing.
There are two very good reasons to avoid it if you can...
1. The amount of filth which follows down this river is staggering and very putrid!
2. It is famous for having the world's highest lightning strike.
Every year a yacht or two in the Raja Muda Regatta (November) will suffer. If you're safely onshore, you will be treated to some of the best lightning shows you could ever see! Not so nice if you're sitting on the deck of your boat with a huge wand waving in the air!
On RAW, we skirted right around Port Klang by 3pm...
Dispatching the worst behind us and feeling rather happy about that as we could see grey cells begining to form over the mainland! That was easy I thought as I remembered being on the Nacra at 6pm as the first squall hit. With lightning hitting all around we had debated heading for shore. But with the number of mudbanks around we figured that it would be 'more pleasant' to stay off and continue up the coast. As it went dark, we were into the next of the squalls and I can recount that even with the main traveller all the way down, the Nacra was roaring along on a broad reach. At that speed, we should be in Lumut in no time! No sooner had that thought flashed into my mind when a big fishing stake zoomed down the side of the boat! Then another, then another! The shallow mudbanks make an ideal fishing ground and the local fishermen literally stake them out! If we hit one of those at that speed, we'd be spending the night there.
As I punched the location of the stakes into RAW's chartplotter I could look back towards shore and only marvel how we'd got through there on a black moon night and warp speed!