02/02/2012, 40nm NW of Rizal, southern end of Palawan
Fujin has covered another 120 miles in the last 24 hours - averaging 5 knots and all set to arrive in Brunei on Saturday morning some time. Ivan's earlier estimate of Friday night was a little off - anyway, better to arrive there in daylight. Ivan is now making arrangements for refuelling at Brunei - they'll need around 200 litres to fill up.
So ETA Singapore is 11th February and I have booked my airmiles ticket to arrive there that same day. Departure from Singapore depends on how quickly Ivan can obtain the permits he needs - might be Monday before we can get away, meaning an arrival in Phuket on the weekend of 18/19, depending on whether or not we stop in Langkawi along the way. I need to return to Hong Kong by 22nd, so that works fine for me.
Now we just need more wind!
01/02/2012, 60nm off the coast of Palawan
Fujin has now entered the area between the Spratly group and the island of Palawan, on a SSW course towards Brunei. There are many low lying islands in the Spratlys so it makes emminent sense to sail the route between them and Palawan.
The position at 1140 has them roughly 90 miles from last check in yesterday afternoon, for an average of 4.5knots, reflecting the the weaker winds. Right now, they are motoring with almost no wind. Ivan again noting the heat!!
Forecast out to Monday along their route looks like more weak winds, so they will be motoring a lot in the next few days by the looks of it...
Ivan expects to be at Muara by Friday evening some time.
31/01/2012, About 80nm NW of El Nido
The photo above is of El Nido - a resort off the north east tip of Palawan which Elizabeth, Will (as an infant) and I visited back in late 1993 - getting there with a baby from Manila was quite an experience, including an aborted landing due to a buffalo on the volcanic sand air strip and torrential rains making the mainland roads pretty impassable... but that's another story!
I corresponded with Ivan today via Inmarsat SMS. He was doing about 5.4 knots with both genoa and spin - the former set with the whisker pole which took some setting up but is now working well. Winds are a little over 10 knots from NE, so pretty much in line with the forecast. They have also experienced some patchy lightning storms along the way in the last 24 hours. The crew are complaining of the heat, so I guess they wish they had some ice cold beer on board!
Ivan is taking some photos which he will be able to pass on once he has internet access at Muara.
Looking good for an late Friday/early Saturday landfall at Muara...
30/01/2012, About 150 nm west of Batangas
Fujin was late again today with the Spot check-in - seems they did try as usual at 12 noon but nothing was sent, so they resent the position at 7pm HK time. The are south of Manila now and heading for Palawan to the south.
Once they get to Palawan, the will sail between the Spratly Islands and Palawan down to Borneo and Brunei.
Yesterday afternoon, they were sailing nicely with the asymmetric spin in fairly flat water and 10-15 knots of wind, averaging 6 knots - so nice sailing conditions. The forecast suggests lighter winds over the next few days.
It looks like Fujin is on track for a Saturday 3rd Feb arrival in Muara, Brunei for refuelling and revictualling before heading on to Singapore which is roughly 700 miles further. So a Singapore landfall on Friday 10th or Saturday 11th Feb looks achievable.
28/01/2012, 50nm NW of Santa Cruz
I spoke briefly to Ivan today across a very poor satellite phone connection. He has to check the batteries on the Spot Messenger as there was no position at noon today. However, the satellite phone also has a quick way to send position via SMS, hence the update today.
About 130 nm in the last 24 hours. Seas are flattish right now and the wind is down to 10 to 15 knots. They have been using sails alone most of the time but with the wind directly on the stern they are doing only 3 - 4 knots versus a need to maintain 5 knots. So they have the engine on now as well at 1,000 rpms to give a bit of a boost.
They've had the asymmetric spin out a couple of times and will try it again later today if the wind picks up a little.
The lastest forecast shows a pretty settled pattern of winds below 15 knots from the NW over the next few days - ideally, we want at least 15 knots for Fujin to make 5 knots over the ground under sail alone. Looks like the iron sail will be putting in some time over the coming few days...
And Spot Messenger now working again, which is good...
28/01/2012, 60NM WSW of Laog City, Philippines
No, Fujin is not in Hong Kong - I am.... just arrived this afternoon from Tokyo and so did not have any contact with Ivan today other than his position check in at midday. And the picture is from the internet: it's very overcast and humid here right now...
It looks like a slightly slower pace of 120 nm in the last 24 hours, for an average of 5 knots. There are roughtly 850 nm to go to Brunei and then another 700 nm to Singapore. If they stick to an average of 5.5 knots, then we're looking at arriving in Brunei in a week and Singapore in 2 weeks.
I expect to talk to Ivan tomorrow and will have a bit more to report thereafter.