06/02/2012, Off the coast of Brunei
I was able to reach Ivan on his mobile phone today around 14:30 as he was leaving Muara harbour on the start of the leg to Singapore. They completed all the clearance procedures in the morning - all fine other than a small problem to do with a missed stamp on the way in.
They have about 10 knots of wind on the beam, so they will need to use the engine on low revs to maintain an average of 5 knots.
The plan now is to stand at least 12 nm offshore in order to avoid Indonesian territorial waters. This is necessary since the Indonesian authorities require yachts to have a special permit to sail in their waters and if you don't have one, you are liable to having your yacht impounded - which we definitely don't want!
Fujin's crew will be keeping a keen eye out for the oil rigs over the next 24 hours - they are generally well lit but there is some boat traffic to and from the shore which might not be so obvious.
The run down to Singapore is around 700nm or 140 hours (6 days) at 5 knots. This means that they should arrive in Singapore on Sunday morning sometime. With a bit of luck, they will make a bit better than 5 knots and arrive early on Sunday so that they have the full day to do food, water and fuel. Then Monday for paperwork before leaving later Monday or Tuesday morning. So Phuket by Sunday 19th or Monday 20th looks good.
05/02/2012, Royal Brunei Yacht Club
Ivan's emailed report from a little while ago:
I have just finished putting water on the boat. It was tricky, as we had to navigate a short unmarked channel and come onto a very small dock at the very top of the tide in the dark. We had a window of less than 2 hours, but all went exactly according to plan and we didn't even graze the mud. The maths was correct.
During the manoeuvre we had an audience on the balcony of the RBYC as Fujin apparently was the largest yacht to attempt coming onto the YC dock in a long time. I'd swear they were placing bets as we came in!
Half a ton heavier and exactly on the top of the tide we followed our track back to the anchorage. Picture above shows the track on Fujin's chart plotter.
Got fully fuelled up earlier today, although it required a bit of pestering people on my part. People in these latitudes can be very relaxed. Initially the story was that we would be able to borrow a trailer on Wednesday to bring the jerry cans to the service station.
Also managed to get the shopping done today, so we are ready to go again.......unbelievably.
We should be out of here by about midday tomorrow after I settle with the RBYC and check out at customs.
Treating the guys to a nice meal this evening.
04/02/2012, Muara, Brunei
Fujin is now safely moored off the Royal Brunei Yacht Club and I am delighted to report that my colleague in Brunei was able to deliver the "package" of cold ones to the crew!
They had a great couple of hours sail from Labuan this afternoon in 25 knots of wind, doing 7.5kts boat speed... after waiting 4 hours for practique that never happened...
The picture above is one of several Ivan has just sent me now that he has internet access - taken near Taiwan when the wind was really blowing. Also a couple of good ones of genoa on whisker pole and spinnaker out, running....
They arrived a little too late to do the customs and immigration so that will be done tomorrow. Ivan and crew were enjoying a well earned Sprite at the RBYC when they checked in an hour ago - they'll save the "package" for the yacht!
04/02/2012, Labuan, Malaysia
Fujin is now putting into Labuan to take on water - seems it is easier and more reliable to do this at Labuan as it can be difficult to get alongside at Muara.
From there it is about 25 miles into Muara, so they should arrive early evening.
Brunei bans the sale of alcohol but non-Muslims are permitted to bring in a certain amount for personal consumption. Some friends in Brunei have kindly volunteered to supply Fujin with a few cans as a gift if they can arrange pick up later today at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club - pictured above.
Should be a good incentive to get tied up and cleared through customs and immigration as soon as possible!
03/02/2012, 70nm north of Kota Kinabalu
The picture above is the Tanjung Aru Resort at Kota Kinabalu - Fujin is now around 70 miles north of this point, making good time to arrive at Brunei tomorrow morning (Saturday 4th February). We stayed here quite a few years ago - I guess around 2002... on a short break from Hong Kong.
Ivan is still motoring given lack of wind - and it looks like this situation will continue for a few days yet. He's had a few problems with the starboard side navigation light, due to socket corrosion. Fixed for now but needs to be replaced at some point and I don't think I have a spare on board.
So, after 130 miles in the last 24 hours and about 130 miles to go, Fujin should arrive around midday at Muara, Brunei for refuelling, revictualling and, no doubt, a few cold beers! Assuming of course that they still sell beer there!
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!