A journal about boat buying and cruising in Singapore and the SE Asia Region

Friday, July 20, 2018

I'm going to be bringing this blog back to life as we are in the process of having Sofa shipped to Gibraltar for onward sailing to The Solent in the UK.

We've gone almost 9 years with Sofa sitting in Singapore waiting for us but as we're now permanently based in the UK we decided it was time to bring her to join the party.

More later

Monday, November 27, 2006

Raja Muda Regatta 2006

We're back from the exciting Raja Muda Regatta and what a fun drunken time was had by all. We ended up in second due to some very bad calculations by myself on the first day regarding engine usage (which shouldn't be allowed but you use the rules to their best advantage). Once we'd worked out the rules on the engines we managed to get a set of 3 first places and a second but this was not good enough to take the title. 2nd place racing at night for the first time wasn't so bad just a little disappointing knowing that we could have won.

Thanks to a wonderful crew who performed in style with a smile. Alasdair, Guz, Louis, Chris and Judy you were all great - thanks.

The racing was fun, the storms were spectacular the beer was cold and Sofa performed flawlessly. Sofa will now stay in Langkawi under the careful wings of Paul and Sheila Brennan tok after her until we go back for some cruising over christmas and new year. We're really looking forward to doing some true cruising in the beautiful locations around Langkawi.

Photos can be found at: http://www.pbase.com/johnrams/raja_muda_2006

The next racing on our calendar is the 2007 Langkawi Regatta which we did this and was excellent fun. Crew list is now open, more details can be found at: http://www.langkawiregatta.com/

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What a Great Day Out

Another quick photo of our afternoon sail with the Macleods and the Volkes families.

Raja Muda Here We Come

We're one week away from setting sail to Malaysia again when we will deliver Sofa up to Port Klang ready for the Raja Muda Regatta. The regatta will take us from Port Klang to Pangkor and on to Langkawi via Penang which sounds like a perfect regatta to us.

We have also got a very good crew list:

Guz Wilkinson
Louis Lim
Chris Furness
Alasdair Reid
Judy Howison
Shaz and Myself

We're also very fortunate to have Phil Blake joining us from Penang onwards.

What a fantastic crew for this regatta, we have experience, muscle and excellent sailing skills all in a group that knows how to enjoy itself. The only sad part was that Gordon had heavy work commitments and so he and Lizzie had to pull out - next time.

More will get posted on this as the regatta builds up.

The photo below was taken during Ambassadors Cup at Changi Sailing Club which is a race where the ambasadors of various countries come onboard the keelboats for a sail round Pulau Ubin. This has always been a fun event but I think it may have just been changed around somewhat with a prize of a Bulgari (sp) watch for the first crew may change this event into something more serious which will be very sad.

David and Ayeshah Trip

Long time friends David and Ayeshah came over from London in Oct to see all their old haunts. A good night was had down at Sin Hoi Sai eating loads and realising that we had all aged since we started eating their around 13/14 years ago.

We went out for a cruise around and were also joined by Mark, Irene and Natasha Volkes which made for a fun afternoon and the breeze even came in to give us power and blow the haze away.

Gordon and Lizzie then came down in the evening and the BBQ was lit and everything went great even to the timing of the gas running out.

Good times.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sofa TV

This is not about Sofa becoming a couch potato but rather a TV star. Last weekend we had Singapore's Channel 8 onboard to film a reality show. Unfortunately for me it was filmed in Mandarin so I know very little about what was going on but it was all good fun anyway. Patricia Mok was the star of the show and she was a great laugh and understood enough about sailing that she expected us to drink beer in between takes - star quality indeed!!

After that fun day we went down to Marina Bay to join up with the Waterfest where Gordon and Lizzie Maxted were celebrating the arrival of their new purchase - a Grand Banks 53 and what a small ship she is. There are so many decks and berths she certainly is a small ship not a boat and we're sure that they'll have a wonderful life loving her the way they have loved all of their boats (and windsurfer in Lizzie's case).

We'll be posting pictures of the RSYC regatta as soon as we get them. The regatta was really good fun and we were lucky enough to win against what appears to be our new friendly rival Frangipani Girl who is beautiful Swan 53 based at Raffles Marina.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So Long

Wow is it really 2 months since I posted anything here.

Anyway, since the last post we've added a gennaker, a short bow sprit and am ingenious furling mechanism for a standard gennaker called a Roll Gen.

The Roll Gen has given us a few teething problems but the theory certainly seems to be there and we'll struggle on until the problems are sorted. The good news is that with a decent sized crew the gennaker can still be handled as a standard asymmetric.

The pole is a neat add on unit that is used on the secondary anchor roller which limits us to one anchor for now but if we need a secondary we'll figure something out.

Thanks to Bobbie and Judy at Howison Marine for sorting out the orders of these and the back-up support.

We had a regatta over the last 2 weekends at RSYC where we sailed in the PY division which is very much the friendly division and the racing not so serious as the handicaps get adjusted after every race to prevent anyone from running away with the regatta. It was good fun and somehow we managed to win overall.

Thanks to the crew of Lizzie, Serene, Gordon, Guz, Louis, Andrew and Mathew in addition to Shaz and myself.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

B&Q Visit

Well what a day, Mincey our young Labrador had her first visit onboard Sofa So Good this morning and then this afternoon Shaz and I were invited onboard Ellen MacArthur's boat that she used to break the round the world record B&Q.

A truly awesome boat with an incredibly small cockpit that was definitely designed for one as was the cabin, how 5 people sailed her in the tropics is well beyond my imagination.

Anyway I didn't have my camera with me and could only take this snap of Shaz with Elaine Chua on B&Q's bow - thanks for the show round Elaine.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Happy Crew

Boy am I the happiest person around at the moment after Shaz and I got married last week on the bow of Sofa So Good.

It was great to have so many family and friends around although we had to have a seperate reception for family as there were too many people to all go to one event. We ended up with the actual wedding and friends party being held at One Degree 15 Marina on Sentosa and the second wedding reception being at the Tanglin Club in Singapore city centre.

I'll drop further info on the wedding but as Shaz and I only got to have a half day honeymoon as we're both so busy at work I'd better get on but will try to drop further info over the weekend.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Should Have Been Sooner

It's been a while since posting anything here but with the Langkawi trip, trying to sort things out upon our return, business going crazy and having to organise our wedding unfortunately something had to give.

Anyway, the trip to Langkawi went superbly well, it took 3.5 days to get there and 3 days to get back, probably the worst part was getting fishing nets stuck on the prop whilst both going and coming back.

We learnt that we must get a spinnaker at the earliest opportunity which will be before we take part in any more regattas as we were certainly competitive going upwind in Langkawi but not downwind.

We had a failure on the aft aircon pump so this will be replaced under warranty from Elan (or at least it better had but they do seem rather quiet).

A full write-up of the regatta is being done and we'll dump it here once done but here's a photo.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Off To Langkawi

We're off to Langkawi at the end of the week to do the Royal Langkawi Regatta which should be fun. It will take us around 3 days to sail up there do the 4 day regatta and 3 days to sail home which sounds like great fun.

We've got some friends flying up to Langkawi who are going to do the regatta with us and sail Sofa home down the Malaysian West Coast.

More news as it happens which will also involve the owners of Sofa getting married onboard during April.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Team Sonardyne Asia!!!

Too Long

Christmas Day 2005

My apologies for not being online for a while but due to work and the holidays I just didn't seem to find time, we did however find time to go sailing and Sofa is doing very nicely.

We sailed round Singapore from Sentosa Marina round to Changi SC where we stayed for the night and then sailed back the next day. Everything appears to be working OK apart from a couple of niggling problems which hopefully will be sorted under warranty.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

And She Floats

After many months of excitement Sofa So Good was launched and christened last Saturday. On Sunday she went on her first journey from Raffles Marina to the 1 Degeree 15 Marina Club on Sentosa Island which is her new home.

I'll put a full post in the next day or so but for now we're very happy to have her in her new home. There's more photos on the photo page link on the right hand column.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Generator Woes

After being promised that the Panda Generator would fit into our aft compartment I was shown yesterday by the boat yard that it will not go in and even if it would there would zero space to do any maintenance or to even bolt it down - very angry person.

I went down to the yard and we looked at various other solutions but the only practical one seems to be under the fwd bunk which is not great for trim but at least it can be maintained and by reducing the amount of chain and increasing the warp.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Big Stick Thingy

Woo Hoo, Sofa is looking much more boat like now that she has got her mast up.

Pretty much all of the electronics have been done but the generator is still waiting apparently for decisions to be made as to regards dismantling it to get it through the little hole for installation. I have given all the go aheads yet again so hopefully this will now move onwards.

Thought I was going to have to go to China this week but it looks like it's been postponed until next week so I guess a splash date of around the 3rd Dec is looking likely if not this weekend.

From Russia with Love

I'm back from Moscow and nipped down to the boat yesterday to see what had been done in my absence and it appears that the anti-fouling is complete and most of the electronics have been installed of which a photo has been added of the internal kit although I'll have to work out how to connect up the PC once we have the boat in the water and under our control.

There does not however appear to have been any progress on the generator at all as yet but I'm sure when I go down tonight I'll be given many stories of woe on the installation and how it's going to cost X number of dollars to be able to succeed.

Mast should be going up today so I'll be able to post a photo of Sofa looking like a sailing boat tomorrow (hopefully).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

She's Becoming a Boat

Things seem to be happening pretty slowly down at the boat yard in Raffles Marina but I guess it's better slowly and carefully making sure that it's right first time rather than rushing.

Anyway, the keel is now on and the rudder has been fitted so Sofa is now looking more like a boat and less like a caravan.

There's a bunch of people over from the UK right now for the ISAF conference who want to see her so I'll be off back down to the yard tonight and have another look see how she's coming along.

The biggest issue at the moment is the generator and how it will fit into the hole and also where to put the water intake and wet exhaust all things that can be solved but need to be thought about.

Unfortunately I won't be around for a week or so as I've got to go to Russia for contract negotiations and I'm rather nervous about leaving her - ho hum.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

4 Day Delay

After a 4 day delay Sofa So Good finally arrived at Raffles Marina where she'll be commissioned by Jeffrey and his team.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Last One For Now

Off she goes into storage until Monday night when she'll be sent over to Raffles Marina for fitting out.

Very gently please (and PSA were excellent at this)

Time to Disembark

Off goes the mast

Better Photos

Some better photos taken on Sofa So Good's arrival into Singapore

Saturday, October 22, 2005


After a few months of waiting the day (well night actually) finally arrived when Sofa So Good sailed into Singapore waters albeit inside the M/V OOCL Malaysia.

She was unloaded at 0530 after a long wait from 0230 when I turned up to check her out. I was allowed onboard to check out her fine living quarters which consisted of a private suite below decks.

Jimmy and Ahmah were fantastic during the night although it now turns out that Pentagon have declared the beam incorrectly which means that she won't be delivered to Raffles until Monday night so I think Tuesday may have to be a leave day.

But even with the problems she's still here and the packing all looks to be intact.

Woo Hoo.

Friday, October 21, 2005

To Good To Be True

Sure enough the freight company has thrown a spanner in the works by now stating that the insurance to cover the boat from the port to Raffles Marina is S$350 however the insurance company must also inspect the boat before the shipment begins which is likely to cost around S$1,800.

The insurance all the way from Slovenia, through Europe and onboard the ship only cost S$1,200 which really bugs me and I they only tell me this the day the boat is arriving.

Ho hum I guess we'll just have to live with it at least we'll have the joy of seeing the boat here tonight now that we have our port clearances.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Little Powerful Panda

The generator has now turned up in Singapore which is pretty good timing with the boat showing up tomorrow. The generator is only for powering the aircon units and possibly a microwave if we get round to putting one in so we don't need a large one and have opted for the Fischer Panda 6000 which with a 6KW output should hopefully have enough umph to keep us nice and cool.

Am a little concerned regarding the electronics as we have been told they are 1-2 weeks from order and the order only went in on Tuesday so this could potentially delay the launch but with a little luck they'll turn up earlier.

The clearance of the boat is now being organised by Pentagon Freight and she should be taken from the port to Raffles Marina overnight Saturday so we'll be having a late night.

Photos to follow very soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

3 Days To Go

Have now paid the GST for the boat and have ordered all the electronics from MYS who will also be doing the installation over the next couple of weeks.

The only slight concern at the moment is whether the electronics will arrive on time to enable MYS to start work on Monday although I would guess that they'd want to get the keel and rudder on first.

It's all getting very close and should be a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

4 Days To Go

Had Ned Lloyd on the phone today confirming that the ship is on it's way and was I expecting a large delivery - damn right we are.

Insurance has now been paid and at S$7,000/year it had better be worth it.

Pentagon Freight are taking care of the clearing process and for the delivery from the port to Raffles Marina where Jeffrey and his guys at Marina Yacht Services will earn their money by installing the electronics, generator and doing all the bits for commissioning.

Hopefully we'll be in the water the second week of November but it would be better not to rush this and get her right rather than launch and have to pull her again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Life Gets Expensive

Now is the time that we start to realise all of the additional costs of buying a new boat. I just came back from the UK complete with life-jackets, glasses, plates, binos, hand held compass etc etc.

Anyway I've attached a photo of the vessel that should be arriving in Singapore on the 21st Oct complete with Sofa So Good onboard. It's all getting very close now.

Luckily we'll have my father out here when she's being put together so hopefully he'll be able to project manage this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

She's On Her Way

Unfortunately I couldn't use a flash for this photo as I didn't want to blind the driver but this is Sofa So Good leaving the Elan factory to start her journey to Singapore via Rotterdam. The next time we see her will be at the docks in Singapore on the 21st October.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Departure For Singapore

I think for the first time that I've ever been involved with boats something has happened early, Sofa So Good left the Elan facility last night and she is now on her way under escort to Rotterdam. Once there she'll be loaded onto a vessel and sailed to Singapore.

Thanks to all at Elan for meeting the schedules that they put forward in Jan/Feb this year which I find stunning especially after our last boat being 18 months late.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sofa So Good is born

Today is a big day in our lives as this is the day that Sofa So Good is officially born. Although she won't be christened until she is launched in Singapore in November (at present) she is now born and will be getting picked up by a lorry on Monday 22-9-05.

We had a couple of small issues with the boat but they were fixed up by Elan who have been very helpful since we arrived 2 days ago.

Below is a photo of the 2 main guys involved on the build (or at least the finishing off). We'll be publishing more pictures when we get back from Slovenia.

Next stop is the Southampton Boat Show at the weekend to see if there's any bargains around for us.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Getting Closer

We're off to Slovenia in the morning to inspect the boat, make the final payment and then put her on a lorry bound for Singapore via Hamburg. Seems like an odd route by heading North first but that's where the ships sail from.

Peters and May gave us a slightly discounted price which was pretty good of them seeing as how high the oil price is at the moment.

ETA Singapore October 21st - really can't wait.

We're still waiting for more info regarding the generator and the electronics but at least there seems to be some movement on these fronts.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Things Starting To Move Again

Well after many mails backwards and forwards we are starting make progress again. The shipping company has been confirmed as Peters and May who are pretty much known as being the yacht transport specialists, although this does come with a very hefty price tag. At least they didn't increase the price due to the high oil price - makes me wonder what their original margins were though!

It seems to still be open to debate as to whether we'll be supplied the generator through the local Panda agent or whether it will be supplied by Elan. I don't really mind as it will be the same unit basically it comes down to price and availability.

The electronics will be Raymarine as the boat has been designed around them although Simrad tried to help us out the pricing wasn't significantly enough different to justify moving away from the system that is specified.

Just heard that our main anchor has been delayed and won't be here until Mid-October which will be cutting it very fine but at least we have already taken delivery of the back-up so we'll survive.

We're really looking forward to the trip and also to the flashing lights when we have a police escort through Singapore deliverying the boat to Raffles Marina for outfitting.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Worrying Over Nothing?????

We are starting to get a little worried as we have still not had confimation on the following:

1. Shipping details and prices

2. Electronics

3. Generator and where it is being purchased from.

4. Who is putting her together and how much it will cost.

We've been promised that all of this will be in hand before next Tuesday which I do hope is right but we're both worrying about it all - hopefully it will all sort itself out.........

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Getting Excited

Both Shaz and I are getting very excited about going over to Slovenia to inspect the boat and ensure that she's packed up and taken away by Peters and May on the 22nd Sept.

I've been hearing that the import into Singapore may be a bit more complex than I thought but probably nothing too onerous.

We still have a couple of things outstanding for pricing ie the freight, the electronics and the commissioning once she's here but hopefully these shouldn't be too much bother.

After we've signed off on the boat we'll be shooting over to the UK to see my parents and to go to the Southampton Boat Show where we may be able to get a bunch of bargains on bits for Sofa So Good. We're still looking for some safety gear and plates etc.

Arrival date in Singapore is still looking like 10th Oct - woo hoo

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hardware Starts to Arrive

Our first part of the new boat turned up today - a Fortress anchor. This will be used as a back-up for muddy seabeds and as a stern anchor when required.

The boat yard is still saying that she'll be completed and ready for shipment on the 20th Sept which will be great.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

And so it begins

I guess this is the start of a long line of posts regarding the buying and cruising of Sofa So Good a new Elan Impression 434 sailing yacht. She'll be based at One Degree 15 Marina on Sentosa Island in Singapore and will initially be cruised around SE Asia before possibly venturing further afield as we become more confident over the years.

At present she's due to be completed at the yard in Slovenia on the 20th Sept and hopefully will be in Singapore on the 10th Oct although this could easily change.