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"Singapore to the Maldives"
Around The World On A Nordhavn 40
By Staff Writer
May 2002 Yachts International


After a brief stay at Kosrae, the boat left for Singapore where she was joined by PAE Vice President Jim Leishman, employee Brian Sanders, sailor Paul Grover and journalist Kim Lee. This account is adapted from Leishman's journal,

On January 28th at 9:00 a.m. we threw off our lines and were on our way, leaving behind us Singapore and the luxury of Raffles Marina, which must surely be one of the finest marine facilities on earth. Ahead of us lay a 600-mile stretch via the Malacca Straits to the island of Phuket. Most people we met in Singapore reassured us that the pirates in the Straits rarely molest yachts-but we still were concerned. Rarely is a flexible word.

Our first ten miles were, to say the least, interesting, because the tiny Republic of Singapore is constantly reclaiming land, so coastal charts in the area are often obsolete before the ink dries. Navigation in the shallows can be tricky after dark, but we found favorable currents and breezes and made excellent time. Temperatures were well into the 905 during the day and high 8os at night, and below decks in the two staterooms the air-conditioning ran continuously. For two days the current pushed us onwards at an average speed well in excess of eight knots, while the evening aroma of cooking fires from the Malaysian coast wafted in through our open doors and windows.

For a night we dropped anchor on the island of Langkawi to barbecue steaks and enjoy the scenery. Brian, who had spent some time in the region, told the rest of us that gibbon apes are frequently seen on the beaches in the area, but we weren't fortunate enough to see these lively performers during our stay, and at dawn the next morning we raised the hook and headed north.

On the last day of January we made an overnight stop at a James Bond movie location, Phi Phi, an eerily beautiful island with vertical cliffs covered in a thick canopy of dense jungle rising hundreds of feet from the sea.

Awakened in the morning by the un-muffled engine of a local fishing boat-there are apparently no regulations governing work boats in Thailand-we began our five-hour run to Boat Lagoon in Phuket and our destination, a marina complete with bars, shops and restaurants in the middle of a thick mangrove swamp. The three mile journey through the narrow access channel can be stressful if it's your first time, but just when you're certain you're lost in the jungle you see the superstructure of visiting motor yachts tied up at a modern marina with a full-service shipyard.

There we visited with the crews of the 62' Nordhavn Feeling, which was captained by Singaporean David Loh. Feeling would accompany us on our upcoming leg to the Maldives.

On February 4, after sightseeing, refueling and provisioning we left the comforts of Boat Lagoon and began an uneventful 1,600-mile voyage to the Maldives, arriving a week later at the island of Male, where we anchored for the night and then headed north for the short hop to the island of Bondos. To our pleasant surprise we found that back in Male, Mohamed Shareef, executive secretary of the Bondos Island Resort, had joined our friends aboard Feeling. Mr. Shareef welcomed us personally to his luxury resort in Bondos, a veritable paradise where we could again relax and enjoy marina comforts.

These leisurely interludes, coupled with the relief of making a safe passage through the Malacca Straits, naturally led us to wonder what lay ahead. Soon we would be on our way into the world's most troubled waters, passing lands on the African and Arabian mainlands whose people made no secret of their hostility to the West in general and to the United States in particular. It would be an understatement to say that the four of us, at sea on a Sailing in 40' boat, felt a certain amount of foreboding, company

We had no way of knowing how unfounded our concerns with Feeling, were and of the pleasant surprises that lay ahead.

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