On Bow Graces and there modern uses.

Not long ago that every sailing ship off around “The Horn” had a Bow Grace. That wonder of rope work was designed to protect the hull from ice and other floating objects. Some actually had an iron one built right onto the bow. In today’s waters so rich in floating bottles, cans, and other assorted trash, both large and small, a well protected wooden boat needs something along those lines if her stem is to last between haul outs and to avoid possible serious damage.
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Making fresh yogurt on board or at home

Yogurt is one of the most useful and healthy low fat foods available. The very best yogurt is made fresh from natural cultures, not like most you find in the shops that are made from a chemical reaction. Making your own yogurt is easy.
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Anchoring wisdom

It is a very good idea to always put a floater on your anchor with a stout line attached, if for no other reason than to be able to get it out if it gets stuck under something. An anchor floater also helps other boats know where your anchor is and estimate what your swing radius is. That said, I must warn you anchor buoys can cause big problems if not used correctly.
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Getting and keeping the brass bright

We have a lot of brass and have developed a few tricks that make taking care of it easier.
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From the editor
In a world that seems to praise selling the shoddiest products and services at the highest prices imaginable if we boat owners do not at least try to weed out the garbage from the worthwhile we might as well give up and buy date farms in the Sahara.
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Captain’s Log

Yes, we are unforgivably late with this newsletter, again. The only excuse is that we have been busy and time to produce it has been a rare. The good news is, after all these years apologizing for our out of date website the new one is up, and we hope, working. There are a lot of new pictures and up to date information on the site. And it loads much faster. Please do visit www.sailvega.com, we would love your feedback.

After all these years VEGA finally managed to visit Raffles Marina in Singapore. I wish we had discovered them years ago. Raffles is the easiest in and out marina in Singapore. Thanks to them you do not spend days waiting off shore to clear in or out nor do you wind up threading long channels with tricky currents.
» To learn more about Raffles Marina

From the 14th – 18h of April VEGA was the star of the Boat Asia boat show in Singapore. That is the largest boat show in this region. We took part to help support the Needy School Children and Talented Young Artist charities in Singapore. So many people came to see VEGA and it was wonderful how she seemed to capture the hearts of everyone who came.
» For more about VEGA at the boat show
» View some images

Getting VEGA ready for an important show like Boat Asia was a lot of work. Thanks to some of our friends in Singapore the work went a lot easier than expected and was much more fun.
» For more click here

After the show we had to prepare VEGA for another season of hard work. Ahead of us are over 7,000 sea miles through some pretty tricky waters. Getting there, and back again, safely is tough work 24 hours a day seven days a week for months at a time.
» Click here to learn more.

Maybe you will have been wondering why all the boat shows and regattas when our real work is helping out isolated island communities.
» For more click here

On Bow Graces and there Modern Uses

Bow grace was an elegant name for the device that protected the bow of a wooden ship from ice or other floating dangers. I seriously doubt that many of our readers will be out sailing when there is ice to be fended off, Norwegians and Swedes excluded of coarse as they seem to be totally impervious to the cold. Yet the same idea of protecting the bow from impacts and chafe still has its place on wooden boats.


Over the years we have noticed the first place where the anti fouling goes is on the stem. This is for several reasons but the main ones are trash in the water and the anchor chain. Both rub off the anti fouling at a frightening rate leaving one of the boats most important structural pieces totally unprotected from woodworms and other pests that eat wood. Twice we have hauled out not because the underbody paint was gone but because the stem was unprotected.


This last time out we took a tip from the local Thai fishing boats and made a form fitting 316 stainless steel covering for the stem that runs from just above the water line to almost the keel. This piece fits so well that once it was on and painted it was very hard to see it is even there. I wanted to make pictures of it while still un painted, but went out for some parts we needed and when I came back it was already covered with paint.


What we did was to carefully bed it in a paste of red lead powder, plaster powder, linseed oil, TBT, and a few other mysterious additives the locals use. The bow grace was then pressed into place with a jack and some clamps and about 100 x 6 cm 316 stainless screws used to hold it in place. The whole was then thickly coated with epoxy coal tar before the barrier coats and anti fouling were applied. Several months later we are very glad we went to the trouble. The anchor chain has already taken off the anti fouling from a few places there and we even have a few small barnacles starting up. The good part is we need no longer fear for the stem and can remove the barnacles with a scraper. Now if I can just find a way too keep the prop clean….


Making fresh yogurt on board or at home

Start with a liter of warm whole milk in a covered plastic container and ad about a half cup or so of whole powdered milk to it, or use powdered milk mixed extra thick, and then mix in a few spoons full of natural set yogurt. Greek yogurt seems to work well. Always look for “Natural Yogurt” and try it out first, as each blend of cultures tastes a little different. Use the one you like most.


Then put the mix in a warm place for half a day to mature. We use the engine room when the generator or main engine is running. You can also wrap the plastic container in black cloth and put it in the sun for the day. Some cultures set faster than others so if it takes a while do not worry. Ours takes over night to set. Once ready it will be very thick perhaps with a little water floating on it. Pour off the water and let stand in the chiller for a day.


If you want to make a very tasty cream cheese from your yogurt put it in a piece of loosely woven cloth and hang it over the sink to drip out the excess water. After a day or so it will become thick and creamy. Mix in herbs such as dill and garlic for a flavorful spread that is much better and tastier than any mayonnaise you can get. In fact you can use yogurt in place of mayonnaise for almost everything. Just a tip: If your yogurt fails to set then most likely it is the culture that is at fault. Don’t give up just try a different culture. Most commercial yogurts are made with a chemical reaction, no matter what it says on the label. Always look for natural set yogurt. Once you get a good batch always use your own culture from then on.


Raffels Marina
A friendly port of call in any weather

One thing we see a lot of are marinas, some we would like to visit again, and some are just an excuse to bilk passing yachts for all they can get, Bali Marina comes to mind in the latter category, while Raffles Marina stands out as a place defiantly worth returning to. A friendly atmosphere extends throughout the club and even takes in the immigration officer that meets you at the club office to make all of the formalities completely painless. The office staff have all of the forms on their computers so while you chat with an affable official they fill in all the details for you. Ah, if only the rest of the world, especially Indonesia, were so uncomplicated imagine what a pleasure life could be.

The wide, deep, entrance channel is about as fool proof as they come, well-buoyed and easy to follow. Just note if you need to make a left turn on entering the marina it will be a tight one. All of the berths are well appointed and wide enough to allow easy in and out. Mooring cleats easily managed VEGA’s 32mm mooring lines. Water and power connections are direct so no expensive “special plugs” to rent at exorbitant rates. The whole marina is spotlessly clean and the facilities, like the designer pool, are maintained in perfect order. But, what really makes Raffles stand out is the staff. Everyone right on up to the CEO seems to constantly be on the lookout for ways of being helpful. All things considered Raffles is easily one of the finest marinas in the region and defiantly one you should not miss visiting. Click to visit their website


This year VEGA was one of the featured boats at Boat Asia, in Singapore. This is one of S. E. Asia’s largest and most prestigious boat shows. During the show VEGA was not idle. In keeping with our desire to help underprivileged children we were one of the attractions supporting the gala fund raising for the Singapore Needy Children’s School Fund. A fund that provides funding and support for needy children’s educational expenses. We also managed to meet some very interesting people who have helped us extend our assistance for the communities we help.
For more about Boat Asia click here

Voyage of assistance - June to September

During the S/E Monsoon we sail south delivering supplies and equipment we have gathered to the village schools, health posts, and orphanages we work with. To the rural people we assist these small shipments are life changing, they allow a farmer to grow food, a teacher to teach, or a medical worker to save lives.

Our objectives have always been modest, to deliver assistance from people and companies who want to help directly to those who need that help most.

Our targets are those that most effect children and where possible general public health. We work with teachers in small schools and health workers in isolated villages providing the basic materials they need to do their jobs. They give us lists of what they need and we ask you our supporters to help provide those materials. When you think a small one-room school can be provided with a year worth of supplies for a few hundred dollars, that is not asking a lot.
We are just about to depart on this years voyage and thanks to you we can now take in new places we had to bypass before.


All of the regattas and now the Singapore Boat show have allowed us to meet many new friends who are helping us accomplish our work.

VEGA has been featured in Magazines and newspapers, as well as on web blogs, television, and radio. It never ceases to amaze me how many people share the dream of one small old wooden boat striving against all odds to assist a few isolated island communities.

We have been fortunate to have the support, advice, and practical help of many people during our stay in Singapore, and would like to express our gratitude to all of them.

With that support we have managed to fill most of the lists for the schools along our route and some of the first aid supplies for the more isolated health posts.

Special thanks to Andy Woodward & Friends, Ulf Hansen, Terje Holtskog, Georina Lim,
Arie J. Koortens and Leo Nagtegaal

Usefull Links

Let me attract your attention to two great information filled websites well worth a regular visit.

Gaia Discovery does a wonderful job of covering environmental issues and projects in the region as well as other interesting news, such as where are the best dive sites, etc.
Visit them at www.gaiadiscovery.com

Old sailing hands in this region need no introduction to the famous “Capt. Marty” and his information packed site for sailors. But if you are new to the area, or were in the head when the news first went out, here is his website link again. This is the definitive site for information on sailing activities in South East Asia and further a field.
I have it book marked for quick access www.asianyachting.com

Anchoring wisdom

We were on anchor recently when we met some new friends. It was about 03 AM when we noticed a tapping on VEGA’s hull. Sticking my head out I saw a lovely little cutter had decided to come along side all by herself. Well after a bit of excitement it turned out her skipper had anchored properly with lots of scope and a well-buoyed anchor. What he had not done was check the tides for that night. When the tide came up the floater was strong enough to lift out their anchor and the boat happily went drifting over to visit VEGA. It is amazing what a constant upward pull will do to a light anchor set in mud. So let that be a lesson: always make sure you have enough scope on your anchor floater as well as your anchor. If nothing else it helps you get a peaceful nights sleep.


Getting and keeping the brass bright

Over the years we have heard so many stories about brass that we could write a book about that along. Did you know the Royal Navy used pipe clay and chalk powder for fine polishing? In any case when faced with a thick layer of verdigris on your brass do not start shaking the Brasso tin right away. Rather get some cheap vinegar and soak the pieces for a while. It takes most of the green right off like magic. Just keep an eye on your brass bits and do not let them go so long that they start showing a reddish tint. Once treated in this way wash them off with fresh water and wipe them dry then take out the Brasso and do the final polish. Brasso is great stuff but it is not magic. Start with a bit of Brasso and Scotch brite rubbing with a circular motion. That will quickly take off the worst of what remains once you start to see a bit of shine then go to a soft cotton cloth with lots of Brasso and again use a circular motion. Wipe off the excess Brasso and buff the piece with a clean cotton cloth to get a real shine. To keep it that way spray the whole piece with lithium grease let that dry for a day or two then spray it again. It helps to wipe the grease around to insure good coverage. For a long lasting finish touch up the grease every month or when you can see it needs doing. That will keep your brass from turning green again, but the shine will still fade over time to that “Old Brass” look.


When we find a company or person providing an quality product or service we want to share it with you. First because such companies and individuals are becoming extremely rare and need all the support we can give them so they will still be around when we next need them. Secondly we want to help you to avoid that horrible feeling, that has so often happened to us, when you buy something at great expense only to find out it is a “rip off”, purposely designed to fail in a way that traps you into spending even more time and money


VEGA brass
Friends to the rescue

This time around we were lucky to have Joanne Har and her friends who volunteer to help us with the hundreds of things that needed doing so that VEGA could look her best for the show. Not the least of those jobs was touching up the brass work, a task the girls attacked with gusto and amidst a lot of joking made short work of. The day ended with one of Meggi’s spaghetti dinners on the fore deck followed by most of the crew reclining in the bowsprite net where many a tale was told under the stars. Judging by the empty tin count we must have had a really good time.