Navigation tips and tricks

Here is a simple little trick for dodging around obstacles and returning back to your original heading and track line. You can use it for corrections that range from minutes to days and do the math easily in your head.
Learn more here »

The 30-degree rule

If you need to dodge around something like an anchored fishing boat or the like here is a great little trick for getting back on your track line easily without major mathematical gymnastics. Turn 30 degrees away from the obstruction and time how long you run on that heading before being sure your original coarse would clear the problem. Then turn 30 degrees back onto your original heading and run until you clear the problem. Once clear turn 30 degrees back towards your original track line and run for the same amount of time as your first 30-degree coarse change. At the end of that time turn back 30 degrees onto your original heading and most likely you will be back on your original track line. As long as your speed doesn't change and there is no current this trick works great every time.

Vega's beautifull new dinghy

Vega's new dinghy

Reade more about this masterpiece »

For years we searched in vain to replace our old dingy. It was not very stable, had the carrying capacity of a lazy cockroach, and always seemed to be on the point of swamping. Yet a new one had to be something truly traditional and as special as Vega herself. Last year Meggi and I were wondering around the Boat Asia Boat show in Singapore when we stumbled on a stand with two of the most beautiful little rowing boats either one of us had ever seen. One was a replica of a traditional 14 ' Whitehall rowing skiff; the other was a custom designed replica of a Riva runabout. What made these boats so exceptional was the craftsmanship and attention to detail the builder had lavished upon them.

As we stood admiring the boats a jolly old Italian gentleman came up to us and introduced himself as Roberto Mancuso designer and builder of those two lovely works of functional maritime art. Over the next year we were to develop a close friendship with Roberto and an even greater admiration for his work. Roberto even sailed with us during the Bay Regatta this past February in Thailand where he quickly became a valued member of the crew. That was when he commented on our old dingy and the fact we needed a new one better suited to our work.

Over the next few months we spent a lot of time answering e-mails about what would constitute the ideal dingy for Vega. How wide are the davits on Vega? How much beam could fit in the davits? How much should the dingy be able to carry? What size engine did we have and how long are our oars? Little did we know that the whole time Roberto was applying all of his many years of traditional boat building experience to carefully designing the perfect classic workboat for Vega. It was not until his container of samples for this years Boat Asia show arrived in Singapore that he sprung his big surprise on us. Roberto had actually built a workboat specifically designed for Vega.

For more information about custom made classic wooden boats contact Ing. Roberto Mancuso, Semarang, Central Java, e-mail: or visit his site

Boat Asia Show 2011

Once again Vega was invited to join the festivities at Singapore's prestigious Boat Asia Show 2011.
For more »

South Asia's largest and longest running boat show for its 19th edition from 12th to 15th May at the beautiful Marina at Keppel Bay recently named Best Asian Marina of the Year and the first marina in Asia to be awarded the 5 Gold Anchors rating for excellence in services and facilities from the Marina Industries Association of Australia (MIAA). During the show thousands of people visited Vega and became aware of our work. Many went away with our embroidered Polo shirts, a big help for our running costs and bags of Timor wild mountain coffee to help the farmers of East Timor. The boat show is a highlight of our year when we meet many new friends and exchange interesting ideas. But, that is not the most exciting news to come out of this years show. To learn more read the whole article here Next year Vega will celebrate her 120th birthday in real style. 2012 marks Vega's 120th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of the Boat Asia Boat show. Plans are already underway to make this important double birthday a really exceptional celebration. Jotun Paints have offered to invite Lars Nerhus, the great great grandson of Ola Nerhus -Vega's builder - to present the ship with an exact copy of her award winning half model and display the original painting done by Vega's first Captain - Jens Nerhus - in 1898. Those are just a few of the activities planned.

Bay Regatta

Once again Vega sails as press boat for the prestigious BAY REGATTA in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand and it was another amazing success – even King Neptune admitted having a good time ... more »

Bay Regatta, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

March 2011

Last year we had the honor to host Captain Marty, Alan Woodhouse, and Scott Murry all well-known journalists from the South East Asian yachting scene. This year the list grew as not only did Captain Marty and Scott Murry ask to be on Vega again, but also yachting photographer Rolien and editor Leslie Hand of Image Asia came sailing with us.

The Bay Regatta is one of the most beautiful fun regattas on the South East Asia circuit. This is a regatta where everyone from serious racers to slog along cruising boats all get out and have a great time sailing and partying for four marvelous days and nights. If you missed this years regatta we do strongly advise you to make plans now to participate in next year's events. Even if you do not race the scenery, the people, and the parties make it an event not to be missed. Have a look at their website

First Annual NEPTUNE REGATTA a roaring success

While we were sailing along in the Bay Regatta Singaporeans were out having fun in a new regatta all their own, The Neptune Regatta. Have a look at the website and see what you missed. This is the only regatta to take place right on the equator and King Neptune doused many a pollywog at the crossing.

Darwin to Dili regatta

This years Darwin to Dili event will be more than just another yacht race. This year the participating boats will all be carrying boxes of educational and medical supplies donated by our friends in Australia to top up Vega's load.
Read about this important development »

One of our biggest problems is how to gather donated supplies and get them to Vega for delivery, the other is our limited loading capacity.

For years now we have had offers of donated equipment, educational, and medical supplies from our friends in Australia, but could not take advantage of those kind offers due to transportation problems. Now thanks to the kind offices of the Darwin to Dili race committee boats in the race can transport donated supplies from Australia to East Timor where they will off load those supplies onto Vega for distribution to the communities we assist.

Straits Quay Marina sets new standards for boats visiting Penang, Malaysia

More about our stop over»

At last we can stop over in Pulau Penang on our way North or South each year. Before as much as we wanted to visit this lovely town it was impossible due to the sadly deteriorated – often dangerous – state of the city marina. Now with the opening of Straights Quay Marina under the direction of well known Marina expert John McNaughton Ferguson not only is it possible to visit Penang safely, but do so at a top of its class marina with all the facilities one could want. Give their website,, a visit to know more, but you can take our word for it the place has a lot of class and is amazingly convenient for everything you could want.

LOCATION: The privately owned and operated Marina is situated on the northeast corner of the Seri Tanjung Pinang development at Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang, and is part of the Straits Quay Retail complex belonging to E&O Berhad. Straits Quay includes food & beverage outlets, shops and leisure facilities, and private apartments. Straits Quay is signposted from the main roads in this part of Penang.

APPROACH: Approaching by sea, vessels should locate and pass close to the Wreck Buoy in position 05° 28.43'N 100° 19.09'E and proceed down the approach channel (dredged to -3m below chart datum) keeping the leading marks (05° 27.46'N 100° 19.025'E) in line bearing 180°. Start your starboard turn towards the entrance when 100m short of the front leading mark. The southern extremity of the main breakwater is marked at night by a green flashing light. Continue to turn 180° to starboard round the end of the breakwater and enter the marina basin heading North, leaving the lighthouse tower to port.

SUPPORT: The Marina Management Office is manned from 0900 – 1800 daily. A marina maintenance crew works the same hours, and will assist with berthing and un-berthing. Contact by boats arriving at the marina during these hours is by VHF Channel 71.

CIQP: The marina is an authorised Landing Point for vessels entering or departing from Malaysia. The Marina Management Office will assist owners to complete clearing in/out procedures in George Town.

Vegas Big sister Mathilda

Vega to provide 50 rural Midwives kits ... more about »

Vega to provide 50 rural Midwives kits

Dr. Dan Murphy has been training midwives for the rural areas of East Timor for some years now. By the end of this year he expects to have 50 midwives fully trained and working in their rural communities. These midwives also receive training in woman's and infant health as well as basic first aid. In many areas they are the front line medical service for the community. One of Dr. Dans most important requests for this year was proper medical kits for his midwives. Based on his long experience in East Timor he gave us a list of what each kit should contain. Even before we left Dili last year we had managed to find some of the solar re-chargeable lights he needed and hope to provide all 50 complete kits on our return this year. Once again thanks to the assistance of Jotun Paints (Malaysia), Parkway Hospitals, ModuSpec Bvd, and Viking RFD of Singapore we already have the surgical implements and a years worth of basic medical supplies as requested for each kit. As encouraging as that is some items are still missing and will need to be delivered next year. Please do conside helping out with these kits as they are saving many lives at a very modest cost.

Surgical Implements and medical supplies for health posts and small clinics

... more about »

Most of the health posts and small clinics we visit are desperately short of medical supplies. They are also completely lacking in the basic surgical implements needed in case of serious accidents and other injuries. Most do not even have sutures for sewing up cuts or bandages. Almost every single health worker we talked with requested these supplies citing the lives they could have saved if they had them. This year thanks to a generous donation in kind from Parkway Hospital and Viking RFD both in Singapore we will be delivering 17 complete kits of basic surgical implements and trauma treatment packages to the health posts and small clinics we assist from East Timor to the Banda Islands. We will also be providing larger, more in depth, kits to the more important clinics and "hospitals" as well as Dr. Dan Murphy's Barria Pite Free Clinic in Dili.

Drugs and medications

Medications and drugs are always top of every doctor and health workers list. Most are simple basic things that are neither controlled nor expensive. Have a look here to see the list of what is needed »

Drugs and medications

Medications and drugs are always top of every doctor and health workers list. Most are simple basic things that are neither controlled nor expensive. Have a look here to see the list of what is needed.

I know this list looks daunting, but if each of us chips in a bottle of 1,000 paracetemol or a few doses of antibiotics, vitamins, or Ocitocin it is amazing how fast this list will go down. This is one of those cases where it is almost better to send us your donation and we will use it to buy in bulk from our very friendly contacts in the drug supply industry. Because we purchase generic products in bulk our discounts can be as much as 70% over the individual retail prices.

Re-Start a FARM kit

- help for the farmers in East Timor.
Read the entire article here »

Due to the "Troubles" there are many farmers in East Timor who own a farm but cannot afford the basic farming implements to get those farms re-started. At the request of the Bakhita and Oecussi grass roots community development programs we have made these simple "Re-Start a Farm Kits" a priority. Once a net exporter of food crops East Timor now depends on imports for over 80% of its food. For the rural social and economic structure this is a downward spiral of unemployment, and poverty that is stifling development. For the families involved it is a nightmare of malnutriton and frustration.

Good seed stock is perhaps the most important way we can assist farmers. Once we provide the initial seed input most farmers will re-cycle seeds from each years crops to provide for next years crops. It is amazing how a few pennies can help change a whole families future. This year thanks to the small Malaysian Charity Kurnia for Hope -visit their website at -and our friend Ben Potter we will be able to provide a wide range of vegetable seeds to farmers in Oecussi and Ermera districts of East Timor. But that is just a beginning.

Yara Fertilizer Ltd provides top of the line vegetable fertilizer for Farms ... more about »

Thanks to Yara fertilizer - - each re-start a farm kit will come with enough top of the line fertilizer to match the seed input for each farm. Yara has committed to provide this support for the next 3 years as well as frequent visits by their professional agronomists to assist with soil analysis and advice on the best crops for each areas soil and water conditions. The visiting agronomist will also be responsible for training the volunteer local district agricultural extension workers in best practices and best methods of farming in each district.

From the bosun's locker

Boat care products you can make yourself.
A few issues back we passed on our trick for home made deck care products. Now here is how we use the same ingredients to save time, effort, and improve our rigging care. ... more »

From the bosun's locker

On Vega most of the rigging and deck care products we use are made right on board. Our main ingredients are natural distilled turpentine, linseed oil, lanolin, pine tar, and unrefined bee's wax that comes in big blocks. Our "goops" are made by mixing these ingredients in different ratios and then heating them together. We have several pots of different mixes that we use for various applications. For serving cables we use a mix that is heavy on pine tar with a bit of linseed oil to improve the waterproofing and make the "tarring down" last longer. For servings on sheets or other areas where tar could stain sails or clothes we use a mix heavy on bee's wax with a bit of lanolin thinned with turpentine to help it absorb into the servings and splices better. The real trick is to get the feel for what mix works best for each application. Get that right and you will save a lot of time, headache, and money. Just be sure to remember all the ingredients are the natural ones, not the chemical imitations that are cheaper and often easier to find.

Two Mechanics kits needed

Have a look here to see the list of what is needed »


Two of the rural places we assist have made a rather unusual, but very logical request this year. They need proper tools for their local mechanics.

Caring for outboards, generators, and other rural machinery may seem like a simple task, but try it when all you have to work with are a few adjustable spanners, worn out screwdrivers, and some pliers. In one "shop" we were shown 13 outboard motors lying around looking very dead simply because the local mechanic did not have the tools to be able to repair them. By loaning him some of our tools from Vega, he managed to fix 9 of those motors in three days. That meant 9 fishermen could get back to fishing again. The man almost cried when he had to give us back our tools.

In our efforts to assist the educational and medical services we often forget that there are others who's professional input is also vital to the communities well being. Many of you reading this will have more tools in the boot of your car, your basement, or garage than these people dream of. Here is a chance for a shop to get rid of all the old tools lying about or for a kind-hearted soul to donate a set of tools. We have a very good and inexpensive place in Indonesia where we can purchase these tools direct from the factory all that is needed is the donation to do it with…..hint, hint.

Wheels for wheelbarrows

- help for the farmers in East Timor.
Read the entire article here »

Wheels for wheelbarrows

It may not sound like much, but to a small scale farmer having a good solid wheelbarrow is very important. See how you can help create employment for a rural community and provide rural farmers in East Timor with solid workman like wheelbarrows at a reasonable price.

One of the offshoots from the ModuSpec sponsored vocational training center is a commitment on the communities part to start making wheel barrows and light farming tools for sale to the local and other communities. In order to get this part of the project off the ground we would like to provide the seed materials needed to manufacture the first few. Once those are being made and sold then the center should have the income to replace the materials used. The most important item on a wheelbarrow is the wheel. It needs to be large and wide with a strong hub and good bearing. So this year we will arrive in East Timor with 20 good solid professional wheel barrow wheels and funds to purchase the sheet metal, pipe, and axle material to get that project started.

Meggis culinary delights

Better Bread

Tips for improvment »

After all the years experimenting with various products we finally found the solution to the "perfect bread" by using the Bavarian dark bread mix from the German company IREKS and additional the dry sourdoughs "wheat sour" or "rye sour".

I'm mixing now 1kg of the Bavarian dark rye flour with 1kg wheat bread flour (if you are in Indonesia buy the one in the green plastic packs, cheap and very good) with the addition of 6 tea spoons of dry sour dough to the original recipe - to be found in the newsletter November/December 2010

The ireks products can be purchased in Singapore from WIN SIN Ltd., 12 Woodlands Link, Tel. +65 6757 4477 x 125, 6755 3098, Distributer in Langkawi, Malaysia are our good friends Simon & Caroline from Pastry Pro, Kuah, Tel. 04 9666 595, e-mail

If you want to bake the real stuff, better than any bakery in S/E Asia, try the Ireks products and have a look to their site

Many thanks to Gerhard Stichlberger and Simon Lee for Master Baker advice and support.

Dog watch snack

Since we don't get younger and prettier we decided that Oreos and cocklat chip cookies are no more to keep us awake during the never ending night watches.
Our alternative »

Pop corn is an easy to make, low calorie snack. Only thing you need are the corn seeds (sold by most supermarkets), oil, big pressure cooker or cooking pot with a good lid and hot stove.

Heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, then add enough corn to cover the bottom of the pot and place the lid on - Warning If there is to much corn, you get a lot of seeds & little pop corn . Wait until it starts popping (there you need the heavy lid, they are quite energetic little buggers), shake the pot to mix the content and after 2-3 minutes it should be safe to have a peek. All the seeds should have pooped, if not leave the pot on the heat for another 30sec. When finished add salt to taste.

The Captain’s Log

The captain's log

his edition of our newsletter is very special.

Just as I was finishing up the January – February issue my computer died. Then after re-writing the whole thing again on Meggi's computer hers decided to pop a rivet.

Well, there was no way to fix either one until we arrived in Singapore. Once safely tied up at Raffles Marina our first trip to town was Meggi's computer to the Apple repair shop. 4 days later Meggi's machine was like new again, but so much time had been lost I find I must re-write most of this newsletter and integrate 2 more months into it. Then the boat show caught up with us with all the panic that entales while next thing we knew we were at sea on our way to Jakarta. Sorry if if this one is a bit long, but so much has happened that we want to share with you.

Usually we try and fill these newsletters with useful tips, tricks, and advice to make living on the water or owning a boat easier and when possible less expensive. The whole ethos of these newsletters is to share practical experiences with our friends. That said, we have noticed there are three types of friends who subscribe: those interested in Vega and her history as a boat, those interested in our experiences afloat, and those interested in assisting in our humanitarian work. Most editions are heavy on advice and tips with a goodly dose of maritime lore and seamanship. The humanitarian aspect of Vega's life is restricted to the latest developments and our successes. This issue is different.

Vega's sailors

The first few months of every year we are busy trying to fill the lists of requests we have from the people we assist. If we fail we will not have the items we need to deliver. If we succeed then our year will be successful.

From May until end of September we are at sea delivering those items.

You will still find advice, and a few good tips in this issue, but the real thrust is to bring you up to date on our humanitarian work and the island communities we assist in the hope you will want to become involved and help them also. I promise the next issue will be back to the old format and much more interesting to those only interested in Vega the boat and her history.

Vega's survival depends on many things, but by far the most important is her continued success in assisting others, that is the most socially responsible way we have found to keep her at sea, alive, and working. A boat like Vega tied to a pier will quickly die. As long as she is working and being kept in sea-worthy condition she can live for another 100 years. To do that we need your help to procure the educational and medical supplies we deliver and for Vega's modest running costs.

As one friend observed, "What you two have created is a classic "Mom and Pop" charity". It's true. There are no big companies or NGO's pouring money into what we do every month and Vega is all we own. In fact every month is a scramble just to cover our running costs, while at the same time gathering all the supplies and equipment we need for our deliveries. Perhaps that is why we are so proud of our successes and why our contact with the people we assist is so personel.

Fuel and lube oil for this years Missions of Mercy ... more »

Fuel and lube oil for this years Missions of Mercy

Although Vega is a good sailing boat, and we sail her at every chance, many of the places we go are well known for light and fickle winds. Often we must motor against the trade winds for several days to reach an out of the way place, or just go in big circles for several days while we off load and deliver supplies to places with no harbor facilities or bad anchoring ground and of coarse there is always the generator that runs 5-6 hours every day. All of that adds up to fuel burned and oil that must be changed.

Fuel and lube oil are our single largest expense. In the coarse of an average year we burn upwards of 6,000 liters and use about 80 liters of high-grade marine engine oil. This year we again need assistance with fuel and lube oil if we are to reach all the places we have supplies for. As someone noted recently, "it doesn't help to fill the boat with supplies if you can't get there to deliver them".

This year several of our friends have come to the rescue with money for fuel including the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Club at Pantai Mutiara in Jakarta who topped off our tanks just before we left for east Timor and Alexis Marsh who held a charity party that raised $1750 USD for fuel. If you, or your company, would like to make a very important contribution to our efforts providing fuel or lube oil is one of the best ways we know of.


At last solar power comes to Vega

For years now we dreamed of having solar panels, not only because they would reduce our fuel consumption, but also to reduce our carbon footprint in the delicate ecosystems we visit. We estimated that a proper solar system would reduce our daily generator run time by 1/3 - 1/2. There is also the worry that our only generator could fail at any moment, it is not the youngest one afloat. The problem was finding panels that were efficient and truely marine. Read the whole article here »

At last solar power comes to Vega

For years we have been watching the solar panel market hoping that someone would start manufacturing truly marine panels, not the usual expensive adaptations of "house" panels one finds in the "marine" catalogues. At last we have found a company that designed their panels from the drawing board to the boat to be truly marine, completely water proof, nothing to corrode and with a very high level of efficiency.

That company is a little start up manufacturer in Singapore called Hooray Solar energy systems. You can find their website with a quick Google. Just do not expect the flashy glitz of most solar panel sales outfits, these are engineers and scientists so their presentation tends to be a bit on the technical side rather than the flash marketing side. That said, their products are first rate. Imagine a panel you can submerge completely and if the water is clear enough you will still find a respectable charge flowing into your batteries. These panels are SBS certified water proof, something no other manufacturer on the market can claim. They are also made of strong polymer "unibody" construction so no metal parts to start corroding after a year or two and no need for complex grounding / bonding systems. Even the output terminals are sealed and located at the top of each panel for maximum output. The best part is the cost. The first day we had ours up we registered over 9 amps flowing to the batteries. When sailing that is more than half the total we use on board including auto pilot and 3 freezers. Next year we hope to add 2 more of their panels that should bring us much closer to being self sufficient.

For more information contact: HOORAY ENERGY PTE LTD Singapore 738068 Tel: +65 6515 5356 Fax: +65 6515 5276 Email: Web:

Former ModuSpec Bvd President Leo Nagtegaal to sponsor 1st phase of vocational training center in East Timor ... more about the project »

When Vega arrives in East Timor this year it will be a very special occasion for the Bhakita Community Development program. For years now they have dreamed of establishing a community vocational training center and even went so far as to build the building using community effort and donated materials. What has been missing were the tools and equipment to get started. Now thanks to former ModuSpec's President Leo Nagtegaal, they will have a first class Metal workshop not only to train new wielders and metal workers, but also to manufacture basic farm tools and wheelbarrows. Leo Nagtegaal has stated, "This year we help them with the metal shop. If all goes well and they show us they can manage this for training and to manufacture basic farm tools for the community next year we will help them even further with equipment for the farm tools and perhaps a mechanics-training unit. What we would like to see is these people take charge of their future through training and light manufacturing that provides jobs and helps improve agricultural output - to create a self sustaining community run program."

ModuSpec Bvd, of the Lloyds Register Group, additionally supplies educational materials for schools and orphanages in Timor Leste and Indonesia
Image below shows Arie Koortens and Sunil Nair bringing ModuSpec's office computers as a donation ready to be shipped to the Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili.

Educational equipment and Supplies

Nutrition, health care, and education are the keys to sustainable community development and growth. In our travels we meet some of the most dedicated teachers you can imagine. Teachers working with nothing, teaching reading and writing using sharp sticks and the ground as their black board. Communities proudly show us schools they built using their own labor and materials complete with small village made desks - yet those schools lack even the most basic teaching materials.
To learn more »

Educational equipment and Supplies

Their needs are so modest it is almost hard to believe, but to them – often living on less than $1 a day - those needs are very important. This year thanks to help from Arie + Luce Koortens, the French Schools in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as well as friends like the Khan Family owners of SK Intertrade and the members of The Grand Mosque in Langkawi, and Fatin Asuri who convinced all her friends to help out with books in Bahasa Malay, Jotun Paints of Singapore, and ModuSpec, to name only a few, the lists of educational materials needed have been greatly reduced. Thanks to their generosity this year there will be many happy teachers and students all along our route.

We never seem to have enough pencils, pens, exercise books, chalk, white board markers, rulers, world maps, etc. The very basics that a teacher needs to teach with. We will need more help here for next year and would love to see even more friends and small companies join us in providing supplies for these hard working teachers. A box of 144 pencils costs less than a junk food eat out at MacDonald's and a case of exercise books is much less than many spend on a few drinks at the bar. You can see the full generic list of what is needed at

Vega partners with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to provide sports equipment for the schools we assist ... read more »

Vega partners with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to provide sports equipment for the schools we assist

Almost every high school and middle school we assist has asked us for sports equipment. Sports are an important part of developing a healthy individual yet they understandably take a back seat to such things as books and other basic educational supplies. Now thanks to a partnership with the Football Association of Singapore this year many of the schools we assist will not only have better sports equipment, but the encouragement of knowing their uniforms and equipment came from a "Big Time" international team. Seeing the player whose shirt they wear on television or in the news can be a life changing experience for some child who feels lost and left behind in today's fast passed world. Thank you FAS your kindness will mean a lot to many children who have grown up thinking a football is a bundle of rags tied together with string. And who knows, one day one of those children may grow up to proudly wear the Singapore colors.