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Croatia to Thailand - Tips from our Delivery Trip

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 03, 2008 05:29 PM

Published: 2008-10-03 17:29:14
Topics: Red Sea
Countries: Croatia , Egypt , Oman , Sri Lanka , Sudan , Thailand

Voyage of S/Y Nicola from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Kantang, Thailand.
26 July to 19 September 2008.

We have just completed a "delivery trip" of my Hallberg-Rassy 36 from Croatia to our home in Thailand. During the trip I made use of previous data posted on the Noonsite website, so this is my contribution to those who follow me.

Onboard was myself, my wife and a contracted commercial Ocean Master skipper from Professional Yacht Deliveries in UK (Hallberg-Rassy’s preferred delivery company), who had transited the Red Sea twice before, and who’s presence was a condition of my insurance company. This was a good decision in view of the tight schedule, as watchkeeping for just 2 of us would have been exhausting.

I picked the period of late July to late September to coincide with the end of the Southwest monsoons; as it turned out I was about 2 weeks late for any decent winds from the Red Sea to Sri Lanka, but perfectly timed for the Sri Lanka – Thailand leg.

Due to time restraints of work we had little time to make many stops and because of slight winds, we motored and motorsailed far more than I had anticipated.

Logged distance was 5958 miles in 39 days 2 hours underway + 10 days in ports. Average speed was 6.4 knots and we sailed 26% of the time and motor sailed 75%. Much of the trip involved favourable currents of up to 2.5 knots, so the logged distance was less than the great circle calculated distance.

Although our boat is extremely seaworthy, and at no time did we ever feel overstretched, 36 feet is uncomfortable for monsoon seas on the quarter and just sitting in the cockpit was very tiring, the seacots were the most comfortable places to be.

The following port information may prove useful for those doing the same route:

First leg: Dubrovnik, Croatia to Port Said, Egypt.
Logged distance 1135 miles in 7 days 4 hours.
Average speed of 6.6 kts; sailed 45 hours (26%) and motor sailed 127 hours (74%).

Port Said Data
Agent: Felix Maritime Agency, Port Fouad Yacht Centre. Agent’s fee for the complete transit including assistance in Suez $150, Port Clearance $40, Boat measurement and Canal transit fee $272, Backsheesh $30.
Restaurant: El Borge on the West Bank a short taxi ride from the town centre.
Bar: Bar Cecil 2 minutes walk from the ferry.
Town centre: on the West Bank accessed by 24 hour free ferries outside Port Fouad.
Provisions: Several supermarkets within walking distance of Port Fouad.
Diesel: by boat’s own jerrycans at $1.20/litre delivered alongside.

Second Leg: Suez Canal transit south, Port Said to Ismailiya and on to Suez.
Port Fouad to Ismailiya Yacht Club is 42 nm to be transited at 7 knots minimum speed. Electric and water on the dock included in the $21 mooring fee. Laundry and restaurant on site. Very comfortable marina berth.

We had to wait 2 days, one in Port Said and one in Ismailiya for warships as the Suez Canal is closed to all vessels smaller than 300 tons when a warship is due to transit the canal.

Ismailiya Data
Bar and Restaurant: George’s 10 minutes walk from the marina. Not cheap but comfortable and good food.
Town centre: 10 minutes walk but not worth the effort.
Provisions: Several supermarkets within walking distance of the marina but the open market is very dirty.

Ismailiya to Suez day’s run 47 nm to be transited at 7 knots minimum speed. We moored alongside the Suez Canal Yacht Club, water available, no electric. $21 per night for nothing.

Suez Data
Agent: Felix Maritime Agency, Suez Yacht Club. Agent’s fee for the complete transit including assistance in Suez paid in Port Said, Exit visa $15/person, Backsheesh $75.
Bar: Summer Palace Hotel 10 minutes walk from the marina. Anywhere for a beer if you’re desperate.
Town centre: 15 minutes by minibus – ask the agent to arrange a shopping trip as it’s too far to the shops.
Provisions: Small shops can supply everything; the large open market is good for fresh vegetables.
Diesel: by agent’s jerrycans at $0.80/litre delivered alongside. It is reported that there is also a fuel quay.

Third leg: Suez, Egypt to Port Sudan, Sudan.
Logged distance 731 miles in 4 days 18 hours.
Average speed of 6.4 kts; sailed 10 hours (9%) and motor sailed 104 hours (91%).
In the South Gulf of Suez beware of the oil platforms of the Ramadan field, many are unlit so use radar or wait for daylight.

Port Sudan Data
Agent: Redsea Enterprise (halim@redseaenterprise). Contact Capt. Abdul Halim via Port Control. Agent’s fee Euro 60 ($91 or 112 Sudanese Pound), Seaport Operation (Sudan boat registry) Euro 35 ($53 or 192 Sudanese Pound), Backsheesh $100 (to be able to leave the same day we arrived).
Town centre: We did not go ashore as we needed to press on and the town looked very dirty and uninviting.
Diesel: by boat’s own jerrycans at $1.33/litre delivered alongside.

Fourth leg: Port Sudan, Sudan to Salalah, Oman.
Logged distance 1292 miles in 8 days 11 hours.
Average speed of 6.4 kts; sailed 6 hours (3%) and motor sailed 197 hours (97%).
Temperatures: 34ºC air, 33ºC sea; very humid. 2.5 knot south flowing current on east side of Bab el Mandib. Entered the Gulf of Aden and temperatures dropped suddenly: 28ºC air, 25ºC sea.

On 19 Aug Mayday heard at 1915 from chemical tanker Buga Milati being boarded by pirates at 12º45´.1N, 47º57´.7E. Near Ras Fartak we encountered a 2.0 knot east flowing current. Due to extended fast motoring we had to make an unscheduled stop for diesel in Nishtun (identified from Admiralty Sailing Directions).

Nishtun Data
Agent: Did not identify his company. Agent’s fee to arrange diesel $30, Port fee $25, Backsheesh to return passports $55.
Town centre: None; fishing quay, very dirty and no facilities but port policeman from Aden and spoke English.
Diesel: by boat’s own jerrycans at $1.20/litre plus $30 for delivery alongside.

Nearing Salalah the weather changed completely to cool and overcast, 25ºC air, 21ºC sea. Entered Salalah port and anchored as directed by RoRo slipway. Omani Customs and police came aboard, charming people and very polite. No agent necessary; at officials’ request we paid all fees by Visa card: Oman Entry fee $15, Port fee $15 and $6/person for 30 day transit visa.

Salalah Data
Salalah is a huge container port with no facilities for small boats. The weather in July/August is exceptionally cool.
Agent: None necessary.
Bar and retaurant: Oasis Port Club 30 minutes walk from the port but usually someone will stop and give you a lift. Excellent international food, drink and ambience at a fair price.
Town centre: 15 minutes by taxi from outside the port gates – arrange the fare, about $5, before you get in.
Provisions: Small shops can supply everything; Lulu supermarket is best for food and KM Trading for department store items. The roadside market stalls are also good for fresh vegetables.
Diesel: by your boat’s own jerrycans; I was charged too much at $1.25/litre but the service was excellent.
Mechanical and electrical repairs: on the dockside.
Haul-out: by crane.
Mooring fees in the port: free including water but no available quayside and no pontoons or jetty, you must anchor off in soft mud which is good holding.

Fifth leg: Salalah, Oman to Galle, Sri Lanka.
Logged distance 1535 miles in 10 days 21 hours.
Average speed of 6.4 kts; sailed 76 hours (29%) and motor sailed 185 hours (71%).

Galle Data
Galle is a small fishing and dry cargo port; there is a small naval base within the port and security is high due to the present conflict. Arrival procedure is to contact Port Control on ch 16, Port Control advised us to contact one of 2 agents on ch 69 or ch 71 and to anchor in the outer harbour and await boarding inspection by the navy.

Following inspection follow the navy tender through a labyrinth of security floats and wire cables to the inner harbour. The agent we contacted on channel 69, Don Windsor & Co. was on the dockside to meet us. Customs visited and inspected for munitions, drugs and alcohol. There is a guest house and a toilet and shower block on the dock but no electricity or water for boats. During our time there we parted a mooring rope due to the violent surges.

Agent: Don Windsor & Company provided all necessary services for $200. Were also contacted by Dee Dee Yacht Services for tuktuk and assistance ashore and we paid $50 (plus $50 tip) for the chauffeured tuktuk for 3 full days including a trip into the rain forest. Both companies were courteous and efficient.
Bars and restaurants: Take the tuktuk to one of several in Unawatuna Bay, about 5 kms from the port. We stayed 2 nights in the Peacock Hotel for $27/night. Excellent food, drink and ambience at a fair price.
Town centre: 10 minutes by taxi from outside the port gates.
Provisions: Small shops can supply everything; There are also supermarkets in the town centre. Roadside market stalls are also good for fresh vegetables but will cheat on price if you’re unprepared. We used the services of Mike’s Yacht Services nearby the port who can deliver all provisions alongside as he has a dock entry pass.
Diesel: Delivered to the dockside by truck and offloaded by drum pump at $1.45/litre.
Water: Delivered to the dockside by truck and offloaded by hose. Minimum delivery 500 litres at minimal cost.
Mechanical and electrical repairs: on the dockside.

Sixth leg: Galle, Sri Lanka to Kantang, Thailand.
Logged distance 1062 miles in 7 days 20 hours.
Average speed of 5.6 kts; sailed 94 hours (50%) and motor sailed 94 hours (50%).

Kantang Data
Kantang is a small fishing and dry cargo port; there are Port Police, Harbour Master, Immigration and Customs offices within the town. Formalities are relaxed. There is no quayside mooring for small boats and no diesel or water points. Anchor in sand/mud near to the ferry boat landing on the south shore.

Bars and restaurants: Many within 5 minutes walk. Excellent food, drink and ambience at very low prices.
Town centre: At the ferry landing.
Provisions: Small shops can supply everything; There are also supermarkets in the town and a Tesco supermarket 2 minutes by motorbike taxi ride. The daily market stalls are also good for fresh provisions at low prices.

David and Pu Woods
S/Y Nicola
Kantang, Thailand.

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