Powerful monsoon winds, rough and rolling seas with 2.5m waves, and even an erupting volcano, all this and more proved no obstacle for the Gulf Craft-built Nomad 65 Fly Motoryacht (M/Y) Amazing Grace during its epic 9-day, 1,600 nautical mile journey from Singapore to East Timor.
The adventure on the high seas of South East Asia was undertaken by Captain Alan Pickering on the request of the yacht’s owner who decided that M/Y Amazing Grace would be the perfect addition to his hotel development on the island.
Prior to the journey, which was planned to follow a route through the Singapore Straits, along the coast of Batam Island, through the Riau Archipelago en route to the Java Sea, the Nomad 65 Fly had only been used by the owner’s family for short-range leisure cruises since taking delivery of the yacht in 2017.
Aware of the yacht’s impressive seafaring pedigree and long-distance performance, it was decided that M/Y Amazing Grace and the hotel would help to stimulate the fledgling tourism industry in East Timor and benefit the local community
“With M/Y Amazing Grace fully loaded with supplies, fuel and water, the yacht set sail south from Singapore with a crew of 4.” said Capt Pickering.
“Not far off the coast of Borneo, the Nomad 65 Fly felt the full force of a south easterly blowing monsoon, with the vessel encountering serious headwinds and rough seas.”
Designed by Gulf Craft’s team of Emirates-based engineers and built by expert craftsmen, the monsoon weather posed no problem to the yacht which navigated its way through 20-25kts winds and 2.5m waves with ease, although the conditions did slow down progress while also increasing fuel consumption.
Capt Pickering and crew sailed 900 nautical miles through the monsoon, rough conditions the experienced sailors were able to take in their stride.
“Our course took us across the Java Sea, into the ‘teeth’ of the storm. Despite the conditions, the seasoned crew did not opt to use the Nomad 65 Fly’s advanced gyro stabilizer systems, a testament to many years spent crisscrossing the world’s oceans,” said Capt Pickering.
To get some shelter from the worsening weather, Capt Pickering decided to close the north coast of Bali and Lombok and to proceed along the north coast of Sumbawa.
“As we closed the coast of Flores, we increased the rpm slightly from 700rpm at about 14lts per hour fuel consumption, to 950rpm at about 18/20 litres per hour,” said Capt Pickering. “The speed at this rpm range increased to just over 8.5kts.
At just over 65ft long with a 18ft beam and 4ft 9in draft, the long-range yacht M/Y Amazing Grace was perfectly at home on the high seas allowing all those onboard to enjoy its luxurious features that make the Nomad 65 Fly one of the most popular yachts on the market.
These features include 3 guest and two crew cabins and living areas fully equipped with the latest entertainment technology and features.
As M/Y Amazing Grace approached the eastern end of Flores, within 150miles or so of its destination, the wind freshened further from the east-north-east. It was decided to transit through the Straits between the eastern islands of Bangmerang and Alor, passing the volcano of Pura.
“This was a dramatic passage between the narrow gap between the islands and the volcano, which was very pleasant after 8 days of only mostly open ocean to look at,” said Capt Pickering.
“On emerging to the southern end of the Island of Alor, and through the strong tidal currents we had a flat sea for the first time in the whole voyage and so we increased the rpm to just over 1,000rpm which gave us close to 10kts,” he said.
“We carried this speed for the rest of the voyage to Dili, East Timor, and dropped anchor outside the port at around 23.30 hrs about 20% of our fuel left. We anchored in calm water and slept very well that evening.”
Capt Pickering described the transit through the Java Sea as “very scenic” particularly when they passed close to islands with active volcanoes, allowing those on board to witness the incredible sight of an eruption.
“During the final leg into Dili, and while passing close to the coast of Alor Island after dark, we witnessed an incredible sight of a volcanic eruption high on the mountainside of Alor,” said Capt Pickering.
“The eruption released rivers of molten lava clearly visible running down the mountainside, it ignited the dry vegetation and smoke and the bright red glare was visible for many miles.” After 9 eventful days at sea, Capt Pickering and the crew were happy to arrive at their destination, and even happier to have completed their journey using Gulf Craft’s Nomad 65 Fly.
“The Nomad 65 Fly is a wonderful yacht for long range voyaging, especially through the wonderful Indonesian Archipelago, for which the Nomad Yachts is very well suited. It behaved magnificently throughout the whole voyage,” said Capt Pickering who was impressed with the yacht’s performance in rough seas, smooth sailing through coastal waters and excellent fuel consumption.
“We are now planning the return voyage to Singapore via Komodo Island with great anticipation,” he added.
Whether or not the journey home features more erupting volcanoes, molten lava flows and brutal monsoons, Capt Pickering and his crew are assured safe passage all the way to Singapore thanks to the sturdiness of the Nomad 65 Fly.
Gareth Lloyd, Nomad Yachts brand manager said: “This challenging and exciting voyage from Singapore to East Timor is a perfect demonstration of what Gulf Craft’s Nomad 65 Fly are expertly designed and built to do – allowing those on board to enjoy unforgettable experiences and epic journeys in complete comfortable and safety.”