Archive for December, 2006

Sailing in to Vivocity!

December 30, 2006

Parka was at Vivocity on the 30th when we sailed in, and he captures his first impressions on his blog. Its loaded with great photos – hop over for a look!

Kids cheering the Götheberg


Hong Kong to Singapore: crew

December 30, 2006

Photo of most of the Hong Kong to Singapore crew at the bow, 30 Dec 2006. We were already in Singapore waters then, moored off Marina South.

Click for a larger image!

Götheberg in Singapore news: “The sail worth waiting for” (TNP, 29 Dec 2006)

December 29, 2006

“The sail worth waiting for”
The Electric New Paper, 29 December 2006

The Gotheborg III, a full-scale replica of an 18th-century Swedish ship, will arrive here on Saturday with four S’poreans on board IT looks like something Sir Stamford Raffles may have sailed on.

IT looks like something Sir Stamford Raffles may have sailed on.

It’s actually a replica of a ship that travelled from Europe to Asia half a century before he did.

And it’s arriving here this week – with four Singaporeans on board.

The Gotheborg was what was known as an East Indiaman, a sailing ship that carried passengers and goods and could defend itself against pirates.

In 1745, it was returning to its home port of Gothenburg in Sweden, after a two-year voyage to China, when, within view of the shore, it struck a rock and sank.

Its wreck was researched by marine archaeologists and the replica was built over 10 years. It cost the equivalent of $50 million.

In October last year, the replica, called the Gotheborg III, set sail to retrace the original vessel’s voyage. Now, on its way back to the city of Gothenburg, it will stop here for a fortnight.

When it left Hong Kong on 12 Dec, the Singaporeans joined the crew of 80. They are navy cadets Oh Poh Huat and Oh Zong Bo, research officer N Sivasothi from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and business student Teo Wei Chuen from the Singapore Management University. The vessel – which is the length of five buses – looks and sails just like the real thing, but if Raffles were to step on board, he would be amazed by the creature comforts. There are washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum toilets.

And he wouldn’t know what to make of the global positioning system, radar and electronic charts.

The ship has two engines too, but they are used only in busy waterways.

The rest of the time it relies on the sails, which can weigh up to 3 tonnes. Mr Sivasothi said: ‘The Swedes have been showing us the ropes, literally. Unfurling sails… like in the old days.’

There are magic moments, and the crew have been keeping an online journal. Sleeping in a hammock on board is like being in a cradle, gently rocked by the breathing of mother ocean, in the words of one of them.

It may seem romantic. But life on a wooden sailing ship involves fighting sea-sickness, getting used to small spaces and working hard at endless maintenance routines – carpentry, painting and sail repairs.

It can also get quite hot. The ship has radiators for heat in its chilly home waters, but no air-conditioning for the tropics.

One crew member, who gave her name only as Jenny, wrote in the journal: ‘Go two decks down and it feels like a sauna. Down one more deck, you could be in Hades.’

East Indiamen at the time of the original Gotheborg had all-male crews, but today women like Jenny scrub the decks and man the sails alongside the men.

At night, the deck becomes a ‘red light district’, though there’s nothing naughty about that. All it means is that a red bucket with a lantern inside provides just enough light for the crew to work without affecting their night vision.

The four from our shores are sure to have plenty to talk about for a long time to come.

Welcome home, guys.

See some of the layout schemes they experimented with here.

Open House aboard the Gotheborg

December 28, 2006

The Gotheborg is scheduled to arrive in Harbourfront, Singapore, on Saturday, 30th Dec 2006 from Stanley, Hong Kong. She is on her way back to Sweden on her historical voyage to China. Barring any natural disasters, she will depart Singapore on Sunday, 14th Jan 2007.

A welcome ceremony has been planned for her grand entrance this Saturday, at the Vivocity Promenade from 1.15pm – 3pm.

If you want to get up close and personal with this beautiful lady, you can do so the next day, from 31st Dec. The ship opens to the public till 9th Jan.

Tickets are S$10 for adults, S$5 for children below 12 years old. Family tickets are available too. See link for details. [link]

If you’re an IKEA Friends member, you can get 40% off the regular ticket prices (i.e. S$6-adults, S$3-child).


“The Swedish ship Gotheborg has been built according to traditional methods and with the same raw materials that were used in the 18th century. 1,000 oak logs and 50 kilometres of pine have been turned into a 58.5 metre long and 11 metre wide East Indiaman ship. The nails, blocks, sails, cordage and ropes have all been made by hand. It took 100,000 man hours just to build the rig. No drawings from the past were found, so the main keys to success had to be innovation, skill and persistent research. Modern equipment for safety, navigation, cooking, heating and hygiene has been carefully disguised onboard to preserve the traditional feel.”

Dry Gotheborg in Wet Singapore!

December 28, 2006

The skies over Singapore opened up yet once again and unleashed continuous rains over many parts of the island yesterday.

Ironincally, the ship remains largely dry. We even managed to dry the sails. I climbed up to spread a couple and was drenched with sweat from the effort!

The rains is expected to last till Sunday at least!

Nobel Prize in Singapore

December 28, 2006

Complimenting the Gotheborg’s visit to Singapore:


Anchored in Rainy Singapore

December 26, 2006

We arrived in Singapore waters far ahead of our scheduled ETA on 30th Dec.

Now moored off the Marina South Pier.


Santa visits the Gotheborg

December 25, 2006

See this very interesting Christmas clip before it gets updated to another one.

Record time

December 17, 2006

We made record time on the ship last night – more than 200 nautical miles. I think maybe 217nm in a 24 hour period. Fastest ever since the Gotheborg set sail!

The sea about us is impressive with strong waves and is quite beautiful. It replenishes me when I go up on deck. The toughest part is waking up for my 12 midnight duty! But everyone looks like hell and then five minutes before time, they are all there and ready. I like that pofessionalism.

I will try to write about my Fire Rounds later. Being a safety freak, I am quite particular about ensuring that I do a thorough job during my rounds. Wallace and Raffles both lost their wooden ships full of specimens to fire!! Of course that is melodramatic since the 21st century fire safety system here means the engineers will now about the fire before we find them. But still…

Bootcamp – not exactly!

December 16, 2006

We have exercises before and after our watch. Its a very simple routine but still so demanding (well, I am a little out of shape). I like that they are all particular about warming up and down after the short stint. This would be good to introduce at briskwalks!

My watch is just over and I will have exercise soon. These regular exercise sessions are certainly helping me regain my fitness. Well, my feeble push-ups are slowly improving!