All set for the Singapore Straits

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Friday 30 October 2015

Singapore TSS

Singapore TSS

So after a week of day hopping Adina is all set to head into Singapore. It’s funny how some passages get you that little bit more excited – perhaps it’s the uniqueness of what you are doing. Other events of a similar ilk that spring to mind are the start of our Atlantic crossing and transiting the Panama Canal.

This time the excitement lies in crossing the Singapore Straits’ Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) surrounding Singapore. While it’s not the busiest shipping lane in the world, it adds adrenalin in that it is a lot of shipping in a relatively narrow area and it’s going fast. And we’ve not seen much big shipping for a long time! The Panama Canal is busier but there everything is widely spaced out so you easily have time to judge your own movements; the English Channel has more shipping but its spread over a bigger area.

In the TSS ships have right of way over us little yachties and to cross we have to do so at exactly ninety degrees to the direction of traffic. The key to success is to cross where the ships are on a set heading and not coming into or out of the TSS. We’ve picked a spot to start crossing (1°09.643’N 103°48.954E) and it means we will have 2.8km of TSS to cross. Every vessel is in theory meant to have AIS (Automatic Identification System) so we can all see on our navigation systems what we are doing. These systems are sophisticated in that not only do they give us key data about the other vessels they also they provide information on how far away they are, how close we will get to each other (called the Closest Point of Approach or CPA) and how long it is until that CPA. So timing our crossing will be critical with 200m long vessels that can easily do thirteen knots.

Not only that, we have two Traffics Separation Systems to cross! We’ll be crossing the second one at 1°12.062’N 103°49.442’E. And adding to it all it’s spring tides right now and we experienced three knots of current coming up today!

After that we will tootle along to an anchorage area where immigration will visit us in a boat and we hand our documents over using a net they use to do the transfer. And finally we head off to One Degree Fifteen marina to park up, turn on the air conditioning and see if it still works!

We’ll be leaving the anchorage at around 8.30am Singapore time (0030 UT!) – the tracker will be on and we’ll ping away. It’s about 20 miles to the marina.

Early night then, a big day of lots of concentration ahead.

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