Sailing Magayon in Indonesia

by Martin Gummert

See also: Norwalk Island Sharpies in the Philippines


In February 1998 we moved to Makassar (formerly Ujung Pandang), in South Sulaweis. There are already a number of motor speed boats and yet skis but hardly any sailing boats expect the traditional Pinisi boats and some smaller outrigger sailboats. We got ourselves a new 8 horsepower outboard motor. We then launched Magayon after more than a year in August 1998. Unfortunately we had not made many trips.

The infrastructure for trailorboat sailing in Makassar is really bad. There is only one decent concrete ramp for launching in the yacht club Popsa. But since all other boats at Popsa are speed boats an electric cable is running just above the ramp and nobody seems to bother because none of the boats has a mast.

Our house in Makassar

Sailing Magayon in front
of Makassar
In addition care taking is a problem. One can pay a care taker but that does not guarantee anything. Magayon was transferred once when anchored at popsa to another anchorage and then nobody seemed to mind when the anchor slipped and as a result she drifted at the shore. There she stayed for at least a week unnoticed hitting the ground with every low tide. After I checked on her again a week later a whole had appeard in the bottom where she was sitting on a stone. On the trailor she was not save either. Several times red ants attacked her and the acidity of their eggs destroyed the wood where it was not sealed properly with epoxy (thanks to the Philippine builder).

In 2000 she had many rotten parts in the wood that needed serious fixing and a major decision was due. The options were sale, sinking or fixing. We tried to sell her but nobody of the Indonesians were interested. A dutch guy, who had a look at her after I had posted an advertisement in Kiosk Semarang just commented: "You have a nice way of writing".

Considering that we were due to leave around 8 months later we did not want to invest more money in fixing Magayon. Trying to sell her without success also did not favour repair. So we thought about sinking her in a nice spot so at least we could visit her every now and then by scuba diving. Even that turned out to require too much effort so that finally we stripped the rig and anything usefull off her and gave the hull to the caretaker at Popsa. It was kind of sad. After almost a year that it took for building canibalizing her took only one hour. The good parts and fittings went in a box and are waiting now for a new, properly built hull. Next time we might build a traditional Pinisi sailboat.

Traditional Indonesian Pinisi sailboat in the port of Jakarta


Thanks to everybody who sailed with us in Makassar including:

Ruth, Ms. Elle, Peter, Markus, Mathias, Andrea and Daniel, Pak Bob, who especially enjoyed the beers away from social control, Hamish, Victor, and many other kids from the Makassar International School.

Miki started to develop strong ownership for Magayon and had started to help "Daddy" rigging her.

We are glad to hear that after sailing on Magayon Ms. Elle has taken up sailing and is not racing somewhere in Africa.

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