Tom Vosmer, Construction Director

29th September 2008
Tom Vosmer, Construction Director
After months the main timber supply for the ship has arrived from Africa.
Tom Vosmer

On my first of three trips to Ghana in search of a supply of timber, I remember reading the list of house rules for the bungalow-style hotel in which we stayed in a small dusty milling town. The last rule declared, “Guests are urged to maintain sanity while outside the rooms.” Reasonable advice, but during this entire process — searching for timber, cutting, milling, shipping — maintaining sanity was not always easy. The entire process was heavily laden with delays, frustrations and complex bureaucratic complications.

Though the timber has not been released from customs, I did manage a peek at it. After negotiating the complexities of getting permission just to enter the port, I was led to one of the containers. “Ah, yes, I recognise you,” I thought. The last time I saw that container had been on a rough unsealed road in the northeast of Ghana. Now here it was, looking a bit worn and shabby, in Port Sultan Qaboos, Oman. The latches groaned and screeched and the door swung open revealing a jumble of planks and baulks, dusted with a coating of white mould. Not a surprise really - the mould, that is. That door had been sealed on the timber 104 days before.

Delivery had been excruciatingly slow, with numerous delays in ports along the way. Those 104 days of dark, hot, moist conditions had led to an exuberant blossoming of mould all over the wood. But poking around at the wood indicated that the timber itself was sound. I was told by the health inspector that the inside of the container would be subjected to a controlled chemical weapons attack, then sealed for twenty-four hours to allow things to settle down. I was assured that following the attack, the timber would be safe to handle. We shall see.

Qantab, Oman

Log Entries

  • Captain-Saleh-at-sunset.jpg
    3rd July 2011
    I will never forget this extraordinary project. People still ask me about Jewel.
  •  HH presenting the Medal to Saleh.jpg
    6th September 2010
    The Medal of Honour bestowed on Saleh Al Jabri by HM Sultan Qaboos, was given to Saleh by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.
  • DSC_2371.jpg
    1st September 2010
    The crew of the Jewel of Muscat has been reunited at a special post Iftar dinner hosted by H.E Sayyid Badr at his home.
  • Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke at the gala.
    5th July 2010
    A message to the crew of the Jewel of Muscat from H.E Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi Secretary General, Oman Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • DSC_0009 A happy crew during the passage through Singapore harbour.JPG
    3rd July 2010
    The final ship’s log from Jewel of Muscat.
  • DSC_0171 Captain Saleh Al Jabri on phone cropped .jpg
    3rd July 2010
    Captain Saleh Al Jabri reflects on the voyage of the Jewel and what it has achieved.
  • DSC_0201 Tom Vosmer cropped will be on board for the historic final leg.jpg
    1st July 2010
    As Jewels epic voyage draws to a close Dr Tom Vosmer, Construction Director looks back over the project.
  • DSC_0163 Crew members doing maintenance work as the ship is towed.JPG
    30th June 2010
    A last chance to meet the remaining members of the crew as Jewel is towed for the last stretch into Singapore.
  • DSC_0155 Michael Lithgow hooks our Malaysian escort ship PX-23.JPG
    29th June 2010
    Jewel makes some progress thanks to hard work tacking and one crew member makes a spectacular catch.
  • Tang Treasures
    28th June 2010
    On a quiet sailing day it’s an opportunity to think about the history of the Jewel and her cargo.
  • DSC_0085 New crew members--Dr. Tom Vosmer, Zakariya Al Saadi, and Ananda Kumar.JPG
    27th June 2010
    The Jewel of Muscat struggles with light winds and welcomes three new crew members.
  • DSC_0286 There's always work to be done even in port.JPG
    26th June 2010
    The crew of the Jewel gets ready for the final leg to Singapore.
  • DSC_0254  The crew waves to the welcoming crowd on shore.JPG
    21st June 2010
    A dual celebration for Jewel of Muscat as she enters Port Klang.
  • DSC_0165 A local fishing boat making a rather close pass.JPG
    20th June 2010
    The short fourth leg is already nearly complete.
  • DSC_0152 Malaysian Coast Guard vessel PX 10--our escort through the Straits of Malacca.JPG
    19th June 2010
    As Jewel of Muscat enters the straits of Malacca there are some rare sights for the crew.
  • DSC 0116 Pilot, Syabril Akmar Said helps guide the Jewel of Muscat safely towards open water.JPG
    19th June 2010
    As Jewel of Muscat leaves Penang some special thoughts on the significance of her voyage.
  • Captain-Saleh-at-sunset.jpg
    5th June 2010
    The Captain of the Jewel gives his view on the ship's arrival in Malaysia and the storms back home.
  • DSC_0235 Captain Saleh thanks Mylai Prabhakar for his valuable service aboard the Jewel of Muscat.JPG
    1st June 2010
    The crew of the Jewel celebrate as they prepare to enter Georgetown harbour.
  • DSC_0138 Waiting for the rain to end.JPG
    31st May 2010
    The Jewel of Muscat is frustratingly close to Penang but winds and currents are keeping her away for now.
  • P5300108 Adam Al Balushi helps lower the mizzen during today's squall (AA Photo).JPG
    30th May 2010
    A downpour of rain reminds the crew of Jewel what it feels like to be cold.
  • DSC_0018 Captain Saleh Al Jabri uses the sextant to take a reading from the sun.JPG
    29th May 2010
    Jewel’s crew battle with sudden squalls, but overall winds remain light and progress toward George Town slow.
  • DSC_1030 Day three in the doldrums.JPG
    28th May 2010
    Jewel’s crew wait for the wind to carry them the final stretch to Georgetown.
  • DSC_0930 Mylai Prabhakar cropped.JPG
    27th May 2010
    Mylai Prabhakar considers how sailing on the Jewel compares with the ships he usually works on.
  • DSC_0899 Sumatran fishing boats.JPG
    26th May 2010
    A calm day with little wind is a good time to reflect on the lessons of the voyage.
  • DSC_0400 Sajid log.jpg
    25th May 2010
    Sajid Valappil talks of his love of sewn boats.
  • DSC_0843 Starboard watch prepares for an abandon ship drill.JPG
    24th May 2010
    Jewel passes Great Nicobar Island and the crew practice safety drills.
  • The Jewel under full sail for the first time.
    23rd May 2010
    Maintenance and repairs on board Jewel and why the ship has rectangular sails rather than triangular ones.
  • DSC_0712 Jewel's inscription.JPG
    22nd May 2010
    An explanation of the new inscription to be found carved into the Jewel.
  • DSC_0582 Fahad Al Shaibi cropped.jpg
    21st May 2010
    Fahad Al Shaibi tells the story of how he came to help build the Jewel and now sails on her as crew.
  • DSC_0569 A solar halo appeared around the sun near mid-day.JPG
    20th May 2010
    Jewel’s crew is relieved to get some calmer weather.
  • P5170232 The storm sail gives us  speed and safety.JPG
    18th May 2010
    Jewel covers huge distances as the rough weather continues.
  • P5170220 Said, Captain Saleh, Luca, and Ayaz.JPG
    17th May 2010
    Jewel is making fast progress across the Bay of Bengal but it’s hard going.
  • P5150248 Lowering the mat sails.JPG
    15th May 2010
    A day of rain and squalls as Jewel begins the leg to Malaysia.
  • DSC01736Capt Presentation.jpg
    15th May 2010
    A first hand account of an emotional send off for Jewel from the port of Galle.
  • A crane off-loads the new masts.JPG
    9th May 2010
    Work on hand-shaping the new masts moves forward as Jewel has a close call in the harbour at Galle.
  • Khamis Al Hamdani, Ahmed Al Balushi, Captain Saleh Al Jabri, Yayha Al Faraji and Vishan pause in the rainforest.
    7th May 2010
    Jewel’s crew has been involved in many and varied activities in the past few days in Galle, Sri Lanka.
  • Said Al Tarshi and Ayaz Al Zadjali measure the new sails made from palm leaf matting.
    4th May 2010
    Work begins on preparing the new woven sails for the Jewel while some of the crew answer questions from students of the local International School.
  • DSC_0014 Captain Saleh greets three of the four thousand visitors who have come to learn about the Jewel of Muscat since she arr
    1st May 2010
    Work on preparing the Jewel for the next leg of her voyage is making good progress while the crew welcomes many Sri Lankan visitors to the ship.
  • Sunrise near Sri Lanka
    18th April 2010
    The crew prepare for the arrival in Galle Sri Lanka.
  • Hussein Al  Ra'isi cropped .jpg
    17th April 2010
    Hussein Al Ra'isi, ship's bosun and rigger, tells of his love of life at sea.
  • Tropical sunset.
    17th April 2010
    The crew enjoy a visit from the Sri Lankan Navy a tropical sunset - and a shampoo!
  • Fridays offer time to relax and talk.
    16th April 2010
    The crew of the Jewel cope with more rain and look ahead to their arrival in Sri Lanka with its fascinating history as a stop for traders through the centuries.
  • DSC_0108 CROPPED  Fitting the reinforcement beam into place was a delicate task.jpg
    15th April 2010
    Jewel’s crew work hard to recover from the aftermath of the storm.
  • With sails down, the crew waits out the storm.
    14th April 2010
    A long and tiring day. The winds overnight increased to 20+ knots, briefly propelling the Jewel of Muscat to a new top speed of 7.8 knots, with Pushpadas at the helm
  • Ayaz Al Zadjali and Sajid Valappil tighten mast lashings.
    13th April 2010
    Today began with only a light breeze, so the ship poked along at less than two knots for several hours. By late afternoon, however, the skies began to darken and the winds picked up--propelling the Jewel along at a more dignified rate of four knots.
  • DSC_0263 Tuanie Cropped.jpg
    12th April 2010
    Last night's storm remained several kilometres ahead of us through the night, before finally dissipating at dawn. Despite our earlier expectation of rain, today was sunny and clear with very light winds.
  • Everything is kept tidy.
    11th April 2010
    As the crew gathered for its first breakfast of this leg, it was clear that it will take a while to get used to life aboard the Jewel of Muscat again.
  • The Jewel handles well even close to the wind.
    10th April 2010
    An exciting and busy day today as the Jewel of Muscat began the second leg of its voyage to Singapore.
  • CaptainAppointed
    15th March 2010
    It is quite magic now to arrive here in Cochin with the crew all safe and well.
  • DSC_0580 CRP Captain Saleh at the helm on our last evening before Cochin.jpg
    14th March 2010
    Captain Saleh gives thanks and pays tribute to his crew at the end of the first leg.
  • DSC_0543 Singaporean crew member Jeff Khoo receives a certificate from Captain Saleh acknowledging Jeff's hard work during the v
    14th March 2010
    The crew of the Jewel of Muscat make final preparations to land in Cochin, with mixed feelings.
  • Our much-used fishing line.
    13th March 2010
    Excitement mounts as the Jewel approaches Cochin, but not just because of the prospect of stepping ashore after 26 days at sea.
  • DSC_0307 Crew watching the arrival of an Indian naval vessel.JPG
    12th March 2010
    The Indian Navy pays a welcome visit to the Jewel as she heads toward Cochin – a city with a long history of trading spices with the Arab and Roman world.
  • DSC_0288 Cropped Ale helps prepare our first real Italian dinner.jpg
    11th March 2010
    The Jewel inches toward Cochin through a stifling heat relieved by an excellent dinner!
  • DSC_0243 CROPPED Ahmed Al Baluchi.jpg
    10th March 2010
    The Jewel is slow, but she is a beautiful ship and it is interesting for me to see how Omanis sailed across the ocean a thousand years ago.
  • DSC_7053 Hussein finds relief from the heat.JPG
    10th March 2010
    Becalmed just off Cochin the crew is suffering in the heat and jumps at the chance to take to the sea.
  • The Jewel handles well even close to the wind.
    10th March 2010
    The Singapore Foreign Minister tells the Singapore side of the story of the Jewel of Muscat.
  • DSC_0767 CROPPED  Kamals of different sizes.jpg
    9th March 2010
    Fitful winds mean the Jewel is only crawling along as the crew tries to evaluate ancient navigation techniques.
  • DSC_0161 Lowering the mizzen sail in high wind is a tough job.JPG
    8th March 2010
    In strong winds the Jewel covers more than 100 miles in 24 hours.
  • DSC_0107 Skies are beginning to look tropical.JPG
    7th March 2010
    The Jewel approaches the Lakshadweep Islands.
  • DSC_0063 Debriefing the Abandon Ship drill.JPG
    6th March 2010
    The crew prepares for stronger winds and practices vital safety drills.
  • DSC_0103 CROPPED  Adam Al Baluchi at the helm.jpg
    5th March 2010
    We come from several different countries, but we are truly one team with one heart and we help each other do our best.
  • DSC_0024 A beautiful sunset is always a memorable gift.JPG
    5th March 2010
    A day of rest aboard the Jewel and a night time visit from dolphins.
  • Arm wrestling between Yahya and Ahmed
    4th March 2010
    The Jewel of Muscat crew is treated to a very special event – a sighting of a blue whale.
  • Evening at the helm.
    3rd March 2010
    We have been observing the stars carefully every night, for navigational purposes and to learn the various constellations and planets.
  • Captain-Saleh-at-sunset.jpg
    2nd March 2010
    Before the sunset tonight, I looked at the Omani flag flying on the ship and was once again filled with pride about this voyage and what it represents.
  • Jeff-Khoocropped2.jpg
    2nd March 2010
    Even as I hope for favourable winds, I will be savouring every minute of this exceptional voyage.
  • Captain Saleh, Eric Staples and Adam Al Baluchi study 15th century Arab navigational texts.
    1st March 2010
    Fair winds give the Captain and crew time to study the works of the great Omani navigator and poet Ahmed bin Majid.
  • Capt Saleh Said Al Jabri reads from the Koran.
    1st March 2010
    A special message from Capt Saleh Al Jabri and the crew to the victims of the Chilean earthquake.
  • A sail under pressure.
    28th February 2010
    Readers might find it interesting to learn a bit about the wind system that most characterizes the Indian Ocean--the monsoon.
  • The Jewel handles well even close to the wind.
    27th February 2010
    The crew gave a cheer when Captain Saleh announced we had covered 66 miles in the last 24 hours--our best day for some time.
  • DSC_0824 Khamis Al HamdaniCropped.jpg
    26th February 2010
    I did not want to miss this chance to learn what it was like for my ancestors to sail to distant lands
  • Cleaning Day.
    25th February 2010
    We took advantage of the calm seas to clean the ship and air out the space below decks.
  • Said Al Tarshi and Sajid Valappil fixing the support strut to the mast.
    24th February 2010
    The major task on board today was to fix a large support strut to the mizzen mast - a difficult and rather tricky task.
  • 'Round her, the abysses of sky and sea'.
    23rd February 2010
    A calm and beautiful day, with scattered white clouds and light winds. We are learning that good sailors must be patient.
  • Saleh Al Jabri - Captain
    22nd February 2010
    I'm learning how Omanis over a thousand years ago managed to cross the Indian Ocean on cleverly designed but simple ships.
  • Ayaz at the helm.JPG
    21st February 2010
    I feel very attached to this ship. It has become a close friend.
  • Captain Saleh using a traditional kamal.JPG
    19th February 2010
    Today is sunny and clear with a light southerly winds. It's good to see we're making progress on the map.
  • Yahya al Faraji helps attach a sail.
    19th February 2010
    I am very happy to have the chance to sail on the Jewel of Muscat.
  • Robert Jackson DSC_0774.jpeg
    18th February 2010
    As one can see from the website map, we've made good progress the last two nights, only to have our gains erased by a combination of very low or even contrary winds during the day.
  • Robert Jackson
    17th February 2010
    Greetings from all of us aboard the Jewel of Muscat on a bright, still morning.
  • CaptainAppointed
    16th February 2010
    I’m very sad at the moment, to leave the family back home, but we have to leave one day
  • Badr-Log-imageWEB.jpg
    16th February 2010
  • SalehLogFeb2010.jpg
    15th February 2010
    We are getting so many messages of support and good luck wishes.
  • Robert Jackson DSC_0774.jpeg
    11th February 2010
    We completed our first overnight sea trial today.
  • Saleh Al Jabri, Captain
    4th January 2010
    I was feeling really nervous as we left harbour, a lot of things might have gone wrong. But the first sea trial was excellent, things went really well.
  • Tom Vosmer
    4th January 2010
    Things went so well today on the first sea trial. I’m exhausted and sunburnt, but relieved.
  • Luca chunam2.jpg
    29th November 2009
    After the launch we had to face another delicate process – to dry the boat we had to bring her out of the water again!
  • Tom for Log
    18th October 2009
    The launch was such a long process I am absolutely confused how long it took. Someone told me 46 hours – it could be.
  • Saleh for Log 2
    18th October 2009
    For me the launch was like my baby being born, it was exciting but there were some bad minutes.
  • Eric for Log
    18th October 2009
    Eric was one of the divers in the sea around the Jewel of Muscat as she was launched.
  • Saleh_smile_resize.jpg
    5th October 2009
    I am honoured to be selected as the Captain of the Jewel of Muscat.
  • The ship is nearly ready for the launch.
    16th September 2009
    The scaffolding has come down and now the tricky planning for the launch has begun.
  • Tom Vosmer
    4th July 2009
    The heat is on, literally and figuratively. Temperatures regularly top 40° C, with humidity like a heavy, hot, clammy blanket.
  • planks with shark-liver oil
    14th June 2009
    It is getting very hot on the construction site now: in the last few weeks the temperature has reached 52C.
  • Storm Log
    25th March 2009
    Dark clouds loomed over the mountains, lightning flickering, an ominous rumbling of thunder.
  • Launch Log
    15th March 2009
    On March 15 the President of Singapore came to the site to launch the website.
  • Luca
    27th January 2009
    Construction is going very well: the speed of the work is increasing and the workers are getting used to reaching high standards.
  • Ayaz b Khalid alZadjali
    3rd January 2009
    The biggest difference for me about this project is that I’ve only worked on small models of ships before.
  • Tom Vosmer
    29th September 2008
    After months the main timber supply for the ship has arrived from Africa.