Friday, 22 February 2013

Refit Week 1

Hi everyone,
The first week of our refit at Boat Lagoon is drawing to a close.  Pretty good progress.  The mast is now out and planing of the hull has started.

Stripping hull back to bare fibreglass
 On Monday I pulled through the radar and VHF cables from the navstation and out onto the deck.  The radar cable won't be coming back since we've decided to remove it entirely.  It is nearly 20 years old and now seems a good time to take the radome off the mast for good.  I then emptied and dismounted the cabin table.  Scott's crew assisted me in removing a huge amount of stuff into storage in their factory.  That emptied all the cockpit lockers and all cabin lockers immediately under the deck.  All this so the deck gear can be easily removed for deck painting.

Mast partially stripped - pole track removed
On Tuesday I started disconnecting the forward fuel tank.  It needs to be removed to provide access to the main bulkhead.  I had to pull through a set of battery cables which pass over the top of the fuel tank and which otherwise obstructed its removal.  Scott's crew removed all 8 thru-hulls and the dynaplate to simplify the planing job.  I had to pull-through the depth sounder transducer cable to allow its removal from the hull.

On Wednesday I emptied both fuel tanks and entirely removed the forward tank.  The tanks were cleaner than I expected but there was a little black "gunk" at the bottom of each.  I also further loosened off the rig ready for its removal in the afternoon. Scott's guys removed the rig.

On Thursday I removed the radome, spinnaker pole track, winch bracket and clutches from the mast.  They're the items which won't be replaced after the mast is repainted.  I also decided that the mast mounted nav lights need to be replaced.  The plastic "glass" in both of them is very cloudy so they're history.

On Friday I removed the mast compression post in the cabin.  Luckily it slid out (just) without any need to jack up the deck.  Scott's guys cut away the GRP around the keel root, finding water emerged from the cut.  They then started planing the hull which exposed some blisters and hull dampness under the barrier coatings.  The hull will certainly need to dry out before the new GRP is laid up.

Ready to start on removing the keel
Over the weekend (actually a long weekend here since Monday is a public holiday here) I have a few jobs to do.  I'll remove the mast mounted lights, and perhaps other mast fittings.  I also plan to remove the radar display from the navstation, mounting our new solar panel regulator in its place.

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Boat Lagoon

Hi everyone,
On Wednesday (a few days ago now) we sailed from Ao Chalong to Boat Lagoon.  It was a great 17nm sail, hard on the wind for most of the time in a 10-15 knot NE breeze.

Zen Again track
We arrived off Boat Lagoon at about 1230 and after talking to the marina staff on VHF 71 we followed another yacht which they were towing into the marina.  The approach to the marina is along a shallow creek, with the channel marked by wood piles every 10-20 metres.  One must enter at close to high tide, when we saw a minimum depth of 2.6m.  At the moment entry seems to be simply a case of keeping each close to port.
Following the leader into Boat Lagoon
We berthed in a pen overnight and I occupied myself removing lots of blocks from the toe rails, removing the jib and staysail, and detaching the boom from the mast.

On Thursday morning Scott, Managing Director of Precision Shipwrights visited to take a look at the boat while it was still in the water.  We discussed the list of tasks we need carried out and I formed a very good impression of Scott.  Seems to know his stuff.  At 1100 Zen Again was hauled out onto the hardstand.  I spent the rest of the day continuing to strip equipment from the deck before taking a taxi to my hotel.  The Escape de Phuket hotel is a 10 minute taxi ride from Boat Lagoon - a brand new boutique hotel with nice rooms for less than A$30/night.  In the evening I received estimates for the major tasks from Scott - hull/keel repair, osmosis treatment, topsides painting and deck repainting.

Ready for haul out
Hauled Out
Weeping cracks around hull/keel join
On Friday I spent much of the morning with Scott, showing him the work we need done and discussing options.  By the end of the day he had prepared estimates for the remaining major task - a new pushpit/goalpost.  On Friday we received approval from our insurers Pantaenius that they will pay for the hull/keel repair.  This was a great relief, particularly considering the longstanding nature of the problem prior to our grounding in Langkawi (which I fully explained to them).  It's nice to have the support of your insurer!

On Saturday morning I disconnected electrical wiring from the mast and removed all electrical equipment from the old pushpit.  I also restowed a huge amount of gear in the cabin so that Scott's crew will have unfettered access to the deck.  They will remove all deck gear before painting.

On Sunday morning I used a large hammer to dislodge the seized windlass, then cleaned, lubricated and reassembled it.  I slackened off the rig so the mast unstepping will be quicker when it happens.  Then I removed the coachroof headliner in the cabin, again to provide Scott's crew access to deck gear.

A small portion of the gear offloaded into storage
Unfortunately I "drowned" our Macbook Pro laptop on Friday.  I stupidly put it in a bag with cans of soft drink - one of which split open.  The old machine was out of warranty and survived three years of hard use.  I now have a nice new Macbook Air and have restored nearly all data from backup.  The only data missing are the photos and GPS logs from my trip from Langkawi to Boat Lagoon.  I may be able to retrieve them from the old disk drive which doesn't appear to be dead, but probably won't be able to try until I return to Perth.

A busy few days since arriving, but the refit is shaping up well.  I'm now convinced there's no need for me to oversee the work, so can return to Perth much earlier than expected.  Less positively it seems likely the boat will have to dry out for several months as part of the osmosis treatment, so the boat will stay in SE Asia for most if not all of 2013.

Trust all's well where you are!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ao Chalong

Hi everyone,
We had a good sail today from Phi Phi Don to Ao Chalong on Phuket Island. The 27nm passage took 5 hours. The boat is anchored at 07 49.304N 098 21.424E in 4m over mud.

Zen Again Track
The wind during the passage was ENE 10-15 knots with a clear sky - much like the previous three days. Today we were heading west so it was a broad reach instead of a beam reach. We gybed twice to keep the apparent wind far enough off the stern to allow the jib to work. We arrived in Ao Chalong at just after high tide which gave us plenty of water through the northern passage into the bay. It took two attempts to anchor due to finding a half-sunk mooring alongside the first time. A good workout since I'm hauling up the chain and anchor manually.

After tidying up I took the dinghy ashore to clear in. There's an uncharted marina SW of the long jetty where dinghies can be left. Clearing in took a while but we're now officially in Thailand. While I was ashore the weather worsened, with high clouds, a little rain and 20-25 knot winds. Happily the rain had stopped by the time I was ready to return to the boat.

Ao Chalong sunset
We'll see what the weather does tomorrow. If it stays unpleasant I'll stay here since we don't need to be at Boat Lagoon until Thursday. It's a short 17nm passage to get there. With luck I'll be able to get a Thai SIM card arranged for my phone.

Trust all's well where you are!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Phi Phi Don

Hi everyone,
Today we sailed from Kantiang Bay to Ao Lohdalum on Phi Phi Don island. The sail took 5 1/2 hours for the 26nm passage. We are now anchored at 07 44.948N 098 46.055E in 13m over sand.

Zen Again Track
The night at Kantiang Bay was quiet but fairly rolly. Getting underway in the morning was a question of hauling up the chain and anchor manually since the windlass is out of action for the moment. With the anchor stowed I unrolled the jib and off we went. Didn't need to put the engine in gear. I'm nursing the engine a little since it is leaking raw water in slowly increasing amounts. I've checked the hoses but can't find the source. Spongeing out the bilge to remove the water leaking in around the keel is a 15 minutely chore - I'd really prefer not to have to do the same under the engine!

Departing Kantiang Bay
The passage was very pleasant with a quite consistent easterly breeze. Initially it was only 5-8 knots in the lee of the island but it gradually built to 8-12 knots and remained on the beam. Champagne sailing. As we approached Phi Phi Don I decided to sail around the south of the island to the bay on the western side. It seemed likely to offer better protection and hopefully would have less tourist boat traffic. The sail through the strait between Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le, which is further south, was a bit boisterous. I should have got the main down before going through. I got it down in choppy seas while the wind was changing direction all over the place, but 20 knots at all times. From there we motored quietly in.

At anchor at Phi Phi Don 
There are several other yachts anchored in the bay. Tourist boats zoom in and out of the mouth of the bay but most stop short of where we're anchored. A few come past, about one every 5 minutes or so. Hopefully they'll take the tourists back to their hotels mid-afternoon and us yachties have some peace.

Tomorrow it's the final leg to Phuket. Here's hoping the pleasant winds continue!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Ko Lanta

Hi everyone,
Today I had a long sail to Kantiang Bay on Ko Lanta. We are anchored at 07 29.566N 099 04.345E in 8m. We covered 61nm in 11hours. Twas a long day. Anchoring wasn't as simple as it should have been - the windlass isn't letting the chain run out. I had to motor slowly out of the anchorage while I disassembled the windlass clutch, then approach again and let the chain out manually. I hate electric anchor windlasses - they're always breaking down!

Zen Again Track
The wind was a nice Easterly which varied from 5 knots to 18 or so. At 1600 the easterly died and we had an hour of complete calm. Then the easterly came back with a vengeance at 20-25 knots to blow us home. We sailed for 6 of the 11 hours.

The scenery was spectacular along the way, with many small islands rising spectacularly from the sea. Some of them are more obelisks than islands.

The first 10 miles this morning were busy due to the huge number of nets. There was no option but to just sailing over them, keeping clear of the bouys. We learned on Sail Malaysia that the nets are suspended a few metres down, and so it seems to be here. After emerging from the nets we were then dodging pair trawlers for most of the rest of the passage. Happily they were only close to us one pair at a time.
Dodging Pair Trawlers
Last night on the mooring was pretty quiet. For a while the mooring bouy gently tapped the hull but otherwise I had no problems. In the morning one of the other boats had left at dawn. The two others left shortly after me at about 0800. We all headed off in different directions.

Tomorrow I plan to sail to the Phi Phi islands. That will be a relatively short passage of about 25nm. From there it's a similar distance to Ao Chalong Bay in Phuket. I think I might lie in tomorrow...

Trust all's well where you are.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Rebak Departure

Hi everyone,
After nearly four weeks in Perth I returned to Rebak Island on Wednesday this week. On Thursday the boat was relaunched and went into a pen. Only a small amount of water was entering the cabin so all seems OK for moving on to Phuket for the big repair and refit at Boat Lagoon.

Zen Again Track
I spent Thursday and Friday reprovisioning, stowing and finally clearing out of Malaysia (at Telaga Harbour). In the evenings I joined other cruisers at the Hard Dock cafe. This morning Zen Again departed Rebak Island. Twas sad to leave. We had great times there.

Today's sail was a gentle introduction to solo sailing for me. We (the boat and I) covered 28nm over the ground and 31nm through the water, reaching Ko Terutao in Thailand after 5 1/2 hours. There was a nice wind between the islands but in their lee the wind was very light. We ended up sailing for 2 hours and motor-sailing for the rest.

Sailing the boat increases the leakage of water into the hull so I carried reduced sail for most of the passage. I have to sponge out the bilge every 10-15 minutes when we're under way. I'm sure it would be more often if I sailed her hard. Definitely not going to be doing that!

On the mooring
We are now on a mooring on the north-western side of Ko Terutao in 8m of water at 06 41.860N 099 38.365E. There are three moorings here and they appear to be in good condition. There's one other boat on a mooring and two others are anchored. Most appear to be heading north.
Needless to say, I don't yet have a Thai SIM card so have no mobile phone or internet connection - so no photos as yet.

Trust all's well where you are!