Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Admiral Marina

Hi everyone,
We arrived at Admiral Marina in Port Dickson at 1240 today, exactly 24 hours after departing Pangkor Marina.  We logged 115nm through the water but 143nm over the ground, so we got 28nm "free" from current!  We had expected to arrive late afternoon but the current got us here for lunch.

Zen Again Track
Detail of part of track showing traffic separation lanes
We motor-sailed all but one hour of the passage since the following winds were too light to give us a reasonable speed.  The one hour of sailing was when a thunderstorm came through just before dawn this morning, delivering 25knot+ gusts and rain, and a very nice little sail under one reef and the staysail.

The procession of large cargo vessels using the traffic separation lanes is impressive.  We also saw quite a few tugs and barges, but relatively few fishing vessels.  No encounters with nets this time.

The currents were interesting.  There appeared to be a southerly current flowing down the strait, overlaid on the tidal current pattern.  So when the tide charts said we'd get 1.0knot with us we found 2.5 knots with us, and when it said we should have 1.0 knot against us we found 0.5 knot with us.  Nice!
Motor sailing
The motor performed flawlessly.  After two short passages it is time for its first oil change!  I'll probably do that tomorrow.

Zen Again will remain here at Admiral Marina until next year.

Trust all's well where you are!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pangkor Marina

Hi everyone,
At 1000 on Friday (13th!) we departed Rebak Island towards Pangkor Island.  My father Alan was aboard as crew.  On Saturday at 1445 we were in a pen at Pangkor marina after a fairly tedious passage.  Unfortunately we only had 5 hours of engine-free sailing, but the new engine is now well "run-in".  We covered 131nm through the water and 138nm over the ground.

Zen Again Track
We had to motor-sail out of the lee of Langkawi, but once clear we had a very nice beam reach for most of Friday afternoon.  While motor-sailing we found the engine was losing RPM every 10-20 minutes, just for a few seconds before picking up again.  It seemed like a fuel supply problem but I left it for a while to see if the engine managed to bleed itself.

Late in the afternoon when we were again motor-sailing I manually bled the engine fuel system and from there on the engine performed faultlessly.  We motor-sailed until we reached the lee of Penang Island, where the wind died entirely.  There certainly seems to be more wind in the area between Penang and Langkawi.

We motored all night, gently cruising along at about 4.5 knots.  We'd occasionally get a brief puff of wind as a cloud moved over us, but otherwise the sea was glassed out.  We encountered several tugs towing barges, most of which had AIS transmitters.  There were also quite a few trawlers and some big ships.  The latter were mostly well out to sea.  We were in about 40m of water for most of the trip.

Our biggest adventure of the night was running into a fishing net south of Penang island, in about 30m of water.  We passed between two static red lights separated by at least 250m.  There was a fishing net between the two, with its top rope only 1m below the surface.  As we approached a fishing boat was buzzing around and so I was ready in case we snagged anything.  When we did I cut the throttle, our speed reduced to zero rapidly, I could see the rope/net with a torch, and then the tension in the rope pushed us backwards.  We motored astern ourselves and then motored around the outer mark.  It's unusual for nets to be so close to the surface up here.

Motorsailing SE shortly after dawn.
On Tuesday we continued motoring south with only occasional puffs of wind.  As soon as one rolled out the jib the wind died.

We entered the western passage at the north end of Pangkor Island at about 1300 on Tuesday, and suddenly the engine cut altogether.  I had forgotten to open the valve between the two fuel tanks!  It was a good exercise - pumped through fuel, bled the system and got the engine going again in a few minutes with a sandbank 100m to leeward to maintain our focus!

In the pen at Pangkor Marina Island
The rest of the passage to the marina was uneventful, apart from having a tug and huge barge alongside us as we proceeded down the main channel.

Today we topped up the main fuel tanks from our jerry can supplies, our water tanks from the dock, and gave the deck a good hose-down.  Since arriving we've also shown our transformed boat to friends Graham and Anne who are refitting their yacht Kakadu here at Pangkor.

Pangkor seems much cooler in the evening and overnight than Langkawi.  A very slight chill in the breeze which is very pleasant.

Tomorrow we intend to depart Pangkor and head towards Port Dickson.  We'll have to wait until early afternoon for the tide to rise enough for us to escape the marina.  The passage is 140nm so we should arrive late afternoon on Tuesday.

Trust all's well where you are!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Vetus Exhaust System Installed

Hi everyone,
On Sunday I returned to Rebak Island Marina to replace our engine exhaust system.  The old 50mm system did not suit the new engine since it has a 40mm exhaust outlet and the outlet is lower then that on the old engine.

On Monday morning it only took a couple of hours to remove the old system, with much of that spend battling to release the hose from the transom fitting.  It had been sikaflexed in place and was a pain to remove.

Installing the new system took about 4 hours on Monday afternoon.  The system comprises a Vetus NLP waterlock close to the engine and a Vetus NLPG gooseneck in the lazarette.  The gooseneck is good because it acts as a vented loop, reducing how much water runs back into the waterlock when the engine stops.  New hose was used to connect the components.  A mixture of old and new hose clamps was used, with the old ones carefully checked for signs of rust.

Vetus NLP Waterlock installed
Vetus NLPG Gooseneck installed in the lazarette
On Tuesday I carefully checked the system from end to end and then fired up the engine.  Everything was fine, with the smaller (4 litre) waterlock producing a more consistent water flow at the transom.  I ran the engine up to 3000rpm in neutral, then ran it in gear for half an hour at 2000rpm.  No leaks anywhere and no problems.

After shutting down the engine I used one of the two drains in the NLP waterlock to check the water level.  There was about 2.8 litres in the unit so it appears to have plenty of capacity for the system.

At last Zen Again is ready for sea!