Friday, 20 June 2014

In the Pen

Hi everyone,
Zen Again was relaunched yesterday afternoon and is now in her pen at FSC.

On Wednesday morning I collected the PSS shaft seal from the post office and the mechanic was able to come down and fit it in the afternoon.  I then arranged for the boat to be relaunched on Thursday afternoon.  Other jobs done on Wednesday included more painting of the lazarette and cockpit locker boards.

Moving Out
Lower Away!
On Thursday morning I fitted new hoses in the lazarette.  These connect the two 50mm cockpit drains to the hull outlets below the transom.  I used Heli-Steel hose from Westate Hose Supplies - very nice hose which we use for engine water, bilge pumps and more.  It has a spiral of stainless steel wire embedded in the PVC which makes it practically unkinkable.

The launch on Thursday afternoon went well - no leak from the shaft seal!  Alan and I motored the boat around the open area in Success Harbour at gradually increasing revs.  We got up to 2800rpm which is the highest ever with the new engine and the boat was really moving.  Don't know how fast since hadn't bothered putting the log in for the short hop.  Most importantly there was no leaking at the seal so I was happy to go into the pen.

Rainbow over C jetty
The pen is very large for the boat but Kim J had setup temporary lines for us.  We picked them up easily enough and positioned the boat in the pen so Kim can measure up and make our new lines.

Zen Again in her new home

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Haul Out Days 11 - 14

Hi everyone,
Another busy four days.  Great progress with painting cockpit lockers, installing gas system, and registering as a WA boat...

Note the gas cylinder is now inboard since we expect to do some racing
Here's what we've been up to...


  • Applied second undercoat in the lazarette
  • Applied first undercoat in the main cockpit locker
  • DHL tracking shows our new shaft seal has moved from Miami to Cincinnati

Sunday (at home):

  • Applied two undercoats to one side of the five boards which live in the two lockers
  • DHL tracking shows the seal is in Hong Kong


  • Applied first topcoat in the main cockpit locker
  • Applied part of first topcoat in the lazarette
  • Applied first undercoat to the other side of the boards
  • Checked on mainsail service at Extreme Sails
  • Purchased the last new hose needed to replace the very old, brittle hoses in the lazarette
  • DHL tracking shows the seal is in Perth


  • Full On Gas fitted our new gas system
  • Applied our WA registration number and this year's rego sticker
  • AusPost tries to deliver the seal - missed it but can collect tomorrow

We were lucky with the weather for the painting until today when a cold front crossed the coast and made painting impractical.  We got enough of the painting done for the gas system tubing to sit nicely on top of new paint through the two lockers.

As mentioned previously, SailForce installed new knuckles last week.  Here they are...

Refitted gooseneck bracket with new knuckle.
Note the two "ring" fairleads for the reffing tack lines.
Refitted vang bracket with new knuckle
We'll organise fitting of the seal as soon as we've collected it.  Hopefully Zen Again will be back in the water before the end of the week.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Haul Out Days 8 - 10

Hi everyone,
Three busy days on board...

  • Removed the old gas tubes and associated fittings
  • Cut off long bolt ends which were snag and injury hazards in the main cockpit locker
  • Cleaned, sanded and masked the lazarette and main cockpit locker ready for repainting
  • Applied nearly one full undercoat in the lazarette
They say painting is all about preparation.  It took two days of hard work to clean and sand the two lockers.  They lockers are huge - perhaps 2 cubic metres each - with very complex shapes.  I now understand why they haven't been repainted since 1986!  I emerged from today's painting session with less paint on me than the locker, so that's a success.  Someone could earn a PhD optimising the painting order for maximum quality, minimum time, minimum contortion and the avoidance of head-butting wet paint!

I'm using water-based domestic paints for the lockers.  This will save quite a lot of money and as they're intended for use in bathrooms they should be fine in our nice dry lockers.  They dry quickly and washing out brushes (not to mention hair) in water is so much easier.

Yesterday SailForce fitted the new knuckles to the gooseneck and boom vang, and refitted the boom to the mast.  The new knuckles look very good and the boom can no longer rattle around as it previously could (and did).  Hopefully the new parts will last another 20 years.

Tomorrow we plan to complete undercoating the lazarette and will hopefully get well into undercoating the main cockpit locker.  This locker may better suit a roller (vice brush) which should speed up the process.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Haul Out Days 6 and 7

Hi everyone,
Not good news today.  Relaunching has been delayed due to an imperial/metric mix-up with the new shaft seal.  Mea Culpa.  I've ordered the correct seal but it won't arrive for a week or more.  Apparently there are no metric shaft seals in Australia so we ordered online from the US.

Other work continues...
  • Hull Identification Number (HIN) inspected and revalidated
  • Registered the boat with the WA Department of Transport
  • Took home several kilos of fasteners and electrical spares no longer needed on board
  • Took home about 10 kilos of heavy tools no longer needed on board
While we wait for the correct shaft seal we hope to do some of the jobs which were on the to-do list for when back in the pen...
  • Remove the old gas system tubes and fittings
  • Clean, sand and paint the cockpit lockers and some the cabin lockers
  • Perhaps even some varnishing!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Haul Out Days 4 and 5

Hi everyone,
This weekend we finished all remaining work needing to be done prior to relaunching...
  • "Keyed" the CopperShield antifoul on the hull with help from Alan and Pauline
  • Cleaned the topsides of streaks and deposits
  • Touched-up topsides scratches (mostly from the Geraldton fish farm incident)
  • Polished bow and transom stainless steel fittings
  • Tightened the propellor shaft Kleenhull copper anode (in very good condition after 1 year)
  • Fitted new Sentinel Systems gas detection system (except cable to the not yet fitted solenoid)
We keyed the Coppershield by wet sanding with 180 grit paper.  It was very quick and easy to do, the main thing being not to take off too much.  It took the four of us less than two hours.

The touch-up paint certainly improved the look of the damaged topsides and only took a few minutes to apply.  Best of all it didn't cost a cent.

Zen Again is booked to be relaunched tomorrow morning at 0830.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Haul Out Day 3

Hi everyone,
Good progress today...

  • Removed worn 30 metre length of anchor chain for possible regalvanising
  • Removed and delivered mainsail to Extreme Sails for service
  • Fitted vent hose to PSS Shaft Seal
  • Replaced the PropGold paint rubbed off the shaft during seal installation 
  • Constructed a panel to mount the new Sentinel Systems gas detector controller
  • Met with Debbie of Fremantle Ocean Canvas to discuss replacing our dodger
  • "Keyed" (lightly sanded) the CopperShield antifoul on the appendages (keel and rudder/skeg)
Zen Again is now booked to go back in the water at 0830 on Monday.  Tomorrow we'll complete the keying of the antifoul and on Sunday we'll clean the topsides.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Haul Out Day 2

Hi everyone,
Today we made further progress on the job list...
  • Completed removal of barnacle remains with help from Alan and Pauline
  • Arranged repainting of PropGold on part of the propellor shaft
  • Met with Domenic of Full On Gas and determined work required to get WA certification
  • Arranged servicing of our mainsail, including replacement of the plastic luff slugs
The work on the gas system will more or less replace the entire system apart from the gas bottle, regulator and the Force 10 cooker which has Australian type certification.  We had a new system installed to meet NSW regulations after buying the boat in Queensland.  Now the system needs to be replaced to meet WA regulations.  The interesting thing is that all states have the same regulations - apparently they just police them differently.  So much for commonwealth - this BS is seriously affecting my wealth!

Nonetheless we'll end up with a safer gas system, including an electrically operated gas shut-off at the bottle controlled by the gas detector.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Haul Out

Hi everyone,
Zen Again was hauled out this morning.  The operation was handled very quickly and efficiently.  Happily the hull was quite clean and the high pressure wash got rid of practically all growth.  Unfortunately there were the remains of barnacles which attached themselves in Malaysia but were scrubbed off on our way south.  Each leaves a disk of hard calcium.

In the slings
Pressure wash
Setting up in the stand
We got a lot of work done during the day...

  • Alan and I scrubbed off almost half of the barnacle remains
  • SailForce refitted our gooseneck and boom vang brackets using s/s rivets
  • Pro Marine replaced the PSS Shaft Seal with a new unit
  • Fremantle Shipwrights provided a quote to make good our topsides paint damage

The rig work appears to have gone well so far.  SailForce will also replace the "knuckles" which attach to the gooseneck and vang brackets.  The old knuckles are badly worn and replacement appears to be the best option, particularly since a stock unit only needs minor modification to fit well. SailForce also did a quick rig check and found no problems.

Pro Marine replaced the shaft seal very quickly.  Before removing the old unit they had a look at its movement as the shaft rotated and didn't like the look of that any more than I.  We were thinking the engine would need re-aligning, but after fitting the new seal there was no movement to be seen.  So hopefully no more work will be required.

A full repair of the topsides looks unlikely since we'd have to remove the rig and have the boat moved
into a shed to do the spray painting.  A manual touch-up will have to do for this year.

By the way, we had PropGold paint applied on the shaft and propellor in Phuket last year.  It is in as-new condition after a year in the tropics.

PropGold looking good as new after a year in the tropics
Great progress so far!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Home at FSC

Hi everyone,
At 0030 this morning we secured Zen Again alongside the collector jetty at Fremantle Sailing Club.  Home at last!  Here's our track which is quite direct apart from one "kink" due to lightening winds forcing us to head up and eventually gybe...

Zen Again track
Zen Again Speed
 The passage from Geraldton took 1 day 18 hours.  We logged 198nm through the water and 215nm over the ground.  Twas nice to get a little help from current.  Happily we only had to motor for about 14 hours, one third of which was the final run into Fremantle after the wind died yesterday evening.

Today we carried two car-loads of gear home from the boat.  Not sure if she's floating higher but there's much more room in all the lockers!

Zen Again at FSC
Our arrival back in Fremantle completes our second circumnavigation of Australia.  This one had a slight diversion through Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand!  And this one was carried out in two boats - Degrees of Freedom from Fremantle to Sydney and Zen Again from Batemans Bay onwards.  In Zen Again we have logged 9775nm since departing Batemans Bay in May 2011.  Here's an overview of our track...

Zen Again Track - Batemens Bay to Fremantle
Needless to say, just 'cos we're home the to-do list hasn't shrunk.  We're booked to be hauled out on Wednesday and plan to replace the shaft seal and clean off and re-key the CopperShield antifoul.  Back in the water we'll realign the engine.  After these first jobs there are plenty more waiting but we'll be getting in plenty of sailing too.

The lovely Degrees of Freedom
No more need to get on a jet plane to go sailing.  Huzzah!!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Approaching Fremantle

Hi everyone,
We have just passed Fairway buoy north of Fremantle and have less than 10nm to run to FSC.

Last night a nice NE breeze settled in and we had a good sail.  Very relieved we didn't have to motor for long since that's a game of russian roulette where you just keep on pulling the trigger!

This morning the wind went around to the SW as rain showers with about 20 knots of wind passed through.  The boat got a good rinse and the SW winds were as good for us as E - nice close reaches either way.

This afternoon the skies cleared and we had a superb sail towards Fremantle.  The wind ranged between 8 and 15 knots and the boat loved it.

This evening more rain showers appeared and they had the only wind around.  Between the showers we flopped around until eventually we were approaching Fairway Buoy and I judged the chances of craypots was low enough to motor.

It's great to be sailing back in to Fremantle.  Familiar lights all around, with many having a story from our offshore racing days.