Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 30, 2012

Until my crew comes…

23.11.12 – Friday – We rented the car for a few purposes; first – transportation to the airport, second – a land tour of Phuket. A third need was bringing the mainsail to Rolly Tasker’s for repair; the luff tape was breaking up in many places and I wanted to put protecting webbing in a few areas where the battens chaffed against the stays.

We left the sail at Tasker’s and drove on to the Big Buddha that is overlooking the Au Chalong, where one can see a marvelous view of the bay.

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We drove to the center of tourism and cheap merchandise of Patong Bay and on along the west coast of Phuket.

Back at the boat we tested the port water tank by filling it with me sitting on top of it looking out for leaks. Just as it became completely full I saw some water near the bottom of the tank but still could not see where it was coming from. We had dinner at the Coconut restaurant which is just by Papa Mama; they have the same menu and prices but the place is a bit more elegant and perhaps the food is better. Coming back to the boat I saw that the port tank lost a considerable amount of water. No running away from it! I’ll have to take it out and fix it.

24.11.12 – Saturday – I spoke to Steve of Sea Marine Services and arranged for him to take the tank for repair on Monday. I took Gili to the airport and drove on to the sailmaker. Rolly Tasker is a huge, impressive and unique loft; most of the workers are Thai women and a few of them picked up the heavy sail and had fun squeezing it into the car’s baggage compartment.

06 - Employees Sewing

Taken from the Rolly Tasker internet site

I was lucky to have a marina employee bring it on a tricycle to the boat and both of us lifted it with difficulty over the lifelines onto the deck.

Just as we finished it started raining cats and dogs. I stayed on the boat, having Schnitzel and potato puree for dinner and later watching a movie; “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a very strong film and its star, Tilda Swinton, is amazing.

25.11.12 – Sunday – A lot was accomplished today. First I re-attached the mainsail; that was real hard work, mainly because of the sail’s weight and dimensions. Try inserting a 4 meters flexible circular batten into its pocket when there’s nobody to hold the aft end! The whole job took me a little over three hours, sweating profusely in the hot and humid day.

I had a long break and then prepared the water tank for removal, disconnecting all the pipes and wires and taking out the bolts holding it in place. Pulling at the handle on its aft I saw that it was moving easily; taking it out shouldn’t be a problem.

26.11.12 –  Taking the tank out was not as easy as I thought it would be. Steve sent three of his workers; we had to dismantle the inlet, outlet and breather pipes as well as the quantity probe, protruding about half an inch and making the tank a few millimeters wider than the cabin door frame. The door, of course, had to be removed to pass the tank through.

Using the main halyard we lifted the tank over the lifelines and pulled it over to the dock. The foreman suggested that we fill it with a bit of water and try to find the leak; the crack was discovered quickly, right on the bottom and strangely enough was on one of four points arranged in a rectangle, looking like those one taps before drilling. They will all have to be beefed up.

With all the excitement and my taking part in the operation I did not think of taking pictures! I’ll do that when the tank comes back.

Steve said that the welder needed two or three days to complete the job so there was no need for me to stay in the marina. I went out and anchored in the bay, close enough to get the marina’s Wi-Fi. One can anchor in the bay and use the dinghy dock for 400 baht per week.

Quite a few yacht do that; here’s a nice looking traditional schooner.

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27.11.12 – Tuesday – A day of waiting in the rain. During a brief intermission I started stitching a tear in the lazy-bag but had to stop as it started raining again. Somehow the sitting position I was in hurt my back; this is what happens when I stop doing my yoga exercises.

Steve is hoping the welder will do a pressure test on the tank tomorrow and hopefully the tank would be back on the boat in the afternoon.

28.11.12 – Wednesday – No rain, so I finished the stitching job and made pizza for lunch. Working with dough is a satisfying occupation as is eating the pizza.

Steve called to say that he will bring the tank at 1600. I returned to the marina at 1415 and as I was preparing to go to the office I saw Bau, Steve’s foreman pushing a trolley with my tank on it. He brought two of his men and they, with me on the winch, put the tank in place.

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Once the tank was in its compartment I bolted it, re-connected all the pipes and electrical wires and filled it up with water. Testing the system I noticed that the water pump was dripping excessively. I tried tightening its screws and connections but to no avail. I decided to replace it with the new saltwater pump. Looking at the water tank compartment I thought I saw dampness at the same location it appeared when the tank was leaking. Hey! they said they did a pressure test so what the hell? Looking at the bilge I saw no water coming from under the tank. I’ll keep an eye on it.

At 1840, after four hours of sweat, back ache and frustration, I had enough. I still had to finish swapping the pumps but this could wait for the next day. I took a long shower, did my much needed meditation and hobbled to Papa Mama restaurant for dinner.

29.11.12 – Thursday – Closed all the loose ends, the tank is O.K; the dampness I saw was probably from the mat on which it sits. I got the bill from Steve. The welder got a reasonable 2400 baht (80$); the way Steve calculated his company’s fee was interesting. For one hour of his time he billed me 1400 baht and for the work of his Thai guys – about 4 or 5 man hours – 500 baht…

I left the marina at 1030 with a song in my heart, I suddenly felt free from all those nagging maintenance problem. I motored east against a 10 knots wind and as I turned south I could shut the engine and sail pleasantly, if not fast, to Au Chalong. Going into the “parking lot” I was surprised to see a great number of new red moorings. I approached one of the yachts that used one and asked about them. “It’s free for everybody!” was the answer. That’s good news!

Once on a mooring I lifted the dinghy’s bow with the halyard to empty the rain water that accumulated in it. To do that I had to release the webbings that hold it in place during sailing. When the dinghy was empty I lowered it slowly, thinking it would remain horizontal on the aft platform. BIG STUPID MISTAKE! The dinghy slid off the platform, turned over and buried the outboard motor in the drink!

I quickly winched it up but the damage was done. I called Billy, the mechanic who worked on it in the past and rowed to yacht club to meet him. “When do you want it to be ready?” he asked. “Right now would be nice” I said. “I’ll bring it back in an hour” said Billy.

I passed the time having dinner and one hour and forty minutes after Billy took the motor it was back in working order. I gave him the amount he asked for with no haggling. Doing the job past working hours merited special treatment. Motoring back to the boat instead of rowing over was a big bonus (remember my lower back!).

30.11.12 – Friday – I went to the market to buy fruit and veg for the next few days; somehow it accumulated to what felt like two tons on my aching back. One more visit ashore to publish this and buy beer and eggs and then I’ll sail to the northwest corner of Phuket intending to go to Similan Islands on Saturday.

I need to recuperate in the islands, where I can swim and hopefully get away from all those dramas and maintenance issues!

My crew for the continuation of the voyage, Sven Beer, is coming on December 11th; I’ll be back in Phuket for his  arrival.

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