Camomile’s 30th Birthday refit – week 4 shiny boat
I’ll start this weeks blog with some information requested after last weeks blog was published.
We got our mainsail from Phil Auger who is based in Kuah, Langkawi. Malaysian phone no 017 625 4902 Phil came to the boat to measure up and discuss our requirements at Christmas. Our new sail is Marblehead Dacron fully battened with UV proof thread. Phil is very knowledgeable about sails and forwards the requirements to a sail loft in Hong Kong where they are made. When it arrived after 5 weeks we gave Phil our old sail so he could remove the cars and sew them onto the new sail, as there wasn’t any thing wrong with them and new ones are expensive. The cost of the new sail worked out to about £2300, which included the battens.
The sailbag was made by Nasir who’s based on the road to Kuah just outside Matsirat. It’s made of sunbrella material. We gave him our old one and asked him to copy it, which he did beautifully. It cost RM2200 (£400)
Friday 20th February The 50/50 under/topcoat had been applied on Wednesday and rubbed down yesterday so this morning Bill started the first proper topcoat. He is using International Perfection 2 pack Mediterranean White that is thinned using International No9 thinners. I kept out of the way in case of problems and went off for my run. When I got back Bill had a big smile on his face and said he was pleased with it; praise indeed.
As a result of the successful first topcoat we’ve taken the decision to stay at Rebak and Bill will now paint the topsides too. This is a huge undertaking but as you can see in the photo the coach roof is as bad as the hull and having now started it makes sense to continue. You can also see how worn the Treadmaster has become. The problem we have is our friend Norman, who’s just arrived, has a couple of days spare to help Bill with the removal of the Treadmaster and if we moved the boat there’s a limit to how much of the deck gear could be removed. We couldn’t undertake a 2 day passage with holes in the deck and if we didn’t remove the deck gear Norman wouldn’t be able to help with the removal of the Treadmaster; so you see our dilemma.
In the afternoon Norman came to help Bill start removing the Treadmaster. After a lot of experimentation with scrapers, solvents, heat guns, multi-tools etc. it really seemed that scraping it laboriously with chisels was the only thing that removed the cork surface leaving the thick epoxy glue to be ground off. All in all, regardless of the extra painting work, this was going to be an extremely difficult and time-consuming job.
To help with the task, as we weren’t moving now, I was able to remove all the lines off of the deck. The fuel cans needed to be moved too so I tied those to the A-frame, which is looking rather overloaded. Bill also removed the grab handles, which he’s replacing, but this left bolts sticking up from the deck. Bill carefully attached a nut to the top of each one with a bit of blue masking tape around them so that if anyone sits or stands on them hopefully they won’t do to much damage to themselves.
The dinghy cover is almost finished. To attach it to the dinghy I’m going to use Velcro but first the ‘sticking’ side of the Velcro has to be sewn onto strips of Neoprene, which in due course will need to be glued onto the dinghy. So I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing the strips of Velcro to the neoprene. On Camomile I am lucky enough to have a fridge and a freezer. The freezer is a Waco unit and continues to work as normal while we are out of the water. The fridge is a new water-cooled unit that Bill fitted in NZ and unfortunately was protesting about being out of the water without any water to cool it. I have turned it down to stop the unit overheating but it’s protesting too much so I’ve decided to turn it off. In this heat that’s a huge problem but I’ve turned the freezer up so it’s not freezing and have moved some foods in there. It just means I’ll have to shop more often. Wash day again.
Saturday 21st February Bill was up early to give the transom its first coat of Mediterranean white to match the rest of the hull. It can’t be painted on the same day as the rest of the hull because Bill has to start on the port aft quarter first thing moving around the bow and down the starboard side before the sun gets too high. By that time the sun is on the transom and it’s not good to apply the paint in direct sunlight. If Bill painted the transom first he wouldn’t get all the way around, therefore he paints them on alternate days. The rest of the hull had a final very light rub down for the second and final topcoat tomorrow.
Meanwhile Norman arrived to do more Treadmaster scraping.
I took my bike on the ferry to get some shopping. The shops should be open now after Chinese new year. I decided to cycle to Hegners otherwise know as the Australian shop because they fly goods in from Australia. It’s a good 6kms away but the exercise will do me good. I cycled round the airport perimeter fence and continued along the road to the shops. I was so cross because it was SHUT. I realised I had 20 minutes before the next ferry went so I cycled as fast as I could back again. I did it in 19 ½ minutes and just made the ferry!
In the afternoon Bill started stripping the aft deck, removing the grab handles and covering them with more nuts and blue tape. The dorade vents were also removed and I moved the lines and the aft fuel cans. When it was all cleared I vacuumed the whole deck to clear all the dust from the deck ready for Bill to paint the final topcoat in the morning. There must be no chance of anything ruining it. There was time for a swim at the end of the afternoon and a meal with Norman and Sara.
Sunday 22nd February
In the morning I went for my run as Bill started painting the Final coat. I got back and nervously asked how it was going, “Great” was the reply; music to my ears. Bill was really pleased with the final topcoat; all those hours of preparation and rubbing down have paid off. We have a shiny boat. Paint dries very quickly here and within a few hours it was dry enough to remove the masking tape. It was very satisfying pulling it off; like peeling wallpaper, we both had a go.
It has to be left a week now until we can put the blue vinyl stripe on; that will be fun! If it will load I’ll put a video of our beautiful shiny boat on facebook.
We went off to the resort to celebrate with a couple of their lovely coffees. When we got back Norsa was just being lifted out of the water, she’s come to visit Camomile having her spa treatment. Norman and Sara are going back to the UK for the summer in a few days. I spent the rest of the day writing and publishing the blog and Bill rubbed down the transom so that could have its final coat tomorrow.
Monday 23rd February
First thing in the morning Bill was up to put the final coat on transom but this time he was not happy. I thought it looked ok but Bill said it had fluff in it and there were runs. We went off on the ferry to get one of Mr Dins cars to do shopping but Bill spent most of the day being cross with himself. We did our usual tour of the hardware shops for various bits and did the food shopping. By the time we got back Bill had calmed down and he got straight out to rub the transom down so it could be painted again in the morning.
At the end of the afternoon Bill removed the lugs for the yachtlegs that will be in the way when we have to apply the stripe. They put up a bit of resistance so using his club hammer made him feel better. They are chunky old things but then they need to be to hold the boat upright when the yachtlegs are in them.
The holes had to be covered with tape to keep the mozzies out until the blue strip goes back on.
Tuesday 24th February
Final coat on the transom in the morning and this time Bill was happy. Bill started burnishing the copper coat with very fine sandpaper, I washed the dinghy ready to do the gluing first thing in the morning and Norman arrived to do more scraping although he has to work on the bow so that he doesn’t spoil the transom but it’s usually dry within a few hours. Norman has a saying ‘Don’t sack I boss just give I a bollocking’ but today he was working away and suddenly he said ‘Why don’t you sack I boss!’ Haha, its difficult work and we are grateful for the help he is giving, it’s in return for the jobs Bill has helped Norman with on Norsa. At the end of the day the decks looked like this and it was time for a cold beer while I vacuumed the decks down again.
Poor Norman was exhausted.
Wednesday 25th February
It was too damp to start the gluing on the dinghy first thing. The humidity in the day often leaves dew the next morning for an hour or so. Bill moved the dinghy into the sun to dry off and started reassembling the transom starting with the bathing platform. I cut to length and marked the neoprene strips and laid then out ready for gluing. Before it got too hot Bill started on the dinghy by first masking where the glue was going to go.
I had everything ready and first handed him the primer which he applied and also to the backs of the strips of Neoprene.
Next the glue had to be mixed with a small quantity of hardener and applied to the dinghy and the neoprene strips and then a second round of glue to the dinghy and strips. I passed the strips to him one by one so he could stick them in place. We had to work fast because the glue was going off quickly in the heat and the strips were sticking to each other but we did it.
Finally the masking was removed. I now have to wait 3 days for it to completely harden before I can finish the cover and use the velcro.
In the afternoon Bill continued with the transom by refitting the serviced Hydrovane and Norman started sanding with the big grinder but he still wants to be sacked!
At the end of the day the finished shiny transom looked like this; just needs her name reapplied now.
We try to be self-sufficient as much as we can and this is Bill regrinding the chisels, he has also made his own cutters because they are so specialised that no-one makes them.
Thursday 26th February
I gave Camomile a pedicure after we had scraped her toes on the coral last year (I anti-fouled the keel!) Nice shade of black. It had 4 coats in all during the day.
Bill started on woodwork by removing a section along the top of the rubbing strake. The rubbing strake can’t be removed because it forms part of the bond between the deck and the hull and the nuts inside are glassed over and inaccessible but Bill intends to skim it top and bottom and clad it in new wood; a bit like a crown on a tooth. He makes a cut all along the top of the rubbing strake.
Then it’s lifted off.
These are the new tops and sides jointed and glued drying. Unfortunately they turned out too weak to lift so Bill is going to glue them in place in sections. We bought the wood in Thailand; it’s Burmese quarter sawn teak. Bill took his cutting list to several wood yards and agreed to buy what he needed from a supplier near Yacht Haven in Phuket. The guy called James allowed Bill to pick his pieces and let him have a carpenter for the day to help him saw and plane it to size. We have enough wood to replace the rubbing strake, the toe rails, all the grab handles, all of the new cockpit planking, a seat by the steering wheel, a dolphin seat and a couple of other pieces. The wood, planned with the use of the carpenter for the day, cost just over a thousand pounds. I dread to think how much it would have cost to buy the pieces ready made.
We had a farewell meal with Norman and Sara in the evening.
Friday 27th February
Bill made this routing guide to fit onto his angle grinder to true up the sides of the rubbing strake to set it up for bonding later.
This is it in action. It was very efficient.
Norman wanted to do a couple of hours sanding before he left. This is the aft deck after he finished with it. Bill has still got to do quite a bit but Norman’s help has made a good start.
At 2pm we cycled down to A pontoon to say goodbye to Norman and Sara. They were leaving with Susie and Rex on board Ariel bound for Panang then onto the UK on Wednesday. Poor Norsa up on the side behind them looked on sadly to see them leave in the lovely Ariel. After they left I cycled to the other side of the island to see them motor out into the sea.