Last Friday we had what Bill considered a major disaster; the hull wouldn’t cut. We were going to have to make a decision – continue to rub it down using the strong rubbing compound to get the best finish we could or paint the hull. Jimmy the painter at Pangkor had already quoted a price of the equivalent of £5000, which was out of the question for us. Poor Camomile sat waiting for us to make a decision. Bill continued to rub the hull down in the afternoon and I gave the galley a good clean while we each gathered our thoughts. We always knew there was a risk it wouldn’t cut but hoped it would.
We went for dinner in the Hard dock cafe next to the hard stand to talk further. Bill had worked out how many square metres of coverage there was and that it would still fit into our timeframe if we painted and he wanted to go and find out how much the paint would cost to see if he could do it himself. Bill is very skilful at most things but this was a big undertaking and he wasn’t sure if he could do it. A nice distraction to our thoughts turned up in the shape of Eric and Tamara our friends off of the catamaran Sea Child and we spent the evening having a lovely catch up chat with them.
Saturday 7th February saw us on the ferry to go over to the main island to pick up one of Mr Din’s cars.
Our first stop was the machine shop where we had left our prop shaft and POM to make some bearings at the beginning of the week. The rudder bearings were perfect; Bill was very pleased. No sign of the prop shaft although the 316 stainless was on order and they were able to tell us it was going to cost RM1000 (£200), which was fairly cheap. We decided a little bribery was in order. Bill told him if the prop shaft was ready by the weekend, before the Chinese New Year shut down of 2 weeks, he would give him another RM500. This brought big smiles and he agreed.
Bill also gave him the smaller diameter POM to make some bearings for the Hydrovane shaft and some davit bearings. It was agreed we would visit them again on Tuesday to see how they were getting on.
We continued into the town to the International paint shop to find out about the paint. The Chinese guy told us that he just had a shipment of paint delivered from Hong Kong. Colour charts were consulted and advise taken as to how many primers, undercoats and topcoats were needed. Bill had already painted the transom snow white but it looked a bit stark and there was another colour we liked better called Mediterranean white. The guy checked his stock, he had 6 tins in stock and we needed ……. 6 tins. That was it the decision was made – we paint; it was meant to be. So for 3 primers, 3 undercoats and 2 top coats we bought 6 x 750 litre tins of top coat, 3 litres of undercoat and 2 big tins of primer together with the necessary thinners at a total cost of RM2940 with the small discount he gave us which converts to £534, 10% of the painters price.
We carried on into town to see Phil Auger who was supplying our new main and we wanted to see it before transferring the final money. Beautiful sail; Bill was very pleased. Phil was also able to confirm that our old sail was condemned. It’s not been right since the terrible storm we were caught in off the Australian coast when it was badly torn and had to be repaired. The whole of the leech (the back of the sail) was weak and just tore in your hands, clearly uv damage. The annoying thing was even though it’s nearly 9 years old it was still a nice shape and worked well but was useless, even as a spare.
After doing the rest of our shopping we returned to the island happily reassured things were going ok.
Sunday 8th February We started the day with Sunday breakfast in the resort, which is our treat. There is so much food on offer that we end up eating the equivalent of breakfast, lunch, tea and pudding. The good thing is we seriously don’t feel like eating for the rest of the day, which saves money! That’s my rational and I’m sticking to it. Rebak is a lovely location and the staff are so friendly. It’s a great place to haul out.
This is the sitting area next to the Hard Dock café, note there’s no need for windows or even walls, and the showers were just behind me when I took this photo, Camomile is the 5th boat along so not far to walk.
I spent most of the day writing and posting last week’s blog. It takes me ages to write every thing up, line up the photos and finally publish it. I never know if anyone reads my waffle but we seem to get quite a few viewings so I continue. Depending on our signal sometimes it won’t post, the air turns blue and Bill hides!
As we’ve decided to paint Bill filled the little dings in the gel coat, these ones have been made by the anchor, and rubbed down the waterline. The order of doing things has changed now and he wants to repair the boot line with some copper coat and raise it 2 inches – again.
We raised it before we left but with everything we carry these days we sit further down in the water and the waterline gets very mucky. Finally at the end of the day he masked up all the repair areas ready to start the copper coating first thing in the morning.
Monday 9th February Bill was up early to mix the copper dust with the epoxy resin and start applying it. The first coat was very thin then gradually Bill made a thicker mix for each coat putting on 4 coats in total.
There were also some repairing of odd patches to do; this is where the rudderstock will be refitted in time. I have now reached the dizzy heights of chief paint stirrer because the mix needed constant stirring to keep the copper particles from settling in the bottom of the pot.
I continued to clean the metal work. This is a before and after photo of the metal struts that support the bathing platform.
This is the bathing platform half finished; I hope you can see which side I’ve done. During the day I discovered that my niece had gone into labour in the UK and I was about to become a great Auntie again so I was up and down the ladder all day checking on the computer for any news.
The boatyard is very busy; they move boats every day except Fridays. Romance came out and this is Delos going back in the water, she is owned by Brian and Karin who we met on the East Malaysian rally last year. They are off across the Indian ocean this year and wanted to give the boat a scrub off and a coat of anti-foul paint before they leave. They’ve only been on the side for 4 days and have worked really hard to get her back in the water so quickly.
In the afternoon Bill had the grizzly job of rubbing down the keel. It doesn’t have Cuprotect on it and needs to have several coats of conventional anti-foul applied before we go back in the water. As we’ve no idea when that will be the anti-fouling will be done later.
Finally at the end of the day Bill removed the masking tape to reveal a beautiful new waterline and we rewarded ourselves with a dip in the pool after we’d had showers to get all the grim of the day off.
Eric and Tamara joined us again for a meal in the Hard Dock café with more catching up. At 10pm we heard that Kirsty had had a little boy weighing 6lb and they have called him Logan. Mother and baby were tired but well. We had to have a glass to celebrate.
Tuesday 10th February back across to the main island into another one of Mr Din’s cars and onto the machine shop again to see how the guys were getting on with the second set of bearings. The stainless steel bar for the prop shaft was sitting on the lathe ready to be turned – HOORAY. Bill had taken the propeller with us to give to him so he could make sure it fitted and turned nicely. The other little bearings were waiting for us and perfect again. We carried on into town and collected our new sail and visited Nasir to see how our sailbag was coming along, which also looked really good. Every one thinks that jobs like this can’t be achieved this side of the world well we’ve proved they can be; inexpensively. Prices are a lot less here, however, you can still pay twice the going rate for goods of average or poor quality. We have found that it really pays to shop around and do your homework as this often gets you top quality and a very reasonable price. Compared to UK prices, it’s a steal but then we don’t live in the UK and if we did we wouldn’t be able to afford to do half of these things!
We got back to the boat and Bill spent a couple of hours starting to put things back together. Firstly the new rudder bearings our little Chinese man had made were tried for size on the rudder shaft and they fitted perfectly.
The lower one was fixed into position in the rudder shaft hole. It was very stiff but it’s meant to be tight. A couple of hefty whacks with the hammer soon saw it home.
We had bought a new cutlass bearing in Thailand and again it’s meant to be tight. To get it into the P bracket Bill used his invention in reverse and gradually pulled the cutlass bearing up into place.
It sits snugly in the P bracket waiting for the prop shaft. Finally he masked up the bootline ready to start the first primer in the morning.
I finished cleaning the metal work on the bathing platform.
Wednesday 11th February I started my day with my little joggy trot. Rebak island is 80% jungle and the resort and marina are perched on the edge so there’s a lot of wildlife here.
Monkeys are regularly seen coming down onto the hard stand early morning and in the evening looking for food. Camomile is sitting on the water side of the hard but the boats on the bank side have to be very careful not to leave their hatches open in case the monkeys get in. They can do a lot of damage as well as pooh everywhere.
There are also monitor lizards here, we saw one nearly a metre long the other day on one of our cycle rides. When I do my run I hear them rustling in the undergrowth as they run away to escape my approach. The bird life is amazing too, I’ve seen sea eagles, hornbills as well as other brightly coloured ones that flit through the jungle canopy alongside huge butterflies.
Meanwhile Bill started applying the first coat of primer. It’s designed to form a barrier between the old porous gel coat and the undercoat/topcoat and bind them to the surface. The first coat looked quite thin. Bill is using a roller with a short pile head. It took about 3 hours to apply a coat to both sides of the hull.
During the heat of the day Bill tries to do inside jobs where we have the air conditioner on. These are some of the parts of the rope stripper that Bill has thoroughly cleaned and polished.
This is the rudder shaft seal carrier. When the shaft came out this was all stained and Bill has serviced and polished it. Bill made the comment “ Last time I polished this bit of metal there was snow on the ground!”
One good thing about the heat here is that the paint dried really quickly so in the afternoon Bill was able to get out and rub it all down ready for the second coat tomorrow.
Tomorrow is D day or rather P day; would the prop shaft be ready?
Bill has been planning Camomile’s refit for over a year now. The treadmaster on the deck has become badly worn, the woodwork is gradually eroding, the hull has become stained and yellowing and the mainsail has become weakened and torn by heavy duty and UV damage. As she will be 30 years old this year and with the miles we’ve travelled she’s in need of a face-lift. I did an assessment of the marina prices before Christmas and, despite everyone saying Thailand is cheap, it was going to be cheaper in Malaysia. The two options were Rebak marina or Pangkor marina further south. They both had lifting facilities but also both had their pros and cons. The biggest pro for Rebak for me was that it has proper showers, washing machines and a pool to cool down in after a hot day working on the boat, the con is that the internet signal is weak and it’s based on an island so everything had to be on board or brought over on the ferry. Pangkor pros were that it has a reasonable internet signal, Joe had given us a competitive quote to do the deck painting and good shops nearby but the biggest con is that there are no proper showers and only men’s toilets that the yard boys use. Call me a princess but I choose Rebak for our haul out!
So after leaving Thailand early on 30th January (I’m hoping to write a blog on our adventures in Thailand soon) we motored all day and arrived back in Kuah, on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia at 9pm ready to check-in the next morning. Our last week in Thailand had felt like a holiday and now we were back home (?) to get on with some work.
Saturday 31st February
There were a couple of errands to do after we checked in (so easy in Malaysia). Bill bought a length of studding for taking out the rudder and after taking our mainsail off it was taken into Phil the sailmaker in Kuah to see whether or not it was beyond repair as a back-up; our new one was due to arrive within the week. We then motored round to Rebak tying to the pontoon at 7pm.
Sunday 1st February was lifting day. First on the list Bill backed Camomile onto the lifting jetty while the yard boys tied up our lines. We’ve found in the past they always take such care when lifting boats on this side of the world and Rebak was no exception. A diver was sent down to position the strops maybe they don’t do that in the UK because he would need a full wet suit on.
Once every thing was in place Camomile slowly raised up out of the water. I always feel a bit emotional watching her come out; she looks like a fish out of water.
Straight away we could see how mucky her hull was. The Cuprotect is still working fairly well because there wasn’t any serious weed growth just the usual layer of slime and loads of barnacles which the yard boys starting shovelling off straight away. The travel lift wheeled Camomile into the pressure wash area for her ‘bath’.
Meanwhile Bill took our mattress out and rolled the bed up so he could take off the front of the cupboard to start releasing the rudder. The studding Bill had bought was passed through a wooden block and screwed into the rudder shaft to stop it suddenly dropping out. Bill released all the bolts that held it in position.
After about an hour Camomile had had her pressure wash and was wheeled into her new position. We’ve got a nice view of the marina across her bow and the jungle from her stern.
The yard boys brought the forklift in ready to take the rudder out but Camomile was objecting to her ‘colonic irrigation’ and wasn’t going to release the rudder easily.
Bill unscrewed the studding and the boys were jiggling from the bottom but still it wouldn’t move. Bill started hammering on the top of the shaft with the old Hydrovane shaft but it wasn’t having it. There must be something else holding it. Bill did the studding up again to stop it accidentally falling out and did a further check inside the cupboard and discovered a keyway had become fouled. Once cleared and with the rudder resting on the forklift the studding was slowly released to allow the rudder to gently slip down.
Once the forklift prongs were on the floor Camomile was lifted higher in the strops and it was out. Finally the boys could get on with their job of fitting Camomile into the cradle that would hold her steady for the next 4 or 5 weeks.
The strops were dropped and the boatlift pulled away leaving Camomile comfortable in her new bed.
The first thing we noticed were the scratches across the front of the keel from sitting on the reef in Indonesia. No damage but it would need some sanding.
This photo is looking up into the hole the rudder came out of. The bearing will need to come out and it all looks a bit worn.
While I disappeared off to the laundry Bill started scrubbing the propeller with a rotary wire brush and by the time I got back it was nice and shiny Apparently he had found a live oyster growing on the prop.
The prop holds the rope cutter in place, which is our silent friend. We never know whether its done its job or not but we’ve only ever been caught in one net so it obviously does. Bill loves to tell the story that I bought him a stripper for his 40th birthday and it usually raises a few eyebrows until he tells the full story.
Bill got his ‘puller’ kit out and removed the prop without too much trouble; the rope cutter decided to be more difficult. The reason the rudder has been removed is partly to replace the bearings but also to get the prop shaft out.
After Bill detached it from the engine it came out without too much trouble and Bill was able to clean up the P bracket – which he also managed to bang his head on giving himself a nasty gash on the head and renaming it ‘the complete and utter bastard bracket’.
So her rear end looks a bit bare now without a rudder or a prop shaft.
Bill set about removing the cutter from the prop shaft, which took another hour. Time flies when you’re having fun.
And this is why it needed removing. The stuffing box packing has worn a grove, which has been causing bad leaks in the engine bay. We intend taking it to a local machine shop to get a new one made.
Inside the P bracket is the cutlass bearing, which also needs to come out and be replaced.
Bill, of course, had made an invention to remove it. As you can imagine the P bracket unattached to any thing is fairly delicate and the last thing you can do to it is whack it with a hammer, tempting though it may be.
So Bill put together a series of metal tubes with the studding through the middle which when tightened with the clip on spanners gently pulled the smaller tube into the P bracket pushing the cutlass bearing out with it. I’ve suddenly realised all this detail is way too boring but some people might find it useful. That was the end of our first day out of the water. In the evening we sat down to a nice lamb curry that I had made. Our bed was still upside down so we had to sleep in the forepeak.
Monday 2nd February
This is a view of the transom before we started. As you can see the paintwork isn’t in bad condition but all the metal fittings need a through clean and the wood of the bathing platform has gone all green and black. As the transom has always been painted it will need to be painted again so everything has to be removed.
This had Bill back in our cabin removing all the bolts from the inside.
Meanwhile I haven’t been sitting around without anything to do. When Camomile was pressure washed it took all the slime off but left the bases of lots of barnacles that needed to be removed. Not sure if you can see the little white dots in the photo because they are quite small but some of them were stuck fast and needed quite a bit of scrapping. I felt that was something I could do so over the space of several days, in between the washing, cooking, washing up and generally trying to keep things tidy I took every one off with a little scraper and the hull went from this….
… to this.
Bill said to point out that I still managed to find some old shorts to match my crocs!
Inside our bed is back in place and the forepeak bed has now been lifted to store all Bill’s pots and potions. All of this is supposed to be kept cool but with 32C outside and 80% humidity it’s a bit difficult. Luckily we’ve got the air conditioning unit going. This job would be so difficult without somewhere cool to retreat to at the end of the day.
Tuesday 3rd February
We needed to take the prop shaft and rudder bearings to the machine shop on the main island so we joined the 8.45 ferry, which takes about 10minutes, and hired one of Mr Din’s cars. The advert says “ALWAYS starts, usually no fuel, no insurance, cash only 40RM” (£8) and that’s exactly what you get. Our one also had air con and the doors locked! (We’ve had one before that didn’t, neither did the speedo work but as they don’t do more than 40mph it doesn’t matter.) Forgot to take a photo, I’ll take one next time.
We drove to the little machine shop we found at Christmas time and showed the father and son our prop shaft. Bill had made a drawing of what he wanted and took it with him. The son speaks a bit of English but the father very little. There were lots of smiles and ‘can do can do’ which was encouraging. “New year, new year” meaning after the chinese new year wasn’t quite so but he has a lathe and he makes all the prop shafts for the local ferries so fingers crossed. We also gave him our lump of POM bought in Thailand to remake our rudder bearings “can do can do” along with big smiles so here’s hoping. I’ll let you know if we ever see either of them again! We carried on into town to the International shop to buy the paint for the transom, one of the few things we hadn’t bought in Thailand. After lunch we headed back to the ferry, left the car in the car park with the keys in it (NO ONE is going to steal it) and back to the boat.
In the afternoon Bill started removing the lettering with a heat gun and rubbed the transom down. Camomile is now completely anonymous because the sail bag with her name on it was removed at Christmas to be remade. She’s going to look so posh at the end of this refit. I carried on with my scrapping.
At the end of the day the transom looked like this ready for painting. The rubbing strake was new in 2008 so won’t need replacing. Bill has rubbed it down ready for oiling with the rest.
As I said at the beginning of this blog Rebak has a pool. This is our third day here but we haven’t visited it yet. So after we’d finished our work we cycled over to the other side of the island for a well-earned dip in the pool.
Wednesday 4th February
Bill was up early before the sun got too hot to put the first coat of paint on the transom.
After my run (walking jog) and more washing in the machine I carried on with my scrapping, this time on the removed rudder. So as well as router and navigator, chief cook and bottle washer I’m now an expert barnacle scraper with sweat dripping off the end of my nose like a dew drop, at least it’s not a cold dew drop. One of the odd things that happen here is that the hotel does tours of the boat yard so every now and then a golf buggy carrying photo clicking tourists comes by taking pictures of us all – bizarre.
After painting Bill moved onto removing the gold strip and rubbing down the blue cove line. Again we’ve got new ones of these. He has to keep changing sides because in the tropics it’s important to work on the shady side of the boat unlike in the UK he used to work in the sun to keep warm.
Thursday 5th February
Bill gave the transom a second coat of paint and finished off sanding the blue cove line before spraying down the topsides with oxalic acid. This was time consuming because each section had to rinsed before continuing to the next.
In between jobs Bill has been rubbing down all the pieces that came off the transom. This is the bathing platform hardly recognisable with all it’s green slats rubbed down. I finished scrapping the hull and washed down where the boatlift straps had been as the pressure washer missed them.
My next task is to clean all the metal work from the transom with metal polish. It’s a nice job because I get to sit in the shade and chatting to everyone who comes by. Another swim in the pool at the end of the day.
Friday 6th February
The end of the week here. Fridays are the Malaysian Sundays. All the shops are shut on the main island, the yard boys don’t work on a Friday and all the men go to the mosques to pray. It’s also the day the little Chinese man sets up his fruit and veg stall on the Langkawi side of the ferry dock. After my early morning run I joined a group of yachties on the 8.45 ferry to go and see what he had. All the fruit and veggies were really fresh plus he had some frozen salmon and chicken in polystyrene boxes and Easi-yo yoghurt mixes, which are really difficult to get here. I came back all happy to find Bill despairing back on the boat. The hull won’t cut.
We went over to the resort to sit down and have a coffee and talk over our options. Apparently while I had been out he had rubbed down a section of the hull and tried cleaning it with the aggressive rubbing compound we had bought but it wasn’t cleaning up. There are white blotches on the hull from past repair work and they show up against the yellowing of the original hull. Bill had hoped to clean up the yellow patches to bring them closer to the colour of the repairs but it wasn’t working, he said he had been dreading starting this stage because it was make or break time. Do we go to the expense of repainting the hull or do we leave it as it is?
We’ve got a decent internet access so wanted to post some late Christmas pictures.
We arrived in Rebak marina on an island off of Langkawi in Malaysia on the 9th December at the end of the Sail Malaysia rally. It was also where we had started Sail Malaysia East in April so we had come full circle. After spending a couple of weeks doing boat jobs and relaxing in the wonderful Rebak marina resort, of the Taj group, our Christmas celebrations started with a wonderful dinner on Christmas eve in the resort. The dining room looked spectacular with a Christmas tree at the entrance and food of every description laid out on one side of the room. The ‘all you can eat’ buffet at the equivalent of £30 a head was remarkable.
We shared a table with Norman and Sara our friends on Norsa and Georg and Mauella from the German yacht Sternchen.
It was fun to dress up for a change. I wore my new dress that I had had made in Vietnam by a lovely lady called My (pronounced ‘me’ which caused some confusion) and my fabulous intricate silver necklace and earrings that Bill bought me in Yogyakarta.
They had traditional Christmas cuisine as well as Malaysian curries
And the desert table …… I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! And this was just one of them, there was a second table full of goodies as well as a chiller cabinet with mouth-watering Tiramisu, among others.
This was my choice – diet can start after Christmas.
It felt so strange dressed in a sundress for Christmas and eating next to the beautiful pool, which looked brilliant in the evening light.
The dancing got under way and Sara and I soon joined in dancing to the song YMCA along with the arm movements.
The next morning Bill and I opened our presents to each other. I had bought him some new binoculars because ours have suffered from being dropped several times and he had bought me a new bag that I wanted and some Body shop bits (yes Body Shop is in Malaysia). He had also found some dark chocolate Belgian seashells – yummmm. We had bucks fizz with Norman and Sara before walking down to the beach to watch Santa Claus arrive on a jet ski! After he’d handed out presents to all the children staying in the resort he came up to the restaurant to wish all the adults “A very Merry Christmas.” This seemed a bit bizarre because the Malaysians don’t celebrate Christmas but I’m sure he was entering into the spirit.
Again the food was wonderful. This turkey had been roasted in an oven but the staff had set up BBQ’s for the chefs to cook a sumptuous feast on.
The Christmas lunch, at the equivalent of £20 a head, included unlimited sparkling wine, is this a good thing you may well ask? Bill and I sporting our Christmas hats brought from the UK with our first glass of bubbles. Norman and Sara joined us again. (My new bag is in the foreground).
The meal started with a delicious pumpkin soup followed by an amazing array of starters and salads; again as part of an all you can eat buffet. (Should have joined us James) My Christmas dinner was roast turkey, a little sausage thing, a barbecued chicken leg, a really tasty piece of barbecued lamb and a Brussel sprout but NO roast potatoes! Can’t please some people can you? It was all beautifully cooked and tasted all the better for not having cooked it myself.
The desserts were even nicer than the night before, if that was possible. It was so difficult to choose so I had a bit of everything.
After lunch some people had a snooze!
It was a fabulous setting with lots of our yachtie friends enjoying life together at a very different Christmas.
Lunch and snoozes were followed by a dip in the pool.