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  april 2011


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01/04/11  A mixed day of rain and cloudy skies. Made contact with Rolly Tasker in Phuket with regard to having a new sail made......expensive!!   Went to the pool during the afternoon as there was little I could do onboard in the rain.  The local troop of monkeys became quite daring and approached to within a metre of where we sat at the side of the pool.

02/04/11  Armed with tape measure, pad, pencil, camera, sewing kit etc., I took my sail by taxi to Jeti Pelancongan where there was room to lay it out flat and under cover (outside the sailmakers office!) and measured the luff and foot of the sail before phoning Rolly Tasker's again.  That wasn't good enough though, because they would rather have the sail and measure it themselves.  So off to town and the local DHL office where I packed it up and sent it (at great cost) off to Phuket.  The alternative would have been to take it there myself, find somewhere to stay for seven or eight days, and then bring it, plus a new sail, back to Langkawi - and I didn't fancy doing that!  Why couldn't the sail have failed whilst in Thailand?  Rolly Tasker's was only a few miles up the road from Ao Chalong!!  Actually, the tear isn't too bad and is along a seam rather than through the material itself but it's not the first time I have had to repair it and not knowing the age of the sail, I guess it may be time to renew it.   The plan today of repairing my existing sail was shelved when it had to go to Phuket - I may as well ask Rolly Tasker's opinion and get them to repair it.  Astrid, who was dropping off laundry in the same building, can be seen in the photo busily measuring the sail!   This morning also saw the arrival in the marina of Dan and Mary's boat Still Dreaming which has been brought from Cochin by Nelson and crew of Black Swan.   Both Dan and Mary (who are American) were unable to sail her here as they are in New Zealand tied up with residency applications.

05/04/11  We hear from James onboard Swordfish in Ao Chalong, that they also had terrible weather over the weekend of our trip down here, boats in the anchorage dragged into other boats, were washed ashore and some actually sank - so perhaps we were in the best place......at sea!  Incidentally, we are having no more rain now, the last few days have been sunny, hot and humid, so the pool has been used by us every day!

06/04/11  Sunset in Langkawi can be spectacular - last night's was superb and I didn't have my camera with me!  The image above is tonight's sunset looking over the marina of Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and into Bass Harbour, the lights on the right are the pier of the ferry terminal.  It is actually four photo's 'stitched' together, taken from Charlie's Place (the bar/restaurant of RLYC).

07/04/11  I've spent the last few days studying everything about alternators that I can get hold of - for a while now, I've been convinced that the alternator (of Land Rover Defender origin) fitted in Salalah is not producing the amps that it should.  Anyway, this morning I've taken it off in order to renew the wiring, which I'm convinced is the problem, as there is too much voltage loss between alternator and batteries.  BUT......trying to get the correct cable is impossible here in Langkawi, so I will have to resort to automotive cable until such time as marine cable is available.  During the evening, Roger, Astrid and I went to 'Wonderland' restaurant just outside of Kuah town, where we ran into Pam and Doug of Helly (Satun yard).  They are anchored in the bay and it was such a pleasure to meet them again, hopefully they will come over to the marina one night for a drink in Charlie's Place before they head off to Sumatra.

12/04/11  So, life goes on in the yachting fraternity!  I rewired the run from the alternator to the ammeter and split diode - which meant emptying the nav berth, taking out the battery charger, inverter, shore connection box, taking down the deckhead (ceiling) and the inboard bulkhead (wall)......I've said before that I should put this lot up with velcro!   I've also realigned the alternator and water pump pulleys.  We've partied onboard Storm Dodger, Mick (guest of Full Flight) being the only casualty from that......he fell and gashed his leg, shoulder and head!  Pam and Doug came over to the marina for that night.  Today, I've taken my sprayhood and bimini over to Erja, the sailmaker for repair.  Rolly Tasker have repaired my old genoa and are now in the process of making me a new one which I hope to have back here in the near future.

13/04/11  I had my bimini and sprayhood returned today with all new Gortex stitching, new 'windows' with a central opening to allow breezes through (a previous moan of mine).  Most of the day was spent with Roger and Astrid in a hire car, collecting diesel to fill the boat tanks - fuel is currently 3.01 ringgit per litre in the marina and 1.80 ringgit in roadside garages, so there is quite a saving to be made, even allowing for the hire car.  It was midnight before we finished.

14/04/11  I went with Roger again this morning to get another 240 litres of diesel (Storm Dodger has big tanks!)  Roger later made another trip to the garage for a similar amount.

15/04/11  Those who have read my Navy Service blurb will know that I spent the latter part of 1964 and most of 1965 patrolling Borneo aboard HMS Zest during the conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia.  For that service, I and hundreds more sailors and soldiers, were awarded the General Service Medal by Her Majesty's Government, with either the Malaya or Borneo clasp.  When I arrived here in Langkawi last September, I received a phone call from The National Malaya and Borneo Veteran's Association informing me that the King and Government of Malaysia had awarded eligible service personnel a second medal - The Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal (PJM).   And could I attend a presentation ceremony at the Malayan High Commission building in London?  The caller was a bit put out when I told him that I was in Malaysia, and asked, "What?....... Still?"  Anyway, the upshot of it all was, the medal was posted to my residency address in the UK, although of course I have not yet seen it.   So,......better late than never I suppose......it was only 47 years ago when all is said and done!!

Ironically, HM the Queen was advised by the Honours and Decorations Committee to deny British Citizens the right to wear the medal, although Commonwealth servicemen are allowed to do so - clearly an unjust decision.  If you want to see  the whole story and/or help British servicemen, click this link  Home Page of Fight For The PJM   Below is the citation which accompanies the medal.

16/04/11  Engine oil change this morning - I hate doing that job, always messy!  My engine has a cleanable oil filter rather than the 'renew cartridge' type and I have yet to find a way of transferring it from the bottom of the engine to a bowl of diesel without spilling black oil everywhere!  Also removed the fuel filter and cleaned out the sight bowl in readiness for fitting new filter.   Went into town to collect my mainsail cover which I had taken to Erja for re-stitching, then replaced it on the boom, along with the mainsail.

17/04/11  Fitted new fuel filter and bled the fuel line, then went over to Storm Dodger to give Roger a hand, re-assembling his autopilot hydraulic lines whilst he was busy fitting a new work surface in the galley. We later had some problems in expelling all the air from the autopilot, calling it a day about 10pm.

18/04/11  My new sail is being made at Rolly Tasker's sail loft in Phuket, but I'm not sure when I'm going to get it.  Again on Storm Dodger all day, this time helping Rog with the galley work surface.  When it started to rain, I reminded him that the washing was still out but forgot about the open hatches on my own boat and it wasn't until it was absolutely pouring down that I remembered.   Ah, well, wet bedding for me tonight!! 

19/04/11  I've been told not to mention a certain someone's birthday in past years......so I won't mention it this year, but............... Happy Birthday anyway!!

21/04/11  There's not a lot happening at the moment unfortunately.....the papers are full of news items about a couple called William and Kate who are apparently getting married soon, but more important to me is my sail - it's not yet made and my schedule is getting tight as I am/was supposed to be heading south by now.

22/04/11  Happy Birthday Jordan!  Eighteen today but didn't care much for my comment that he could now keep night watches alone!   Went to the ten-pin bowling alley late afternoon, then to The Shore Cafe for a drink and game of darts, neither activity in which I could participate because of a recurrent shoulder injury - but I did manage the 'drink' bit.  Franz, Sylvia, Mick and Helen also came along.

23/04/11  St George's Day.....and my St George flag is hoisted! (the ONLY one in the marina).   Word this morning from Rolly Tasker that my sail should be dispatched no later than Monday 25th - a bit too late to make the start of the Sail Malaysia Rally as I should be in Pangkor Island Marina by then (some 130 miles south), so I guess I'll have to re-think the future cruising plan.  Feeling somewhat down, I went up to Charlie's Place and had a few beers during the evening.

24/04/11  Storm Dodger left the marina today and went out to anchor in the bay, but before going Rog and Astrid came over to dive and clean my prop of barnacle growth.  My sail should be dispatched from Rolly Tasker's tomorrow evening, so (with any luck) I should have it by next Friday.

25/04/11  Full Flight left the marina to head south and join up with the Sail Malaysia Rally in Pangkor Island Marina, Mick and Helen are staying onboard with Pat and Tony until Singapore area.

26/04/11  Storm Dodger sailed early this morning, also heading south (to Penang).

28/04/11  Still having a few problems with boaty bits!  Yesterday, I inflated my dinghy in order to fit and overhaul my outboard motor which hasn't been too well of late.  This morning it had a considerable amount of water in it - and it hadn't rained!  The guy next door had washed down so I thought that may be the reason but tasting it showed that it was indeed sea water.  OK, put the outboard on anyway and get that sorted out - a simple matter of adjusting the mixture and re-gapping the spark plug, then hoist the dinghy out of the water and dry it out.   On putting it back in the water, it immediately started to fill again!  Haul out again and have a close inspection........a loose corner of fabric by the transom was the culprit, so get Farid Dinghies to come and collect it for repair.   The outboard motor has another problem - the securing bolt on the left side has a stripped thread (and tomorrow is holy day so everything will be closed) so that will just have to wait until later.   My new genoa sail was supposed to be here tomorrow and when I went up to the office to inform them I was expecting a package, they said "It's already here."  This despite the UPS tracking site showing it to be in Kuala Lumpur!!  Astrid phoned and told me she was getting the ferry tomorrow, back to Langkawi from Penang, to keep me company on the day sail to Penang - which is very nice of her!  Had a few drinks in the evening with Penny and Rod onboard Yana de Lys.

29/04/11  Went up to the office first thing and collected my sail - nearly killed me carrying it down two flights of curved stairs (it weighs 30kg), then sweated buckets getting it onto the forestay foil and furling it.  Astrid arrived around mid-day and we went into town to get last minute bits of shopping and some lunch.   My dinghy was brought back about 5pm, duly repaired.   Francesca and Marco arrived in the marina onboard Vintas, doing a quick visa run and we all spent happy hour in the bar watching the Royal Wedding live on BBC World News.  Afterwards, we filled the water tanks and stowed stuff away ready for an early departure tomorrow morning.

30/04/11  Not a very good start to the day!  Set my alarm for 0400 but was up at 0345 and made coffee....then bang on 4am the heavens opened up and it poured!  Waited until 5am for it to stop before lashing down the dinghy and disconnecting shore power.  Slipped the mooring and 'reversed' out but the engine didn't sound right and as I was trying to turn the boat around, it started to die on me.  I spun the wheel to starboard and gunned the engine just before it cut out entirely, which gave me enough momentum to make it back onto the pontoon.  I suspected fuel starvation and bled the lines at the injector pump - despite having done all this previously when changing the fuel filter.  By 0600, it was running again and we once more left the marina and made out to sea, leaving the Langkawi archipelago and heading south toward Penang.  The wind of course was 'on the nose' as was the sea current, so it was very slow going (less than 4 knts) for most of the day.  Not until about 15 miles from Penang did the wind veer onto the stbd bow and I was at last able to put up the new genoa and increase speed.  We arrived in Penang after dark and tied up port side to in Tanjong City Marina, aided by Roger and some other boat crews, then we had a few bacardi and cokes!


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