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  november 2010


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01/11/10  It has rained continually for the last 30 hours, nothing serious, just light rain - and it's a freezing 25oC or so!!  From the grib files we can see that the forecasted storm is in fact building here in Langkawi, and will head north west - so Phuket and the Andaman Islands will be catching the worst of it while we have escaped the danger.

02/11/10  After hours of struggling with new software for website building, and many hours of help last night and into the small hours of this morning from Roger, neither of us are much closer to a solution, even though there are various internet forums and sites that say "it is a simple system!"  However, we have managed to update the site using File Transfer Protocol, which gives me more time to download other software needed to build a new site.  Apologies if some items or links do not work properly.

 03/11/10  OK, my wheel pilot is kaput!  I took the control panel apart yesterday and not only are there blackened areas of circuit board but also some electrical wiring which has obviously shorted out.  Since entering the marina just a few days ago, the wheel has also become almost impossible to turn to port and my assumption is that the gearing was beginning to get stiff whilst on passage from Cochin, which in turn made the pilot work harder until it eventually burnt out.  I now need to source a new one and have it delivered from the UK.  It seems that my problems with equipment are multiplying by the day - a week or so back, I took apart the water maker pump unit because it was refusing to start, and discovered that the pump motor was jammed by an unidentified piece of copper or brass.  I sent photo's to Jim, (the supplier), who has never seen a motor damaged like this;  he in turn sent the photo's to Schenker for their comments......and of course the 1 year warranty has now expired!!  I wonder what they will say about it??   My correspondence (both mail and phone) with Jeckells the sailmakers goes on - I still do not have the sail I ordered from them in November 2008 and it now looks as if I will have to pass the matter to solicitors in order to get my money back.   Today I will be lifting the engine and replacing the mountings.....if you want something doing.....do it yourself!

04/11/10  The last sentence is more true than ever.......when Zainol lifted the front of the engine, he did not first loosen the propeller shaft flexible coupling and the result is a broken coupling!  Furthermore, the flooding of the engine bay off Aden has corroded the coupling bolts (which are already very difficult to reach through the one and only top access), so I now have a major job on hand.  Schenker have given very weak excuses as to why my watermaker pump motor should have given up after so little use - but Jim MacDonald of Mactra Equipment (the supplier) has been outstanding with his help  as usual and I cannot recommend him enough.  I now wait delivery of a new motor....and a new propeller shaft coupling.

05/11/10  Spent the day struggling with the shaft coupling, finally removing it around 3.30pm.  Remember - the only access to my engine is through the cockpit sole, so when you lift that you are looking down on the engine rocker box.  You then have to sit astride the engine and reach down under the lower section of steering pedestal and past the gearbox to the point where it is coupled with the propeller shaft - a bit like sitting in a car engine bay with your head under the windscreen and working on the seat belt anchorage points! And in this temperature, it's hot and backbreaking work!   Rewarded myself with a dip in the pool and happy hour in the bar.  The breaks in the coupling, (photo right), can be seen clearly at six and nine o'clock, with fractures at ten and three o'clock.

06/11/10  Hoisted the front of the engine to replace the mountings but the port front one is being difficult because the main nut will not come off the top of the stud thread.  After several hours of cursing at it, and skinned knuckles, I gave up until tomorrow when it will have soaked in easing oil for some hours....and went off to the pool to cool down and have a beer.

07/11/10  Lifted the engine and removed the awkward mounting and the other three, replacing all with the new mountings before settling the engine down again.  The alignment with the propeller shaft is out but that's another job!

08/11/10  Helped to move Storm Dodger out to the anchorage again, giving myself a break from the task of mountings and couplings.  Later, we all went over to Full Flight for drinks.

09/11/10  I've now caught the bad cold that's been going around the boats, my head is full of it, can't breathe properly, constantly blowing my nose....and generally feeling rough!  Went into town with Roger and Astrid for some bits and pieces, and to price up anti-foul paint for the forthcoming haul out - location yet to be arranged.

10/11/10  I felt terrible this morning but hey.....it's a cold!  However, I didn't fancy doing that much today, so I just wandered down to Jetty Point and had a coffee in The Big Apple, then some chicken in KFC before walking back to the marina for a beer at happy hour.  Arranged to go up Andy's mast (Jenzminc VI) tomorrow morning to replace his VHF antenna for him.

11/11/10  Remembrance Day.  Hoisted up Andy's mast by 0900 and fitted a new antenna.  I was unable to actually connect the cable though because of corrosion (on a 4 year old boat) and a new connector will have to be fitted later.  Also tightened his upper, inner shrouds for him.

12/11/10  Today, I completely removed the wheel pilot, with the exception of the wiring loom.  The unit is beyond economical repair and will have to be replaced by new.  I am considering fitting the Raymarine SPX-5 unit which has direct drive rather than belt drive, but it is clearly not as robust as the Navico which is now deceased.  Whatever I finally decide, it will have to wait until I can get one shipped out from the UK and have the time to fit it at leisure.

13/11/10  Happy Birthday David.  We are getting reports that the Chandlers, taken from their yacht Lyn Rival by pirates off Somalia last October, may be freed at 0500 UTC tomorrow.  Let's hope that it's true.  I hired a car for the day and went with Roger, Astrid and Jordan to the crocodile farm further north for a bit of tourist playing before enjoying an evening of music provided by friends of various yachts at a local juice bar (Muslim....so no beer!)

14/11/10  Good news that Paul and Rachel Chandler have finally been released by the Somali pirates after 388 days in captivity - but probably bad news that a ransom was paid by someone.......it can only send out a message to other pirates that a yacht (and it's crew) are easy pickings if you stick it out.   Contrary to what others have said on various yachting forums, I don't believe the answer lies with the various countries navies - the ocean area is just too big to cover effectively (as was the North Atlantic during WW2.)   I have in my possession, a United Nations document of about 100 pages which gives the names of powerful bank rolling pirate chiefs.......so the authorities, governments etc., know perfectly well who is funding and organising the attacks.   Surely the answer is to take the fight ashore and eradicate the cancer at source?  The pirates themselves are not trained gunmen, they are poor peasants, fishermen and opportunists who are lured by the promise of easy money whilst brandishing an AK47 of scrap metal value.  Take out the chiefs and the funding - and destroy the organisation.   Only my own simplistic opinion of course!!

Went with Roger this morning to get our anti-foul paint and primer in readiness for lifting out, along with other necessary bits and pieces associated with cleaning the boat's bottom.  Carrying it all back down the pontoon to my boat was a killer in this heat......it must be a kilometre from the car park to the boat!  Adjourned to the pool for the afternoon until heavy rain stopped play.

15/11/10  My new shaft coupling (and watermaker pump motor), despatched by DHL, arrived today.  Well actually, it arrived on Thursday (the 11th) but the tracking details did not show on their website until this morning!  According to the website, it had been in Kuala Lumpur since Thursday.  Prior to that, the tracking system worked well, showing it's progress through Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia - perhaps the postie forgot to scan it's number into the system once it reached Langkawi?

16/11/10  After breakfast, I buried myself in the engine compartment again, juggling the engine around and trying to line up the shaft coupling - there is only 0.25mm tolerance allowed in the fitting, so it's a bit of messing about, jacking up the engine at each end and moving it laterally in the engine bay.  The engine weighs something between 300 and 400 kg, so you can imagine the problems!   Around 3pm, the shaft was near enough in line but I'd had enough and went up to the pool to cool off, have a beer in the bar and a meal.

17/11/10  Worked until 3pm again......the engine is now firmly bolted down and the error in the shaft coupling is about 0.20mm, so it should be OK.....time to go to the pool!   Music night again - the other night in the juice bar, one of the customers was Ismail Hashim, who runs the Nautilus Bar and Grill which is a part of the  Bella Vista Hotel and he had invited us all round to the Nautilus.  It was exceptionally good!  I recommend that visiting yachties go there to sample the ambience, the great food, the easy going nature of the staff and picturesque setting.  Sadly, the only musician available tonight was Frans of Moet, the others being away in other anchorages for a few days.

18/11/10  Before moving off from the marina, I need to get the boat hull scraped free of barnacles (and the prop) but Paul, the guy Roger used, is away in Singapore until Friday and East Marine, although they promised to come around and have a look at it, failed to show up!   I guess I'll have to wait until Paul comes back from Singapore.

19/11/10  Started to rebuild the watermaker pump but a broken plastic union prevented me from completing the job.  It's doubtful that I will be able to get another one here and may have to wait until one is shipped out from the UK, which means no watermaker again for the foreseeable future.  Arranged for the bottom of the boat to be scraped free of barnacles tomorrow morning, with the intention of leaving the marina in a day or two.

20/11/10   Paul came and dived under the boat to scrape off the barnacles whilst I started the mammoth task of stowing everything away again.  Our plan (Roger and I) to go to Satun in Thailand for haul out and re-antifoul has taken a set back - the yard is full for the rest of the year!  We will have to have a re-think.  Went to the twice weekly night market and had a couple of beers in the Langkawi Sunrise restaurant.

22/11/10  A day out in the car again, getting ham, cheese etc from McFee's near the airport.  Took my sun awning down and into the sailmakers for repair and alteration, then an afternoon in the pool at the Aceanis Hotel.

23/11/10  Collected my sun awning at 10am but am not putting it up again for just today - the temperature onboard is now stifling and it's impossible to sit out in the cockpit.  I put some more gear away and washed the boat down before going up to the pool to meet Roger and Astrid.  We ended up on my boat for a few bacardis until 2am!

24/11/10  Roger's 'bad head' this morning prevented us leaving .......there's always tomorrow!  Astrid and I went into the Harbour Master, Customs, Immigration offices and cleared out of Malaysia, had some lunch and returned to the boats.  In the evening we all went to the cinema to see the latest Harry Potter - HP7.

25/11/10  Our intended departure was again thwarted when Roger's engine would not start because of a battery problem which blew the 100 amp fuse.  Roger went into town to get spares and spent the day sorting out the problem.

26/11/10  Weighed anchor and sailed.  Well, to be honest, we motor sailed in light airs, just sixteen miles to Talaga Harbour where we anchored in the lagoon behind two man-made islands.

27/11/10  We decided to stay in Talaga today, so that Roger could dive and clean his propeller as the boat had been very sluggish yesterday.

28/11/10  Another day, another country, another problem!!  We weighed anchor and using engine and genoa in F2/3 winds, made the 27 mile crossing to the Butang Islands and Koh Lipe, anchoring off Pattya Beach.  So, here I am in Thailand with no depth sounder and in a deep water anchorage!  I had been worrying about being in shallow waters, and hadn't really considered the problem of deep water anchoring.  Despite dropping 45 metres of chain, I still dragged backwards and it took a further 90 minutes to retrieve the chain and move to another spot - still with 45 metres of chain deployed.   We went ashore to Pooh's Bar and to have a look around the immediate area.  There is a one hour time difference between here and Malaysia, so now we are only 7 hours ahead of the UK.

29/12/10  Bedlam this morning!  The noise is terrible as all the longtails whizz around with tourists - this is a longtail on the right.  They consist of a loud, un-silenced two-stroke engine balanced on a plank, driving a coarse blade prop on a long shaft (longtail).........and there are hundreds of them!!  Unfortunately, I 'm anchored close to a steel landing craft which is used to transfer tourists from the longtails to either fast speedboats or equally fast ferries, and the noise generated by these ear splitting contraptions is difficult to describe!  Couple that with a lack of sleep due to the constant rolling and anchor chain noise as it clatters across the rocky sea bottom and it's easy to understand why I was not a happy  bunny this morning!  We all went ashore to the beach hut which serves as the immigration office and got our Thai visa's and cleared the boats into Thailand before setting off inland a bit to explore our surroundings.  It's only a small island, basically consisting of one street at ninety degrees to the beach, and is geared up for the tourist industry.  We did however, have a great 'full English breakfast' before strolling along Sunrise Beach.

30/11/10  More or less a repeat performance of yesterday with the longtails creating mayhem.  To be fair, they do thin out somewhat once the day trips and ferries have departed, and a degree of peace descends on the pretty waterfront.

For previous logs, click Here