Home of the yacht "RHUMB DO"
  october 2011


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01/10/11  A light hearted start to the month - I bought this pack of Australian cheese in BSB the other day, clearly the Aussies don't have a problem with cheddar from the dark side!   You wouldn't be able to get away with this in the UK guys!

With a couple of warships in from the American Fleet, the yacht club have booked the band "Orient Express" (from the ships) to perform over the weekend and we all went along, together with Stefan and Lorna who live here, this evening to see them.  They were very good - as was the BBQ buffet style dinner.

02/10/11  Tonight was a repeat of last night but I think they cranked up the volume somewhat and conversation was impossible.  Couple that with an ear infection/blockage that I have and it was virtually an isolated night for me as the background noise drowned out everything!

03/10/11  It looks like my domestic battery bank has finally given up the ghost as it will no longer take, or retain a charge.  I will have to find some new batteries.   I'm still awaiting confirmation from the supplier in UK with regard to the damper plate for my gearbox.  They have the gearbox, but the plate is proving a little troublesome - it looks like a car clutch plate without the friction material and it's purpose is to take up the shock load when either forward or reverse is selected and when each cylinder fires.

05/10/11  Stefan took us battery hunting yesterday in his car but I think I will have trouble in getting any new ones into the available space.  My current 'house' or 'domestic' batteries are of the gel kind and you cannot mix them with lead-acid types - the trouble is the gel ones are smaller than lead-acid....hence my current (no pun intended) problem.  On the gearbox front, my good mate Rob in Yorkshire (of Slip Anchor fame) has secured a new box for me and I am having the damper plate sent from Lancashire to him for onward shipment.

07/10/11  I think that the gearbox and damper plate issue is now under control and both parts should be shipped from the UK very shortly.  The battery problem remains but Stefan has loaned me his car to go and fetch new batteries to the yacht club today and I will physically try to fit them in the available space.   In the meantime....Roger and I have refitted his windlass and it seems to be working properly.  The test will come on the next anchoring occasion.

08/10/11  OK, the battery problem is resolved for a short while, I have fitted two 80A/h automotive batteries into the space vacated by my two 75A/h AGM batteries - they won't be as good, or last nearly as long as the AGM's but it's only a temporary solution until I can afford or find a couple of deep cycle batteries.  Only one of the old batteries was defective - easily identified by the heat being generated by it - and this was dragging down the other one.  I've now dumped the u/s battery and put the good one on trickle charge in the club workshop, the intention being to store it and see how it holds it's charge over a couple of weeks.

Sunset, looking towards the Yacht Club from the anchorage.


12/10/11  Roger, myself, Stefan and Lorna took Storm Dodger to Labuan on Sunday for a day out, while Astrid, Jordan and Leah chose to remain at the yacht club, using my boat as a base.  We arrived back in Muara anchorage about 9pm with the anchor windlass working well in both Labuan and Muara.  Yesterday was spent shopping with Stefan and Lorna, visiting their house and having a meal in the yacht club.  My gearbox was picked up from Rob's house yesterday and is now on it's way to Brunei.  Weather wise.....it hasn't been too good today with overcast skies, frequent rain squalls and lower temperatures making it feel quite chilly!  Unable to really do anything outside, Roger and I took his forward batteries out and tried to find the power fault he experiences when using the bow-thruster.  Nothing 'jumped out and bit us' and we didn't come to any conclusive solution, perhaps it's just a question of needing larger capacity batteries?

14/10/11  Went into Bandar Seri Begawan with Astrid and Jordan for a day away from the boats and the yacht club.  My gearbox package is presently in Brunei but listed as a 'clearance delay.'  The more I've thought about the gearbox, the more I think that everything is related to engine alignment with the prop. shaft.  The last time I tried to realign the shaft, one of the engine mountings was very difficult to alter despite it's newness.  When I take the gearbox out, I will take extra care over the alignment.

16/10/11  Sunday......and my gearbox is in the delivery facility.  Spent the afternoon at the pool.   Last night was the 'Oktoberfest' party at the club but on the experience of the last party night, I chose not to attend - no point sitting unable to talk because of loud music and I decided to stay onboard and read.  All this spare time has meant a lot of reading and I have now run out of books, having read my last three in just three days!

17/10/11  Brought Roger and Astrid over to the yacht club first thing this morning so they can get to BSB early.  Checked with the yacht club on gearbox arrival - nothing.  Had breakfast in the restaurant before going back to the boat for a couple of hours.  I'm now back in the club with Leah and Jordan, and my gearbox is with the courier....somewhere between the airport and here!  The winds are changing to north-easterlies now - the wet season. Because of all these mechanical delays we may no longer be able to head further north to the Philippines.

18/10/11  My gearbox has arrived!  From being picked up in Yorkshire to arriving in Brunei took just under 72 hours, so it seems incredible that it took a further 96 hours to travel the 15 Km from Muara airport to the yacht club!

Bringing my parcel to the boat from the Yacht Club.

19/10/11  Started the gearbox change about 9am and by 11am I had the old box out, overcoming the problems which I had anticipated and dreaded but which in fact did not occur.  However, a further problem has manifested itself....but I will write a page later about the changing of the box.  Late afternoon, we all went ashore as a storm rolled in and five minutes after getting into the pool, the heavens opened and the wind blew hard.  Seemed strange to swim in warm floodlit water with freezing cold rain falling and palm leaves landing in the pool.

21/10/11  Happy Birthday Sandra!  And it's Trafalgar Day....but there are no French or Spanish in the anchorage!  Almost the entire day was spent hoisting the engine, removing the exhaust pipe, the flywheel housing and eventually the completely shattered damper plate.  The whole process was then reversed, rebuilding to allow me to lower the engine back onto it's three remaining mountings, the fourth mounting staying off so that I can free up a jamming adjustment nut.

22/10/11  In the absence of a 'painted' gearbox, I had a day of relative relaxation, freeing off the jammed engine mounting in readiness for replacement.

23/10/11  This morning, my gearbox was having its final coat of paint.  On leaving the yacht club after dinner, I collected it and took it back to the boat ready for fitting tomorrow.  I have bought some more jerry cans for fuel from Stefan, who had no further need of them - my black ones having reached the end of their life in the UV rays of the sun.  I now have eight cans on deck, plus I've replaced my 'dire emergency' can in the cockpit locker.  Roger went and filled them today, taking my four full, black ones to pour into his tanks.

24/10/11  I refitted the fourth engine mounting and then the gearbox during the morning but then ran into difficulties with alignment of the propeller shaft.  No matter what I did, the engine remained out of line by 1mm in two directions, and after five hours of sweating and cursing at it I decided to call it a day and come back to the problem tomorrow.  It was so frustrating!

25/10/11  More frustration today with engine alignment.  The gearbox output shaft flange and the prop shaft flange just will not line up, not in any of the three planes required.  Each is out by about 1mm.  Perhaps the prop shaft stern gland is out of alignment?  There is no way of getting to that without either cutting a hole in the cockpit floor, or removing the engine and gearbox.  I took out two of the engine mountings to check them, one has elongated holes which are not quite in line, the other two I will take out next and check shortly.  Time is pressing too, our visa's are about to expire (27th) and a check today with immigration showed there could be no extension - if you overstay, it's go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200.  Since we checked into Brunei, the rules have changed and you now get 90 days visitors visa instead of the 30 days that we got.  Immigration said they could not add the 60 days to our visa and that we would have to leave the country and return to get another visa.

26/10/11  Other yachties and residents came to our rescue quickly last night and this morning we borrowed a car and drove to Kuala Lurah on the Malaysian border, checked out of Brunei and walked across the short section of no-man's land and checked into Malaysia.  We then turned around, checked out of Malaysia and walked back across the gap checking back into Brunei.  We can now stay a further 90 days.

31/10/11  Days of frustration, sweat, blood and almost tears!  I've taken out the engine mountings and modified the elongated securing holes so that I can make larger adjustments to the lateral movement of the engine.  Replacing the mountings took a long while!  After seven hours today, I gave up and went to the yacht club for a swim and a hot shower.  I've now replaced the flexible shaft coupling and left it without nuts until tomorrow morning......when it's cooler!

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