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  february 2015


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01/02/15  The start of another month.  I need to get a move on now, organise the accumulated 'rubbish' into a more logical storage system and ready the boat for sea.  I hope to leave Kudat within the next ten days.  I have a chee chak onboard......this is the second one in as many weeks, I caught the first one and put it ashore on the pontoon - now there is another, or maybe it's the same one come back up the mooring lines?  However, not to worry, they are harmless enough!

02/02/15  Shopping excursion into town postponed due to more rain, same applies to launching the dinghy to inspect for any damage at my stern caused by Glory on the 25th of last month.  My dinghy is still deflating (through the new valves) in a relatively short period of time - that could be a nuisance!  Had lunch onboard Crib and helped with the reassembly of their water pump.  Researching electric windlasses is proving troublesome as well, there seems to be a lack of information regarding dimensions and prices on the internet and my indecision gets worse with the information that I can get!  Should it be a vertical or horizontal windlass?  Lemar, Maxwell, Lofrans or Muir manufactured???     More reading required!

03/02/15  Managed to get into town for a little shopping in between showers.  Spent a good deal of the day on the internet searching for the 'right' windlass - my initial leaning toward the Australian manufactured Muir VR1250 has now veered toward the American Maxwell RC10-8......decisions, decisions!

04/02/15  Another day of internet research, talking to other yotties.....I see you have a Muir/Maxwell/Lofrans....."any problems, what's it like, happy with it, what would you change?"  Think I will go with the Maxwell RC10-8.....oh dear, hope it's the right choice!  Managed to get the dinghy launched and check my stern - some superficial scratches and the large chuck of paint visible from deck is from Glory and not Rhumb Do.

06/02/15  Sailing date draws near!  Plan is to check out on Weds 11th and sail in company with Crib on Thurs 12th, doing 'day hops' southward down the coast.  My windlass is on order and on it's way from the USA to Labuan (currently in Cologne, Germany) where I hope to fit it.  Sailing as always, of course depends on the weather forecast for next week!

07/02/15  Putting a few bits away again today, defrost the fridge which was iced up badly!  And the engine ignition showed the same fault as earlier - lights and buzzer on, press the button and everything goes dead.....leave it for a few mins, and it works again!!  (in my best Chinese..."sum ting wong").   Windlass package is in Mumbai, India.

09/02/15  I'm beginning to panic a little....not much getting done as I keep getting side-tracked onto other little things.  I went into town today and bought 20 metres of the 50mm2 battery cable to take with me to Labuan, then updated the operating system for my iPad (which took hours!) before getting a late lunch.  I arranged for a local guy to come tomorrow morning and brush the underbelly of the boat which is showing signs of weed growth again.  I will have to get my skates on in the morning and get some of the surface junk put away into boxes or lockers!  Windlass package is in Sepang (Kuala Lumpur) having been from India to Shenzhen, China.

10/02/15  The sailing date is out of the window - I just will not be ready in time.  I've spent the whole of today trying to find spaces to store the various bits and pieces that have accumulated during my stay in Kudat and still the boat is a mess.  Rob, who was due to sail this morning, cancelled because of 30 knot winds and 3 metre waves outside.  Crib are also running late and will not check out tomorrow either.  Deep depression bears down heavily on me!!  And the promised diver didn't turn up today either!  It's feasible for me to check out on Thursday 12th and sail the following day, but Lesley aboard Crib is a little paraskevidekatriaphobic.....so maybe Saturday!  My parcel has been signed for in Labuan Marina, so is now waiting there for me - 4 days from Connecticut to Labuan.....well done UPS!

11/02/15  Rob (Jolly Brise) left this morning to head down to Brunei and Singapore, I went into town and got some shopping, (as much as I could carry in my rucksack) and applied some more waterproofing to the sprayhood.  I launched the dinghy and had a look at the hull because the promised diver cannot now come until next week, but it is completely covered in growth.  It's worse now after a couple of months, than it was after over a year!  One of the other local lads (Rudi) is trying to get me a worker for tomorrow.  I think I have a 'family' of chee chak's onboard, as I have seen a baby one in the cockpit a couple of times.

12/02/15  Rudi turned up this morning with a friend who would dive and clean the hull - great!  So I gave him all the necessary gear and set him to work, Crib also had two lads dive on their hull.  At lunchtime, all three went for 'makan'........and disappeared!  Around 2.30pm, the two on Crib returned, finished the job and then came over to finish mine - as my worker had done a runner!  I washed down the deck, took down the sun awning and folded it and lifted the dinghy from the water.  A little more tidying up below decks and we are now back on track for checking out tomorrow and sailing on Saturday (14th).

13/02/15  Friday the 13th...........a busy day!  Went into town at 8am to the Harbour Master's Office, Customs Office, Immigration Office - all checked out for leaving!  Then onto the shops for last minute supplies, then the marina office to settle bills, deflate the dinghy, roll it, bag it, stow and lash on deck, put away the shopping, check engine oil levels, run the engine, check instruments working, check navigation lights and numerous other little jobs........still some to do in the morning!  Chinese New Year is coming up, and gifts of oranges were presented to us in town, then the marina gave us a box of oranges each....I have over 50 oranges onboard....I think I will turn an orange colour after eating all these!  Crib and I are the longest 'serving members' of this marina, Viajero organised a yottie get together in the evening to say 'cheerio' to us, so we had a few rums in the now closed cafe on the top deck of the marina offices.  The target is to leave tomorrow around 6am....but I think that may be somewhat too early!!  Next log entry...Labuan?

14/02/15  I knew I shouldn't have had a drink last night!  Woke up at 0515hrs, rushed around getting washed, breakfast, coffee - only for Crib to declare a laptop navigation prog. crash!  Lesley borrowed my laptop in an attempt to get her back up system up and running, but without any success.  It was decided that I should go and they would catch up later in the day, so at 0710, I slipped the lines, waved cheerio to all and made out to sea.  With little wind to speak of, I motored up to the tip of Borneo, rounded inside the light and headed southward down the coast to Teluk Agal (our intended first anchorage).  I was able to use the genoa now, but the winds were still very light and I arrived and anchored in 10 metres at 1350hrs.  Rene and Lesley arrived and anchored off my port side just after 1730hrs.

15/02/15  A rather restless night, up and down all night long, and up permanently around 0500hrs.  After breakfast, I hauled up the anchor (not as fit as I used to be!) and made out to sea at 0730 for another relatively short motor down the coast, very little wind again but used the genoa some of the way.  Crib on the other hand, is 'junk rigged' and the light airs were good for their sailing.  Once again, I left on my own as Rene and Lesley made rig adjustments to their sails and five miles short of Teluk Usukan, I dropped sail, shut off the engine and heaved to for a couple of hours until they caught up.  With the sea state worsening and the wind picking up (barometer dropping fast), we entered the bay of Usukan.  I let them anchor first and then tried to raft up alongside.....only to find that I had no throttle in ahead, only in astern!  A quick check of the engine revealed the problem - the air filter had 'fallen off' and jammed in the gear linkage!  Once alongside them, I fixed that and we sat with coffee and cake for a chinwag.  Anticipated bad weather didn't actually arrive and the anchorage settled down about 6pm.

16/02/15  Up early, washed and ready to go by 0400.  Roused Rene and Lesley and had my second coffee, then at 0430 slipped the ropes and made our way out of the bay as the moon rose over the hills behind us.  Conditions outside the bay were rolly and I thought it was to be that way for the whole day, but once the sun came up, the breeze set in and with all sail up (engine still on), we made our way down the coast to Pulau Tiga - 62 miles away.  On arrival there at 1630, the sea was calm and sheltered from the northwest wind, so another night rafted alongside Crib was possible.  Perhaps I have manually lifted my anchor for the last time?

17/02/15  A more leisurely start to today, we made a move at 0730, motoring out of the shelter of the island into another rolly sea swell.  The only wind was that created by my own movement through the air, but hoisting the genoa gave me an extra half knot of speed, which was fairly short lived as the ahead wind was cancelled out by a  4 knot stern wind!  We entered the now re-opened and re-vamped Labuan Marina at 1545 and tied up.  In the office, we form filled for an hour and collected my package from the USA.  That completes my first real trip on the boat since my haul out and on the whole, most things were OK, some new problems showed up and will have to be attended to in due course.  In Labuan marina, I met up with Alistair onboard C'est la Vie who has sadly split from Loren and she has returned home.  New World is also in the marina, but neither Barry nor Gerri were onboard.  There are a couple of problems in the marina - Alistair tells me they have a big rat problem, so doors and hatches have to be kept closed at night (and it is soooo hot here), the pontoons which are new, are falling apart, and there is no wi-fi in the marina area, only in the office building during office hours - great!

18/02/15  Not a very fruitful day today......Alistair took us into town to do our checking in formalities - and I ran into a bit of trouble with that!  My Malay visa runs out tomorrow (they say today) and Kudat didn't stamp us out because we were not leaving Malaysia even though Labuan is a federal territory and has it's own little rules and regulations.  So the choices were, a) sail out again to Brunei, b) catch a ferry to Brunei and back, or c) go to the main immigration office in the financial centre and apply for an month extension of visa.  I chose to do the latter and it took all day!  They wanted photocopies of almost everything, letters from engineers, a Malay National's name, address and ID.....and it took until 4.30 to sort out.  On top of all this, it's Chinese New Year and most of the shops will be (or are) shut for a few days, so I can't get hold of the items I need to fit the windlass, or the end fittings for my hosepipe for topping up the water tank.  I was thinking today that my hosepipe hasn't been used since Miri?  As it has been coiled on deck for some years now, the plastic end fittings have degraded in the sun and need replacement.  There was a party in the Waterfront Hotel this evening, to which we were all invited, but after the day I had, I chose not to go.

19/02/15  After a good nights sleep (my first in a long time), we had a fairly leisurely day, didn't do very much at all except wander around the nearby shopping mall - most shops are closed but a few of the 'tut' type shops were open as usual.  Had some lunch before returning to the boat and reading the destructions on windlass fitting!  Barry and Ali turned up on Fourth Dimension last night, so it was good to do a bit of catching up with them today.

20/02/15  Lesley came over to help me make a start on fitting the new windlass and we spent the whole day planning and then drilling holes for the main battery cable run from back to front of the boat.  All the lockers on the starboard side behind the sink, cooker, wardrobe, fwd cabin and chart table had to be emptied so that we could plan the cable routing and drill the required holes.

21/02/15  Another day like yesterday, we got the two main battery cables in position as well as three smaller diameter ancillary ones.  Fitted the first part of the unit (the 135amp circuit breaker) into the side of the chart table.  Just a few more short cable runs to make before actually taking the old windlass off the deck and siting the new one.  By the time I had clipped the two 50mm2 cables into place, it was 7.30pm and time to call it a day.

22/02/15  Sunday, and a day off!  We all went to the Dorset Hotel for lunch - very nice, and a 30% 'age discount' to boot!

23/02/15  Spent the whole morning and most of the afternoon going from one hardware/electrical shop to another in the search for various lugs and cables.  A lot of the shops have now re-opened following the New Year celebrations, though some are still on extended holiday.  I managed to get most of what I wanted but a 12 volt, 3 amp circuit breaker cannot be found, so I will have to fit a 3 amp fuse until such time as I can either locate or order one.  My Kudat neighbour, Rob on Jolly Brise arrived alongside me in the late afternoon.

24/02/15  Another full day of wiring - fitted the remote control in the cockpit and wired it to the main 135amp breaker.   Just the two main cables from the relay to the motor to fit now, plus the lesser diameter cables to the foredeck foot switch.

25/02/15  Removed all the chain and rode from the chain locker before unbolting the old manual windlass, removing the backing plate and lifting the windlass from the deck.  Then I had a bit of a tidy up and put some of the locker contents and tools back in their proper homes.

26/02/15  Using a heat gun and chisel, I removed the old silicone sealant and treadmaster glue, plus the gel coat from around the area for the new windlass.  It also meant removing some of the new paint and cork deck covering, but that can easily be patched later.  A quick measure up of the deck angles and chain alignment showed that I may have to build up the deck somewhat in order to get the chain to meet the windlass gypsy at the right angle.  Made up a new backing plate for under deck fitting.

27/02/15  A frustrating day looking for epoxy resin and similar fillers.  The only supplier I could find just had resin in gallon cans (I need about a half pint!) but he did have a small tin of two part filler which I took, but on returning to the boat and opening the tins to mix it....discovered it was no old stock and of no practical use!

28/02/15  I trailed back into town first thing this morning and returned the out of date filler, the shopkeeper had no more, it was his last tin.  Yotties are a great bunch though, and a few rallied round ......Paul offered me some resin, Lesley had some filler and offered her help again in filling the old windlass holes and coating the deck area with resin.  I screwed up the backing plate as a temporary fixture until the filler 'sets' fully - and that is how it will have to stay now for a few days while I go up the Klias River with Rene and Lesley aboard Crib.    

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