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    september 2018

 

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02/09/18 Sun  After a peaceful week in Brunei, we motored back to Labuan late yesterday afternoon and arrived in the marina just after 7pm.  It was excellent sailing weather coming back, which is a shame because I had no genoa fitted and the partially changed rig has not been tensioned yet, so I couldn't hoist the mainsail - typical.  Whilst in Brunei, I serviced both genoa winches, fitted new swage ends to the guardwires and one or two other small jobs.  Today we checked in with Labuan Immigration.

03/09/18 Mon  Checked in with Jabatan Laut this morning, then up to Neptune for the parts made for my forestay.  Susie Goodall is still in 6th place in the GGR, and six entrants have now retired from the race.

08/09/18 Sat.  Brent has been over for the last few days, helping me with the standing rigging.  We have fitted Sta-Lok studs to the four overlength lower shrouds and installed those.  The forestay remains a problem, firstly the aluminium extrusions for the new furler will not fit over the Sta-Lok fitting on the stay, the drum is going to be around nine inches higher than the old drum as well.  Neptune engineering (and indeed all the shops) are now closed until Wednesday next - another holiday - so we cannot get the extension plates cut and drilled to the size needed until then.

14/09/18 Fri.  Today is the day I left Gillingham Marina - 12 years ago! With the new extension plates now fitted to the forestay, I now need to take it all down again and start fitting the aluminium extrusions to the forestay.  However, Brent and Shane have gone to Brunei for their visa needs and will not be back for a few days.  With no-one to hoist me up the mast, that job will have to wait a while longer!  For anyone who is thinking of taking apart their Rotostay furler for bearing replacement, I have added a page to my workshop page, giving details of how to dismantle them.  Susie Goodall is still in 6th place in the GGR, but about 2000 miles behind the race leader.

16/09/18 Sun.  Last time in Brunei, we noticed the dinghy was taking on small amounts of water so today I inflated it and looked at the transom.  The lower port corner has rotted away and when I gave it a good poke with a screwdriver.......all the wood in that area was soft.  One hour and one chisel later I had a 4 inch square hole which I need to fill and glue somehow.  I have been searching for a new dinghy for some time but without success up until now and I don't want to buy one of the Chinese ones that fall to bits after a month or so. (My present Zodiac is about 15 yrs old!) 

19/09/18 Weds.  Spent the last few days online searching for dinghies, I knew they would be expensive but.....!!!  Finding one to suit my needs and wallet is extremely frustrating and I don't want to fall into the trap of getting some Chinese rubbish as I said before.  My present one is a 2.4 mtr Zodiac, and I can get one shipped from UK for under 1000 but.....although mine has lasted about 15 years and is PVC, production of Zodiacs was moved to China some years ago, so I am not confident of the 'new' quality.  An option (for twice the price) is a Highfield Ultralite from Phuket - sort of a mini-RIB, same size, aluminium floor instead of airdeck, hypalon tubes and very well made.  The problem is stowing it on deck without reducing forward visibility to zero.  They also make a hypalon airdeck version, but that has no lifting points, so cannot be hoisted out of the water at night. Then yesterday, I lost all the e-mails between myself and companies dealing with dinghies, don't know why, just disappeared!  AND.....my bank refused to let me into my accounts until after a long conversation with one of their agents.  Not a good day yesterday!

22/09/18 Sat.  Over the last few days, we have had further problems with the new furling gear - nothing drastic but it's so frustrating when one thing after another crops up and prevents any progress.  Tomorrow may be different and we will try to put together the aluminium foil extrusions on the forestay (which is lying on the pontoon).  At least my worries are not as bad as those of the GGR contestants, Abhilash Tomy the Indian Navy Officer who is in 3rd place has been rolled and lost his masts but more worrying is the fact he was seriously injured.  The 4th place sailor Gregor McGuckin has also lost his masts in the same storm and the 2nd place guy Mark Slats was rolled over but did not lose any rigging.

24/09/18 Mon.  Abhilash Tomy is incapacitated in his bunk, unable to reach VHF transmitters or food.  He is drinking some tinned stuff but vomiting all the time.  The masts are still attached to the boat and dragging in the sea.  Gregor McGuckin is making slow progress towards him under jury rig sail and a dodgy engine, and warships are on their way to assist.  Let's hope all goes well with the rescue.

26/09/18 Weds. Good news! - Abhilash Tomy has been rescued by a French fishery patrol vessel.  Gregor McGuckin has also requested to be taken off his boat - 2000 miles is a long way to go with only a jury rig sail and no engine, so a very wise decision.  On the home front, the saga with my furler goes on, yesterday I went up the mast four times, either taking the furler off or putting it back on again.  The state of play now is:- it's fitted and working ok, the final test will be to see if the sail actually fits or whether it will need modifying in the luff length.

28/09/18 Fri. The furler is complete and the sail luff fits perfectly (which was another worry), so now we need to test it under sailing conditions.  I still need to tension the stays prior to going to Brunei on Sunday, and am running out of time.  We will need to check out with Jabatan Laut tomorrow morning as they are closed in the afternoon.  My 'old' dinghy has reached the end of its life - I repaired the wooden section of the transom but the PVC covering that area is no good and cannot be repaired.  I have started the buying procedure for the Highfield UL240 but that obviously won't be completed until after I return from Brunei.

29/09/18 Sat. With the rig tensioned (I will do it again later) and the boat and ourselves checked out with Customs and Immigration, we are ready to go to Brunei tomorrow morning.

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