Slow progress

This week has been slow, but mostly enjoyable for me.
The main focus has been on this bloody bowsprit. For those of you who haven’t worked it out yet, it’s the pretty big wooden stick that protrudes from the bow of the boat. It’s job is to allow us to get a bigger sail on the boat than would otherwise be possible. Boats don’t have them these days, as a longer boat means a faster boat anyway, so boats tend to be longer and also the old fashioned look of the square rigged boat with the multiple headsails is not in fashion.
So just to give a chronology of events on this bloody stick so far.

    1. Decide the varnish needs re-doing on the bowsprit as it’s very stained and missing in lots of places, also there’s a small bit of rot near the tip, so no harm in looking further. The whole job should be done in a few days max.
    2. So I remove the pulpit rail, that’s the steel tubing that you hold onto when working up there, I notice the wiring to the port and starboard lights on the rail is faulty so spend half a day renewing that, during the process the starboard bulb falls apart in my hand.
    3. Remove the teak platform, this is the decking you stand on in the pulpit area, and the supporting steel frame. I notice the platform is very weak and split in many places so a lot of gluing and clean up ensues, another day lost.


    1. The frame has a crack in it, I decide to ignore, then after refitting I decide to fix, so off to a steel works to get it welded, two half days gone there.


  1. 4 days spent cleaning and sanding the varnish on the front of the bow sprit, but the wood is so deeply stained, it’s not the most impressive of sprits, and never will be.
  2. Now there seems to be some rot under the anchor windlass, this is the very heavy motor that pulls up the anchor / chain and is installed on top of the bowsprit. I remove the windlass to get a better look, sort of wished I hadn’t, the rot is quite bad, goes all the way into the sprit. I think I’m ok for coastal sailing, but I need to replace that sprit before I contemplate taking on any gales. This will not be an easy job and I have decided to wait until we are in Thailand to do the work, as they have better wood and plenty of skilled carpenters there.rot1
  3. I remove all the rot I can see, but suspect there’s more under the sprit, and fill the voids with thickened epoxy, this should be good for a while but it’s hard to know. How do you know how strong it needs to be, and how do you work out how strong it currently is. I do know the sprit behaves as a post under compression, and the damaged area is clamped with a steel plate ( The Windlass and backing plate) on either side of the damaged area, and they wont compress easily. 
  4. On trying to put the windlass back in place I notice the cover I put over it, while it was on its side doesn’t seem to have stopped the rain getting in and the inside of the windlass is full of water! This could be really bad, I don’t want to even try to use it if it’s rusting, as a good cleaning will save it. If I leave a spanner on deck here for a couple of days, it’s very brown by the time I find it, the constant rain/heat seems to have a bad affect on metal. A new windlass will cost £2-3000, so I decide to take this one apart and clean/grease it up.
  5. Three of the four screws on the windlass cover come off, the fourth has been stripped by a previous gorilla, I also discover after removing the bottom metal plate that half the base of the windlass has rusted away, leaving a huge mass of aluminum oxide, a whitish crumbly powder. Now I’m starting to wonder why I’m bothering, and why did I ever give up stamp collecting as a child.
  6. I drill of the head of the fourth screw and voila, we are inside, well nearly. I have access to the motor, and I can see the gears are all encased inside another unit which is sealed and looks ok. A good cleaning followed by a healthy spraying with WD40 has it looking a lot better. When I power it up, it runs very well, seems to be even faster than before. Must dismantle it completely soon and give it a full service.
  7. Start to reassemble everything now I have the frame back but find the holes in the teak platform where the screws used to be are massive and this is why the platform was tied down before, so I fill all the holes with thickened epoxy and will try to re-assemble everything again tomorrow.

All in all this job that was meant to take a few days is looking like two weeks, and I still need to build and fit a new bowsprit, build a new platform and service the windlass. The thing is, if you plan to go sailing offshore, especially if you are crossing oceans where you will be bound to be hit by severe weather at some point, I think it’s really important to have full confidence in every inch of the boat, and turning a blind eye to something that might be OK, because it might also be a lot of hassle to check fully, is just not an option.
Also I must say I really enjoy the aspect of finding local skilled people to help out. The trip to the industrial part of town (Batu Maung, behind the airport) was great, a lovely big workshop with laser cutters, giant bending machines and a few dozen guys all working hard. Also Miss Chew, who like many businesses I have dealt with seemed to be showing the men how to do things, was great, she understood the job perfectly, offered advice on options for repair, and did the job on time for just £6. The crack was quite big, and I cant even see where it was now, just shiny steel, very impressive.

This is Inge, a Swede from another yacht here with me at a cafe outside the steel fabricators on Monday. These candles/giant joss sticks were about to be lit as it’s the end of August and the Chinese are crazy about keeping the ghosts happy and away


Today, Thursday, when I collected the frame with Kathy the Jossies were almost out, in fact in a few minutes time the fire brigade arrived and put them out before they were dismantled. The ghosts are quite chilled in September I understand.

During the week we visited a very big temple, more on that in a separate post.

And apologies if you were expecting notifications to be emailed to you of new posts, the system broke, due to the way security works on wordpress, this blog software I’m using. They upgraded the software to make it more secure and broke it, I have made it less secure and it works again, but the notifications may find it harder to traverse some spam filters. For the techies following, it’s all related to domain names of the From; envelope From: and Host needing to match. It’s complicated, too complicated for me.

Paul C.