Mostly cleaning now

The last oxalic acid I bought was from eBay and I didn’t think much of it, however this acid, Penang Style really kicks, and no, I’m not snorting it. I tried some on the teak and on the fiberglass that was stained, and boy does it work wonders, the boat is starting to look really classy now.
I took some of the rubber sole and glued a strip under the bow sprit to protect the galvanised coating on the new anchor, it looks the part and should work well. I think I can just haul the anchor in really tight now and it will be snug, just need to put something on the whisker stay that looks better than the bubble wrap I’m currently using.
I had a problem when I bought the boat that the swim ladder was sitting on the deck with no obvious attachment points. Well I found these when I was painting the sides and later , after I bought new brackets, I found the original ones that connect the ladder to the boat. Now to refit them was a substantial job that took over 2 hours, Toshi, the previous owner had filled the inaccessible void where the nuts go with spray expanding foam which I had to hack out, but couldn’t really hack, because lots of cables were also in the void, also the void is not visible without mirrors, so mighty difficult, and very tedious. All the time I’m wondering why did he take it off, he’s an intelligent man, I can tell that, so when he took it off he knew he wasn’t ever going to put it back there, so I felt all the time that once I had finally got it fitted, I would realise that I too had to take it off. It’s all fitted now, and with a bit more cobbling I made little round feet for the ladder so it won’t scratch the boat. About a day later I realised why it’s not a good idea to have it where it is, it’s at the widest part of the boat, and sticks out a lot, and although it’s raised a couple of feet above the pontoon, sometimes the boat suffers big waves here and the boat can rise or fall several feet, and theres a chance the ladder could come down hard on the pontoon, probably ripping itself out of the side of the boat leaving a nasty gash. I’m going to move it, just as soon as I work out where, I will wait until the new lifebuoy, danbuoy and lifesling are fitted to find a place at the stern of the boat.

Kathy has been hard at work with her toothbrush cleaning the deck, (I’m a stickler for detail 😉 ). Most of the mess is from my varnishing actually, but thanks to her hard work the foredeck is looking very smart now.

I set about cleaning up the coachroof, the window air-con unit was removed along with the wood and blankets used to keep it in place and airtight. I also removed the liferaft so I had a clear deck. The Dutchman was then connected up and tested, its purpose is to prevent an accidental gybe. For the non sailors, sometimes when we are sailing downwind, that is, with the wind behind us, the boom and mainsail might be all the way out on one side, if the boat changes course accidentally, or the wind shifts unexpectedly, then the boom can suddenly decide it wants to fly to the other side, and when I say fly, I mean it, you hardly see it move it happens so quickly. If you are standing up in the cockpit or on the side deck and it hits you, then it’s often curtains for you. We always rig up a special rope called a ‘preventer’ to prevent this happening, but it’s a messy operation and a little dangerous in itself. The dutchman brake promises to tame the boom, so it can swing across, but at a leisurely pace. I’m looking forward to testing this out next week.
Another improvement we made was to remove all the tatty lines that we use to tie the overhead canopy down with and replace them with custom sized elasticated lines with hooks on the end, this way we can get the canopy up and down in under a minute, and it looks smarter.

Today I started with the aim to find the oil leak, we used too much oil on our trip back from Langkawi, this was worrying me as if the engine is consuming lots of oil it’s a sign of serious problems, however a look in the drip tray under the engine revealed about a pint of fresh oil, Erik had already suggested a leak from the sump drain.sump

Further investigation found a loose connection, this should have been an easy fix, but again, only having two arms, both of which are less than 5 foot long was a big handicap. Also there was less than a spanner length of gap for the spanner to go in. After an hour of cursing I was able to get it tight with some mole grips at the oddest of angles. I cleaned the sump tray so that when we get to Langkawi next week I can see if it worked.

The sump tray

Next onto the bilge pump. All this bending has loosened me up so I slipped into the innards of the stern and tried to work out why the hand operated bilge pump didn’t work, In cleaning the drip tray, I used the hose to fill the bilge with soapy water. I removed all the oil first with nappies and kitchen roll, so I could try to reduce the pollution, but I couldn’t do much about the fairy liquid. I couldn’t see any problems, so I removed the pump and brought it on deck to check. It seems ok on visual inspection, so perhaps the pipe is blocked. Toshi has been creative in his plumbing here so I may need to investigate further, but this is something I really don’t want to go to sea without. We have a great electric pump, but these often clog with debris in an emergency, and rely on power, which often isn’t there when you have a flooding boat.

Finally I must say the boat is starting to look smart, Kathy keeps it very tidy inside, and now the outside is clean and presentable, and all the crap on the deck has been lost, she looks like a slick, classy boat. The biggest handicap to presentation, is that near the equator you really do need the air-con, which looks well ugly, and lots of canvas strung above the boat to keep the temperature tolerable. I don’t plan to travel anywhere that needs jumpers or heating of any kind, but I think another 15 deg North or South might be better.

The plan has been revised, Monday we are waiting for the delivery of some safety gear, then Tuesday we head back north to Langkawi Yacht Club, arriving Wednesday afternoon/evening for Kathy to have her Birthday drink in the posh bar there. That’s assuming nothing else crops up.


Paul Collister