Starting the Ocean prep

I don’t know if it was seeing the other sad looking baba, which isn’t actually a baba, but a Tayana 37, very closely related to the baba,

but I woke up with a desire to do some varnishing. It’s been a very overcast day, temperatures low, and thunderstorms all around. But as it was dry at 8 AM, I slapped a bit of varnish on the cap rail either side of the bowsprit. For some reason the last coat of varnish was flaking off, I wondered if it was related to all the power-washing of the anchor chain that goes on there. I varnished the bowsprit while I was there. After a bit of breakfast in the cockpit, when the sun had come out, I got the covers over the boat to keep it cool, but then more thunderstorms, and a light rain. So I took the opportunity to do all the stainless polishing on the starboard side, that took a couple of hours, but was pleasant work in the cool breeze and drizzle.
The Tayana 37 boat has had a good life, and will have a good future if somebody puts a bit of effort into cleaning her up. I had a good look and it’s just dirt and rust mostly, I think the boat has had no TLC for over a year. I see a lot of that out here, people get across the pacific, and for all sorts of reasons don’t go any further, often for financial, or medical reasons they have to leave the boat here, there is not much of a market for yachts with the local people in these countries, they’re far to pricey, and so they sit here dropping in value until they are a steal. Often it’s the Australians who are able to see the value in these great boats.
I did a lot of phoning and emailing to try and find a way to replace the damaged cutless bearing, but no success yet. I have a feeling I won’t be able to get it done in this area.

So today I started on the ocean going jobs, firstly the water foot pumps, in the galley, we have two extra taps, operated by a foot pump, one brings sea water to the sink, the other fresh water. Neither work, but I had never really investigated why. So I followed the pipes for the sea water back to the seacock on the thru hull, i.e. where the water enters the boat, found the sea cock turned off, which makes sense, but I also found the filter that is in between the sea cock and the pump. I though I would open the filter and have a look at the filter element, it probably could do with a clean, however it’s a heavy Perko make, and the cover was very firmly fitted, a good tug on it to try and unscrew it resulted in it ripping off the supports, at the same time one of the hose clamps snapped off. The cabin sole boards were replaced, that’s a job for tomorrow. The seawater pump is great for rinsing dirt of dishes and the like, the freshwater pump is gret, one if we lose power, we still have a way of getting water out of the tanks, but you also use a lot less water when you have to pump the water up with your foot, as apposed to turning the tap on for the duration.
So for a break I had a wander around the outskirts of the marina, It’s actually quite nice really, in about ten years time, this may be a great destination. There is room for 3 more marinas within the complex. I saw a big poster advertising a Jazz festival which starts here in the Marina the day Kathy arrives, it’s free and has some big names. She will be delighted.
I also found the ferry terminal, a huge swanky new building, but the ferries go to Indonesia, not Singapore, which is a shame. However they did have a shop that sells bread and cadburys chocolate, so I’m all set now.

Back to the ocean going tasks, one of the jobs that’s very important is safety for our ocean passages, and part of this is weather forecasting. In order to get forecasts offshore, I have two main systems, the SSB MF/HF radio, and the satellite phone. The latter hasn’t been turned on since the ARC in 2007, so that’s going to be interesting. I probably need to buy credit for it too 😉 Credit for a sat phone can be scary. Like hundreds of pounds a month. But Singapore is not a bad place to sort this out. It may be cheaper to buy a new phone, first I want to know if the old sat phone still works, it will almost certainly need a new battery. The HF/MF radio allows me to get weather forecasts in the form of data send over the airwaves in squawky tone. I have had to learn a bit about how this radio works, it is channelised to maritime ITU channels, which I now understand a little better. I was able to find the Japanese Met office transmissions on 13988.5 kHz, and could hear the weather forecast going out as Wefax, so I just need to hook up Kathy’s computer to the speaker output and see if I can decode the images, they also send cyclone forecasts and tracks this way, so that’s invaluable. There’s also the crudest version of the internet available, it’s a packet data system called Pactor, which allows extremely slow transfer of data, but you can get a basic email in and out, and download a weather GRIB forecast. GRIB’s are a great way of seeing what the wind and waves are doing.
I also need to get the water-maker fired up tomorrow, as I expect I’ll need to buy bits for it in Singapore.

A pic I took on the way here, it looks lovely looking back towards the west, those who are more observant probably have a question relating to this. Can I just say ‘Bloody Fishing rod’ and leave it at that! 🙁


Paul Collister