Ready to go

Tim is here and the boats ready to go.

I fixed the last of the leaks this morning, it’s good for now, but will redo it when I have more time. Went to the shops and stocked up on drinking water and booze for Tim. I’m having the odd Shandy (1% alcohol) which is the closest I can get to non alcoholic beer.
Later I gave the boat a thorough tidy up, put all the tools away, now she’s looking finished. There’s still a stack of things to do, like sort out the water maker and the self steering, but these can be done at leisure from a nice spot somewhere else. We have everything we need now to get going.

So off to the airport to get Tim this evening, that all went well with the exception of our taxi driver getting pulled over for infringing some taxi rule. It seems he was able to pay an on the spot fine here, and there was no need for any paperwork, the local police can be very helpful at times.

So Tim and I went for some food in a local Chinese restaurant, fish noodle soup type thing. Very nice, then dropped Tim back at the hotel so he can get a decent nights sleep after a very long journey.

It was great to see Tim here, and I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures of him arriving, I expect there will be plenty to follow.

Back at the marina, they have been loading up one of the Jabatan Laut ships with new buoys ready to be planted out there somewhere in Malaysian waters.

Special mark buoys ?

Paul C.

More leaks but no water:-(

Woke to find a note that the water was being shut off in the marina because of a leak, but they had already shut it off by then. Im not sure why they did it this way, I think it had been leaking for ages, so a little bit more notice so we could all fill our water tanks would have helped. Still I have enough in the tanks for what I need, just can’t take showers on the pontoon, or hose the deck down, will have to resort to heaving buckets of sea water up.

Our marina’s water supply

So on testing my repair from yesterday, I found it was still leaking water, not a lot, but any is too much. I realise now that I just didn’t do the repair very well, I was running low on sealant, and spread it to thin, I did apply a generous amount of optimism, but that didn’t seem to be water resistant, I need to strip it all down again, much harder because the sealant I used will make it very difficult to disassemble. The problem stems from the piece of wood that sits on the cap rail isn’t flat, and it has to deal with the curve of the coaming, so it needs a lot of sealant, far too much actually and it might be best to file and sand down the wood until it is a snugger fit. All of this is a big job, so I very reluctantly did a bit of a bodge repair, I need to wait until the morning to fully tighten up the parts and re-test, I’m hopeful this will work for a while, but it’s staying on my todo list.

I bought 20 litres of fuel for our trip at the weekend (22p / litre), just to have some emergency fuel on board, I have half a tank which should be enough, but we will refuel from a fuel barge on the way anyway.

I re-sprayed the Icom HF SSB case as it was very rusty from the leak dripping onto the case for the last year or more. It  looks quite smart now, but then it is black and kept in a dark corner with the lights low. Under these conditions, my paint jobs are just about acceptable. So the chart table area is looking great now.  We have MF/HF SSB, VHF Radio,  Radar and NAvTex, soon to be joined by iPad chart plotter and AIS Transponder which I have ordered direct from the Chinese manufacturer.

It the start of Ramadan here, which means lots of big bangs going off all night, not really sure how that works, but it’s keeping me alert.

Tim arrives tomorrow, so I have to get the boat back into a presentable form, and buy some supplies.

I took a walk and got some nice pics in the setting sun.

A bit like the Petronas towers, Penang style

bridgePaul C.


Leaks sorted

At least I hope so. I was able to re-bed the second leaking prism in next to no time. Easier now I understood the way they are fitted, but also it was overcast most of the day, and consequently a lot cooler.
Next onto the final leak in the quarter berth, squirting the hose around the deck soon produced a dribble onto the shelf inside. So down with the headlinings (Ceiling panels) and it didn’t take long to find it was coming in from the double block behind the Genoa winch

The leaking Culprit

What was sad, was that somebody had spent time trying to stop the leak, they had identified that it was the bolts on the block that were letting water in, and had covered the heads of the bolts with sealant, and when that didn’t work, they had put gunk on the inside of the boat on the end of the bolts, all this did was cause the water to build up inside the deck area and cause crevice corrosion on the leaking bolt. I had an idea that the problem might actually be the seal between the wooden backing base and the deck, so by gently pouring water along the cap rail/deck I was able to see it dribbling into the quarter berth. So off with the block, then off with the backing block, lots of clean up and then reverse, but doing it properly this time.

The leaking base pad

The wooden base pad is back on, and tomorrow I will refit the double block (pulleys) then hopefully that’s the leaks sorted for a while.
That was about it for the day, I have a couple of days to finish off this job, and clean up the boat before Tim arrives. I’m expecting to spend a few days exploring Penang with Tim before we head off to Langkawi, that will be the first test of the boat since I bought her. I’m looking forward to it, however getting out of the marina will probably be the hardest part.

Paul C


Prism Day

Sunday, so a little lie in, then onto the leaks, I decided to do the port one first, as this was easy, and I could learn what not to do one this one before I tackle the important one, which had leaked all over the SSB, fortunately only damaging the case. So I first poured water over the prism on the deck to make sure I could see the leak, and sure enough water was dripping below, I had already covered the sofa ready for the work. Sometimes where the water drips out in the boat is nowhere near where it enters, so this was a good result. I removed the fittings below and above then found the prism was very easy to prise out with a sharp blade. The prisms are like free light bulbs, they take the sunlight and retransmit it around the inside of the boat, simple, but very effective.

End on view of Prism
Side view

The hole / recess in the deck was full of sealing compound of some kind, but it hadn’t set very well, and it hadn’t adhered to the glass, or to the fiberglass very well, hence the leak. there’s a ragged lip that the glass sits on, it’s not a very satisfactory arrangement at all, but if the sealant adheres, it should be watertight.


The ragged lip that the glass sits on must have been damaged in the past
The sealant had no strength or adhesion


So I cleaned it all up, and de-greased the surfaces and the glass with acetone, filled it all with sikaflex 291, and re-bedded the glass.

Couldn’t find any masking tape, so had to compromise with paper and selotape.
Finished, with cover plate, shot at night

I know that in the UK, this would be bullet proof, but I’m a bit worried that the Sikaflex might struggle to set with the high temperatures here. I will test it with the hose pipe in the morning, and if it works, at least it’s better than it was. It looks awful when you look closely, but when I checked the existing prisms around the boat, they are much worse. I think I can do a better job on the next one.

The last job of the day was to sand down the case of the SSB Radio, the leaking prism had caused rust to appear all over it, I hacked the rust off with a file in places, eventually I got a fairly smooth shiny case back. Tomorrow I plan to prime and spray the case black.  It’s only the case that saw any damage, the inside of the SSB looks like new, so it was worth a go to spruce its appearance up.
Then off to the Mall to buy some food for dinner, (Salmon, weird mushrooms, pepper, garlic, onion and spuds) and some tools, masking tape and black paint.

Our Neighbours out fishing
The local beach

I took the cycle path and noticed it was very busy with people down the beach, chilling or fishing, but mostly taking selfies. I am seriously concerned about the number of pictures being taken around the world 24/7, where can we keep them all, who is going to sort them, It’s a disaster waiting to happen.


Low water I guess. Was going to make a joke about Tsunamis, but this area was hit by the 2004 one, not badly, but I think lots of people where affected one way or another

Found some veggie food for Kathy

More leak fixing tomorrow, a bit of painting, then I need to start tidying up and getting ready for Tim’s arrival. By the weekend we should be heading out to sea to do what this boat was designed for, can’t wait to try diving off the bow sprit while anchored in a quiet remote spot.

PS, theres a mosquito flying around the cabin, he looks a bit dazed, but I bet that wont stop him having his dinner 🙁

Paul C

Radar and Outboard sorted

It was overcast and quite cool when I stuck my head outside this morning about 9AM, so I thought, lets get that outboard sorted. I drained out the old fuel and put a pint of fresh stuff in. Then I decided to make a lifting strap and re-jig the block and tackle I was using to lower the engine down to the dinghy. I got it all wrong and ended up standing in the dinghy doing a juggling act with an outboard engine, while trying to hold onto the boat with my sometimes free hand. Fortunately no one else was around so dignity was maintained. I have sorted this now, and it’s a more impressive operation. Anyway, after a bit of flushing the old fuel through, the engine was running and I went for a little spin. All worked out well, but I feel the carb needs cleaning as it runs a little uneven, it feels like it might only be firing on three 😉

Next I retired below to work on the chart table electronics, and first off to fix the radar. Ron, had commented that he thought it was a high resistance, I was sure it was a fault on the earth side, as I think the earth was finding a route home via the LEDS elsewhere. Anyway, it was a high resistance on the earth wire in the switch panel, so ‘one all’ I think.
I actually love this kind of fault finding, as it is terrible logical, but can be quite complicated. Experience helps as well. So below is the Electrics switch panel, it looks mad, but is actually very well structured. Sadly, as new gear has been added the previous owners have connected to the switches, not to the connection blocks at the rear, I’m sorting this out as I go along.

The main mistake somebody has made is on the negative common rail, as you can see below, in order to make several connections where there had been one before, they have made a post with a bolt through the busbar, a nut at the bottom clamps the post in place, then the connections are bolted down on top.


This seems like a good idea, but I spotted the problem straight away, the top nut was tight, but the bottom nut was no longer as tight as needed so all the earths (3 in total, 1 for the radar, and one of the others going to the nav lights) were joined together between the nuts, but making an intermittent connection to the bus bar, which was the true negative. So when this was not connecting the radar would try to find a negative path using the nav lights, so went up the mast, back down to the positive, where it stopped at the open switch, but had a route to the bus bar via the indicator lights on the panel. All was explained and removing one of the nuts was all that was needed to solve the problem. Radar now works fine.

I also moved the radar cables to a better spot at the back of the panel and tidied up a bit, I found this connection, not needed and rubbish anyway. I hate bad wiring.

earthSo I relocated the Navtex, which as I type I can see receiving ‘notice to mariners’ messages in the background. I love my Furuno Navtex, was gutted when the one on the baba failed. You can leave it on overnight and wake up to a complete weather forecast and any other navigational information that might be relevant in your area. Forget all that shipping forecast nonsense. Finally I wired up the Icom HF SSB radio, the mainstay of weather forecasting for offshore passages when we are beyond the range of cell phones, that’s working very well, but it’s a marine model, and I only have experience on Ham versions, so there’s some learning to do, but it sounds very lively, and I don’t hear any QRM (electrical noise) from the boat. I’m hoping to have a chat with Neil G4OAR at some point in the next few weeks, but with time differences and propagation vagaries, this might be difficult. We might have to use morse code, now that would be fun.

So at 01:30 AM, it’s definitely bedtime. Tomorrow I have to start fixing the leaks, I have 2 deck prisms to rebed, and something in the quarter berth area, which will requir me to take down all the headliners, oh what joy.

PS The baba in Spain, Lady Stardust, has had an offer made on it which I have accepted, much less than she is worth, but that’s boats for you.

Sorry to be so technical today, will try and get more pictures of the otters for tomorrow 😉

Paul C.

A gas day, in every way

I started the day working on the chart table area, I devised a way to mount the radar so it hangs down, and looks very cool, without doing too much damage to the boat. As I was cutting up some wood for this, Dave, my neighbour with the Halberg Rassey called around and offered to run me to the Gas shop, and the Gas station (see what I did there 🙂 ), for some petrol for the outboard.
So off we went, I got a huge bottle of propane/butane mix for 30RM which is about £5 and will probably last me a year. Petrol is 1.7RM / Litre, which is about 30p a Litre, but then they do make it here. Saying that, where does north sea oil come from!.

What you might not realise is that gas bottles rarely cross borders, each country around the world tends to have it’s own system with it’s own connectors, making everything incompatible. Now Sister Midnight is really an American boat, designed by and for Americans, and comes with two fancy american style 5 gallon bottles, which are almost impossible to refill outside of the Americas.
So this is where my favourite part of the day happened, Dave taught me how to drain one bottle into another with a bit of hose and some gas fittings,


I always wanted to understand how to do this, and having accomplished it, I now feel much more like a real yachtie, capable of taking on the world! Especially with two full bottles of gas in the gas locker. In this case I used a Malaysian standard to American,  but this technique will work anywhere in theory.

I also have 10 litres of fresh petrol to test out on the outboard tomorrow.

Once the sun set I returned to the chart table, mounted the radar and tried to fire it up, sadly, when I turned it on, the leds on the switch panel for the mast lights all came on very dimly, and the radar made clicking sounds. Not good, I suspect the power supply is messed up, I wonder if the radar takes it’s power from the connector block the lights are on. Oh well, all will become clear tomorrow.

Cheers, Paul C

Dinghy Day

Woke up to a very quiet boat, seemed very tranquil, couldn’t understand until I tried to boil a kettle for morning coffee and discovered there was no power, hence the AirCon being so quiet. I stuck my head out the hatch and could see the electricians at work on the quay. So another hot day in store, got the stove going, made a coffee and sat on the foredeck with my bananas enjoying the sun.
Decided to work inside for as long as I could, so set about completing the wind instrument wiring and tidying up the other bits and bobs in the wiring and Quarter berth area. The wind instrument works well, but needs aligning, and I can only do that when the wind is on the nose, so that will have to wait. I do like the NASA unit, but miss the extra features of the ST50, like switching between True and Apparent wind, also it’s ability to store the maximum gust. but the thing with the NASA Marine device is, it’s shoving all the data out over the data bus (NMEA) so that goes into my iKonnect gateway, and my apps can see it all, they can then do really fancy stuff with it, and I can see graphs of wind history, speed, direction, gust amplitude etc. Of course somebody needs to write these apps, but that will happen, if not I will have a go myself.

Next a bit of stainless drilling around the pedestal (steering wheel) area, so it will support beer/drinks cans reliably. Everything in the cockpit has to be bolted down and very storng, as when you are being thrown around, you might grab anything and need to know it wont snap off.

Finally for my last job I got the inflatable out, and started inflating. It’s a very fancy dinghy, it has an inflatable floor on top of an inflatable keel, so it may even plane!

Japanese Dinghy

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any rowlocks, rowlocks are pronounced with a silent w, if I remember correctly, such that they rhyme with that famous sex pistols record. never mind the rowlocks. I found one of them in a locker on the boat, I expect they fell off in the heat here, glueing things is very difficult I’m learning. So I need to source a second rowlock, and get some PVC glue. I’m assuming it’s PVC?

Never mind the rowlocks

I then put the outboard onto the dinghy to see if that would get me out to the fishing grounds, or even to the opposite pontoon, but it wasn’t to be. The engine started after just a few pulls on the starter cord, but the idle speed was way to high. After letting it run for a bit, and doing some revving, it’s idle speed reduced, but then, it dropped so much, it kept stalling, whatever I did, it always stalled when I put it into gear.
The main thing is it was running, I’m expecting most of the problems are due to the fact that the petrol is stale, it’s been in the engine for a long time, possibly years, so I will put some fresh juice in and see where that gets me.

I had a shower on the pontoon, by now the workmen had been on the electrics to the marina for 7 hours, and they boat was very hot, but just before I headed off for a walk, they finished the work. I decided to walk down to where there is a bit of a beach, I wouldn’t sunbathe there, as it’s rather polluted with rubbish flowing ashore.
The tree stump below actually seemed to be rooted in the sand, it seemed to be staring at me!


Further down the beach there are cafes and restaurants, the cafes where shutting and burning there rubbish on the beach, quite atmospheric, but rather smelly close up


Waste disposal, Penang style

Back to the cooler boat and lots of internet research for bits and bobs.


Ups & Downs

Firstly, after chatting with the locals here in the marina, I thought I ought to downgrade my ‘mugging attempt’ to a ‘failed bag snatch’ which obviously is not such a big deal. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for this to happen at night in dark places away from the public.

So up early and up the mast to sort out the lights and install a new wind sensor. My first trip was a little uncomfortable, it’s a very long way to the top, and the shrouds (wires) get in the way at one point, also you have to use the spreaders as steps, and there not really in the right place.


However, due to incompetence on my part, I kept forgetting something to take up, and had to make several trips. By the end of the morning I was zipping up and down like a pro.
The starboard spreader light is blown, I have spares in Barcelona! and the steaming light was also blown, but there was no power getting there either, so I need special bulbs before I can get any further. That can wait.
I did fit the new wireless solar powered wind speed and direction indicator. It sends the data home using wifi, which cuts down on a cable.


That doesn’t mean you still don’t have cables at the bottom, and I had to take down the instrument panel thats above the companionway, and fit the new display and route the cable back to the chart table were the wireless receiver will sit. This was a nightmare and took all afternoon, I had to take down the head-linings in the main cabin, something I haven’t done before. I now know what not to do, so after repairing the lighting cables I snapped, and crawling around the floor looking for screws and their cups, I got the cable routed through to the quarter berth where I will need to extend it for the final leg back to the chart table. Nothing’s easy on boat electrics.


So having put the boat back together, I headed down to the Mall to see if there was any chance of getting some bulbs from the hardware store, which there wasn’t. There’s a lovely looking Malaysian food court on the way I must try out sometime.


I didn’t get anywhere with the dinghy today, so will try that tomorrow, and tidy the boat and head out on Friday for a little run.

Paul C.