Let there be Nav Lights

Up early to get down to the Queensbay Mall and buy some power tools and food.

walkI took a new direction on the walk there and found a lovely spot where I saw some otters, at least I think that’s what they where, they ran from behind a tree and jumped into the sea when they heard me. I took a picture of the coast here and zoomed in so you can see the poor things trying to escape from me. I have that affect on all animals, in fact not just animals ….


otters zoom

At the Mall lots of kids were queuing with there parents to go into the Lego thing, I take an interest due to being the winner of a major lego competition back in 1965, (aged 7) where I won the biggest lego set you could imagine, I believe I won the prize because I named the competition lego town “OGEL town”, pretty clever eh!


So taxi back to the boat, I can tell you, you don’t need to visit no gym when your carry 5 litre jugs of water and a stack of other heavy goods up and down pontoons.

After a spot of lunch I started hacking at the mast lighting cables under the floor of the living room, or under the main cabin sole, for the more nautical of you.

lights-wiring-2As you can see from the pictures, these connecters were beyond redemption, as where all the cables going into them, most snapped off with a little flexing.lights-wiringFortunately there was enough slack in the cables to cut them back to useable ends. Now they are all connected up and looking good. All I had to do was wait for sunset, which wouldn’t be long and I could see what was working.

You probably know this, but being just a few degrees north of the equator the sun sets and rises at pretty much the same time every day, it sets at 7:28 PM and rises at 07:04 AM, 24 minutes longer than 12 hours for the day, I suppose in the middle of winter the day is 11:36 minutes long.

Anyway at 19:30 I popped out to see which lights I had working, and which switches they belonged on. I was very pleased to see I now have an anchor light on the top of the mast, with a tricolour below it. I also have a Spreader/Deck light on the port side, but the Starboard side is dead, along with the steaming light. I bet the steaming light is just a bad connection, as it was showing a low resistance when I measured it, but once I applied power it went open circuit. So it’s just the steaming light that needs fixing, this is a legal requirement, but I will look at the spreader as well when I go up the mast tomorrow. All in all not a bad days work.

I’m planning on having a play with the dinghy and outboard motor tomorrow, if possible I’m going to go out, anchor off the harbour at sunset and try to catch some dinner.

Paul C.


No eggs! Thousand thunders man

So it was omelette night last night on account of having no other choice, also I wanted to see if I could  salvage anything from the post mugged eggs that broke, These were the individually wrapped eggs that where quite pricey. I bought them because eggs, like chickens here are very cheap, and everywhere, I saw loads of people in the supermarket buying several hundred eggs at a time. Most of the eggs come in a minimum of 12 but often 48 or bigger packs, they don’t seem to do organic or free range that I can tell, but they do have vitamin enhanced, which sounds dodgey. So when I saw these more expensive individual wrapped eggs in packs of 4, I assumed they were going to be special, that was until last night when I went to crack one open and got the shock of my life

The century egg

I should have realised the clue is in the name, it’s a century egg, named so because it’s a raw egg that’s been pickled/preserved for 100 years, however they seem to have got the process down to a few weeks through the use of modern technology. It was like a badly coloured hard boiled egg that smelt awful, no use for an omelette, but actually quite tasty.

Today I was up early and marched miles to a bus stop to head off to the chandlers, spent loads, and was quite pleased to get nearly everything I needed. Walking back to the bus station, I passed the entrance to the town marina, so popped in to see what it looked like, I had heard most of the pontoons were damaged or missing and it had long been closed. I took the picture below and can confirm the pontoons don’t look great.

penang marina
Remains of the marina

So back to work, need to get the nav lights working, last night when I opened the port red bow light it started to crumble in my hand, I could see badly corroded connections inside so left it and bought a new lamp housing today, I fitted it, and had to re-jig the wiring as it’s been installed rather badly at some point. Anyway it still didn’t work, which didn’t surprise me, a dive into the chain locker found a lot of corrosion on the connecters that supply the power

Bow light connecter in chain locker

So I cleaned these up, the Ancor (brand name, nothing to do with anchors) high spec cable was rusted through, and cracking. I thought that wasn’t meant to happen with pre tinned wire, still a bit of scrubbing and we were up and running. One day I will redo all of this as Im not happy with the cable and its routing.


I do have a problem that the starboard light can be seen all over the show, I suspect the problem is they have used the wrong bulb, I’m going to acquire the right bulbs before I tackle this.


So tomorrow I’m off to the Mall to pay a silly amount of money for some power tools for the boat, then the lights on the mast are next. I have also run out of food and drink, there are no shops within 30 mins walk of the boat.

Paul C

Day 14

I’ve been in Batu Uban for two weeks now, I was sure it was only one, but then I did think everything seems to be taking me twice as long as I expected. so realising that Tim will be out in a week and a half, I was galvanised into working out priorities. So today ended up being very productive.
First I connected up the boats aircon, and was sort of happy to find it’s not pumping cool water, which could be easy to fix, as opposed to a coolant issue, and all the associated CFC issues. Knowing that the pump has to come out is enough for this to go on the back burner. A by product of this work was a 110V supply I can use for the legacy kit, including the microwave, that I tested, very pleased that it makes the classic ding sound when done.
Next I realised by changing the pipework a little I could fix the head, which didn’t take long at all.
I worked out the best way to ascend the mast, a job for this coming week, once I get a portable drill, to fix the new solar powered wireless wind anemometer. I’m going to use a safety harness connected to the main halyard with a prusik knot, there are steps on the mast, but I want something in case I slip. In anticipation of this job, I checked the boats navigation lights once the sun dropped behind the hills, I have a starboard light on the bow and a stern light that work. No port, steaming or anchor. The tricolour doesn’t work, and something marked flash didn’t cause any flashing anywhere, also the deck lights are dead, which are handy to illuminate the mainsail to make other boats aware of your presence. This is going to take at least half a day to fix.

I need to get the dinghy and outboard sorted next week, but all in all the jobs are going well, hoping to go out for a spin by Thursday. Trying to calculate the tides here is proving difficult. right now we are an hour or three after high water, depending on the tide table you use, I think high water was about 2 hours ago, yet the current hasn’t turned yet. It seems the current is least between high and low water, which is the opposite to what I was expecting. I think something odd is happening because I am in the channel between the mainland and the island of Penang with another island next to us. This matters mostly because I will  struggle to get out of the marina when the current is flowing fast, or at low water, due to the silting here.

It was very grey and overcast today, a lovely change as that made it a lot cooler.

Looking out to the rain forest island you could see the rain coming in

BU Day 14
Pulau Jerejak,. The Alcatraz of Malaysia also ex leper colony

Paul C

Mixed day (muggy, mugging and very wet)

Up early to make the most of the cool weather and I started by researching the engine wiring diagrams to understand how the panel works. After an hour all the power went down on the boat, at first I assumed my previous days work had caused a problem, but no, the whole marina was off. A trip up to the office found some guys working on the power, back in an hour they assured me. It actually took about 6 hours. All my neighbours headed off to the mall for shopping and lunch, I thought I would plow on and now would be a good time to get the boats internal Air Con working, at the same time I could find out what the problem with the hot water in the galley was as both these systems run their piping in the same under floor area. Well I was gutted to find the Aircon was 110V, I had for some reason assumed it was 12V, I mean why have 110V, in retrospect, I just made yet another bad assumption. Had I checked this earlier in the week, I would have gone with Dermot’s suggestion about keeping the boat 110V, and I would have wired in a second 240v outlet for the domestic stuff I need, however this does need some fancy switches I don’t have, and don’t know where to get right now. Also the Aircon may be faulty, so I will hot wire that onto the water heater to find out whats going on.  Then If it can be made to work, I will probably change the boat back to 110V, theres no rush or panic, I have everything I need as far as shore power supply goes.

No hot water to the galley turned out to be simple, the mixer tap is broken. So basically I need to replace it, this might have to come out from the UK.

Next the engine instrument panel, I worked out how it all works, traced some wires through, found some dodgey connections, now I have the engine stop working again, along with the temperature. The warning lights are playing up still, also the key-switch is beyond repair, it works, but has to be jiggled a bit. The reason none of the four panel lights come on, is that they are all blown! So I will pick up new bits when I can.

By now it was mid afternoon and very hot, it’s too hot to stand on anything that’s been in the sun, decks or pontoons. So a tidy up and shower then off to Tescos and the mall for some provisions.

I planned to have a Spanish dinner tonight, Tuna and Patatas Bravas, so I bought two bottles of tomato sauce , one spicy and one plain, hoping to mix them to get the right level of bravas.
It’s interesting to see the various types of veg on sale here.

How many can you name?

I have no idea what these might be, aliens?


Lots of the malls have little stalls selling all kinds of nonsense, from time share to anti-death creams as shown below.


I got everything I needed included some electrical bits to finish off the wiring job, and off I headed home, this is where my day took a bad turn. I walked back along a unlit path that runs between the main 3 lane highway coastal road and the sea, it’s quite dark and a little uncomfortable for a long stretch, as I was in the middle of this dark bit I noticed 3 or 4 motorbikes slow down on the hard shoulder of the highway adjacent to me, one of the guys rushed down and jumped in front of me saying something I didn’t understand, I said good evening, but whatever he wanted I wasn’t interested, brushed passed him and quickened my pace. This seemed to confuse him, and me, if he was going to mug me, I would have expected a little more agression please. a few minutes later I noticed one of the other bikers had come down from the road ahead of me, and was approaching me. Now I felt rather uneasy, as he approached he shouted at me, then he took off his crash helmet and ran at me swinging it over his head and down towards mine, so in good Scouse style I did a bit of ducking and weaving, all the time thinking, I might be about to blackout any second if that thing hits me, but amazingly he missed, his helmet hit into my shopping bag, and split it open, sending the contents all over the path.  A this point I must point out that my experience of Malaysia so far has not been good in the recycled green bags, this is the second one that has ripped within a few days. I think the Spanish bags are the best, I have one that’s a few years old and still going strong. The UK ones seem to come in various strengths, but they all would probably have survived this attack better. Anyway, I heard the tomato sauce bottle smash and I was now very angry, I turned to the guy and shouted some rather rude words at him, at this point I noticed his mates where quite close, so decided my best option, as they were all on the path side of me was to run up to the highway and raise an alarm, also I didn’t think they would try anything in front of the oncoming traffic. I did this, and they didn’t follow, I tried to flag down some help on the highway, but to be fair who’s going to stop for a mad Englishman waving at them on a motorway. I noticed the muggers were getting on their bikes, and driving onto the highway, right past me, so I ran out and pretended to be running at the bike, this was mostly to show him how angry I was, I wasn’t actually going to push him over, that might have been messy for all involved, especially with all the speeding traffic, so I just ran at him and stopped short. I walked back to my shopping expecting them to have taken some of the nicer bits, but I don’t think they can like tuna, or potatoes much. In fact they didn’t take anything, and I was pleased to find I had a shopping back inside the big bag that ripped, so I repacked everything and headed off home.
Now here’s the best bit, when I got back I found my clothes covered in Tomato sauce, I must have looked quite a sight running around the highway covered in what must have looked like blood, quite funny really. But because I had wired up the hot water system yesterday, I was able to give all my clothes a good soaking in hot soapy water, I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out in the morning when the sun dries them.
I won’t be doing any more walks down dark paths on my own anymore, it’s such a shame,  on the rest of the walk I met many kids on motor bikes / mopeds, just chilling at the side of the road, most waved and said hello to me, but now I’m just a little wary. All in all I have to say 2 out of 10 for effort on the part of the muggers, also never underestimate how scary a big Liverpudlian screaming obscenities at you (in a scouse accent) can be.

This all ended up making me rush the tuna and potatoes so much I forgot to try and make a Bravas sauce for the potatoes, maybe tomorrow. I also think a couple of the eggs I bought smashed. Still I have enough for a nice Sunday breakfast.

Not long after I hung out the clothes to dry, we had an almighty downpour. I used this to check for deck leaks and found two, both on the deck prisms, these are wedges of glass that go from the top of the deck and extend into the boat. They are a great invention, and I need to reseal them, the drips are slight, but will get worse. Next week when I get to the chandlers I can buy the necessary gunk to seal them.

Looking forward to a nice lie in tomorrow.

Paul C.

Electrics -Nearly there

I was up early to finish off the electrics then get into town and buy some chandlery. I ran a cable through to the battery charger from the switch panel, and changed the connectors for the shore power and fired it all up. The lights lit up on the panel, as you can no doubt see below

3 lights on the right are where its at

However, on checking the water heater I found it worked great, after 30 minutes I had hot water in the head sink and in the shower, which was great, but none in the galley, which is where I need it the most. In fact the hot water isn’t reaching the galley at all, I assumed a stop cock somewhere, but it’s not to be found, lots of rummaging around got me nowhere, going to have to do some serious following of hose tomorrow.

Next I found I had mains going to the wall sockets everywhere except in the galley, which is where most of it is used on the Kettle and toaster. So off I went in search of a wiring problem, 6 hours later I have solved it, but I need to buy new sockets, 3 separate faults on the same circuit conspired to mislead me, it’s a bit like when you see both brake lights on your car have stopped working, you cant imagine both bulbs failing at once, so head off looking for a supply fault, only to find one bulb failed a few months ago, the other recently, and it was only when they both had failed you noticed.


Above is a small section of wiring I had to work through, this can’t be accessed very easily, if only there was a better way to wire boats. you can probably see a hose there too, there is absolutely no water in this part of the boat so I have no idea what that hose is doing behind the electrics panel. It’s just occurred to me it might be a water tank vent pipe.

It’s midnight and I’m calling it a day. Tomorrow it’s back to sorting out the engine panel, the jobs list is slowly getting smaller, and I now feel I have a good understanding of the boat and it’s parts, as I work through it. I must say, I’m still very pleased and can’t wait to get out on the water, which hopefully will be within a week or two.

Yet another locker

I spent the day crawling around the engine re-wiring the water heater, part of the bigger job of sorting out the boats shore supply, I chased the cable to a part of the boat I couldn’t reach, took some photos by shoving my camera around a blind corner and could see rope, wires and other things I couldn’t work out what they were. On the deck I found a screw cap blanking plate, I had wondered what it was for, and when I removed this I found it accessed quite a big void below. In this space was a hose pipe, wrecked, as it had melted, a massive big shore power cable extension, and a lot of chain and rope. The chain was about 10 metres long, attached to 100 Meters of multiplait rope. At first I thought this is for a stern anchor, for which it is perfect, but then I had a more chilling thought that this could be used for a drogue or similar to throw over the stern when in a major storm of the south atlantic type!

The re-wiring is almost done, more on that when it’s all up and running. Just to say I had to visit the local hardware store in the Mall, a small B&Q / Home Depot type place. It’s just amazing how they just don’t know how to run a store, they couldn’t tell me where anything was, the other day, an assistant was looking bewildered saying “well I thought it was here, but it’s not!” no attempt to find where it might be. Today I wanted 10 metres of mains cable, after a few attempts to find someone who could cut the cable, a member of staff turned up with a wooden metre rule, and carefully measured  out 10 metres, then realised he didn’t bring anything to cut the cable, and as he was holding it at the ten metre mark he was very confused as to what to do. All worked out well in the end, and everything is a very reasonable price. The only problem is the quality often lacks, I bought a diet coke for the walk back, even though it came out of a fridge, it wasn’t really cold, and it also didn’t really have a lot of fizz. Also I bought some wire cutters, they look at first glance as if they’re a major brand, but a closer look shows the finishing to be very poor. Today I squeezed a dishwashing sponge and was jabbed by a spike of metal wire that was embedded inside the sponge. So you pays your money and ….

Tomorrow I’m going to finish the shore power and get into town to visit the chandlers and see what they have. Later in the day I will tackle the engine Electrics, now I understand the 12V wiring.


Paul C.



Bye Bye Marigolds

For those of you not from England, you may not know but marigolds is the generic, name for dishwashing latex gloves, hideous things, they start off protecting your hands, but in my case usually fill up with chemicals which pickle your fingers all the time you’re cleaning. Anyway, I finished the quarter berth today, which is the last major deep cleaning job. It’s also looking smart.
I cleaned under the berth as well, the bilge area comes up lovely and white with a little scrubbing, and it also makes tracing the wiring easier, for it is in this area that the batteries and lots of heavy electrical kit resides.

The big black thing is an Outback 2kw sinewave converter/charger

I was able to work out the mains supply issues that had been worrying me. The transformer is a straightforward 240 to 110V step down transformer.

step down transformer

The way it is wired, without any isolation means it is always in circuit, which is slightly hazardous, and also not the best configuration. I’m just working out the best way to change this scheme. 80% of the world (according to wiki) is on 220V, but America, Canada, Mexico, Central America and a lot of the Caribbean is 110V as is Japan, so I don’t want to be burning any bridges, especially as I have a plan to end up in Seattle to sell the boat at some point in the future.

Anyway, from now on the challenges are either intellectual, or for my wallet, as I get the systems working and kit her out for offshore sailing.


Tools and spares

Boating requires you to carry a spare boat with you, in pieces, plus enough raw materials to build a third boat if needed. That’s not counting the dinghy I carry, and the spare parts for the dinghy.

Seriously, I have spent all day going though the spares and tools on the boat, the main thing is they are only any good if you know you have them and know where they are. When I started yachting some 15 years ago with Tim in Greece, I soon realised that you could spend your whole life emptying every locker in the boat looking for something, each and every time. As the memory loss is kicking in this problem gets worse. So to combat this I wrote a little iPhone app that I catalog everything on. It has a great search facility, and it really works, as long as you keep it up to date every time you stow something.

Todays catch of tools

So that was my day, I emptied out the quarter berth, that had been the spares/toolroom and found better homes for everything, so now Tim, or any other visitors will have a berth with lots of stowage space. Now it’s empty, I will spend tomorrow cleaning it thoroughly

Paul C.



Chart Table & Signal K

I finished cleaning around the chart table today. It’s a lot better now, I ripped out the electronics. Most is ready to be replaced or re-located.

Will be looking to clean up the wiring soon. The very bright light is a deck prism, just glass

I think the PO (previous owner) had added the electronics bit by bit, you can usually spot this by the way it’s wired in, especially when lots of kit is running off the cigar lighter.

more homely now

I plan to have the following equipment installed around the chart table as a minimum for now:
1) DSC VHF (new)
2) AIS Class B Transponder (Receiver and Transmitter)  with display (new)
3) Radar (existing Raytheon)
4) Navtex (existing Raytheon)
5) SSB Transceiver with Saillink Packet modem (existing Icon)
6) Chart Plotter (existing iPad running Navionics)

So I’m moving the existing kit I’m keeping to better locations and will be ordering the new gear soon.
I’m also investing heavily in Signal-K a new protocol designed for the future, currently all the equipment can talk to each other using a basic protocol called NMEA, this allows the autopilot to learn how to steer using the GPS route information, or for the DSC-VHF to send out the position as part of a distress call. However the Signal-K extends the connectivity to any kind of equipment and also to other places, people or interestingly, other boats and shore stations and even over the internet. In theory, my chart plotter can now show me my route, and the routes programmed into other boats if they support Signal-K, I can in theory extend my AIS or Radar by hooking into the data from other boats further away. Shore stations may collect this data and retransmit it. It’s been called the Internet of things for the sea. It may not take off, it’s early days, but I will be writing software and apps to work with this data, and I have ordered one of the first Signal-K gateways for the boat, which should arrive soon. More details can be found here

I’m also struggling on how to handle the entertainment system for the boat. I definitely need a pumping sound system that works in the cabin and the cockpit, and possibly the v-berth, most of the music is going to be coming from an IOS or Android device, but will also need local FM radio. I think it will be nice to watch a film once in a while, should that stay on the laptop, or invest in a display I can plug the laptop into. That decision can wait a bit.

I still see no sign of any visitors lurking around the boat, but I found this chappy behind the chart table today (well dead ).

cocky 50p

Tomorrow I’m going to get to the bottom of the shore power wiring, and decide on 110 or 240V for the boat, or some kind of compromise.

Paul C

Day off

Had an easy day Sunday, so forgot to post anything, nothing to post really. Had a look at the chart table area, with a view to working out what was obsolete and what can stay. The Raytheon Radar is quite a decent unit, despite a slight fault on the display. It can stay. The chart plotter is going in the bin, display is shot. I will keep it for now as a spare NMEA GPS source, but I think I already have a stack of them.

I went for a walk and watched the sunset, well I couldn’t see the sun being on the east of the island, but it was nice enough watching Butterworth turn into a sparkling lit night skyline.

The rest of the port used by Jabatan Laut, equivelent to our trinity lighthouse people


fish food
Local fish restaurant by the Marina

Paul C