Varnishing and Paint (exciting)

It rained through the night, and when I woke up the new varnish was covered in rain drops, spoiling the surface of the last coat of varnish. I dried the wood with a rag hoping the weather would improve, then stayed below and did some research on shopping and where to leave the boat when I travel home next week.

I took a trip downtown to check out all the hardware/marine suppliers I had failed to find before, I found them all, not where they are documented as being, bought paint and Epifanes varnish thinner, I had sent an email off to Epifanes the dutch manufacturer of the varnish I use, it’s quality stuff, but hard work here. I was pleased to get a reply, he confirmed that it would be difficult to varnish here, but possible, he persuaded me that I should use his thinner rather than the local turps and to let him know how I got on. He also had some other good tips. I also bought some flashing led lamps for the boat, I already had two, but these ones are good for 100 hours operation and turn off in daylight automatically. So when I next anchor, I will look like Blackpool illuminations. Needed because of the massive amount of fishing boats out here, many who drop nets in the anchoring spots.
I also found a fire extinguisher shop and bought a fire blanket for the galley, I had been looking everywhere for one of these, not something normally used here it seems. Outside the shop there was a couple of trees that seemed to be having root problems, glad I didnt lay that pavement.

So by the time I got back to the boat the sun had come out and drying had completed and varnishing could commence. I managed to get a second coat on after sanding back the first one and removing the rain spots, I also sanded back the blue paint under the cap rail, that will get painted tomorrow, followed by another coat of varnish on the wood ( 2 down, 8 more to go).
I think I have saved that cap rail, port side by replacing the rotted teak bits with new plugs. The starboard side is still untouched.
Then onto the pool to cool off, followed by the removal of the Aircon Water pump
pump This pump had given up the ghost, it’s 15 years old, and has been pumping salt water all its life, so fair enough, Im hoping if I can replace it the air-con will work, but there may be more problems.
Tomorrow everywhere is shut so I will do some painting and varnishing.

Paul C.

More varnish

Up early to get on with the sanding, I have now sanded down the cap rail and rubbing strake on the port side, to bare wood, and laid down 1 coat of 50%varnish/50%turpentine. A very tedious job, but no more sanding, just another coat of varnish every day until I have about 8 coats on. Sadly it started raining not long after i got the last coat on, hopefully a light sand tomorrow will fix that.

The dinghy came back today, which was nice.

Went shopping for fresh salad ingredients tonight, and spotted this little chappie on the way.


The rain was evident all around the island.


Here you can see lots of boats in the bay, mostly ferries laid up as we are out of season.


It was a bit worrying to see the terrorist incident at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, as I’m changing flights there in a week on my way home! Awful affair for all involved.

Tomorrow, more varnish, pay the bill and get ready for early depart on Friday.

Paul C

No Anchor, No Dinghy, No Fun

That’s an Iggy pop reference…

So the anchor was delayed in customs, it’s now been released so the delivery day has slipped to Saturday, a few days after I was planning on leaving Langkawi and heading back to Penang. Also the dinghy was meant to be ready today, but that hasn’t shown up, to be fair I didn’t chase it, been very busy sanding all day. I started on the cap rail and rubbing strake, it’s going well, but the wood is much darker than I would like, also has many black stains. I’m looking into lightening it.
So eight hours sanding and a first layer of varnish on half the job, then a swim, supermarket, finally an omelette for dinner.

Tomorrow more of the same, I probably wont blog as I’m going to be busy getting the boat ready for the trip to Penang.


Best bread yet

Tim cooked a loaf today, best ever, he has left me some ‘starter’ which looks like wood glue, but apparently is alive, but subdued in the fridge. Like Frankenstein, I will be bringing it back to life shortly and attempting to turn it into an edible loaf.
Tim took a taxi to the airport at lunchtime, it’s been great having him here to help with the work and to just enjoy the boat, after all thats the boats main purpose. I made a list of shops I wanted to check out, especially I was looking for anchor lights, off I marched and covered a lot of ground, despite the heat. I got some lights, not quite what I wanted, but they should work, basically all round flashing white lights I can put on the boat when at anchor. After shopping I called by the food area that is on the was home near the main shopping mall, I’m not quite sure what it’s all about, that is , is it just a Ramadan thing, I suspect not, but it was quite amazing, stall after stall of great food, snacks, meals, drinks, puddings etc. A bit like the oriental food stalls at an open air festival, but multiplied by 100. I bought a stack of food, and a massive juice drink, possibly mango, for less than £3


Anyone for Curry


Some Veg?
Fish looks great
This man happily sold me a dozen pasties for about £2
Im having one of these for my pudding in a mo, no idea what it is.


I will be going back soon, to stock up the fridge.

I feel a bit sorry for Kathy as it was mostly meat/fish orientated. I expect we will find a veggie option, I did spot this place on the way home, it said ‘open new moon and full moon’ which seems a strange way to run a business, but it does say “Clean-Moderate-Delicious”, who could refuse that!


Closer to the marina I watched a row of palm trees being planted, there’s lot of work going on around here to smarten the place up.


I took a shortcut through a row of Malaysian restaurants on the way back and caught this little chappie on video. I’m hoping he kept well clear of the kitchens, for his sake.


After a little swim at the yacht club I snapped this sunset, that’s the Rebak and Telaga area in the background. I could get to like it here.


However now Tim has gone it’s 24/7 maintenance on the boat. I need to get as many jobs sorted out before I return home next week. I have a very long lists of jobs, but the biggest is probably the varnishing of the rub rails and cap rails. Im hoping my anchor and dinghy repair will arrive in the next couple of days, as I plan to leave for Penang on Friday.

Paul C.

proper sailing


trees3Today is Sunday, Tim’s last day in Malaysia. We decided to take the boat out, and possibly visit a posh looking resort about 2 hours sail away. After a few phone calls I spoke to someone in the resort who would let us use their berth there for a few hours, but it was quite a complicated setup and I wasn’t sure if it would work out in reality. Anyway we set off, Tim took us out of the marina and we headed north to look at the two big boatyards there as I had heard one was very good for yachts and was curious. We passed a fishing village, mostly on stilts, then past the boatyards. Soon the wind picked up from almost nothing to a good 10 – 15 knots, this was my cue to get the mainsail and geneo up. The wind was caused by squalls passing by, we could hear advancing thunder and I wondered how big the squalls might be, I wasn’t bothered as they rarely last more than an hour or two, and this boat can take a much bigger hammering.
Once we got the hang of sailing this big heavy beast, we found it was quite fast in just 10-15 knots, however the squalls approached bringing rain and much bigger gusts. At one point there was a rapid wind shift which left the genoa backed and trapped on the staysail stay. I had to start the engine to help recover that situation. I was able to bear off and run before the high winds and we made great speed towards the resort. When we got there it looked full, and rather shallow (in more than one way) so we motored around, took some pics of old boats (below)  then headed back to the island south of the resort where we dropped anchor for lunch and a swim. Most of the islands around here are full of dense tropical rainforest vegetation. Look at the picture to the left to get an idea, this was the shore by where we anchored.
Tim had a swim and I checked out under the hull while swimming around the boat.

Will write more tomorrow as it’s nearly 2AM here now

Paul C.

Kuah fishing villiage
Sailing, but very dirty sails
old boat 1
local anchorage
old boat 2
looks like a kids fun boat
don’t try to cut through here

Sadly this huge tuna or maybe even shark, got away



Tim bringing us into the Marina at RLYC
cat friend
My friend at Wonderland, one of the best Chinese eateries in town

Cleaning day

Today started with more varnishing, I think it’s going to be difficult to do much varnishing here as the humidity and temperature are just too high.
Next we had to deal with the broken gas shut off valve. This is an electric solenoid that allows me to turn off the gas from the galley without having to pop outside to the gas locker. I had to strip it down and fix a broken wire then epoxy it back together, it now works. My problem is this boat has American systems everywhere, and the gas is all plumbed using USA fittings, which I can’t get here. I have a vague plan of taking the boat to Seattle one day and selling her there, so I would like to keep the American bits where possible. The two 5 US Gallon gas aluminium (or aluminum if your in America) tanks are especially great for cruising.
Anyway, my repair worked, and should last until replacement parts can be obtained from the states.

I took advantage of the fact that all the bits of the gas system had to come out of the gas locker to give it a good clean, this however made me realise how dirty the cockpit surround was so I then moved onto cleaning the fiberglass in the cockpit, this came up lovely and now needs to be polished to get a shiny gleam to it.

Finally with all the cleaning done it was off to town for some shopping and dinner. After dinner Tim took a cab back to the boat and I had a leisurely stroll home, taking the snaps below on my way.

Think this is a temple
Market on the waterfront
Kids park
It’s always Christmas here, or maybe not during Ramadam?



It’s Tim’s last full day here tomorrow as he flies off on Monday, so I think we will go for a motor/sail around the Island.


Paul C

Rigging and Satun

Today started with the early (8:30) arrival of Chris, the rigger. He scooted up the mast and took measurements of all the rigging, that’s the wires that hold up the mast. There’s a lot on this boat, I think 13 in all. they all need to be replaced to get insurance for the boat.

Chris up the mast

Tim worked out that we could get a ferry to Thailand and have a couple of hours there, it’s really not very far from us, 1 hour on a fast ferry and £6 each way. Also I could buy an electric sander there, as the shops are all shut here with it being a Friday. As the morning progressed we were getting more and more results coming in from the UK referendum, I was very very disappointed at how it was going. By lunchtime it was all  to clear.
It was a pleasant trip to Satun, I bought a sander and glasspaper,  I had to get some Tahi Baht from a cash machine, everything is now about 10% more expensive for me because of the leave vote, hopefully that will improve a bit.

Interesting roundabout monument in Satun
The ferry jetty in Satun

After a couple of hours looking around the shops we got the ferry back. I think we probably spent more time queuing to get our passport stamped in Malaysia and Thailand than we did walking around the town there.

Once back at the boat we had a quick swim to cool down and met up with Touch from the marina in Penang, He drives a big 40m motor cruiser (Millionaire boat, as my kids would call it) for it’s owner and had motored to Langkawi for a couple of weeks.

We decided to cook on board, but the Gas solenoid that shuts off the gas had developed a fault and I couldn’t fix it in time for Tim’s preparation, so we fell back to a Plan B where we cook on the outside barbecue.


After a fast familiarisation course (learning how to turn it on) we were once again ‘cooking with gas’ and Tim rustled up a lovely Omelette containing all the veg we had left.


Tomorrow I might be able to sand down the rubbing strake ready for it’s first coat of varnish. Will need to buy some turps or white spirit first.

Paul C.

Wood Woes

I started the day by removing the rubbing strake, a long steel bar on the side of the boat, used to protect the wood from collisions at the dock or alongside other boats. It was falling off, and I needed to fill the holes it was screwed into, before re-fixing it. There are four strakes, made up of 4 separate bars of half round steel. I thought I would do one now, and see how it went. I drilled out the soggy wood behind the strake, ready for filling with thickened epoxy later.

Tim had baked a lovely loaf which we had for lunch then we took a taxi up to the dinghy man’s workshop today to see how the repair was proceeding, and to drop off the rowlocks for him to glue on. It doesn’t look like we will get the dinghy back until next week, which is a pain.

After this we did a big shop and back to the boat where I mixed up some epoxy for the repairs, now I’m finding it difficult to get the epoxy to not exotherm, this is the epoxy heating up and going into an uncontrolled chemical reaction where it sets in seconds. I reduced the amount of hardener today to a 3:1 mix, and a few minutes later had a boiling hot tub of thickened epoxy, I didn’t even get a chance to use any of it. What a waste. Meanwhile Tim did a great job polishing the strakes, and I slapped some varnish on the bowsprit, three coats now, another three to go.
Once I had calmed down over the epoxy, I started again, this time with a 6:1 mix, this worked really well, I won’t be sure until tomorrow, but no exotherm, but the epoxy did start to harden after about 15 minutes, which was just long enough for me to get all the holes filled. Tomorrow I can test it and sand it down smooth. Oh how I wish I had bought an electric sander back in Penang.

Tim with his new hat

Tonight we went looking for Veena, a Thai restaurant recomended by a taxi driver, but it was closing up as we arrived, around 8:30, all the Malaysian food outlets shut around 8, but I think that’s to do with Ramadan. We ended up in a Chinese seafood place and had a lovely Tom Yum soup, and prawns.

Looking forward to the Brexit result tomorrow, I’m expecting and hoping for at least 70% remain, fingers crossed.

Paul C.


Still no dinghy

We had hoped to go to the “hole in the wall” restaurant/cafe today, but to do that, we must motor for 4 hours to the north east of the island then take a dinghy ride to the venue. It’s up a river near mango groves. However our dinghy is away being repaired, and it’s taking longer than we hoped for. I have been phoning the guy for a while now and finally got through today to hear it will take a few more days to repair. Not good.

So instead we headed off in that direction but stopped a quarter of the way and anchored in a secluded bay and had a swim and some cheese butties for lunch. It was most pleasant.


I saw three ships go sailing by (well motoring actually)
Tim at the helm as we anchor in 5 metres
pie shaped island
Todays route
Tim chilling


A very successful berthing back at the marina, I had to get it right eventually, we had very strong currents when we left, but lighter coming back. It’s a spring tide, due to the full moon, and that causes big tides and currents.
Jobs completed today, include a third coat of varnish on the end of the bowsprit, which I’m not at all happy with, and a scrubbing of the waterline all around the hull.

Paul C.

AIS Live day

So today I collected Isaacs parcel from the marina office when I checked us in, it was great to get the bits I needed. It cost £20 to get the stuff sent out, but I saved more than that on the spares Isaac sent.
I then headed off to the post office to collect the AIS which had arrived from China, this was the start of a small trauma, the post office told me to go to a different one out of town, which I felt was wrong, as the PO box was in that post office I was in. I phoned the other office and they said they didn’t have a parcel for me, but as they didn’t know who I was, I wasn’t sure we were communicating too well. The person who phoned me to tell me they had the parcel was incapable of explaining where they where to me, so I phoned around several post offices with no success. The online DHL tracking said it was at the airport, which I hoped not to be true, as that’s at the other end of the Island. To cut a long boring story short, and miss out the taxi ride where the driver got lost, I ended up picking the parcel up from DHL on the other side of town, then I walked back to the boat.

The weather has been overcast for a few days now and the temperature has dropped a lot, it’s very pleasant indeed, I may even need to move to a thicker t-shirt soon if this carries on!

On the walk back I spotted this little chappy and video’d him, he had a friend just behind him too. I wondered if one of these guys might try to get onto midnight at some point?

Then I walked through the park, past the rundown theme park, the pic below is the entrance, I would have gone in, but I was scared the caretaker might get me (old scooby doo reference)


Beyond the park is the Eagle we saw from the sea on our way in yesterday


It’s big enough. Once back at the boat, Tim showed me all the doors and drawers he had repaired with the springs Isaac sent out. they have latches powered by sponge, the sponge had failed with old age and the drawers no longer stayed shut when you closed them and tipped the boat over, as we found out in the big sea yesterday. Now they stay shut, just as Mr Perry (the boats designer) intended.
Tim helped me install the AIS transponder, and that’s up and running, albeit with a temporary aerial. So we are broadcasting our position, but you won’t see it on the internet, as nobody here seems to be feeding it into the net. Still we are now legal to pop into Thailand anytime we like.
The last job was to replace the leaking valve on the head with the new part Isaac sent, that was a quick job and went well. All in all Sister Midnight is a better boat today than yesterday.

A great dinner at wonderland, our favourite Chinese eatery here, finished off the days activities. Tomorrow we have to chase the dinghy repair man and find out what he is doing with our dinghy.

Paul C.