Thursday, 22 May 2014

Back in the water

The day had come to relaunch, whether we were ready or not. After spending the last night in the yard and working till nearly midnight reattaching pieces here and there, we just needed to get going. We had to wait until late morning for the tide to rise enough and then the strong current nearly swept us sideways onto a ferry wreck, but full throttle saw us head out into the river and finally on our way.

A short few hours later saw us arriving into Telaga harbour at Langkawi and checking back into Malaysia. It was great to catch up with our dear friends from Totem, but sad to think that this would most likely be the last time our sailing paths would cross. There were also some familiar faces from our Sail Indonesia rally - Adagio, Kularoo and Alleycat and always so good to see them again. Drinks on the beach that evening and great fun catching up on their news. Our second night there saw our son Chris fly in to help us sail Kittani down to Pangkor and ready her for the years storage. Always so good to have him around. Leaving Telaga, we headed down to the fiords at the bottom of Langkawi for our first night. Then a days trip south to Penang where we stopped at the southern end, and our third day was the long haul into Pangkor marina.

The lift out at Pangkor was by far the easiest lift we have ever done. It was a matter of minutes and we were up and out of the water, such a smooth procedure. Then the hard work started - it took us 2 full days to detach, de-rig, store everything away, get the tarps up, wipe everything down with diluted oil of clove to stave of mould and feel that we had done everything in our power to keep her safe and sound in our absence. So now she is snug in her new home and we are off to Kuala Lumpur in the morning by train via Ipoh and one last evening to enjoy the delights of KL with Chris before he flies back to Oz and we head to the UK for our next adventure.

                                     Heading onto the SeaLift at Pangkor Marina - Malaysia
Out of the water and off to her new lodging for 12 months

Satun Boat Yard 3 ( PSS Boat Yard)

Having been In the yard for about 2 months, people searching for details may find this of benefit.

Cheap labour. Two types, 
one is hired via the yard and you pay between 600  - 1200 per day depending on what they do. Eg general is 600, light sanding is 800, heavy sanding is 1200. The worker (usually Burmese) still gets the same pay, about 330 per day and the yard collects the difference for the tools and elec used. Bit mean I think. 
The other is contracted....carpenters and painters. Bit more skilled than the yard workers. You pay a "boss" 1200 per day for these guys, sometimes 1500 if team leader. You will pay commission.
You can also hire carpenters / painters via the yard. Obviously you don't pay the commission, but the quality and urgency of their work can sometimes be questionable. Some are good some aren't.

 I employed a guy called Un who project manages multiple boats. He charges about 3000 per week and is indispensable for translating and getting the workers going. He gives you about 1 hour per day and as required. His number is Thailand 085 078 1959. Email is.

Yard shop...has a good range of what would be needed. I didn't bring anything from Langkawi and haven't had a problem. Un can source just about anything if you need it. Be aware that the bills from here mount up quickly.. Keep a close watch if you don't want surprises. The yard bills fortnightly but can do weekly if requested.
Good little "restaurant" just out of the yard. Open 6 days and good value..about 30 baht per meal
Tent hire for serious painting or deck work, I would suggest this is a must. The yard is busy, dusty and hot and getting wetter as the rainy season gets going.
Container hire - great for storing the treasures you will find when clearing out and getting ready to start work
The Burmese workers are the most hardworking I have ever seem. I have used 2
Mr Wen ....used for heavy sanding. 
Mr Zor....young guy with small daughter and wife who works in the yard. Fantastic worker. If you can get him, keep him. Switch him on in the morning and he goes all day. I have used him for general work, sanding, polishing,helping me re rig etc. because of the pay and his great attitude, I paid him a bonus at the end of each week.

Yard management.....they screw you down for everything. Like charging you for heavy sanding when light, light for when general. Highly recommend you keep a daily log of who you have and what they are doing and don't sign anything until you have x referenced. The other issue is use of compressor.. Make sure you check daily what they are charging you. They have charged me 8 days rental for 22 hours discussions with yard mgt!! 
Also charge a live aboard of about thb50 per person per day. Not publicised. Also charge for water when washing down the boat
Painters....whilst they do a terrific job they are as slow as a wet week. 
The yard is dirty and in the dry season very dusty.

Local engineering shop....not very good. I asked them to polish a whole lot of s/steel parts and had to send it back 3 times. Sim issues with another yacht getting some work done on his exhaust manifold....3 or 4 times back to get it done right. However, their welding, reputably, is good. There is another group of welders used by the motor boat. They are excellent and can fabricate almost anything, but pricey.

I rented a 1 room apt with air, ensuite and not much else for 7000 thb per month...bit less if for 2 month rental. This is in Satun town , about 15 mins away. Place is called Living@home.
Locally there is a shop just out of the yard that has a room for rent. Not sure of cost, quality though. Was rented by a French couple and they didn't seem to have any issues.
Car...few hours use, you can rent from shop owner...Uns mum..bit expensive at 500 - 600 for half a day. They also hire scooters for 100 for a few hours or 200 per day, 1200 pw I went the scooter route as the roads are quiet.

Would I do it agai?n..yes.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Satun Boat Yard 2

Now into week 7 on the hard. This includes the 2 weeks we had in Australia, so actually 5 weeks of work to date.

What has been accomplished?

Hull stripped back to the gel coat.
This took 12 days of heavy sanding due to, roughly, 14 coats of  antifoul and what appeared to be a layer of copper coat. Tough work and the yard worker - Wen - just kept on going day after day.
Once sanded, 3 layers of Jotamastic epoxy have been applied as a barrier coat. This would normally have a bonding coat to ensure antifoul sticks to it, but because Kittani will only be in the water for about a week before going back on the hard in Pangkor for a year, I am opting not to put anything on until we return from the UK.

Masts stripped back to bare metal.
Both main and mizzen sanded and then wet n dry sanded. A two pack etch primer applied followed by a coat of Penguard Hi build. Then two coats of International Interthane 990. After 6 years of looking at very sad masts, these will be lovely.



Top sides
Old gel coat was sanded and then long boarded, removing most of the wear and tear of probably 35 years. Even at this stage it was an improvement. To show up any imperfections, the hull was lightly sprayed with a can of black paint. Looked more like graffiti to me. More sanding. Fill was applied to any dents, scratches etc and then another graffiti attack and then sanded. A coat of hi build applied and then more graffiti . At this stage I was prowling the boat looking for this supposed artist, but never saw him doing it. Turn away and there it was.
Once sanded again, a coat of Awlgrip 545 primer applied. Looked great! You guessed it, the graffiti attack again. Finally, they got the 600 grit sanding completed ready for the final coats. Even now, it is almost good enough to leave. Top coats still to go. (The black paint is to identify areas still to be sanded. Very easy to miss if all is white)

All of the verticals bulkhead veneer has been stripped off and replaced with 4mm ply with a reconstituted teak machine pressed onto it. This is a much lighter colour than what was there before so will lighten the interior considerably.
New teak floor in the forward cabin
In addition, the carpet that was on the hull (very late 1970 style) has also been replaced with the same veneer together with new Vetus portholes. The latter have taken a bit of thought as to how to get them to fit. The exterior is a great fit being attached to an extrusion running down he hull. The interior was a bit more difficult and required some fibreglass grinding  and filling to make a good internal fit. Still work in progress.
All of the new surfaces will be covered with a two pack polyeurathane to keep it as light as possible and give it a hard surface.
Don't mention the dust..gets everywhere.

Fridge n freezer
Both have been causing issues with constant compressor cycling. A few cuts into the fibreglass lining uncovered water in the foam on the base of both. The floor from both was cut out, all the old foam removed and then replaced with a two pack foaming product. Good fun using this stuff. It mixes at a ratio of 50:50, a quick stir to mix and then pour quickly. Boy does it expand quickly and if too much mixed, goes everywhere. I compressed each pouring to ensure it stayed reasonably compact, but still oozes out any hole. I was contemplating taking out and replacing both boxes, but with all the internal work going on, thought I'd try his option first. We'll see how it goes.

Toe rail replacement
The aft toerail (port and starboard) had some rot. These were removed and replacements bedded down.

Pilot house timbers sanded and oiled. Using up the last of my Sikkens
Original solid teak inside cabins sanded and then coated with polyeurathane
Stainless steel fittings polished ( started this before agreeing to posting to UK). We'll see how it stands up to 12 months in a boatyard

Using 28.5 baht to AUD
HAULOUT  ฿      12,245  $        429.65
HARDSTAND  ฿      48,060  $     1,686.32
LABOUR  ฿   402,428  $  14,120.28
PARTS  ฿   201,736  $    7,078.44
CONTAINER  ฿      10,000  $        350.88
LIVE ABOARD  ฿        1,550  $          54.39
TENT  ฿      15,600  $        547.37
CRANE HIRE  ฿        5,288  $        185.54
ACCOMMODATION  ฿      10,100  $        354.39
   ฿   707,007  $  24,807.25

HULL ฿        21,600  $          757.89
INTERNAL ฿     113,000  $       3,964.91
PAINTING ฿     144,500  $       5,070.18
COMMISSION ฿        28,548  $       1,001.68
PROJECT MGT ฿        19,950  $          700.00
MAST ฿          8,600  $          301.75
POLISHING ฿          6,500  $          228.07
BONUS ฿        21,980  $          771.23
TOERAIL ฿          8,500  $          298.25
GENERAL ฿        29,250  $       1,044.64
  ฿     402,428  $    14,372.43






Monday, 31 March 2014

Satun Boat Yard

Well, who would've thought that a few weeks could go past so quickly. After all, we've only just posted the previous blog dated from middle of Feb..but here we are in Satun Boatyard.

We were delayed getting into the yard by 2 days as the only cradle available for us was occupied by a boat catching up on the last minute jobs. Not too much of an issue except that we had planned of emptying Kittani of most of the accumulated treasures of the last few years before heading off to Aus to visit family on the 4th March. This gave us 2 days to get everything ready. Thankfully we had hired a container so Cath and I spent most of the time doing numerous trips up and down ladders storing 'stuff'. This was essentially all of the contents of the boat stored above bilge level, so a remarkable amount of things made their way to the surface accompanied by " I wondered where that was!". Amazing how you can lose things in 47 feet!

The yard is large and the only constant seems to be the yachties who seem to stay from between a few weeks to 2 1/2 years, where as the fishing boats get hauled one night and dropped back in the water in a couple of days after having major surgery..with a chainsaw!
Birds nest BBQ

 Work commenced in the forward cabin

 Setting up the pillars for the tent (concrete in an old tyre)


 One down, one to go. A bit stressful when nobody speaks English
 A quick whistle and 14 yard boys turn up to move the mast and then disappear
 Kittani's home for the next few weeks

 No OH&S here

The picture doesn't show its true's big!
 Forward Cabin under reconstruction

 Starboard cap rail demolished

 The 'old' Kittani starting to fade away

 Final sanding before sealing

Hull stripped back to the gel coat (above and below the water line)
2 coats of Jotunmastic (epoxy) to be applied. Rolled below and sprayed above waterline
This stage is 4 weeks out of the water, but 2 weeks of work. Getting there...but not sure when.

South to satun

After a couple of days in Ao Chalong with the wind seeming to increase by the day, we headed across to the more sheltered bay of Panwah Beach. There are a couple of restaurants ashore but not much else, much quieter than Chalong Bay and the tourists. The weather seems to be getting warmer by the week as we approach the change in seasons, and when the breeze drops to nothing, the heat seems to intensify. One afternoon we headed into the large weekend Phuket markets with Lawrie and Karen (Tropicali) and meandered up and down the aisles of clothing and food stalls for hours. They are on the same scale as the Chatachuk markets in Bangkok and you could spend hours and hours wandering around and never find the same spot twice. 
The time is getting nearer to our date for lifting out of the water so we must bid farewell to Phuket and start making our way south towards Langkawi and our destination of Satun on the Thailand/Malaysia border. This is where we will leave the boat on the hard stand and head back to Oz to see family. It has been nearly a year and that's too long for me, I am counting down the number of sleeps until we go.
Our first nights stop is Ko Racha Yai, a sheltered bay on the NW corner of the island. On arrival we can see the lovely white sandy beach onshore, unfortunately covered with the obligatory beach umbrellas and sun lounges, and the fast tourists boats lined up wall to wall. We will just wait until 5.00pm when they will have all left before we venture ashore. 


Ashore for dinner and a walk along the softest sand that we have felt in a long time. The 'Racha Resort' which looked quite impressive from the boat is actually spectacular up close - a 5 star property. What a beautiful place for a holiday, though I think if I were paying those prices, I would not appreciate 500 day trippers arriving early morning and staying until dusk invading my privacy. 

Next nights stop is Ko Rok Nok and this is picture postcard material. We dropped the anchor in the channel between the two islands, and the view was over turquoise waters and white beaches and only a couple of other boats in sight. Paradise !! The sunset was amazing as always and we sat upstairs having dinner and marvelling at our surroundings. It is managed by National Parks and therefore a fee to pay to stay. Not cheap, (400 TB per person and 100 TB for the boat = AUS$30 but will cover for up to 5 days stay) Rich if you were only planning an overnight anchorage so maybe we will stay an extra day to get our monies worth - and the snorkelling is meant to be quite good. 

A broken nights sleep with the anchor alarm going off every couple of hours as we pulled up on the chain to the extent our scope with the tide and wind, that coupled with a local Thai fishing boat that had anchored close to us and drifted within 5 meters at one point, only to all be awoken by us blasting them with an air horn to say "too close, too close". They moved on but you don't really sleep soundly after incidents like that. The hope is to sleep in in the morning.
Our morning peace was broken by the arrival of a fast speed boat full of tourists, both by the noise of the engines and the wake that they create as they zoom past our bow. I am sure they think it is great fun to see if they can roll the yachties out of bed by the wash they create ....ha ha !! And then they came, 10 in total over the next half hour and once again were lined up along the beach. I guess everyone wants a piece of this paradise. Late morning one of the public moorings had become available so we up anchored and moved to the spot. Upon diving it looked to be secure and sturdy and would give us more peace of mind and a better nights sleep than the previous night. 
We spent the day snorkelling and again the fish life was impressive. The water is probably the clearest we have come across yet, so this place has to rank above the Surins islands for us. By late afternoon the speed boats had all departed and the place was peaceful once again. Ashore for dinner to the only restaurant catering for the campers, chicken in ginger and chicken in garlic and vegetables with steamed rice and two beers for 400 TB (AUS$13) - hard to beat. 

So it's away from here in the morning and south to Ko Lipe.
We thought Ko Phayam was our pick of the spots so far, that was until we found Ko Lipe. Meeting up with Totem coming from another direction, we both dropped anchor on the north side of Ko Lipe, the smallest of the main islands in the Butang group. Wow, what a place. As beautiful as Ko Phayam but a bit more happening. Tourism is further advanced here but thankfully the new accommodation has been built in the timber bungalow style and quite in keeping with the setting of the island. The sandy beaches were once again the finest and whitest of grains, the waters aqua turquoise blue and the vegetation lush and green. In the distance we could make out the island of Tarantoa, our mid way point from here to Satun on the mainland. A couple of small restaurants on the beach and our meeting point for sundowners - the Boom Boom Bar. Before that, we followed the dirt road across to the other side of the island, the arrival point for all tourists. This was definitely the busy side with 'long tails' filling the beach and wall to wall caf├ęs, souvenir, dive shops, restaurants and massage salons on shore. Lots of backpackers coming and going - reminded us of Gili Air but maybe a bit funkier. This would be worth revisiting tomorrow. Back across to our side, we settled in to the bar to watch the sun go down behind our boats, the background music was a reggae beat to Pink Floyd's words and music - rather cool !!

Interesting neighbours you move from one to the next?

The next day Behan and I headed back into town for a pedicure, what should only have been a 15 minute stroll. One dirt track looks much like the next one and after wandered around for 3/4 hour and still finding ourselves in the midst of local dwellings, we got a 'taxi' for 100TB ($3) who dropped us right in the main part of town. Now we know where all the old golf buggies from Japanese golf courses end up- they are pensioned off to Ko Lipe as taxis. We then settled in for some pampering and enjoyed an hours pedicure and came out with the best looking toes around. Met the guys for lunch then back to the boat for an afternoon siesta before gathering for sundowners again.