It's been a month since we finished the re-rig. A month that has flown past in whirl of more updates and improvements to our lovely Jackster. Our time constraint was waiting for replacement house batteries (eight at 105Ah each) to be delivered from the US via KL. Ever since we met our good friend
|new brown, old black|
|fitting in battery box|
In the meantime I set to work with gusto creating a new cover for the dinghy. The old cover had been made in Venezuela in '09 for our old dinghy which was 30cms longer. I had shortened and adapted but now the rips were becoming greater and the fabric less wholesome. Using my new Sailrite sewing machine it was a dream to sew. I adapted the new design to be fixed with strips of Velcro along the outside and the inside of the tubes for a snug fit. To finish off the package I also made little green sun covers for the outboard motor and petrol tank. Dinghy is now a small green goddess.
When we were changing the rigging we took down all the sails. Before they were raised again we gave them a thorough check for broken threads, unravelled stitches and signs of wear. UV is the constant enemy of your sails. While the cloth and threads are UV resistant they are not UV proof. On the head sail, which is now the oldest of our three sails, I had to restitch the complete length of Sunbrella UV protection strip because the threads had 'dissolved' in places. The main had small points of wear in the sail cloth where it catches going into the mast which needed patching. The mizzen is less than a year old and needed no repairs.
The biggest challenge to sewing sails is where to bring together sewing machine and sails. With no suitable room or space ashore we did the repairs on the foredeck. The sewing machine was in front of the windscreen with the power source in the cockpit. I was sitting on the deck, one knee tucked under me and the other knee operating the foot pedal because putting the machine on a table was not an option. We had to be close to the heavy sail. David moved, fed and guided the sail for me. A team effort, but well worth the effort.
Hopefully we've extended their lives and headed off the need for emergency repairs while on passage. A true case of a stitch in time. The next two places on our RTW trip with offer good value on new sails would be Sri Lanka where North Sails operate the biggest sail loft in the world and then South Africa.
Next job was cleaning the water tank. Our tank holds 1000L and sits above the keel with access through the floor in the galley. From time to time I treat it with chloride to kill unseen nasties and we only ever use shore water if we can be certain of its quality and still it has to pass through two filters between tap and tank. Malaysian water is clean and you can smell the chloride so you know it's been treated at source. Chloride evaporates in about two days leaving odourless water.
An aside to our water tank story is in conversation with our insurance company regarding cover to sail from Thailand to South Africa, they have made it a requirement that we have a bilge pump capable of moving 25 gallons / 113 litres per minute. Our fitted bilge pump falls short of this capacity. At first we were affronted by the insurers demands but gradually we saw the real sense in having an independent water pump as part of our emergency gear. In Kuah we found a small, portable, petrol drive Japanese pump which weighs less than 5kgs and approximately 25cms square. Add 10m of 25mm hose to the intake and 5m to the outflow and you have a pump to lift water from the deepest part of the hull over the side, a water pump for a fire and portability to carry to another boat should they need assistance. You can also leave it running on its own freeing a pair of human hands to help elsewhere.
We discovered a fourth use which is to empty your water tank. Our tank was mostly clean. The white fibreglass lining makes it easy to see where we needed to give attention. There were black spots of what we assume were fungus at the top of the tank and on the roof which spend more time in air than under water. Being small I could get my head and a shoulder through the opening and scrub the walls clean. We then applied a strong solution of bleach and filled the tank, left it to sit overnight before emptying, rinsing and refilling.
|stocks with protective sleeves|
It was a full on month of work. David serviced the wind generator, serviced the main engine, went through the storage cupboards deciding what was a keep and what was a give-away (and finding some lost items), checked our dive kit and assessed what needed a repair or replace. I did the same with our food cupboards:out with the old, decide what new stocks would be required for the next twelve months. Langkawi has good supermarkets, keen prices and we have access to cars with easy loading from dock to boat. Polly now has 50kgs of cat litter stored in the forward wardrobe and we have 150 cans of tonic water in the bottom of our wardrobe, canned food fills the spaces under the floor in the salon and there are rumours of a bottle or two of gin under the bed! I couldn't possibly comment on that one.
There was time for rest and play in between all this hard labour. When the temperature and humidity were at their highest in the mid afternoon we would retire to the forward cabin with doors and windows closed, books and air conditioning. For an hour we would rest and cool until four o'clock when the sun was beginning to go down and then work until the sunset at 7pm.
|bridge over the falls|
I had (another) birthday in early December which I designated a No Work Day. Instead of work we cycled, only 15 minutes and only a bit uphill, to the starting point for a walk up to Telaga Tujung, Seven Wells, Waterfall. Only 500 steps uphill later we arrived at the highest waterfall and great views over the anchorage. There is a cantilever bridge over the fall which had a glass floor, changing rooms and picnic areas. We sat for a long time with our feet in one of the bathing pools. I didn't know you could swim and hadn't brought a costume. Sitting and enjoying the moment was a delight. On the way down we side tracked to the second and lower fall which had far more visitors. We had lunch out. A restful afternoon in the AC and then a special dinner on board: smoked salmon, grilled steaks and a bottle of Australian sparkling wine. Sometimes the simple things are the biggest treat.
Next day was work as usual as I cleaned the forward head and scrubbed the shower curtain.
We've now spent two months in Telaga marina with an address for deliveries, two months of repairs and improvements for Jackster, two necessary months of making preparations to be ready to sail in parts of the world where there aren't chandlers or repair facilities in every port. Or mid ocean.