Upon arriving at Phuket airport at 1 am, we exited the terminal and made our way past the gauntlet of tourist-hardened taxi drivers and carried our backpacks out into the humid, tropical night. We had cleverly booked a hotel just 350 metres down the road from the airport. After checking in, we quickly fell asleep after the 25 hour journey.
|Nai Harn bay|
In the morning we woke up, checked out, then made our way by taxi to the south end of the island to Nai Harn beach where our friends, Mark and Julie, were waiting for us. Nai Harn beach is one of the quieter beaches due to its distance from the airport (farthest on the island) and lack of accommodation close by. It is a sheltered anchorage from north- and north-east wind and swells, and it also has a convenient public dock for dinghies so the bay is well-used by yachties. Kokomo, our home for the next few weeks, was happily anchored there, waiting for us to join it and start the adventure.
|Kokomo (in the marina)|
When we are on Kokomo with Mark and Julie, we are instantly relaxed because: a) Mark is an excellent mariner who has been 'round the world multiple times on multi-thousand ton cargo and container ships and therefore knows almost everything about navigation, boat maintenance, weather at sea, etc., and b) we're not solely responsible for the boat. Mark and Julie aren't as comfortable with "the white, flappy things," ... and that's where we get to lend some expertise. After settling in on the boat, we spent a few days provisioning, relearning systems on the boat and overcoming our jetlag and planning where we were going to go. The plan was to sail north along the coast to Ko Phra Thong and spend two weeks sailing, snorkeling and exploring the island and the waters around it.
Once everything was ready, we pulled up anchor and started north. The winds were brisk at 15-25 knots and coming from the northwest, which suited us just fine. It was looking like a lovely day for a sail. We ran into some trouble with the in-mast furler for the main sail, so decided to pull out the smaller "yankie" headsail to get some forward non-engine speed. The headsail popped out on the breeze and things started to feel very familiar.
|This isn't how your rigging is supposed to look|
Kate and I were standing on the foredeck, discussing how we could get the main sail deployed when there was a loud "poing" from the starboard rigging. The heavy 5/8" steel cable that held the 17 metre mast upright was beginning to fail ... under just the relatively light load of a small headsail. Most of the strands had snapped at the swage, but six of them were holding fast ... for now. Kate was facing forward with her back to the shroud and I was facing Kate. I saw it happen and we both quickly hustled to the cockpit where the lines led to bring in the headsail. We were able to get the headsail rolled up before a catastrophic failure happened, but we knew that we weren't going to be pulling out sails before some major repairs happened.
Suddenly, we were bound for a different adventure.
In order to get the rigging fixed, we would need to inspect ALL the rigging and replace anything that looked suspect. It would be a costly exercise, but no where near as costly as if the rigging had completely failed and the mast had collapsed and/or broken off. We changed course south and motored around the island of Phuket to a marina that had riggers, sailmakers, engineers (for casting/welding/machining metal and plastics) and all the necessary expertise to get our rig back in working (and trustworthy) order.
|heading into Phuket Boat Lagoon|
Even just motoring into the marina was not straightforward. As the marina is up an inlet that is heavily affected by the tides (and Kokomo's keel hangs down 2.5 metres below the water line), we needed to wait for not just a high tide, but the right
high tide. Luckily, the right high tide was just a day away and an overnight anchor outside the inlet was all that was required.
While we were here, Mark and Julie decided to tackle a few other boat jobs. Here was our work list:
- inspect the forestay, back stays (2), shrouds (4), running back stays (2), all turnbuckles (7) and topping lifts and replace as necessary
- lay out, measure and reflake the two main sails, yankie, staysail and genoa
- inspect sails for damage and wear and repair as necessary
- whip all line and sheet ends as necessary
- remove the in-mast hydraulic motor, which requires disconnecting the hydraulic lines at the foot of the keel
- replace a forward bilge pump (which had been acting a bit flaky anyway)
- freshwater flush the cooling systems of the engine, generator and get-home engine/backup generator
- rebuild the carburetor on the outboard engine
- re-glue one of the oarlocks and one of the handles to the dinghy
- have new chaps made for the dinghy and put them on
|we get sails re-rolled after inspecting and reflaking them|
|Jai, our rigger, gets new steel shrouds|
connected to the spreaders
|Sean installing a leather wheel cover for Kokomo|
- a little thank-you gift for having us onboard.
Our worklist is long, but we start (and then finish) early so we are not working in the afternoon sun. The Boat Lagoon has a very nice fresh water swimming pool with coconut and palm trees all around, which makes for a great place to escape the heat once the boat jobs are finished.
|where you will find us most afternoons|
So, even though we aren't out sailing, it's gonna be hard to get sympathy from our friends for being here.
Looks like a loooooong list of tasks. Still. . . it is -28 degrees here. If I had a choice - well you know where I would rather be.ReplyDelete