Moon – Koopmans 47 – 12,5t (16,5t equipped and full tanks)
Boatworks in Thailand and Malaysia, plus sailing to and around Singapore
1 January – 4 March 2015
Thursday 1 Jan.
A more than normal slow start. Mostly because lack of sleep, but an extra hour because of the corals. We had an extremely good holding due to the chain being trapped in several coral heads 10 meters down. Annika had to dive to try to see if it was possible to drive the chain out by the engine. After several attempts we finally managed.
Never again anchor in corals without using our old technique from Lindisfarne where we always put buoys on the chain, preventing the chain from trawling around on the bottom getting snagged in corals.
Out at sea we where awarded with a nice open reach in a north easterly, blowing 15 knots all the way to Ao Chalong where we anchored already at lunchtime, having had one of our best and fastest leg ever.
The wind stayed all night making the two miles across the bay very choppy. We decided to weigh anchor and use Moon across instead of getting wet in the dinghy.
New anchoring and then a short dinghy trip in to the officials.
It’s amazing how complicated checking in is made in some countries and how unpredictable the result is. This time the big surprise was the “calendar”. Suddenly this Friday, 2nd of January was a public holiday. Unmentioned on the website where holidays are listed. But arguing does not help you. It’s just to pay and try to be happy… Thailand is very professional in getting the most out of tourists. Another example of that is the extra fee when using bank card, 180 Bath each ATM visit and 3-5 % extra when paying something using a card.
After this experience we had lunch ashore and then moved back to “our” calmer part of the bay.
Tacking north to Ko Rang Yai where we anchored for two nights, waiting for high tide on Monday morning when we were expected in Boat Lagoon Marina for our galley work.
We used the time on anchor to prepare the galley for the new sink and Corian top.
Monday morning we successfully manoeuvred the channel through the mangrove into Boat Lagoon.
6 -12 January
A week in Phuket Boat Lagoon with nothing but work! Sunny skies and above 30 degrees C in the boat day and night…
A job that was to be exchange of the counter top became, as usual, a lot more.
When the old sink and grey-water tank was taken out, some moister related work become visual. Nothing that wasn’t fixable, but time consuming due to the logistic when drying out, repairing and several steps with epoxy treatment.
A long “forgotten” problem was the wet wood in the freezer/fridge. The former freezer is now a fridge, but we still have to deal with the wet wood in the box. It’s made of plywood, Formica on the inside and epoxy soaked on the outside. The main reason for the moisture in the wood was two. The top was badly filled with foam after assembly, leaving a lot of plywood exposed to air, and the rest of the box isolated with blocks of Styrofoam. The blocks where glued with spots of epoxy, leaving a gap of 1-2 mm between the foam and the plywood, exposing the wood to the ambient temperature… When the different from one side of the thin plywood most of the time is above 40 degrees C, it’s obvious that a lot of condensation takes place!
Of course we should have attended this problem at a much earlier stage, but now it was a point of no return. We tried to have the carpenter put the gluing of the Corian top on hold, but they have so many boats on their list so they couldn’t come back to us in reasonable time if we postponed the finalising of the work.
First we thought to make a stainless box, small enough to get through the hole for the lid. But when cutting the plywood we discovered the bad gluing of the Styrofoam blocks. This now became an advantage. The gap between the foam and the plywood made it possible to cut the box and leaving the foam almost untouched, making it possible to laminate a box with fibre and epoxy to the foam. Nice when a bad things turn out to your advantage!
The diesel cocking plate beside the 220v cocking plate where taken out after decision made last week leaving an empty space where we are building a locker for cocking pots, made out of teak and plywood with a corian lid.
This is the status Monday morning. It’s easy to see that two weeks in the marina isn’t enough. Our visa expires 2nd of Feb so hopefully we are out by then. The fridge is the major problem. After laminating we have to install a new cooling plate with pipes and so on + new gas. The local fridge company in the marina seams to be able to help us, fingers crossed.
13 – 19 January
Jet another week full of work and sunshine.
Our projects are showing quite some progress.
But since most of the work is taking place in the galley, the logistic isn’t very easy. There are not many things that can be done at the same time, meaning there is a long line of work waiting for the previous to be done…
But now we have had all the carpeting and eight layers of varnish done, so today we could continue with the fridge, trying not to cause wear and tear on the new varnish.
Of course we have found new items to deal with. The brass outlet from the big water tank under the sink was brittle and cracked inside the tank. So with a leak just under the lid, the pump now got only air…
How to fix a new outlet in a plywood-epoxy tank? We drilled a 32 mm hole through the 20 mm thick plywood, laminated with fibre and epoxy on both sides. Soaked the plywood in the hole and epoxy laminated 450g fibre on the inside, covering the new hole. The next day we filled the hole with epoxy-filler and when that had cured we drilled an 18 mm hole for the threaded pipe. A welded washer on the pipe inside the tank + some Bostic glue will hopefully do the trick…?
Outside the galley there have been a lot of stainless work done all over Moon during the week. New chafing plates on the cap rail at all eight cleats, two fare leads on the transom, strongly made to be able to handle our series drough, the shower outlet in the cockpit have got nice stainless “cups”. If you have seen the plastic ones after some years in the sun you know why…
The real hit this week was our final solution of the ladder. It was originally mounted on the transom, touching the water besides the hull when heeling more than 15 degrees. On top of that it was not vertical due to the positive angle of the transom. Our opinion is that a boat with this type of transom ought to have the ladder at amidships.
But to solve that and not create new problems, e.g. snatching sheets was not easy. We have thought of several possible solutions but finally found the most simple, safe and cheap solution. No attachment to the teak cap rail only two short pipes welded on each side of the boat to the double stanchion at the opening in the life line, making the ladder movable to either side of the boat. And we could reuse the old ladder after some minor alterations
Coming week we hope to get the fridge running again, fingers crossed.
20 – 26 January
Another week in “paradise”. No rain, but sunshine and high temperature above 30.
The box for the fridge is very time consuming! But as we have seen the result after productive wharf labour, we are not tempted to do several operations at the same time, not waiting for the previous to have cured.
In the parts where the insulation was very poor we have now filled more than 50 l of foam… Together with the new foam walls, the fridge can now be called “insulated”. The old “design”, at that time used as a freezer, could not be called that!
The new sink and facets works excellent. It’s a pleasure to wash up, not only because we don’t have to use the aft deck…
We have now been out of fridge for three weeks, using a small Styrofoam box filled with ice for the necessary beer and yoghurt.
We have trust in departure next Monday 2 February…
2 – 9 February
Total change of climate in Moon!!
We are now on anchor, having a nice breeze through the boat with a temperature close to our comfort zone, 25 C. What a difference compared with the climate in Boat Lagoon where surviving was spelled lots of fans and mosquito repellent. Anchored well of the shore we now have no mosquitoes!
Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 we spent most of the time calibrating the compressor to the fridge and painting the final layer of epoxy paint. After letting out some gas of the system, the pressure became ok and the compressor had no problem to keep the fridge cool on lowest rev. The previous installation when we bought the boat was as a freezer/fridge and with, as we now know, bad or partly non existing insulation. Now we are using the compressor to a fridge/vegetable box, well and everywhere insulated. Quite different energy consumption and the compressor is running very seldom and not hot at all.
A new charging regulator for the 24 volt alternator has been installed. The original one was not working already in Langkawi, and there we only found a simple Bosch regulator. A Balmar 624 has been on the list ever since. Now we found one at one of the chandlers in Boat Lagoon.
Early morning we left Boat Lagoon at high water, only to motor to the first island where we planned to anchor and make Moon ship shape for sailing, a quite extensive work after a month of work.
After the first bend in the narrow channel the engine died.
We have a big day tank with automatic filling from the main tank. A lot of thoughts running through our minds when we were occupied with emergency anchoring, not to run aground in the narrow channel. Good holding and the first problem avoided. Now to troubleshooting. Immediately we recognized that the day tank was empty!
We had during our work flipped the fuse to the automatic pump and with a lot of test running in the marina with the return to the main tank, we had obviously empted the tank and not refilled because the flipped fuse. Ok so far so good. Fill the tank and try to get diesel through the engine. There is no hand pump on the engine like in our old Volvo so we had to run the starter motor.
Luckily we remembered to shut the sea water intake, not to fill the engine with water when using the starter motor extensively.
We were a bit stressed to know that there will come several boats in minutes. Most boats can only leave and get to the marina at high water so for sure there will come some boats. With the day signal for anchoring hoisted, boats were at least informed about our situation. The first powerboat passed on our starboard side and the next on port. A relief to know that there was water enough on both sides.
15 minutes after anchoring the engine was running again. In the attempt to free the channel as fast as possible, we almost forgot to open the sea water intake! Six boats passed us and just as we weigh anchor came a big tender and asked if we had problems. It turned out to be the tender to a big super yacht arriving behind the next bend of the channel! Guess if we were lucky to have Moon manoeuvrable again at that moment.
We have now added a check of the day tank to our start up routines…
An hour later we were anchored after a short but unnecessary stressful motoring.
After lunch we started the big job to get Moon in sailing conditions and then had a quiet night.
Weigh anchor early morning with the intention to sail to Ko Lanta. Unfortunately the wind direction was not in our favour. With a reefed main and two head sails we sailed close haul through the choppy sea. Just west of Phi-Phi the wind died. The engine started as if nothing had happened to our great relief. An hour later the wind came back, but still not possible to sail to Ko Lanta.
We decided to sail south through the night directly to Langkawi. The wind kept blowing 12-25 knots the whole night. With a reefed main and sometime only one head sail we where doing 6 to 8 knots through water during the whole night. Moons movements in the confused sea was ok and in spite of no sea legs we were quite comfortable.
Five o’clock Friday morning we anchored in moonshine just outside Telaga harbour, 21 hours and 140 nm after we weigh anchor.
We spent the weekend installing the new VHF that was waiting for us in Telaga marina.
After two days it’s working. Not only can we see AIS targets and a lot more, we can even talk with other stations…
We are really enjoying to be on water again and to have a nice breeze through the boat. It’s unusually windy since a couple of days and is predicted to continue. We are thankful for the wind that keeps the boat cool throughout the night.
10 – 22 February Telaga Malaysia
The wind continue to blow through Moon, but the strong east-northeast is gone. Weak winds from all directions, even from south-West most of the days, have replaced the NE.
Typical, as we are soon heading south!
As motoring night time down Malacca Straight is not an option due to all fishing gears, we continue with our extensive “to do list”, waiting for the NE to return.
The fridge, we thought was ready, turned out to have been painted with not curing epoxy paint! Only the final coat, but still a big problem. The paint we bought in Jotuns quality shop in Phuket turned out to have a seven years old hardener! Ok by now, after almost three years in Asia, we should have learned; check everything, don’t rely on anybody. But with everything in Thai it’s not that simple.
Now the bad paint is gone by means of cloths and solvent. New, this time curing, paint applied and the box looks as new again.
The small wet wardrobe, a walk through from the aft toilet to the technical room, have got a long planned nice cork floor during this week.
With almost all job done we empted the aft cabin, used as storage for tools and materials during almost three years. The former owner of the boat had only had a plastic cover glued on the inside of the hull, to save money? The inside of the hull in all other compartments of Moon has teak grids.
The insulation on the plastic was completely destroyed and separated from the glue and came lose with no effort at all. But now we had a wall of glue and part of the foam! Grinding for a day… Luckily it’s possible to keep all the dust in the aft cabin, closing the door to the boat.
The new epoxy paint we bought for the fridge came handy! Two coats and the aft cabin is as new. Later we will probably put a teak grid on the wall.
All our three package ordered to Telaga has arrived and are mounted. The VHF already installed during the previous weekend, and the other two items this week. One, a voltage stabilizer 24/19 volt for TV and computer, and one 24/5 volt for the media player. Now we can watch films without using our big inverters.
It’s nice to have big inverters when working on the boat at anchor. Moon has two parallel inverters with capacity of 6kW for half an hour, and 4kW “for ever”. OK it means that we have to have a big battery bank. Moon has 460 amph 24 volt which we charge with our silent Whispergen made in NZ.
We have now started to stock up. Saturday shopping resulted luckily in 20 containers of NZ milk powder, very essential for good living in Moon.
The taste of our yoghurt rely on this particularly brand, not always available in Kuah.
If we are lucky the wind will be NE by the end of this week…
Monday February 23
This is a very short message to tell you that we are leaving Telaga Marina where we spent some days to get Moon ready and cleaned.
Now – early Monday morning there are still a lot to take care of…
We will be back in a day or two when things has settle down and we are on our way south through Malacca Strait.
February 23 – 28
Yes we are under engine down south, but not as far as we hoped when we left Langkawi.
No wind at night forced us to anchor at Penang, just about 60 nm south of Langkawi.
Stayed one day for shopping and some rest. The last two weeks have been quite exhausting.
Annika spent some time at the computer, so now there are some news on the weblog.
Right now, just south of Penang, are we really hoping for more wind. 0.4 knots from behind over Moon. Very humid and hot…
Motoring south bound under engine in five knots and 1400 revs.
We have still more than 100 nm to the traffic separation zone, where we dare to use the engine at night. If no wind we have to anchor tonight again…
Next stop at the south side of Pankor, where we anchored in the moonlight around nine o’clock.
During the rest of the trip the few available anchorages didn’t match our timing.
Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur’s big harbour) we passed around midnight, although we anchored in the “dark” the night before, this was not comparable. The moon behind the clouds and shallow banks was circumstances we didn’t want to play with.
Port Dickson (has a marina) was behind us at breakfast and we anchored for a lunch break some hours later, waiting for the wind to come back.
Three hours later after a nice meal and some sleep, we continued south in the now fresh breeze, giving us an open reach, with Moon doing six to seven+ knots with a reefed main and full head sails.
We passed the town Malacca just after dark, when unfortunately the wind died and we had to engage our Perkins again. Around midnight the wind came back from north-east, giving us close haul that later became a comfortable open reach. Very nice to be able to avoid tacking as we didn’t have much room to manoeuvre between the traffic separation zone west of us and the shallows closer to shore.
Sunday March 1
In the afternoon when we where close to Singapore we decided that the forecast for the water east of Singapore to Borneo was not good enough. We motored in squalls up between Malaysia and Singapore and anchored just west of Puteri.
Poor holding, but as we where not to leave Moon we stayed and had a good night sleep.
Monday became a working day at anchor, keeping a close look on the grib files showing the passage weather, Singapore – Borneo.
Monday March 2
We are at anchor between Malaysia and Singapore 400 nm south of Langkawi, waiting for more favourable winds between Singapore and Borneo, a passage of 400 nm, almost due east.
The weather is variable with clear sky and a hot sun, interchanged with thunder, lightning and squalls. Lightning in the neighbourhood of Moon is something we don’t like…
The sailing from Langkawi was very shifting. No wind, wind against, strong wind on the quarter and some squalls.
Tuesday 3 March
An early start to get around Singapore and eventually continue to Borneo.
Due to the muddy bottom we had to wait for daylight to be able to flush the chain clean. Almost hopeless to succeed with that mission in the dark…
Starting with some current against, but as we came around the south west cape of Singapore main island we got following current for the rest of the day, between 0,5 – 2 knots.
We had copied a route from another cruiser that did the same route four years ago. Excellent as you know the route, even if the chart has some errors and it seems to pass over dry land, the route has water enough all the way.
A route is more or less necessary also because of the more than two hundred anchored ships in between the islands. Making your way around these with “constant detours” might very well make you lose your bearings… so again a track on your chart plotter is very good to keep you in the right direction.
We choose to go through the small islands not to interfere with the traffic separation in the strait.
Ten hours later we where east of Singapore and the wind was coming “from Borneo”.
Plan B was executed. Meaning we continued an hour north east up in between Malaysia and Singapore where we anchored, waiting for favourable wind to Borneo.
Next logbook – Borneo
Annika & Björn