Friday, 8 June 2018

Cruising Spinnaker

Why do we use our cruising spinnaker so much.  

Keeping this short and sweet, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not an unusual sight, not much wind today. Lets make the most of what we have got.
Up with the Cruising Spinnaker, on really light breeze days (0-10) we run with out the main up, keeping an eye out for increasing wind strength

Here we go 3.3-3.7 Knots boat speed in 7-9 Knots of breeze. Its a whole lot easier on every thing than motoring and keeps the cabin cooler.    

On those days where it is actually blowing 10-15 Knots we can get a nice turn of speed, we run with the main up on these days so we can shield the spinnaker with it when its time to pull it down

So at the end of the day we can sit in the anchorage drink a cold one and enjoy the sunset

Anchor it right

You saw it here first, 

The locally made Rock-na anchor as used by Tioman fishermen

Prototype done now for production

Check your safety and lifting gear regularly

Check your safety and lifting gear regularly

Checking through my safety gear, when I had the life sling out of the pack I noticed some rusty discoloration on the material ends.  I rotated the rings in the material of the sling ends and discovered one ring was suffering crevice corrosion. This would explain the rust marks on the material. After closer inspection of the ring I could see that it was no longer safe to use as a rescue/lifting device. This has happened in just a year. The warmer and more humid tropical climate certainly accelerates corrosion.  It’s well worth while checking all stainless rings or “D” loops by rotating them regurally. We have several safety devices with stainless rings, eg life jackets, boson’s chair, harnesses and we will now decrease the time between inspections. 

Rings after they were cut out of the sling material ends, the exposed part of the ring looked ok

Closer inspection of one ring shows how close it was to failure.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Newsletter 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
May  2018

Ships log: 
This is a local fishing boat hauling in his trawling net. The run between Penang and Pangkor is littered with these boats who often are pair trawling, making some runs difficult to work out your best passage.
The beginning of May saw us at Penang and as much as we love it, we didn't stop this time around. We spent our first night anchored just outside the Junk Anchorage at 05 24.18n, 100 20.67e in 6 meters after a long day from Langkawi. The following day we decided on a small jump down to the Queensbay Mall anchorage at Jerejak, dropping anchor at 05 18.45n, 100 18.08e in 10mtrs.

Next day we did the first of many big runs south covering 62 nautical miles to Pulau Talang for the night. anchoring at 04 25.25n, 100 34.69e in 10.3 mtrs. The following day we made it nicely in to Pangkor Marina, staying put for a couple of weeks to do jobs.

Saw the sea plane come and go a few times, it's always quite the sight.
As it turned out the 'couple of weeks' turned into a month. Bruce during some routine engine maintenance discovered one broken engine mount and 2 with cracks in the inserts.

Crew log:
The run down once you leave Langkawi is full of long days, generally with little wind. So it was a surprise when we dropped our anchors at Talang on the east side away from the west as it is the Sou'west monsoon season at the moment, when a storm came up. As always it decided to roll in around midnight and was coming directly from the Nor'east - ohhh goodie another lee shore, so we hauled anchored and puttered around to the west side. 

Basanti bathed in the morning sun as she leaves Penang, bound for Pulau Talang, Pangkor.
Sadly we had to leave our mates on Basanti because their engine decided to not run in gear, lucky for them their new Rochna anchor was holding on for dear life and true to form it didn't let go. Come day light, we moved Matilda back around to assist as we are now proud owners of a Hookah unit. Turned out their prop was totally wrapped up in rope. Not a pretty sight, but once the boys cut it off, the engine started again and off we went down to Pangkor Marina to do some jobs and have a look around the island.

The Captains all Hookah'd up and ready to cut the rope free.
This is what they saw under Bastanti,,,,what a dreadful mess.

This is the ball of rope Bruce and Ken cut off Basanti's prop/shaft. The ruler showing the 1" thick rope!

Once we where tied up at the dock at Pangkor, its all go go go,,the job list always seems never ending. One of our jobs was to flush the entire run of our bilge - not a pretty sight but had to be done.
Floor boards all up exposing the full length bilge on Matilda.
Here is something we had not seen before. A crane dropping a yacht back in. Her twin keels will not fit on the SeaLift so a crane it is.
After a week in the marina we decided we all needed a day off from working on our boats. Pangkor Island is an 8 minute ferry ride over so we all jumped on for the princely sum of RM14 p/p return ($4.20). We had a great day buzzing around the island on our hired scooters. The pictures can tell the story of the day...........

First stop the boat builders. It gave us all a greater appreciation for whats out there on the water. These boats are very sold and massive.

These are their props,,,,,enormous!

Then off to the Dutch Fort for a look at the ruins.
Then off to the 'floating' mosque for a look. Its a very impressive building.

As we wanted to go inside the building (but not in where they pray), we had to leave our shoes at the door and put on appropriate clothing. Boy it was hot with these on.
Before we went into the Mosque, we made a few new friends. Very friendly locals.

Our rides for the day.

A lovely long lunch on on the western side of the island at Daddy's Cafe. 

Love seeing the Hornbill birds, they are amazing.

We didnt stop here in case the rest of the litter was being served,,,haha just joking.

The local kids having a snooze and being kids,,,,

There are some fantastic murals around the island, we loved this one.

Always monkeys,,,Bruce loved this guys 'mo'!

Puffer fish decorations anyone?
All over the island are these look outs,,,they are fantastic.

And this is us, at the end of our day out,,,it was loads of fun.
Then the jobs continued on. We had all 110 meters of chain double dipped galvanized which as it turns out weighs 255kg. Had the job done at at Butterworth and we are very happy with their service and the job. The chain looks really good and should give us another few years of service.

And this is what 110 meters of chain looks like on the dock. Bruce is measuring up every 10 meters, then  putting a marker on so when deploying we know how much has gone out.
During a clean out of some cupboards we found a huge tin of Milo we forget we had. So during the month we cooked up a few things Milo............ Here in Malaysia they love Milo. But we soon learnt to pronounce it as 'Me Low' as they do, when ordering a cold one.

Milo Biscuits, so good.
We spent quite a few days doing some sewing. One of the sewing jobs was to repair the spinnaker bag. As we use it a fair bit, we had been slowy damaging on of the sides, so a few repairs later it was all done.

Final touches to the repairs on the spinnaker bag. Bruce is hammering in the islets for the tie rope.
During some routine engine maintenance Bruce discovered one our engine mounts had a piece missing - not good, and found another insert was cracked, also not good. While not good news, better to have found them here while at the dock rather than at some island in the middle of no where.

Bruce soon had the parts ordered from Oz and the delivery did amused us. I'll let the photos tell the tale.................

We had to go to Customs House to pickup our parcel which was delivered via this truck, in this huge sealed silver bucket.

Once the seal was broken, everyone was intrigued as to what we were having delivered. Everyone is peering into the opened bucket.

And thats the parcel in Bruce's left hand,,,,yep that tiny parcel. 

This is what was in the parcel..........
Parcel back on board and unpacked, now to the awful job of removing all four mounts, getting the inserts out and then putting all four new mounts back in. Not an easy task.

These were our engine mounts. Turned out all 4 were damaged. No doubt this occured during our troubles with a bent shaft.

This is an engine mount. The yellow piece is called an 'insert', and this one is badly damaged,,,actually its broken.

And engines are never in a good place. The job took Bruce nearly 6 hours, with a fair bit of his time in this position. 

Laying on the engine block, working upside down to the part and completly working blind. You cant see the part while you work on it. It's a very difficlt job.
New engine mount inserts in, mounts back in place, now time for some polishing. When we were last on the hard stand we had an extra plate put on our bow so as the anchor stops banging into Matilda's hull. This is the first time we have had a chance to polish it up, and it looks great.

As usual things are never that easy to do, but before the sun was too high Bruce sat on the dock to start polishing.

For the other side he needed to get the tender in the water.  Its certainly coming up a treat - nice and shiny! 
Her stern all very shiny. The step ladder had a few minor repairs done and then polished.

And the job of polishing went on and on. Bruce also did our stern ladder, the bow, the stern its self , he even polished the solar panels! Then spent hours washing the top deck. She's all back to shiny and we are ready to leave to the dock. Looking forward to spending a few months on the east side of Malaysia/Thailand visiting the Thai Gulf exploring new places for us. Then revisiting Tioman and Anambas.

Her bow all shiny. The garland of flowers on our bow is a symbolic gesture of good luck. We see this gesutre on nearly all the fishing vessels in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The fishermen belive the flowers are a symbol to provide good luck and protection, also to honour the spirits of the water.

Monday, 30 April 2018

April Newsletter 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
April  2018

Ships log:
Matilda got to spend most of April in Thai waters enjoying the amazing Phang Nga Bay! 

The pinnacles of Ko Sup - amazing limestone formations.
The first few days of April we where at anchor in the basin of PYH (Phuket Yacht Haven) as we were finally able to settle on a day for Mr Peh to come and give us a quote on new cockpit cushions. Once he had taken his patterns we headed out for a few days and found ourselves anchoring at Ao Labu South: 98 34.25n, 8 00.14e in 6.1 meters. 

This was our view of the resort 'Santhiya' on Yao Yai.
From there we went back to PYH for a few days then headed down south to Panwi Bali to meet up with friends. Anchoring at 07 49.01n, 98 22, 87e in 4.8 meters. Then back to PYH to wait for our new cushions. 

With new cushions in place we took off and enjoyed Yai Yuo, 8 01.48n, 99 33. 67e in 4.3mtrs. Next day we took off for Ao Chalong to check out anchoring at: 7 48.99n, 98 21.78e in 6.1mtrs. Once checked out we went over to Phi Phi Don, south side anchoring at 07 43.60n, 98 46.25e anchoring in 19mtrs. 

Now travelling towards Thai waters we dropped in at Koh Lanta, east side anchoring at 7 31.98n, 99 06.33e in 7mtrs. We did plan on spending the next day at Muk but a storm was hovering so we pulled in beside Koh Ngai dropping anchor at 07 25.36n, 99 12.61e in 10.6 mtrs.  Next day we went through another massive storm, once it was over we had enough time to make it to the calmness of Koh Tarutao anchoring in the bay at 06 37.52n, 99 41.18e in 7.5mtrs. 

Then around to Bass Harbour to check in to Langkawi at Kuah and then around to Telaga topping up with fuel before heading down to the Fiord anchorage at 06 11.22n, 99 47.27e in 11.4mtrs of water. Enjoying the well protected anchorage for our last night in Langkawi and our last anchorage for April.

Crew log:
April was a mixed bag for us. We are loving spending time with our friends on SV Basanti. Bruce and I spent hours playing games at anchor. We have been learning the finer art of dominoes, its more complex than we thought. We always love playing Uno and of course Mexican Train Dominoes. I am still working on Bruce to play backgammon with me!

We enjoyed doing some baking during the month: 
Bruce cooked up some Thai beetroot and it was delicious.
A lemon tart. Worked out well except I omitted to check the size of my dish, which was a bit too big so it turned out a bit thin, but it still tasted really good. 
My Sultana Cake turned out huge and kept us in morning teas for about a week!
It was nice to leave PYH for a few days in between visits from Mr Peh. He gave us a great price for new cockpit cushions and a few other jobs, so we went for it.  We anchored in a small bay off the island of Koh Yao Yai and this had us sitting just out of the SW' winds as we nestled in behind the tiny island of Koh Nui in the bay. We always love looking over to the impressive architecture of the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort and Spa. It looks like something the rich and famous visit. Their guests have the most incredible view of the sunset each night.

Photo courtesy of Google Images. The is the view from a room in the resort on Yao Yai.
The first weekend of April was hard for me (Deb) as all my sailing sisters from WWSA - Women Who Sail Australia where all enjoying the 3rd annual GoTB - Gathering on The Bay in Port Stephens, NSW. I was bummed not being able to attend as I was invited to be a guest speaker and I was going to talk about our travels in SE Asia. The good thing is the gathering is gaining momentum and I will no doubt have another opportunity. What an amazing feeling it is to belong to a Facebook group that has perpetuated into a magazine and an annual get together where there are loads of speakers and fun activities all centered around women sailing.

Bruce is a huge believer in pro active maintenance, so he is always pottering around. We both know the benefits of keeping on top of the rust on our stainless steel. There is also the old line of thought that a clean boat is a trouble free boat and this is true to some degree. While we are rust washing and polishing Matilda, our eyes spot any fine cracks, loose bolts or potential problems. This allows Bruce to action things in the calmness of an anchorage.

Bruce has stripped all he could off Matilda's stainless frames etc so he could rust wash them.

We are very lucky to have a 'garage' which runs under the entire length of the cockpit, Bruce keeps a lot tools in here. So I often get to see Bruce in this position as he hunts for the tools for each job, which inevitably are always up the back!
During one of our times at anchor Bruce made a drink table that has a simple latch on arrangement. He used an old chopping board and I think it turned out rather well.

Our easy latch on drinks & nibble table
Mr Peh on board and making sure the inserts are fitting nicely. The rest are the photos of the cockpit cushion days...........
Mr Peh checking they fit nice and snug.

Mr Peh and his offsider putting on the glue for the stern seat, which is a bit tricky. 
Off they go in the tender back to the dock, to complete the job!

This is what our old cockpit cushions looked. We certainly had good wear out of them.
Very happy with the Sunbrella, Tweed to match our other canvas. 

Look at those cushions,,,4 of them!

We had Mr Peh alter our aft berth mattress. The batteries are under there so we had the mattress cut to make access easier. This is how Bruce and Ken got the mattress ashore to Mr Peh.
Early April we finally caught up with our rally buddies: Bev & Gary off Wirraway of Sydney & Mick & Gin off Wishful Thinking. We parted company over a year ago and apart from seeing Bev & Gary at home a few times we had not seen Wishful since February 2017. It's hard to explain how wonderful it is to see old mates. The catching up took quite a few beers!

Finally back together again at The Beach Bar, Panwa Bali - Phuket.

Glorious sunsets from The Beach Bar as The Big Buddha looks over us. The girls are displaying the international sign for 'my glass is empty and I need a refill please'!

Once all our work with Mr Peh was done it was time to enjoy some sight seeing. We spent a big day out with friends enjoying the sights of Krabi...I'll let the photo's tell the story.

Morning tea at The Sugar Bowl and it was delicious.

At the Tiger Temple.

Tiger Temple.

There are always monkey.

Inside the Tiger Temple, there are many Buddha's but we had never seen a green glass one. We believe it is glass and think it would have weighed a lot, at first we thought it was jade but it was see through.    .

This was one of many ways to give and support the Buddhist Monks, I thought the inscription was interesting.

As you do when your in a car away from your boats, you drive to the local marina's. Krabi is actually up a very large river system with a few marina's. The Krabi River Marina was very run down which is a shame however its not a place we would stay at.

This is Hans Christian, the same make as Matilda. Seeing this vessel in this condition made our hearts ache.

The is Port Takola, another marina, completely man made. They have literally dug out the basin and so far have one finger. It will be interesting to watch it grow.

We finished off our day watching the celebrations to bring in the Thai New Year - Songkran. Celebrated by throwing water on everyone. 
Sight seeing done it was time to make a move south. We enjoyed our trip down to Langkawi and look forward to our next Thailand visit. Maybe a longer stay next time.........

We always love Phi Phi Don, its action packed. On the way in to the shore we spotted this well painted fishing boat.

We decided to do 'The Walk' up some hideous amount of steps to view the famous Isthmus. The is View Point 1.

Still at view point 1, the gardens where very well done.

This is view point 2. Thanks to Bruce for making the final climb. The view is incredible.
Then down to Koh Lanta. We had never been here before and definitely worth a longer visit.
Koh Lanta has a lovely street full of locals selling their wares. One shop had these gorgeous owls out the front. Next door is a fruit shop which also sold spirits (top left).

The walk down the side of the Rareview Cafe for lunch.

The view from the Rareview Cafe, loads of islands to go exploring.
Leaving behind Lanta we headed down towards Muk but a big storm was brewing so we pulled in behind Koh Ngai. Here we saw lovely long sandy beaches, quite a few resorts and colorful boats all anchored. 
A hidden resort. Love the steps.

Next day headed down to Koh Tarutao. This place made such an impression on us, it could very well have altered our time frame home. It is magnificent, its huge and has loads of bays to shelter in both sides. One the way down we had a heart starter as we watched a water spout on our stern.
Janice captured the waterspout beautifully on our sterns. The tiny little dot to the right of the spout if a large fishing boat, we wondered what he was thinking.

Matilda heading into a bay of Koh Tarutao.

We sat for hours watching the clouds spill down the enormous crevices of the mountains of Tarutao.

After we had arrived at Langkawi, checked in and settled we all hired car and decided to drive to the highest point of Langkawi - Gunung Raya. Sady the tower was in disrepair and closed, which was a shame. Not that we would have seen anything anyway, we arrived in a to the top which was totally shroud in clouds - we wouldn't have been able to see a thing anyway. We have been up the tower a few times and the view is spectacular showing off all of Langkawi with 360 degree views. 

This was all the view we could manage at Gunung Raya - clouds.

On the way to Gunung Raya, we stopped at the Kraft Komplex (they are not spelling errors, thats how they write in Malaysia). While here the heavens opened and torrential rain fell. One the way out of the Komplex i spotted all the cats fast asleep in a corner of the taxi rank.

What a fantastic way to finish off the month and our trip in Thailand & Langkawi but in the only Fiord of Langkawi's water ways. It was pretty windy outside but couldn't feel a puff of wind in here.

Basanti anchored in the Fiord.