Wednesday 28 September 2016

Tef - Gel Vs Duralac

Are some of us following the flock and not asking the right questions.

Tef - Gel vs Duralac, appears to be a debate

Does it have to be a choice? Perhaps the correct answer is to use both in the right application.

I have had several rigging problems I would put down to the use of or should that be misuse of Tef-Gel. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great product, but now it gets used in applications it wasn't meant for or was appropriate for. I know this because once I started to have problems I asked around and had similar stories told to me.

Having just completed several long passages, you can imagine my horror as I needed to keep re-tightening nuts and screws on the rigging during a passage. Then the odd machine screw and bale rained down from different parts of the rigging mid ocean. Yes I would say it was lube crated failure.

There are a lot of places on a boat where you need a galvanic barrier. At the same time, there are applications where you want that electrically isolating barrier and absolutely need fasteners to stay put until you put a spanner, screwdriver or hex key on them. Other times you will need an electrically isolating barrier and want the fasteners usually stainless to not gall or seize when hardware must be dissembled.

Duralac is a chromate containing jointing compound designed to inhibit electrolytic decomposition between dissimilar metals. Duralac is a free flowing paste based on a synthetic elastic resin and barium chromate. This elastic resin when set acts as a thread locker and at the same time keeps electrolytes from entering the interface of the metallic surfaces. The thread locking properties is not listed in the product description but as we have found out is very effective.

The function of Tef-Gel in eliminating dissimilar metal corrosion is the elimination of electrolytes from entering the interface of the metallic surfaces. The product information states Torque requirements may have to be altered according to application of thread lubricants e.g. tef-gel.
Alter the torque settings on screws going into aluminium they say. Well I am a fairly big bloke and am not afraid to crank the spanner that last little bit. But I won’t go to the next step and put on a helper bar over the spanner.  If I need to apply that much torque then it must be coming close to stripping the thread in the hole or shearing off the bolts and or screws.

If you are not worried about the part turning or want it to turn (think turnbuckle) then Tef-gel is great. If it is a fastener you want to stay put but still be able to remove down the road then Duralac is great for things like machine screws in the furler, boom fittings, spinnaker bails, screws holding on spreader lights and pin keeper screws up a rig.

I use both, each has its benefits but they are not interchangeable.

Yes Duralac jointing compound is a hazardous product, just like a lot of products we use for vessel maintenance. But don’t let this stop you from using this product.  Read the MSDS which is available on line.  Do a simple risk assessment and put in control measures.  Then there is minimal danger unless the simple safe working procedures are not followed. 

For those of you who are blindly following the flock and falsely believe Tef-gel is a totally safe product to use and no safety measures need to be put in place. Please read the product Safety Data Sheet or Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS or MSDS) again available on line. I know the control measures to work with either product are very similar.   

I have also heard the argument for using Tef-gel is due to its non polluting properties and Duralac will kill the environment. I am not sure who thought this one up. However if you think about it neither should be used in a manner that will cause pollution. Both are man made products, so clean up after use and dispose of the waste properly. If used correctly the risk of marine pollution from either product is almost zero. 

So back to our trip, once we were anchored and rested up we took stock of the situation and reassessed what needed to be cleaned up and have Duralac jointing compound applied. It did take a bit of doing cleaning up the threads and screws with solvents. However since doing this we have logged over 3000 nautical miles and nothing has come loose. 

As a side note, one of the bales I am talking about coming loose was our spinnaker halyard block bale at the mast head. It did had new nyloc nuts fitted because it was replaced prior to leaving Brisbane for our run up the coast.  So perhaps it's time to look at the use of nyloc nuts differently when using thread lubricants. 

Other items to keep in the tool kit are thread locker and the most recognised brand would be Loctite, but I do know most generic products work well. A simple example is Blue Loctite. Works great on threaded parts that you need to take apart later, but can't have coming loose. And you'll notice that Harken includes little tubes of it in with a lot of the furler hardware which they sell.

If you’re assembling the anchor swivel and don’t want that little machine screw falling out in the middle of the night then red Loctite is what I would use. However it is more than likely heat (blow torch) will need to be applied to aid disassembly later, however the good news is that if the instructions on the bottle were followed it’s highly unlikely it will ever come loose on its own. 

A post detailing a handy grease we use on board for a multitude of assembly and protection use is here .

Saturday 10 September 2016

Stop 11: Medana Bay, Lombok Island, September 10 2016

The trip to Medana Bay, Marina - Lombok Island took us 7.5 hours from Gili Lawang. We motored all the way. We anchored at 08 21.68S & 116 07.73E  in 20 meters of water using our Google maps overlaid on Open CPN.

You need the way points to enter this area safely as it has many reefs to navigate:

A 08 20.07S / 116 08.36E travelling 242 T to way-point B.
B 08 20.43S / 116 07.69E

Once inside you have 3 choices: anchor, pick up a mooring ball or pull into the 'marina'. The anchoring depths are deep as the moorings have taken up the shallower water, some boats did drag anchor. The moorings you pick up at your own risk. During our time here none of our boats had any issues with the moorings. However, the rally from Darwin who were here a few weeks earlier had a mooring break and a boat drifted into the berthed vessels. The marina is dodgy to say the least. Its very basic, you risk rats climbing aboard, theft (one of our rally boats had its outboard engine stolen here) and its a stern in - drop anchor out the front type berth. We preferred (as we always do) to drop our anchor.

This is the entire marina.

That said, the restaurant has cold Bintangs and great good at a good price. Its a good spot to stop for a while. We only stayed the night as we were running out of time to put in our application for our visa extension and did not want to incur a fine, which at the time was AU$25 a day per person.

Marina/hotel restaurant, with a few of the fleet enjoying a cold beer.

A few of us walked up and out of the marina/hotel grounds and walked through a local community out onto the street in search of data. We all got data and we all had issues once we left Medana. We learnt a lesson here, that is you need to be very exact about the questions you ask when buying data, we do not want local data (unless of course you are staying in the area for a while).

The data shop with some of the fleet buying data.

A caged pussy cat.

Servo - Bensin = unlead petrol.

Egg delivery.

A common form of transport.

A bunch of blokes making bricks - one at a time!

Quite a few of the fleet did some day trips and thoroughly loved it, loads to see here. Some also went over to the Gili's (Trawangan, Air and Meno) which are less than 1 hour away (you can see them) in their own boats and some just chilled and stocked up on supplies. Keep in mind that there is a very good supermarket in town with most things at very good price.

A common sight.

Friday 9 September 2016

Extra Stop: Gili Lawang, Lombok Island September 9, over night stop only

The trip from Kananga to Gili Lawang Island off Lombok via the Alas Strait - Selat Alas (Indonesian) took us 12 hours so quite a long trip and we motored most of the way. We anchored at 08 17.91S & 116 40.01E in 7 meters of water under yet another volcano - the massive Rinjani.

As a point of interest Rinjani exploded 20 days after we left the anchorage, a new reports can be read here.

Matilda entering the anchorage with Mt. Rinjani in the background.

Sun setting over Mt. Rinjani

Two rally boats sustained damage to their sails ripping the webbing off at the head of the sails as they transversed Selat Alas so take care here. The winds can catch you by surprise as they funnel through.

There is also a wonderful anchorage between the reefs on the western side of Gili Lawang and a few rally boats who got in early to see the reef loved the anchorage.

Fishing boats on Lombok Island side.
We anchored on Lombok side just up from the worlds largest oyster farm producing the worlds most sort after pearls. This farm is owned by the Japanese. At first we actually thought the oyster/pearl farm was a prison, as the security surrounding it is pretty full on.

Oyster farm. Pretty impressive security complete with guard houses and incredible amounts of wire fencing.

The fence surrounding the oyster/pearl farm.
A little rolly here but a good secure anchorage.

Sun setting over Lombok.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Extra Stop: Kananga, Sumbawa Island, September 8, over night stop only

Another long day to Kananga, Sumbawa Island, but pleasant. We took 8 hours to get there and enjoyed sailing along for 6 hours this day. We dropped anchor at 08 08.45S & 117 46.00E in 19 meters of water. Again we could of anchored in much closer but the depth here shows 200+ meters, 88 meters and then 8 meters very close to shore and we worried if we turned stern to we may hit the bottom being so close.

There was a note we found in someones blog that stated if we anchored out the front of the red roofed hut we would find 9 meters. Unfortunately for us we only read this after the fact and laughed as friends motored in a dropped anchor right in front of the red roofed hut in said 9 meters!

Local ferry, rather large and fully loaded with people all peering at us as we passed.

Sunset with a lone fisherman trying for his dinner.
The anchorage was a surprise as its basically an open road-stead with only Satonde island for any protection, but we had a very comfortable night and enjoyed sun-downers on Matilda with our friends.

Our friends boat as we left Kananga. To the left of the picture is Satonde Island and to the right is Sumbawa Island.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Extra Stop: Kilo, Sumbawa Island, September 7, over night stop only

The journey from Loh Serau - Flores to Kilo, Sumbawa Island was a long 13 hour trip. We anchored in 08 19.74S & 118 23.14E in 10 meters of water.

The current between Sangeang Api volcano on Sangeang Island and Sumbawa is extraordinary. This is why we took so long to to arrive at Kilo. Matilda was often forced down to 2.2 knots.

We entered in the dark at 1930 and the shallower water is found quite close to the shoreline here. We did drop anchor a bit further out than needed. Entering in the dark here, while not ideal was not too bad but we had several other rally boats in the anchorage talking to us on the VHF and they had reported seeing no FADs upon entering the anchorage.

Due to arriving in the dark and leaving at first light, I don't have any photos of the anchorage. But its a good size and can host lots of boats.

As we left the anchorage in the morning heading to Kananga, Sumbawa Island 4 other rally boats all reported seeing pilot whales swimming alongside them - what a treat.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Stop 10: Labuan Bajo, Flores Island, September 4 - 6 2016

We only spent 1 full day in Labuan Bajo but it felt like a week. We motored for 4 hours from Gili Bodo around the corner to Labuan Bajo, Flores and anchored at 08 30.42S & 119.52.43E in 15 meters of water. Most of the time stern to the beach, but very good holding, nice and flat.

As soon as we rounded the headland to Labuan Bajo I loved it. This place is a feast for your eyes. The landscape is a mix of lush and barren lands, its very interesting. It's also very busy as Labuan is a major port and tourist area. We were glad we could anchor out of the mayhem in calm water and well out of the way of all the boat traffic.

Arriving on the 4th at 10 am we all went to shore and had a good look around. Enjoyed lunch, a good stroll around and ended up staying there for dinner. We did some shopping and enjoyed being able to meander around soaking up the local area. Our dinner venue provided us with spectacular sunset views.

Our view from our dinner venue.

A view from our lunch venue.

Our lunch!

Pretty clever use of tree branches as art.

Our choice of lunch venue was pretty cool.

Guess what we had for dinner?

Another spectacular sunset.

We've both been enjoying loads of these.

On the 5th we spent the morning going to Rinca Island, Komodo National Park to see the Komodo Dragons. Our trip over in the long boat was very enjoyable, even when we lost steering. True to form of most Indonesian folk, our driver and assistant weren't not fazed by the least, they simply got in, fixed it and off we went again.

Me, practicing with a friends long lens (gee these are heavy),

Collected skeletal remains from the Komodo Dragons feasts. (not joking)

Great advertising and senses of humour here.
Entering the komodo area to see the dragons was very interesting and the anticipation level was high of what they were actually going to be like to see in real life. OMG they are huge animals. As we approached the rangers station we could see there they were: about 6 or 8 of them. They like it here as they get fed!

Everyone was duly reminded these are wild animals and on average kill one human being a year (good grief). We had 3 rangers with our group and as a group, we picked the middle of the range walking track, not to long and a mix of jungle with open spaces to enjoy.

Along the way we saw a few more dragons and some with their nests. Interesting but hot and to be frank we simply could have stood for much longer at the rangers station to watch these creatures.

Mummy guarding her nest and very well camouflaged.

She wasnt too happy about the onlookers so we didnt stay long.

Another mummy.

On leaving the Komodo Park area, these monkeys were not fazed at all by us walking past.
Along the way we saw a green viper snake. I have posted a friends photo and used it with her permission (cheers Pepe). It was surprising to see the viper was so small, but its deadly venomous and it was good spotting from our guide as it was snuggled up in a tree branch hollow.

On the way home we passed many different and interesting boats moving about the local waters.

Once back we all went ashore again. Found the markets, which was fantastic to buy fresh produce from and had dinner out at a Mediterranean place which produced interesting plates of food for us.

On the 6th we hauled anchor and went over to Makassar Reef to try and snorkel with the giant manta rays.

We have every intention of returning to Labuan Bajo and the Komodo area for more exploring!