I haven’t been focusing on any one big task lately since my todo list before shipping up to Langkawi next month is just full of a zillion little things. My plan now is to head up to Langkawi to begin the repower and a bunch of other refitting around Oct 20 with Wayne (and anyone else who has the time and inclination) as crew. I’ll fly back to Singapore in November sometime to return to work, but the boat will stay in Langkawi until mid-December; then Charlene and I will fly back and sail her up to Phuket, and we’ll leave her there and fly back to Singapore until mid January. And then, finally, it’ll be time for us to head back up to Phuket, finish a last bit of refitting, and start cruising! The boat will probably be back in Singapore for a few days in late February or early March before we head East. In the meantime: thank goodness for budget airlines.
Did a few tests of the good old Westerbeke recently and it’s still running fine aside from the transmission leak. Need to stock up on ATF to keep it lubricated on the trip to Langkawi. Last night I broke out some wrenches and tightened up the engine mounts as best I could — they were pretty loose, which was causing vibration, which was probably the cause of the whole transmission leak in the first place. The engine alignment is probably a little out of whack but it should be fine for light use over a few days. All in all it’s still a fine engine and could probably last another 50 years — with a level of care I’m unable to provide, unfortunately.
Supposedly the new engine should arrive in Malaysia today, and in Langkawi not too long after. We’ll see.
Last week I picked up a Lifesling — or rather, a European equivalent, which is what was available in Singapore:
Here’s a fun little video from a decade or two ago explaining the concept. I don’t have an accompanying lifting block and tackle but I think between the sling itself, my boarding ladder (soon to be replaced with one with more rungs) and all the various halyards and sheets lying around, getting aboard isn’t as big a concern as getting back to the boat in a MoB situation.
I’ve also been planning the installation of some lee-cloths for the settees in the main cabin. The particulars of Oia‘s layout have me planning an approach similar to this guy’s (scroll halfway down the page): running some PVC-coated lifeline between big eye bolts through the bulkheads fore and aft of the settees, and tying off the lee-cloth to that. (The other secure option is bolts through the deck, which I don’t want.) There are added pseudo-handrail and pseudo-clothesline benefits to the lifeline idea. I may put the eye bolts and lifelines in place before leaving Singapore, but I probably won’t get the lee-cloths themselves made here.
Over the weekend, Charlene was in an organizing mood and she ripped through the boat like a little tornado shifting things around, demanding explanations for mysterious items (many of which I had no good explanations for and ended up in the trash, including about five bottles of mysterious Thai household cleaners), measuring cabinet and cubbyhole capacities, and so on. She’s also started shifting some stuff from her house over to the boat, so a little more of Oia‘s vast storage capacity is finally being put to use.
I’ve been having a tough time edge gluing teak boards into bigger planks, which I want to use to make an enclosure for the chartplotter. I’ve been using a simple PVA glue so far, with the process going something like:
- Sand the joint faces with 80G
- Rub some acetone into the joint faces to clean them and repel the oil in the wood, which would inhibit adhesion
- Slather a bunch of PVA on one of the joint faces, line it up with the other face, press together, and slide back and forth to spread the glue
- Clamp using spacers and a couple bar clamps
- Clean off the excess PVA with a damp cloth
- Wait patiently.
One thing I’ve learned is you really have to wait patiently and also be gentle when cleaning off the excess glue. Last night I laid up the same pair of boards four times because I’d clean off the excess glue on the top of the lay-up; wait a little while; flip it over to clean the excess from the bottom; and make the whole thing fall apart. And, a few hours has proven not enough time to wait before removing the clamps; pretty much I need to leave them in place overnight. I think the humidity here is a factor, and I’ve ended up with a couple of planks where the glue line is visibly porous after drying despite lots of excess when first laying up. Anyway, I think I’m going to switch to epoxy for the rest of the lay-ups.
Yesterday I finally soldered and crimped together a huge N-connector on the lead for my omnidirectional wifi antenna I built a while back. I also picked up an N-to-SMA connector so I can hook the antenna up to most USB wifi adapters (including the one I have), struggled with Linux kernels for a few minutes, and then tested the antenna out. Looks like I get a pretty consistent 5-6 dB gain over the smaller antenna that ships with the wifi adapter — decent, and about what I was expecting. I think I may epoxy coat the antenna (to protect against corrosion), enclose it in some small-diameter PVC pipe, and mount it over the stern pushpit near the solar panels.