Mainsail; some small projects; route planning

The clock is ticking and in just a couple weeks I’ll be heading up to Langkawi to haul out and start major refit work.  In the meantime I’m still working on a bunch of little tasks.

Over the weekend I unfurled the decrepit old mainsail to try and get it hauled up as well as possible — it started sagging last year in Tioman and I hadn’t gotten around to dealing with it since.  The real problem is the tiny little halyard that is supposed to hold the whole thing up: it has to be small since the sail furls around it.  It tends to sag a little and the sail slips down 6″ or so, which causes furling problems.

I found that cleaning and lubricating the track on the boom made a big difference in the ease of unfurling the sail; a little less so with refurling.  The sail is a mess:

The obvious ugliness is the missing sunbrella that we had to cut off in Tioman.  There’s also some yucky green stuff that’s built up where water infiltrates the sail during rainstorms, since the furling hasn’t been very snug.  I didn’t get around to it last week but I should be able to just scrub that away with some soap and water.  It’s not worth doing any real repairs to the sail, since I’ll be getting a new one (and eliminating the furling system) in a couple months.

Anyway, a couple trips up and down the mast to attach and remove a real halyard, plus some cranking, got the sail where it needed to be and now it’s snugly furled.

I spent a bit too long cutting, filing, and sanding some teak standoffs for the electrical panel; the standoffs will go on either side of the panel, with hinges on one side and a latch on the other, for a simple acrylic cover to protect the panel switches.  It has been a bit too common of an occurrence for us to lean over to reach into the fridge and accidentally flip a switch on the panel — including the autopilot on a couple occasions.  This will prevent that from happening.  Anyway, here are the standoffs — I only need three but I made a fourth smaller one to try it out:

I also bought all the hardware for that project; just need to get an acrylic panel cut and then I can work on mounting it all.

I’ve been working on some stuff for installing lee cloths (sea bunks, basically) in the salon.  I’m adding a tight PVC-coated lifeline between the two main bulkheads above each settee; that will provide the upper support for the lee cloths.  I picked up the lifeline with some snap shackles spliced on last week, and bought some hardware for bulkhead mounting, and installed all that last night.  Here’s the wire over the starboard settee:

It fits almost perfectly: I need to go pick up a couple extra oversize washers to add as spacers.  The snap shackles are just clipping to an eye-bolt through the bulkheads:

I like the whole arrangement even without lee cloths attached since it provides a nice pseudo-handrail and/or clothesline.

Last night I installed a new shower head — actually, a bidet spray head which minimizes wasted water.  The old one had sprung a leak.

I’ve been taking more showers in the boat lately, I guess because I’m always in a rush and the trip up to the marina facilities and back — while not exactly a “trek” — still gobbles up a lot of time.  I tried the new shower head this morning and it was decent enough.

A couple other recent acquisitions: 7m of 8mm galvanized proof coil chain for use with the secondary anchor rode (still need to figure out a good way to store it, maybe just a bucket); and a nice Racor RFF8C filtering funnel, which I used last night to filter ~110L of diesel I had in jerry cans.  It worked like a charm and kept quite a bit of particulate crap (and a little bit of water) out of my main fuel tanks.

Earlier this week I put together a basic route for the trip up to Langkawi.  I’ve been playing with the NGA charts that were recently released and have been set upon by the open source community for validation and georeferencing.  They’re really good, particularly as a supplement to electronic charts.  Anyway, here’s a screen capture from my planning:

The trip from Singapore to Langkawi is really very straightforward on a map: you’re just following the coast NW for 450 nm or so.  There’s only so much route planning to be done.  What’s actually complex about it are the dynamic obstacles enroute, since the Malacca Strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and also happens to be scattered with zillions of fishing nets laid everywhere but the main shipping lanes.  This time around, since I’m expecting to be mostly under sail, I’ve also been doing some tidal analysis in hopes of navigating the tidal currents for maximum benefit (by being closer to shore during ebb tide, when tidal current is to the NW) and minimum detriment (by being farther from shore during flood tide, when tidal current is to the SE).  Time will tell if we actually feel like bothering with that, or if we’ll be too busy avoiding submerged nets and supertankers.

1 Comment

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One Response to Mainsail; some small projects; route planning

  1. Leila Connolly

    Hi Kris,

    It looks as if your plans are coming together and all your hard work is going to be worth it. It seems you are a like minded person to ourselves, your blog feels like it was sent to us as guidance to what we had verbally planned out between my husband and I.

    My husband and I are due to move to Singapore in January 2012. We are on a serious hunt for a live aboard mooring. We have emailed all the marinas we can, phoned RSYC, just awaiting responses from them.

    I am starting work as an outdoor instructor at the United World College, Dover Rd and my husband has just completed a two year boatbuilding course and has been working fixing up boats and we aim to have a bit of a project like you have for two years before having a sailing trip for ourselves.

    We are in a lucky position, we have saved plenty enough to afford a reasonable yacht, which we have seen plenty of in Langkawi. I will be working away 20 weeks of the years all over SE Asia and that leaves Jonny to get on with setting the boat up and hopping to Indo for occasional surf!

    So what I am about to inquire about may come across as extremely cheeky, but if you don’t ask you don’t get…..I really am trying to get a live aboard mooring….or else Jonny doesn’t feel that Singapore can be an option for him. We are not really city people and therefore I can’t take this job if he won’t move with me, it is my dream job; leading school trip adventures all over SE Asia and getting paid pretty decently for the pleasure.

    So I am sorry if I come across as ‘desperate’, I am not quite that, I am definitely eager! But I am wondering if you are planning on leaving your mooring for good, is there any way that we may apply for your live aboard mooring?

    I would be happy to call you at any convenient time to discuss it, or email you any further information. I would really appreciate any help, top tips (which thanks to your blog we have an abundance of now!) and inside marina contacts that you may be able to put us in touch with.

    Again I apologise for the full on message, but the clock is ticking and I need to get the ball rolling. We only live once! Will buy you a bottle of fine rum if I manage to pull this off!

    Many thanks

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