Good and bad news; boatyard progress; etc

First things first.  The bad news: our cruising plans, which had been set to begin right around now, have been indefinitely postponed.  The good news: they were postponed because I accepted an offer to continue at Voxel in New York, which in a twist of fate was bought by Internap a month ago and now needs someone to take charge of integrating the two companies’ technology.  Probably I should have known better than to think I could sail away easily.  Plus, even if the Voxel offer hadn’t appeared, I also had another amazing offer-you-cannot-refuse pop up in San Fransisco around the same time, so the cards, as it turned out, were pretty well stacked against us going sailing.

The plan for now is to leave the boat in the yard in Langkawi.  Everything takes longer than expected, so there is still plenty of work to be done; and I’ve given them some more jobs to do with the extra time.  Beyond that, a lot of options are on the table.  I’ve had some initial conversations with a couple of delivery captains, and I’m seeking quotes from shipping companies too.  It may in the end prove that the rational decision is to sell the boat here, or at least nearer by, and buy a new one in the US; but then, not much about boats is rational, so we’ll see.  What I do want to avoid is letting the boat languish unused in Malaysia indefinitely.

We’re flying to NYC tonight.  I spent most of last week in Langkawi getting the boat tidied up for an extended absence and going over what’s been done and what’s left to do with Barry, the owner of the yard.

It had been a while since I was last there, but most of that time was taken up with painting the deck — a huge job thanks to all the sanding and masking around tons and tons of hardware.  It turned out wonderfully:

The new paint is spotless and shiny.  I’m really happy with it.  I ended up asking them to paint everything white, including the nonskid areas.  The nonskid was done by sprinkling on fine-grained filtered sand and then overcoating, and it’s perfect: much less slick than the old nonskid but not so coarse as to be uncomfortable.  Here’s a closeup, though it’s still hard to see the nonskid in a photo:

They also painted some peripheral hardware like the steering pedestal and the anchor windlass housing:

With all the nice new paint I’ve asked the yard to throw a few tarps over the deck to minimize the UV damage while the boat is laid up.

The dodger modifications were also mostly finished.  There’s now a roof covering about 1/4 to 1/3 of the cockpit, and it’s much better engineered than the last one — curved to keep water from pooling and add strength, and with a nice lip to hang on to and direct water runoff.  The little “tank windows” are now gone and replaced with some nice big openings that offer a great field of view without craning my neck:

The glass isn’t installed yet as the paint needs to cure for a week or so before any sealant is applied.  The glass is cut though, from some polycarbonate I had left after making the other dodger windows.  Here’s a view of the cockpit from aft:

The yard also nicely faired the cockpit coaming where the old roof supports were:

The carpenter used my teak to build a nice, finger jointed box that mounts around the pedestal guard.  I traced a cutout on the box for flush mounting the chartplotter.  Once that’s cut, and the edges are rounded and some varnish is applied, this longstanding job will finally be done.

Here’s a random photo of the new solar panels Charlene asked me to take.  They’re doing their job well so far.

I met with Barry and Wendy and Rob, canvas makers, to discuss the bimini.  There had been some confusion about how to engineer a frame so that a bimini top with side and aft flaps could be mounted.  We ended up deciding to add a removable crossbar on the solar panel frame, and some tensioned cables between the solar panel frame and the new dodger roof.  The bimini top will mount to the cables on each side, to the dodger roof in front, and to the crossbar behind; and that layout matches the cockpit coaming pretty closely so flaps can be deployed as necessary.

Wendy and Rob also brought by some nice new Sunbrella covers they’d made for my outboard and my LPG tanks; I left the old ones on in the meantime though.

Down below, the only real job that got finished was installing tank gauge senders in the stainless water tanks:

I haven’t gotten around to wiring up and calibrating the water and fuel tank senders yet but it should be an easy job.

Barry also fabricated a new SS boarding ladder for me, using a CAD drawing I gave him.  The current ladder is telescoping and only has three rungs — it’s really, really hard to get out of the water.  The new ladder is folding but will use the same mounting brackets as the old ladder, and it has seven rungs — luxurious!  They are going to try to use some more of my teak to add steps, since climbing up metal pipes is not very comfortable.  Here’s the ladder folded:

And here it is opened up:

Most of what I spent my time on while I was there was just getting everything organized and clean — after all the jobs done in the last few months, particularly those in the cabin, everything was a real mess.  I spent two days scrubbing and dusting in the cabin.  Of course I also had to pack some stuff to bring back to NYC:

Luckily the scale at the airport check-in counter was broken.

I stayed on the boat in the yard instead of getting a hotel.  It’s a lot easier to live on the boat now that most of the in-cabin work is all done.  My favorite thing about staying in the yard, though, is this awesome shower they have:

It may look ugly, but there is nothing as refreshing after a long hot day as taking a cool rain shower, with great water pressure, under the stars and the moon.  Usually you’re also accompanied by a few frogs who like to hang out around the shower, which I think is great.

I happened to get a quick ride one day from Barry’s son Ryan and found out what happened to the SS chain they used to lift my new engine:

He welded it together.  Pretty unique idea!

I also managed to squeeze in just a little bit of relaxing.  A nice dinner and drink on the beach in Cenang:

And one last evening watching the sun set and relaxing in the shiny new cockpit:

Just behind Oia is a salty old dude on a beast of a boat, called Mara, from Juneau, Alaska.  Thought I’d take a photo of the boat because it’s just so awesome, in a cluttered, beat up, but totally functional kind of way:

But the best boat in the yard, of course, is Oia!  Here she is looking grand:

Now it’s off to the airport to fly to Manhattan.  I’m sure there will be plenty more boat updates here, but in the meantime maybe we’ll have some slightly more urban adventures to write about as well.


Filed under deck, electrical, general, maintenance, photos, planning

4 Responses to Good and bad news; boatyard progress; etc

  1. Dios

    Nice article, just wondering is Mara up for sales??

  2. KOO


    Which boatyard in Langkawi would you recommend I go to get my boat refitted? I have an old yacht and looking to renew the interiors, and perhaps redo the electrical


    • Hi Koo: I am very happy with B&V Marine — They are a small yard and maybe a little less organized than some of the bigger and fancier ones, but they will take good care of your boat and are very friendly and experienced.

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