25 january: fatigue starting slowly

It was to be expected. After almost 3 weeks on site, working all day long every day, the first signs of fatigue are appearing above surface… The heat is a major factor of course, the mornings might be workable, the afternoons are frankly said not doable for a white Caucasian from Western Europe like this dude!

And then there is the mental process. The brain can play trics on you. Just because he’s the brain you don’t even notice it :-). Unless you start thinking like a machine and not an emotional being! More and more do I get the feeling that the task ahead of me is higher than any mountain you can find in the Andes, Colorado or the Alps. It’s a feeling, nothing but a feeling, something the emotional part of the brain is processing without any hard evidence. Of course, I have no hard evidence demonstrating the contrary either, at this stage it is impossible for me to determine how long I will need to get things done properly.

Rationale dictates otherwise. If you can’t do it all, do the things that are important only, or find help to do some of the tasks you could have done by others. A simple trick I use is to label the tasks of the day and cross them over when they are done. The risk with this strategy is if you set the goals to high.. Then you collect even more frustration instead!

Well, this being said, let’s have a look at the latest developments here in Pangkor. Motivation and energy will get back to the normal cruising level, I’m sure about that. Last time I reported it was when the mast had been taken off the boat.

To be honest, I found the condition of the mast next to the boat a bit of a shame. They had left the boom on the port side of the deck, it was really annoying each time I had to pass alongside that part of the boat. So I did a bit of cleaning one of the evenings when the temperature had cooled down a little..

I also had to rework the shading arch a little. As a starter, I underestimated the effect of the heat on the PVC tubes making the structure: some parts were just collapsing and what started as a nice arc had soon become a M shaped type of horrible creature. This means I had to add up some vertical support elements in first priority.

Another thing I noticed one night when there was a bit of a storm. Rain of course but wind essentially. I was surprised at about 3 am by loud noises on the deck or the roof of the cabin, just like if a party of trolls were performing some sort of ritual danses with wooden shoes! I ran outside and noticed how the wind was actually exercising two distinct effects on the nets. First of all it would have them wave up and down through the overlaying surfaces between two adjacent nets, this led to some stress at the attachment points. Secondly, every high wind gust would simply pull the complete structure up and have it fall down again after that, there was the source of the troll’s noise! Deep in the night conclusion: have to do something about it sailorman! So, the day after I spent my time stitching all the nets together in the length and I attached the vertical holders to the deck anywhere I could so they could sustain a vertical effort in both directions!

Sad story for me, but good story for them, my neighbors left their emplacement on Thursday after a little 6 months on the hard for repair of their boat, back in the water now. They were so kind to leave a lot of items that could, I mean that will, be very useful to me.

Something else I did was to continue clearing the Stbd hull. This is necessary for several reasons. Most of the bulkheads have been attacked by moisture and have come lose from the hull on which they were laminated, so they need to be replaced anyhow. But essentially I intent to use the space available in a different way for my purposes in the boat, like re-creating a forward storage area to put the fenders and the sailbags in, exactly the one the previous owner had condemned.. From recent experience, I knew that working in there starting 11 am was becoming a difficult task because of the heat. So, last Friday I got up at 5 in the morning and started cutting and sanding with the angle grinder as from 6 am. Remember my neighbors are gone :-)!

The results were good, but the environmental difficulties sort of morphed from a heat issue to a … dust issue! I don’t have decent dust extraction tools yet (read a vacuum cleaner) so the dust settles rapidly in this closed space with insufficient natural airflow to evacuate all that cr…p outside. Difficulties to breathe and to see after a while. My protection glasses were covered with dust inside and outside, my respirator mask did his job but the smells of burned wood won’t be stopped by the fabrics of the filter on the mask. Another of those little discouraging phenomena where the emotional part of the brain says, “what the hell”…

That same afternoon, as it had become to hot to work on the surface, I dived underneath the boat to inaugurate the workbench I got so generously from my neighbors. Taking away bulkheads is one thing, but how are you going to design the new ones? For that you need some special tool that can help you create a template of the contours of the hull. This template can later on be used to bring the measurements back on the material you want to use for the new bulkhead, being plywood, foam, honeycomb structure or any variant. Time for me to create such a tool using some of the scrap lumber I got out of the boat.

As I was doing this I suddenly heard a bang behind me. Turned around and saw my water hose climb in the air and start some cobra snake dance! Obviously that thing had exploded under the stress of the heat and water was spraying out at high pressure lifting the complete thing in the air. Imagine this had happen when I was gone? A serious water bill to pay I’m afraid 😦

Last thing to report of this morning is a little adaptation to the air conditionner. Again you might think? Well you are totally right! But there is a rationale behind it, understand my point of view please. The unit was placed on a plastic foldable basket as a temporary solution. Now I need this basket to collect all the rigging elements of the boat in preparation of the surface recondition works that are bound to occur. So I created a little Ad Hoc support structure using, again, the scrap lumber I keep under the boat.

I want to end this post with a riddle. On Friday evening I had dinner at one of the snacks in the marina. Two sailors doing about the same thing as me (work on their boat) joined me and we had dinner together. They have already travelled all the way from Europe to here over several years time. Guess what country they are from?

Notice they used fork and knife to eat? There is a cigarette pack on the table as well, cigarette before and after the food. Conclusion: they are French! Or should I say ‘zey haaaare fffrenche’?

Told you fatigue is hitting me very hard, promise I won’t do this again…