14 february 2020: no valentine today…

It’s been a while since I posted something on the blog, that is true. A single explanation, writing and editing on this blog take a h..l of a long time, time I’d rather spend on doing practical works. But he, keeping track of history is important as well. Recap of the most recent events.

Have no fear, Jiri is here! Who is Jiri you might think? Well, a year ago I didn’t even know him. It’s by coincidence that I got a mail from him in relation to the insurance of the boat he was keeping up for the previous owner that needed extension. This is how I learn Jiri was a good friend of the original owner of Saliara (Erwin) and that he has been taking care of her the last 5 years at least when Erwin was back in his country. Jiri lives already quite some years in Bali Indonesia, actually he sailed the boat to Langkawi in 2018 when it was set for sale. So we communicate a little together and I realize there is no one on the planet that knows the boat better than he does. We met for the first time last year (2019) in August when he agreed to help me valuate Saliara and have her prepared for haul out in this yard. Knowing I am now in Pangkor, he opted to come by for a few days, and help me with some works! Always welcome Jiri!

The story of the rudders. In the last reports I have been able to get all the way to disconnecting the rudder stock from the steering system and the quadrant, remember? Unfortunately I never manager to get them out of the cylinder they are inserted in… Stuck like they were glued in there. This is where Jiri helped me, amongst others by convincing me to use more brutal force. Again 🙂

Together we got the rudders out using a series of levers so we could increase the force applied side and downwards.

Autopsy of the starboard rudder. Now it is time to determine how far this rudder is still fit for the job, knowing there are two major elements that degrade almost all rudders on sailboats: corrosion of the metal parts and water intrusion in the core. We got the port rudder out the same way after having been through almost all the same issues when attempting to remove the quadrant and the clam, at least Jiri had since he did all the work while I was taking out the second saildrive!

So, how about the port rudder?

So, what could be the conclusion of all this? Obviously everyone would agree it is better to go for a set of new rudders. I’m not afraid to spend time on restoring the foam core of the rudders and re-laminate the surface, my biggest concern is the fragility of the upper part of the stock. Knowing that the new steering system will be hydraulically actuated, the risk is to high to keep using this equipment. The worst thing that can happen is a stock break due to torsion at the weakest spot of the aluminium bar, you can’t fixed that in the middle of the ocean. FYI, a hydraulic steering system does not provide feedback on the force experienced by the rudder, neither in force applied by the helm, neither the force applied by the seawater due to the speed of the boat. My plan is to reinforce that portion of the rudder stocks with 50 mm diameter instead of the actual 30 mm where the tiller arm is connected. I’ve already prepared a sketch for the local metal craftsman that will prepare these new babies for me. As for the rest of the rudder buildup, that will be for another episode in the future.

Last element about the steering system is the repair of the rudder cylinder mount. This piece of equipment is situated in the scoop, right underneath an access hatch that … has been leaking for ages! Combine humidity and unprotected plywood, you get a typical case of delamination once again! High time to perform some repair. Also the opportunity to add a board that will serve for attachment of the Capilano RAM’s, part of the hydraulic steering system.

As for the support plate for the Capilano RAM, also custom made. Including the fitting template.

Another theme in the repair is the fuel/diesel storage and supply. The boat is equipped with two diesel tanks that are mounted in the transom volume. What that means is simple: you can’t access these tanks unless the boat is in an advanced state of decomposition as now! I know that the tanks are really dirty on the inside, they need cleaning. In addition, I’d like to replace all the access tubes and vents, also add sensors for the fuel quantity available.

Mister Sandman is back! Back to the repair of the hulls, more precisely on the delamination of the deck-hull junction. Remember, this part used to be hidden by a horrible wooden rubrail that I took away. During the years a lot of moisture has accumulated between that rubrail and the fiberglass of the hull, i.e. another source of delamination…

An unexpected surprise! To be clear, a not so good surprise here, rather a very bad one I should say. The chainplate of the starboard hull was removed a while ago. I noticed some delamination on top of that area where the hull-deck junction is. Well, you mentioned that already I can hear you say? Yes but… Look at this!

To end up with, the narrative on a very pleasant surprise. Back home when I was preparing this trip to Asia, I did a lot of thinking on what the best source of supply would be for all the hardware I need to repair the boat. Most of specialized items are not always available in Malaysia unless you order them from other sources, i.e. countries. The conclusion was simple, Australia would be my best bet, certainly knowing that country has a long history of marine expertise and it is the closest from Asia.

Through the internet I finally came in contact with a marine store out of Melbourne. The contact with the salesman was right away very pleasant, but more interesting for me, he was of very good advice as for the best choice of hardware. This is how I met Mr Rod Smith, CEO from that marine store I may not write the name of if I don’t want to get in any commercial trouble :-). In a previous post, I extensively elaborated on that first delivery of goods here in Lumut, remember?

One day I got a mail from Rod saying the following: “I’ll be in Singapore in a few days, will you be around so I can pay you a visit? Always nice to put a face on a customer”. I thought this mail was not really meant for me but it turned out it was! The evening of 11 Feb I got to meet Rod and his wife, we had a long discussion on a lot of things, not just boating and we went out for dinner in a restaurant in Lumut. OK, I agree, I have been a good customer but clearly Rod did not do that out of commercial interest, he did it because that is simply his human nature! Thank you Rod for this pleasant visit, I really enjoyed our time together. As for me, this is yet another fantastic human experience in relation to the purchase of Saliara!

Last but not least: no Valentine’s for me indeed. But next week, my girlfriend AC is coming over, we will spend a few days in Bali. Really looking forward to see you back AC, I’ve missed you so much!