Day 160, Year 4 The Unveiling of A New Windbird

Day 160, Year 4 The Unveiling of A New Windbird
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Weather: Sunny Day-Very Hot; Late Evening Deluge
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

The tent was removed from over Windbird totally revealing her new beauty to the world. She looks beautiful but without the tent overhead it is REALLY hot both on and inside the boat. At 4:30 this afternoon it was 100 degrees F inside the boat and the deck was so hot that you had to wear shoes to walk on it. I was the gopher today. I had to make four trips from the boat to East Marine Chandlery in the morning to find the right rivets for attaching cleats to the mast. I went the first time and brought back what Mark wanted, but immediately Luck saw what I had returned with and he came over to say that the size was too big for the cleats. He was right, so then I continued with my runs to find just the right size. I must have walked three miles back and forth, back and forth, but I finally found the right size. The rest of my day was spent the same way-running to and from the apartment and up to the inside of the boat and back down again getting the things Mark needed to get the rigging done. At the end of the day, he just about has the job done. It is a huge job to get done so quickly, but so far Mark is doing a great job along with the help from Oh’s crew. We are now set to get the rigging checked in the morning, the mast stepped in the afternoon, and the boat put in the water the next day. So our ambitious plan is still looking good. We will just have to see how things come along-one step at a time.

090331 Day 160 Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand–Tent Comes Down

Day 159, Year 4 Where is the . . .

Day 159, Year 4 Where is the . . .
Date: Monday, March 30, 2009
Weather: Sunny Day; Late Afternoon Deluge
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

We are now working furiously carrying things from the apartment to Windbird, carrying them up the ladder to the deck for safe storage, and then carrying the things we need immediately for installation on the mast back down the ladder. There are tools in the boat, in the cockpit, on the deck, and down below. There is a labeled ZipLoc bag with the bolts or screws for each piece to be installed, but once these little bags travel up and down the ladder, they somehow get temporarily ‘lost’-so we spent much of the day looking for the right bag for the job. But at the end of the day, we had made great progress. Mark worked by himself all day putting things on the mast while Oh’s crew primed and painted the bottom of the boat. I worked on the cabin top removing caulk from the ports that were installed yesterday, screwing down the Dorade boxes, straightening the inside of the boat to get ready to move back onboard, and walking, walking, walking. I walked about a mile down the highway to go to a local business that might be able to work on our air conditioning unit that is not working after four years of no use. I then walked back, crossed the highway, and went to the Post Office to mail a form to the IRS to ask for a delay in filing our taxes, walked back to Boat Lagoon to the store to buy water, beer, and coke, went to the hotel to extend our stay, and finally went to the Boat Lagoon Marina office to buy a new internet card and discuss our ‘real’ splash date. We are still booked for going in the water on Thursday, but I wanted to explore alternatives. We have to go in on Thursday or Friday afternoon, or wait until Tuesday morning. Saturday is totally booked, no one works on Sunday, and Monday is a public holiday. We stay tuned . . . by the end of the day tomorrow we should have a better idea of what is really possible. It is just so hard to make commitments without knowing just how long things are going to take.

We had the rigger, David Samuelson, come to Windbird today to take a quick look at where we are and to get his feedback on a few things. The tent over our boat will be removed tomorrow and we will then be REALLY hot, but this needs to happen so that the mast can be put back on deck on Wednesday or Thursday. The intricacies of planning are challenging-this must be done before that, and this must be done before that–but we are making progress. It is exciting to think that we might be back in the water in just a few days, so send us your most positive thoughts that this might really happen.

090330 Day 159 Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand–Painting the Bottom

Day 158, Year 4 Doing Everything Twice

Day 158, Year 4 Doing Everything Twice
Date: Sunday, March 29, 2009
Weather: Partly Sunny; Threatening Rain All Day
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

It was Sunday here and no one works but us yachties. We were working on our own today and things just didn’t go as planned. It seemed like everything we did had to be undone and done again. Mark thought the binnacle in the cockpit would be done first thing in the morning, but it was not even totally done at the end of the day. The binnacle is the column through which the wiring for the GPS, the cables for shifting gears, and the controls for the fuel throttle come from the engine room to the cockpit. The steering wheel and compass are also attached to the binnacle. So it is a very important piece and the installation is tricky. Mark has installed this more than once, but today we just had one problem after another that caused him to put the thing together and then have to take it apart and try again. The biggest problem was an accidental short in the wiring that caused overheating and actually melted the insulation cover of the wiring that we caught just in time to prevent a fire. Mark had sent me below to pull another wire from the cockpit to the engine room, and when I got there I could see smoke and then red hot wires. Thank goodness we caught that problem before it did more damage.

While all of this was happening, I was taping off and applying plastic to the walls and ceiling in the aft cabin and aft head to that I could spray the inside of our bronze ports with lacquer. After this was completed, I installed the port windows. But again, this job had to be done twice. My old directionality issue arose and had me installing port lights on the starboard side. Once I realized they really just didn’t fit, I had Mark come examine the situation. At first he was stumped but then he realized what I had done.

The end result is that we are not nearly as far along as we thought we would be by the end of today. So we will see how tomorrow goes and then re-assess our ambitious launch date.

On a totally different note, we talked to our grandson Sam on Skype this evening. After an hour’s video conversation, he finally said “whoosh, whoosh.” This is his sound for the movement of Windbird through the water, so I think he does actually make a connection between our video images and the grandparents who live on a sailboat. He is loving the coming of spring to Cape Cod and insists on his mom and dad stopping to smell the crocus blooms outside the front door. Even a two year-old knows that we need to take time to smell the roses.

090329 Day 158 Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand–Putting Windbird Back Together

Day 157, Year 4 Awesome Day of Progress

Day 157, Year 4 Awesome Day of Progress
Date: Saturday, March 28, 2009
Weather: Huge Storm During the Night; Beautiful Day
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

What an awesome day of progress we made today.
–the mainsail and storm trysail track were reinstalled on the mast
–one winch base and the gooseneck were attached
–all of the stainless outlets for lines that run through the mast were attached
–the binnacle was seated
–the mast step was installed
–a new VHF antenna wire was run though the mast
–the new stainless bow protector was installed
–the bronze ports were painted with AwlGrip Clear
–all ceiling panels were installed

Whew! There are probably more things that happened, but it was truly hard to keep up with the progress. The bottom line is that we got a lot accomplished today. Our Visa is up on April 3, so I went to the office to book a splash date. April 3 will not work for us according to the tide chart they gave me in the office, so I booked for this Thursday, April 2. We will get ‘picked up’ by the lift at 2pm and splash by 3 pm. This is VERY optimistic, but we do feel like things are coming together quickly. We have talked with David Samuelson, the rigger, about penciling us in this week, but he only laughed saying it was not possible. He doesn’t work on Saturday, so on Monday we will tell him it really might be possible and ask him to check the rigging on Tuesday and step the mast on Wednesday. I told the office that our splash date was very optimistic and they said to come back on Tuesday and let them know if we think everything is still on track. Not sure if we will leave on Thursday or hang out illegally until Tuesday, April 7, for the next favorable tide. So we will be working furiously tomorrow and Monday to get everything done.

Luck, the young man that heads our work crew, is absolutely fabulous. He works quickly but carefully, as do the other two young men who work under him, and they all do everything with even more care and efficiency than we can do. It is because of Luck and his direction of the crew that we really might get out of here by the end of this week. Unbelievable, but maybe possible.

We heard from Robyn and Eric of Scorpido today. They made it to the Chagos in the middle of the Indian Ocean and are finding the islands to be a true paradise. We heard form Idunne and Runae of Blue Marlin a couple of days ago and they are anchored in the middle of the Red Sea waiting out a 35 knot north wind. But while waiting, they had been snorkeling and said the clarity of the water the fish life were truly unbelievable. Every day we debate whether we will leave this part of the world and go around South Africa or go through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. At some point I’m sure something will tip the scale and help us make our decision, but for now, we still don’t have a direction. The only direction we have at this point is to just get Windbird ready to leave the Boat Lagoon, hopefully before the end of this week.

Day 156, Year 4 The Race is On

Day 156, Year 4 The Race is On
Date: Friday, March 27, 2009
Weather: Beautiful Day!
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

We are now finished painting except for the bottom and that can be done in the rain. But, of course, now that we are finished with the major painting, the weather is absolutely beautiful. The important thing is that the mast and boom look great, so as of noon tomorrow we can start the reassembly. Luck was able to come up with a way to remove the bolts that were too long and scratching our hatch cover, so that problem is fixed. The new dinghy motor lift was about an inch off, but Mark found ways to shorten things so that now works. I spent my day still working on the bronze ports and Mark readied the binnacle in the cockpit to be assembled tomorrow once the paint on the binnacle has had time to cure. Unfortunately, in the process of getting this ready, Mark put the first ugly scratch in the new paint-on the binnacle. I’m sure Luck will be able to rub this out, and we know there will be more scratches as we work to reassemble, but that first scratch is painful. Undisputedly, we are finally moving forward. A huge trawler was placed beside us today so I think someone is telling us it is time for us to go. So we will work as hard and fast as we can to make this happen.

We had dinner tonight with Dave and Di who just returned from Satun where they helped Linda of Mr Bean regroup her life after the murder of her husband. When they first arrived there, they were faced with dealing with Linda’s emotions, the officials trying to recreate the crime, and the media. The officials brought the young men onboard the boat for Linda to identify. It wasn’t hard as she had given them her husband’s t-shirts to wear. The perpetrators were aged fifteen to nineteen years old. Only the youngest had been kind to Linda and kept telling her ‘sorry’-his only English word. Linda’s four children from the UK were arriving and the most important thing for her was to get the blood cleaned out of the boat. Di said there was at least a half inch of blood on the floor that had to be cleaned out. And the young men had totally defaced the whole boat, scratching their initials in the teak, smashing mirrors, ripping apart anything and everything. So Dave and Di worked to clean things up the best they could before the children boarded. We all know that this kind of thing could happen anywhere in the world, on land or sea, but it is a very scary prospect. Evidently these young men were illegal immigrant from Burma working on a Thai fishing boat. They say they had been mistreated and they jumped ship and swam to an island. Unfortunately for them, that island in the Butang Group was not inhabited and they had no food. After two days there, they saw Mr Bean return to a mooring just off the shore and they planned their attack. So even though this is an isolated incident, I think we can all learn from this that it is safer to travel in numbers. When we leave here headed for Langkawi, we had hoped to make a few stops, but if we don’t have someone going in the same direction, we will just do an overnight to get there and take no chances.

Day 155, Year 4 We Won!

Day 155, Year 4 We Won!
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Weather: Threat of Rain All Day
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

The mast was painted for the second time today and even though there was early in the day thundering and the skies were threatening all day, it only sprinkled rain once at mid-day. So we are happy thinking we won the battle this day. Hurrah!

I think I was so distracted yesterday by the news of the murder of a fellow cruiser that I forgot to write in the log all of the things that happened on Windbird yesterday. We had four different crews working on the boat. Muzza was there to do the measurements for the bimini, Nop’s crew was there to raise the dinghy motor hoist, Mike’s crew from Pro Carpentering was there to figure out how to remake the dinghy motor mount to fit in its new position, and, of course, Oh’s crew was there sanding the mast and getting it ready to paint once again. So yesterday was a very productive day, even if most of the work was fixing things that should have been right the first time. But “right the first time” is in the perfect world in which we do not live.

Today was much calmer on Windbird than yesterday with its flurry of activity. I continued my work on the bronze ports and am starting to actually make some progress. I have used my little Dremel attachments very judiciously and I think I will be able to get all four ports, inside and out, ready to be lacquered tomorrow. Mark got the new wire line from the rudder to the keel attached which will help protect the prop from rogue logs and fishing traps. He installed a new platform in the engine room for our starting battery and did many other little odds and ends. Luck got the newly painted platform for our life raft installed on the cabin top, but very unfortunately after everything was installed we found that one of the bolts attaching the life raft frame to the platform is too long and scrapes on our companionway hatch. We will try to remove that bolt in the morning and see if that solves the problem. If not, the whole thing will have to be removed and then reinstalled. These are the problems of putting a boat back together.

If everything looks good in the morning, we will then be able to start the mast reassembly on Saturday afternoon. That is March 28. Our Visa runs out on April 3, so the race is on.

090326 Day 155 Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand–Mast Painting and Reassembly