Sunday, 18 January 2009

Refit Week 19 - Nothing Ever Goes To Plan

After a slow recovery from Dengue Fever we celebrated Christmas with cruising friends at Nai Harn Bay here in Phuket. Then our good friends Jon and Pam Choate brought SV Tweed onto the hardstand here at Boat Lagoon, and we had house guests. We all spent New Year's Eve aboard SV Taipan at Panwa Bali Bay, with Chris and David, plus Chris's parents Edna and Colin. It turns out that Chris's mother's maiden name was Langford, so she and I spent hours searching for family links. From that very calm anchorage the midnight fireworks and floating lanterns were brilliant.

Pro Yachting, our painting contractor, was closed for 10 days over the New Year break, so Ley and I caught up on painting projects inside the boat. Ley completed painting all the saloon lockers and lids, using 2 pack polyurethane inside and out, and they now look spectacular. Meanwhile I finished blasting and priming in the aft machinery space, where the heat from welding had blown the paint off the inside of the metal. Then I moved to the forward hold and chain locker, expecting to do some more touch up work.

Unfortunately I found some decent corrosion sites where salt water had come into the boat, before we fixed all the leaks during our last refit 8 years ago. I first cut out some small inspection panels in the lining of the hold, and then decided the strip out the entire thing. The carpenters from Pro Yachting ripped it out in 3 days, and then I spent a whole week angle grinding all the dirty bits and cleaning off as much paint as I could. This was VERY MESSY work, and I resorted to using our Powerdive hooka (an underwater breathing system) to supply breathing air. Try chewing on a diving regulator for 7 days straight - your gums and teeth get really sore.

Then, for the last 8 days, we've been sand blasting all the frames, stringers and adjacent hull areas, taking it back to that lovely dull grey colour before priming with 2 coats of Jotun Jotamastic 87. The team at Pro Yachting have been kind enough to provide all the compressed air we need, and they've obtained over 40 (!) bags of sand for us to throw at the steel. Each day the guys lift 5 fresh bags onto the deck and then shovel out the 5 bags of sand sitting in the bottom of the hold from the day before .... then I dispappear into the hold, which is now fitted with a mega extraction fan and disappear under full covers. With a small hand held fluoresscent light I can see what I'm doing, and so we start. Ley keeps the suction tube clear and sand feeding to the gun - she pulses the power to my light to communicate in primitive code. After 4 hours we stop, clean and vacuum the surfaces, then paint. Another 5 days will see us complete, then we'll spray a third coat overall and put the lining back in.

I had planned to be editing video for all of January, whilst the painting team finished the deck preparation. Of course that hasn't happened, and I now have a backlog of editing to get into as soon as we finish the priming. We're looking forward to some clean work for the next month or so, and the video will fit the bill perfectly.

Thanks to all the people who've emailed, called and even visited the yard to see how we are going. Between the Dengue Fever and the steelwork our web updates have had to take a back seat, and some folks were worried about us. We do appreciate your concern - fact is we are both fit and well, and several kilograms lighter.