We arrived back at the Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket on the 15th October 2012 with just a 30 day visa to get Moonfleet seaworthy and fit to re-launch. We knew the pressure was on with so much work still to be finished but I don’t think we expected to be so exhausted by it all. Of course working in the heat and humidity also takes it toll but at least we had an air-conditioned room to go back to at night, although towards the end, I think because I was so stressed and overtired, I didn’t sleep well.
|Black grime from polluted rain|
It was a great disappointed to find the decks of Moonfleet so dirty when we got back. The framed tent that we had left over Moonfleet whilst we returned to UK had ripped and blown away in a storm so she was exposed to the weather. The rain in SE Asia is very polluted and leaves a black residue over everything and it is very difficult to remove especially if it been left a while. It took me many days of hard scrubbing to remove most of the black marks.
|Before and after scrubbing the decks|
Removing the tent framework
As the framework for the tent was now of no use to us we instructed Mr Oh to have it removed. The young Thai guys, with no respect for ‘health and safety’, clamoured over the scaffolding like monkeys, but it wasn’t long before one of them, high on the apex fell when it separated from the side. Amazingly he caught hold of a guy rope as he went down and saved himself much to the amusement of the other guys! However it didn’t take long before he was up to the top working again.
|Thai workers hanging on like monkeys as they dismantle the scaffolding|
Mast and Rigging
One of the many jobs to be done was inspection and repairs to the mast and rigging. To our horror when we removed the tarpaulin covering our mast we discovered that rat had chewed through our main halyard, topping lift and the staysail halyard at the top of the mast. So yet more expense and time replacing them.
The staysail and foresail furling gear had also seized up and needed new parts. We employed Jose, a Portuguese yachtie, who with his wife Ana had sailed into Phuket several years ago and decided to stay and work here as a rigger. We were introduced to Jose and Ana by other cruising friends when we first arrived in Phuket and have become very good friends. Jose took the furling gear off to have it repaired.
We also wanted to replace a number of cables in the mast which is never an easy job. It was a searing hot day that Jose and Ana came to work and by the end of the day Alan and I were feeling the effects of mild sunstroke.
|Umbrella to keep of sun whilst working on the mast|
|The mast goes up|
The mast goes in
On the 29th October we arranged for the crane to come to lift Moonfleet’s mast back in place. Moonfleet’s mast is over 24mt long so no easy task and the crane was not a tall as we would have liked, consequently the new VHF ariel and tricolour light on the top of the mast got damaged. We were not happy about this but there was likelihood of compensation so we just had to accept it.
Old Genset out – New one in
Whilst we had the crane on site to replace the mast we had our old genset lifted out and the new one put onboard. We deliberated for a long time about replacing our genset. It had been working OK but we couldn’t get it to charge the batteries via our Victron Energy battery charger although we had no trouble when using shore power. We had taken a lot of advice about this but hadn’t resolved the situation. The decision to replace it finally came when we had it returned after a requested full service and refurbishment by a local Thai guy who had also painted it. The state of the paintwork – he’d sprayed around the strops and over apertures, which left us with no confidence as to what he had done to the inside!
Having very long passages to sail to South Africa we decided it was very important to have a reliable genset so we purchased a Northern Lights one which we were assured would fit the existing space we had for it. Getting into place was a work of ingenuity. Graeme an Aussie mechanic organised a framework and pulley system to move it from the cockpit and into the engine room.
However nothing goes to plan and it takes several more days and expense having a substantial aluminium frame made to fit the Genset further back, otherwise we didn’t have room for it to be installed.
|Framework to manoeuvre the new genset into lower cockpit|
|Genset now in galley area|
|Tight squeeze into the aft cabin and into the engine room|
Lunch at Mama’s
A regular meeting place for all the yachties working on their boats at the Boat Lagoon in the ‘Food Hall’ where three different operators prepare Thai meals. Our favourite was Mama’s – the food was freshly cooked to order, tasty and cheap. We went here everyday, not only to eat, but also to socialise and commiserate with other people who were also struggling to fix their boats.
Today the 8th November with just 4 days to go before we have to clear out of Thailand, Moonfleet is finally ‘splashed’ She has been on the hardstand since the end of January. Never did we expect the refit to take so long and the work onboard is still far from finished, that will have to be done when we get back to Langkawi.
Moonfleet is lifted into the water only to find that our engine will not start! Eventually we are towed into our berth by the marina staff, feeling somewhat embarrassed by the situation. We discover that the engine battery has come to the end of its useful life so a new one has to be purchased.
Over the next couple of days we continue work like slaves to re-connect some of the electronics and essential equipment to enable us to sail down to Langkawi eg putting the main sail, genoa and staysail onto their furlers.
|Up in the slings|
Last minute anti-fouling and final coat of Prop Speed on the propellor
Escape from the Boat Lagoon
On the 13th November at 10am, having checked out of Thailand the day, before we motor, with the assistance of a marina pilot, down the long shallow channel out of the marina. We cannot say we are ready to leave but we have no choice because of visas expiring and catching the High Water Springs to get out. Thank goodness we have a pilot because we find that neither of our depth sounders are working as we go down the channel! However it’s a great relief to be out on the open water again
Once out the pilot is picked up by a rib and we just keep going! Not wanting to go to Phi Phi Don to anchor, we eventually reach the southern anchorage on Koh Lanta. It’s after 7pm and we drop the anchor in the dark.