Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Refit

recaulking the cockpit seats

Hard Stand Satun and the 6 week refit


I’m writing this sitting outside On’s Guest House and restaurant in downtown Satun. It’s Saturday the 13th of April and it’s water festival time in Thailand (Songkran). Ute loads of wet Thais pass by all armed with the weapons of water warfare. First you need a 44 for the ammo, an array of high power assault water pistols, ladles, buckets, basins and generally whatever you can get your hands on that is useful for collecting water and throwing it at anybody in the near vicinity. I rode around this morning on the bike and was completely drenched in no time. There is a unit camped just down the road and they have been at it since this morning. They are pretty wet. It’s all good fun and it’s great to see young and old alike scooting by on their scooters soaked to the skin with grins spread across their faces. It’s the only time I have seen cops on the road and it still doesn’t change the fact that traffic lights are optional here in Satun. Most people stop at a red, well cars do and they wait like everyone else does around the world but if that wait seems too long, well bugger it, just go through if it looks OK. I’m doing it now and it’s something I’ll have to work on when we are back in Perth. Anyway, it’s water festival day in Satun and everybody is wet and happy.
our carpenter Sark working in the V berth, note stripped head liner and watch out for the new one next blog

Now, let’s get back to boat repairs in Thailand and life on the hard stand at PSS Shipyard Satun. Having work done on your boat is never an easy thing. You need to have good tradies who communicate well and often, you need access to trades who are reliable, come when they say they will come, and don’t stuff up too often and you need it all done at bargain prices on time and on budget. Add to this the fact that the boat is sitting on its keel and access is via a ladder up to the swim platform, about 4m. The boat is a worksite and black feet marks cover the deck, sawdust and shaving litter the cabin sole, tools lay around everywhere, stuff is not where it normally is and your home is basically in a state of chaos. Imagine doing a renovation on your home and having to live right in the middle of it. Luckily we live in a rented house in the suburbs of Satun and have hired a car to go to and from the boatyard. House $65 a week car $70 a week. So it’s not as bad as it could be. There is one thing that adds to the stress and that’s no one speaks English. So describing complex welding jobs or woodwork tasks becomes a master class in acting. There are English speaking managers and they do a great job in translating but they are not always around when you need them.
painters using wet grinder on The Doc's topsides

We are just passed our 4th week of work and need to be back in the water around the 27th of April, about 12 days away. So far we have had the following work done:

·         Top sides filled faired and painted (no more unsightly raised planking on bow)

·         Dinghy likewise (thought that’d make you happy Ronny)

·         Old fabric headliner removed and solid white formica with teak trim installed

·         Aft window rot cut out and whole new section put in

·         Aft cabin teak panelling replaced where water damaged

·         New rails put on dodger to direct rain water away from cockpit

·         Cockpit seats routed for new black sikaflex caulking

·         Bow roller cheek plates raised 150 mm to stop anchor bouncing off and digging chunks out of bow (if this happens again on my new paint job expect to hear the howl in Perth)

·         Roller slot machined out to accommodate greater width of shank on delta anchor (probably the cause of anchor jumping off in the first place)

·         New stainless bracket (old one snapped in half and boom went through dodger window) built that holds solid boom vang to boom (a work of art)

·         New cupboards in aft and forward heads with sliding doors that actually work

·         Complete sand and revarnish from v berth through to galley ( and where needed in aft cabin)

·         Repair to hand rail on swim platform ( accidently bent when moving boat in charge)

·         Vberth lined with teak panelling (faultless wood work here)

·         Antifouling done prop bogged(again)

·         New stripes and name (dark grey this time and name on bow)

·         Gearbox partially removed (couldn’t budge it, maybe locktite used) put back and will consider at a later date, (leak has stopped anyway)


To Be done

·         Headliner to finish through to aft cabin

·         Similar cupboard to be built in forward head ( see comment on the aft head)

·         Stove surround to be fixed into a solid teak frame

·         Window on dodger replaced (smashed when aforementioned bracket on boom vang gave way)

  What we won’t get done but had thought we might

·         New upholstery and cushions (bloke never turned up and fabric choice limited to non- existent meant going to Langkawi.....all got too hard, a pity as it hurts to put shitty old stuff back into a new boat)

·         Cabin sole secured and dodgy hatches tidied up

·         Plate and pot rack in galley

·         Old water damaged veneer replaced in galley

·         And the list goes on and on and on....... maybe when we are back in Satun next year??????

Sorry about that, but it was worthwhile for my own sake. Jeez, we have done a lot in 4 weeks. Now I think about it, this is a pretty major refit we’ve got happening here.  12 days to go and we should have the last few items ticked off. Then she gets a wash, stainless polished rubbing strip likewise and we slide back down the rails and into the water. There is a Buddhist ceremony at the yard and that’s to light firecrackers off the bow as she slides into the water. It’s to scare off any negative thoughts and bring eternal good luck to all. It’s a real hoot, very loud and quite serious crackers.
those raised planks on the bow fading, fading,....... gone

The costs for all the above have yet to be announced.  We should come in well under 10000 AUS$ for a 6 week refit and when you reread the above list I think you’ll agree it’s a lot of stuff done for a very reasonable outlay.  It’s interesting to compare this refit to one done in back in Fremantle. Costs are about a third of what they are in Oz but everything takes longer up here. All teak has to be planed and shaped before it can be used, there’s no beading sitting on shelves at Bunnings. The boys work hard but they don’t exactly rush through the day.   WE have persevered with the team as is because they do beautiful work but it raises the question, is it any more economical to get work done here where it’s cheap but slow as compared to OZ where it’s expensive but fast. Umm, let’s go back to the above list one more time. Think Oz shipwright coming in at 120 bucks an hour doing the headliner from bow to stern on a 45 foot boat. There has to be at the very least 1 solid week of work there for a really skilled shipwright and that might be asking too much. 1 week at say 9 hours X 6 days= 54 hours X 120 = $6480. (not including materials which in Oz are outrageous) Hey, isn’t that what we have just paid out for most of the above the list?
antifouling is a dirty business..........

  Life on the hard develops its own social nuances with boats, families, couples coming and going and then there’s the interaction with the staff, the dog family and the new litter of kittens we have all been waiting on. You get to feel part of a family and it’s quite amazing. There’s not much we can do and whenever I pick up some sandpaper someone steps up to do it for you. Well, what can you do???  Ah well, back to that game of solitaire. Just let me know when you’re done. Cheers Rob
the varnishers working alongside Bouw, the other carpenter, who is fiting headliner

Update, 23rd of April: Well, we have 4 days to go before our Sunday slide back into the muddy waters of Satun river. Everything going pretty well. Stainless finished, painting finished apart from tidying up overspray, striping going on today, varnishing looking magnificent and headliner almost done. Waiting on more ply and formica and the plexiglass for dodger window yet to arrive. It will be down to the wire and some big days ahead of moving back on boat, cleaning, clearing out........note to self what are the 3 things you need to do when leaving a it. So, it’s all go and it’s all good here in Satun. Next blog will have finished photos and summary of these last few days. See you then if we are still in a reasonable mental state. Cheers Rob

you have to agree, the refit was a total success

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