And then sometimes you need a little help

My last post addressed the need to be resourceful and independent when it comes to keeping ye ol gal going. i am been amazed at what i really can do if no other help is around. Cruising in Indonesia is fantastic, and one of the reasons it is so is the remoteness of it all. No marinas, no fuel docks, no one who knows anything about a yacht. So about six months of wilderness is about all Furthur and I can take, then we need some pampering. Kota Kinabalu provides some options, northern Malaysia some more and Phuket has just about anything you need.

Most of the time i can fix or Band-Aid a repair, amazing how much but sometime you really need an expert with experience. The trick is knowing to give up and call the cavalry. If you panic too early your budget will suffer, i once paid a technician $150 to change a fuse, dummy move. i have also tried to fix things i had no idea how and caused more damage. it can be a tough call.

i developed a leak in the starboard Wesmar stabilizer. 6000 trouble free hours so no complaints, other than it could have waited one more little country. It was also time for bottom paint. The good folks at Wesmar sent me all the needed parts, drawings and instruction and were receptive to a few late night (for them) phone calls. It is good to have that kind of back up at home for sure.

As you know (if you read the last few posts) i had my first engine failure about 60 miles out of KK. So i limped in and sought out my old friend Tony, who had installed my water maker last year, Tony is a master electrician and general genius. Tony did a band aid fix on the electrical engine problem and then Cummins responded full force with technical support, again good to have their great service.

There is no haul out facility in Kota Kinabalu and only one within a thousand miles so back to Kudat we went. Penuwasa shipyard is primarily a fish boat yard that has recently been discovered by the yachties. They have a 100 ton Marin Travelift with triple straps. they hauled me as soon as i arrived and blocked Furthur right next to the office. i got the key to my own private bathroom and shower, all new and just a few feet from the boat. Things just got better when i discovered their mini mart had ice cream cones, only thirty cents for a double cone, i am going to like this place.

Labor is good and very cheap there. i hired a couple of hard working lads to paint the boat, at about $20 a day, i gave them a few bucks bonus everyday so they loved me. These guys worked their butts off and did an exceptional job. The yard store had all i needed, paint, rollers, grinder wheels. I did the grinding and polished the prop and rudder.

Tony arrived and we went to work on the stabilizer. Luckily it all worked well, we had a few glitches but worked through them. When a bronze washer was needed the yard took an old shaft log and machined one for us.

You always go into a yard with no idea when you will get out, very Twilight Zone esque, so i told girls that Friday would be the soonest and that would mean i had not problems and all went perfectly. They rented a car and took off to see orangutans , pigmy elephants, world’s biggest flower and other Borneo stuff. They were miles away when, amazing to me, we launched Friday morning all done. I went into the neighboring marina and prepared for the jaunt home by myself, boo hoo.

Just to give you an idea of the wonders of SE Asia here are my expenses:

yard bill, haul out, paint and supplies, machine work and lay days: $1500. labor for prep and 4 coats of paint, $165.00 total stabilizer in and out and repair, including car rental and hotel, $750. see why i like it here?

Should have known all went too well, i arose well before dawn, fired up the Cummins and cast off trying not wake up too many of my neighbors. I got out in the moon lit bay and discovered the auto pilot was not working. No way was i going to make this trip alone with no AP so back i went.

Back to being alone in the wilderness i went at the AP. The pump seemed to be the failure so i replaced it. One of those many spares i pack around. No luck. i went to bed exhausted and unhappy. I seem to have regular flashes of brilliance in my sleep, i awoke at 3 am remembering a wire junction terminal way back in the far reaches of the lazarette. Sure enough the gremlins had gotten to it and the black wire was disconnected. i replaced the terminal, again spares i carry, and did the happy dance thinking i had found the smoking gun, again, no luck. i turned the AP right it went left. The power wires are read and black as are the wires on the pump, one would think you should match them. Again i took a break, had lunch and in the middle of my ham and cream cheese sandwich, my 4th this week, remember no girls to feed me, boo hoo, i thought to switch the wires. No sooner did i wipe the cream cheese from my chin i was down the hatch and cutting wires. Bonanza, it worked.

So i will make the 90 mile trip back to KK, back to Sutera Marina, swimming pools, sauna, Jacuzzi, and my lovely crew (and their cooking). A bit more to do on the engine electronics and off to the Philippines we go!