Look for the Simple Things First

There are systems on the boat that i know in and out, usually because they have provided me with the opportunity to learn, they break often. Then there are systems that attract no attention and are often ignored a bit. My stabilizers have done both. I have had to repack one side twice, first expected after long use, second due to a poor installation of one seal, so i know when it is leaking and what to do about it. The hydraulic side of the system has been trouble free, i have the fluid changed once a year and that is that. Never used drop nor had a leak so i was a bit uneducated on this system.

I had noticed a small trace of a leak again on the starboard side stabilizer, darn. Then when not far from Cebu i heard a strange noise, went to investigate and low and behold, a fluid that i assumed was water, was gushing out of the stabilizer, triple darn. With the history and the signs i had seen of a leak i did not investigate fully, but shut off the system and began looking for a place to haul out. The good folks at Wesmar sent me the needed parts which i was able to get in without customs hang ups. i found a very large boat yard, mostly commercial and they tried to fit me in, but could not, so they sent me to a small neighbor yard, Porter’s Boat Yard. I met the owner and he said he could haul me the next day and supply me with needed help.

the entrance to the weighs

This yard uses a more antiquated hauling system, a huge trailer on a track the is submerged and then brings the boat up. i have not used a “ways” in decades but know they are safe if done right. We pulled into the slough where the tracks run into the water and watched as the crew dove under the boat measuring with a string the needed areas. As crude as this system was, they were diligent and clearly capable, i was impressed.

a garden hose connected to a compressor gave air supply to the workers

We spent the night on the boat tied between the two shores, with access ashore by the dinghy. this boat yard is also a small resort with fishing holes and a modest restaurant of which we were the only customers. I say “we” as the crew girls took this opportunity to do some land exploring but Donna stayed with me.

Donna enjoying our luxury condo, sure beat staying on the boat!

Sitting across from us was a 65′ Hatteras Long Range Cruiser, one of my favorite classic yachts in the stages of a major refit. Curious of the project, i went to see. i met the owner, Winston who talked about the project. He asked what boat i was on, when i said, Furthur, his eyes lit right up. He has been following my blog for over 5 years! really following it. He took us to lunch at a fine resort, then offered to let us stay in his “guest condo” in that resort. Now anyone who has done “the hard” knows staying on the boat is ugly, no toilet, hot, crawl up and down, just no fun. So we leaped at the offer of a luxury condo. We stayed two nights in decadence, i even took a bath! i want to thank Winston again for his gracious hospitality and wish him good fortune on his boat project, hope to see him early next year.

Back at the yard the haul out went well, the boat creaked and groaned as it slowly came out of the water. A backhoe tractor was used to pull the cable to raise the lift after the boys spent a couple hours securing the blocks. This was done under water and with a crude air compressor hooked to a garden hose the boys could breath as the assembled the blocks. When i inspected this odd protocol i found the blocks set perfectly.

The boys jumped right on the stabilizer, using the same back hoe we lower the fin and disassembled the packing. My heart sank a bit as i found nothing wrong, no evidence of a leak and not wear on the seals, triple darn again.

We put in the new parts and put the fin back, and the next day they launched me. We hit the water, still secure to the sides of the narrow channel and i fired up the engine and the stabilizers, nothing! The guys came aboard and we discovered the big leak in the hydraulic ram. They took the ram apart and found two O rings that were shot. Two O rings had caused the problem which i turned into a big pain and foolish expense by not seeing, that sound you heard was me beating my empty head on the wall.

Peterboy, as the lead man was called and his brother went to work and found my O rings, put the rams back together and off we went.

The system is working perfectly, no leaks. Again i learned and expensive albeit valuable lesson and i now know the hydraulic system far better. We made a great new friend in Winston, whom i hope to see cruising on his classic Hatteras. But most important is that, again, i learned all problems are fixable even in remote parts of Asia and my faith in the quality of help in the Philippines was enhanced. As rustic as it appeared i could not ask for a more conscientious, resourceful and competent crew than the Porter Boat Yard crew. Thanks to Edmond, Peter and all the crew for your good work.

1 thought on “Look for the Simple Things First”

  1. SUBJECT: Re: Look for the Simple Things First

    Hi Brian,
    I have been following you for years. I met you briefly at the Anacortes boat show and saw you in Phuket onboard when you were installing a new HVAC system. I would love to join you in your causing lifestyle but have had a hard time finding a boat. I am partial to the Nordhavn 60 or 55 but have not found a single engine of the quality and price I want.
    If you hear of a good boat between 500,000 and 750,000 USA , or a real bargain let me know. I would nee an experienced skipper woman to help me navigate the waters of SE Asia. I thought you might know someone you and recommend.
    Namaste to you,

    On May 18, 2015, at 9:30 PM, Furthur Adventure wrote:

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