Took the boat to Malaysia
this weekend. It turned out to be a comedy of sorts.
Friday - Head
to the club, bring the boat off the mooring
to the dock
. Need to clean the boat, fill the water
tank and fix the head
, a Jabsco
mechanical that had stopped pumping water
. Not too bad, the head problem turned out to be a little rock wedged in the ouflow flapper valve. Boat all neat and tidy. The only concern is the bottom is really fouled and the engine
won't make more than 2200RPM. This is normal after about 8 weeks without cleaning
but I wish I had remembered to have her scrubbed during the week.
Saturday - With winds from the East it's a long beat to immigration but at least we are sailing and the tide was with us. Got a very late start but that's OK too cuz the tides were more favorable. We motored the last hour up the river and the speed was pretty slow. Noticed that if we pushed 2200 RPM
for too long we were getting steam out the pipe. Not good. 2000 RPM
worked OK but really slow.
Sunday - Decided to leave early for the return and catch the outgoing tide. The first part of the journey was fine although slow as we sailed against the last of the incoming current
. We reached the mouth of the river and sailed for about an hour to the immigration buoy. The immigration guy made us wait about 30 minutes and then chewed me out because I was missing the second copy of the immigration papers. There were also quite a line up of boats waiting this Sunday afternoon.
We left the immigration area noticing the very dark and threatening clouds. We ended up sailing at the edge of a huge thunderstorm that built up in about 30 minutes. No problem, we loved the cool shower
and the 30+ kt winds propelled us like a rocket. Lightning
was a little unnerving but normal at times for around here.
The tides were turning as well and we were just catching the end of the outgoing tide as we entered the main channel to Changi. Unfortunately the winds died completely after the thunderstorm abated so we decided to motor
sail. We had very light tailwinds but with the motor
running we were making 3 kts or so over the ground against the last of the current
. Then I did something very stupid. I saw a clump of seaweed and could have steered around it but for some reason I didn't. There was a chunking sound and so I backed down the engine
, at idle forward the engine almost stalled so I pushed it forward again and it seemed to clear.
10 minutes later, the raw water
stopped pumping - crap! We shut down and sailed (very, very slowly). I didn't have a spare impeller on-board - having used the last one about 6 months ago I hadn't yet provisioned a spare on board - damn! I decided to dive on the fin to see if the intake was plugged.
With the sails
still up we were barely making way so I tied myself off and dove over the side. I found a very nice piece of polyprope wrapped around the prop trailing aft with all kinds of seaweed and crap on it. After 5-6 free dives I was able to remove it and toss it in the cockpit
. I also scraped myself pretty good on the hands and forearms due to the crusties on the bottom - ouch. The intake was clear so I presumed we still had no raw water
and had a pump failure.
Sure enough I fired up the engine and no water. We then sailed for two hours and made about 600 meters. The only thing propelling us was the incoming current as the tide had finally changed. We sat staionary against the current for about 30 minutes at one point.
Near our club there is a fuel dock
. The jet fuel
ship ties up and pumps fuel directly to the airport
- there was no ship at the dock but there is still an exclusion zone around the dock and we did our best to avoid it. Sure enough as we were passing by we heard a one long blast and the tug was coming out to assist the incoming ship to the dock - more good luck, we were in the way.
The engine was not inoperative and I had used it for a few minutes at low RPM to clear various navigation
obstacles but I wasn't happy about it. So I fired up the engine and motored out of the way.
Eventually almost 4 hours after clearing immigration we were within 1 km or so of the club. The crew was hungry and tired and so I relented and called for a tow. We still had plenty of cheese and crackers and some apples on board as well as plenty of water but I think we had all had enough and the crew wanted
. As a guy, of course I would not have given up. The current was with us and it was only a matter of time before we got there - but the crew had already threatened to abandon me and swim to shore twice!
4 hour trip becomes a 7 hour trip - what fun...
- If the boat isn't is ship shape seriously consider not going. I knew the bottom was fouled and would but extra strain on the engine.
- Spares on board? - International trip, not in convoy. We could have been in much worse shape if we were up the river or fighting our 3kt outgoing current. There are lots of ships around here
- Immigration paperwork? - An oversight but it kinda ticked me off and affected my mood for a bit.
- Don't motor through seaweed if you don't have to. You never know what's going to be buried in there.
on the prop - It worked out but in hindsight I probably should have doused the sails
. If I got separated from the boat it could have been bad and the boat was making way faster than I could swim.
- Sailed well in the thunderstorm
- Plenty of water and enough food
- Plenty of comm options - VHF
, cell etc
- Picked the tides right
- Once things began to unravel I rigged the ground tackle as a last resort