Category Archives: Boat Maintenance

Help to careen and repair at Pulau Tioman

Here is a little insight into what we might just ‘do’ all day when we are not sailing, diving, snorkelling, relaxing or socialising with other cruisers.  And another story to add to the little known fact that cruising and boat ownership sometimes feels like endless repairs and maintenance in exotic places.

Tiki is in company with a mini flotilla sailing together here in the Tioman group of islands whilst the majority of the other boats in the rally we are part of retraces Tiki’s journey north from 2015.  Gillie is single handing her ketch SY.Tuppenny and Peter and Cath on SY. Kittani have been joined by a new crew member Kelly from the US. We all opted to stay in the islands, relax, grow gills and have a shorter journey when we eventually head east to Indonesia’s Anambas and Natuna archipelagos at the end of the month.   Tuppenny has had an annoying leak since… well forever according to Gillie but since she relaunched in March it got progressively worse until the bilge pump was being activated every 7 or so minutes, sometimes less. It was coming from the stuffing box which was supposed to be a dripless system.  Peter has a similar setup on Kittani and over the past weeks had helped tighten/inspect/loosen bits in an attempt to stem the flow to no avail.  It was stressful for Gillie and we were all nervous for her – an inspection and repair haul out was required with the nearest alternative for 100’s of miles being suddenly expensive and up a shallow river at Endau.  As it turned out emergency or not, this yard had extensive sandblasting work in progress and advised her not to plan arrival for several weeks.  An alternative was required, and fairly fast.
Fortunately large spring tides and a dead low reconnaissance at dawn revealed a potential for careening on a clean patch of sand next to the wall in the main town at Tekek, Tioman.  Gillie had the replacement spare ready onboard so Peter’s bravado convinced her she could do it with their help and our experience from years of drying out on walls in the south of England and Brittany came into play to tip the confidence scales. So with no time to waste our little group formulated a plan to get Tuppenny onto the wall at high tide, then again for everyone to be ready to assist her settle into a lean at the next low scheduled for just before sundown.
Everything went perfectly to plan and with her mast tied to a solid rail she settled into the sand and we all strategically sat on her starboard side with celebratory sundowner G&T’s to ensure a good ‘inward to wall’ lean.  It must have been a real novelty to have a yacht against their town pier as so many locals came to look, take pictures and many took the time to try (in broken English with our broken Malay) to warn us that the water would soon be gone, even offering to tow her to deeper water.
Then came the challenging part – inspection and repair.  We calculated the tides and worked out that at 04:00 the next day the propellor would be almost (5-10cm below) exposed and this state would last until 10:30 at most.  This gave Pete and Neil six full hours to effect the replacement with a little time to spare to call it if they needed to wait out an extra tide.  After dinner on the quayside opposite Tuppenny we returned to Tiki & Kittani and Kelly stayed aboard for some welcome moral support for Gillie.  I think they had a fairly sleepless night with the bow tilted at an angle forwards and ferry boat wash causing strange wobbling movements but importantly Tuppenny was ready for repair.
The boys went super early and started as planned whilst Cath and I had a bit of a lie-in and joined them later for moral support and to source some yummy roti canai for breakfast.  I’m not technical on the details but we arrived at 8:30 to find all mostly on schedule and that the cause of the leak had been the pipe which supports the propshaft having split and broken on the underside – probably many years ago – and the dripless system had been installed over the broken pipe.  Neil removed the propellor and shaft and ground fibreglass away to enable the new system to be installed on clean solid pipe.  Pete epoxied everything clean and expertly re-installed the replacement bellows system.  These tasks are easy for me to write in a sentence when in reality it took them the best part of 5.5 hours solid work against the clock and tide to achieve by bending upside down into squished barely accessible compartments, and with sweat constantly dripping from every pore in the tropical heat.
But by 10am there were finally some smiles on their faces and Gillie was almost in tears with relief.  The propellor was back on as was the new dripless stuffing box and the skies had darkened and started to pour with some much needed local rain. We waited out the downpour in the local breakfast cafe and left Gillie aboard to keep an eye on things as the tide rose over the propellor.  A triumphant “NO DRIPS!” was declared when she re-appeared after the squall passed – SUCCESS!
High tide arrived at 14:00 and we returned to assist with lines and traffic direction as there are lots of small boats zipping in and out of the canals.  Again everything went smooth as clockwork and Tuppenny was soon back with us on anchor with Gillie tongue-in-cheek declaring she now had something wrong with the bilge pump as it didn’t seem to be working anymore… because it didn’t need to!
It was a great feeling to have saved her lots of yard money, coming together to help a fellow cruiser and to have had everything turn out so well.  Now it was time to  celebrate and party cruiser style.  We relocated the next day to an idyllic remote bay and snorkelled the reef, gathered wood for the beach bbq, laid out the grass mats and drank bubbles in the sea, complete with a beautiful bamboo swing to play on.
No wonder we love this lifestyle!
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Waiting for weather windows

Doesn’t matter if we are at sea cruising or in a safe anchorage for the next round of renovations, everything depends on the weather.  It decides safe from scary at sea, and possible to marginal on most of the job list.

We had such big plans for this summer in Sydney Harbour.  Hard work coupled with an injection of funds from newly found work were going to bring the boat to a new level of wow.  What we didn’t account for was the wettest summer imaginable.  It is disheartening to clean back, sand and prime an area only to wait an eternity for a 2-3 day dry spell.  It just hasn’t happened.  Neither have many of the well-intended jobs.

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Disheartened yes, but not discouraged.  It has to stop sometime and we’ve remained positive.  For example we have progressed immensely on the matter of stopping the leaks, the decks look scrubbed clean and we get to keep the tanks filled with yummy rainwater ;0)

 

Delayed in Scarborough Marina

19th – 27th July 2011

Well after a truly lovely first leg we anchored outside the Marina at Scarborough for a nights rest before heading up to Fraser island. Next morning spent on deck doing little jobs and getting used to everything. Wind picked up perfectly but unfortunately the engine didn’t. Neil went through everything methodically and I helped by scouring the forums and engine manuals looking for extra clues. We narrowed it down to the fuel injector pump – a mysterious beastie that if broken can not be repaired by mere cruising mortals. It was broken. I blogged the checklist of how we found out it was broken if anyone is interested… So we needed a tow in, and lucky we had signed up to Coast Guard Rescue!

Long story short they towed us in the next day when it was blowing an absolute hooley and we spent the next week immobile whilst the Diesel Injection specialists did their stuff refurbing the injector pump. We had the 4 injectors overhauled at the same time for good measure and so now they, along with the almost new pump are all set for the next 20+ years. They better be, the dent in our cruising budget was humongous!

Prop is covered in weed from the Manly stay but we’ve no incentive to swim, sea temperature is 16C. Brrrrrrrrr

Scarborough Marina – the job list

Sand engine instrument panel, repair joins and oil teak
Refurb main skylight hatch.  Remove teak trims and old window and replace with new.  Sand and stain the trims and hatch base.  Polish steel bars.  Re-assemble and remounted.
Sew spray hood patches where fabric has worn.  Replace old broken clears with new clear vinyl.
Align and install the spray hood frame mounts on deck.  Design and install a mount for the foot-rail of the spray hood to attach to.
Put up the spray hood and test for sturdiness, attach webbing straps where needed.
Glue and repair the interior drawers from the aft cabin.
Test out new 3.5HP Yamaha engine on the dingy.  Check out all the other boats in the Marina whilst doing this :0)
Complete overhaul of the engine fuel system – fuel tank emptied and cleaned, fuel filter lines replaced, manual lift pump removed and cleaned out (noted – need to buy new one).  Primary and secondary fuel pumps removed, cleaned, filters replaced. Electric fuel primer pump & filter cleaned.

Tiki and her Perkins 4.236 diesel engine – Part I

When it won’t fire up here’s the drill.

Check the stop valve is in the off position and open the throttle to full.
Check the fuel supply – like have you got any?
Before we go pulling everything apart, check the belt is turning the Fuel Injector Pump (IP).
Use the electric pump to check the input to and output from the primary filter is clean and air-free by disconnecting & reconnecting each point.

Working along the fuel line, switch to manual pump and push through to the secondary filter and again check in and out is clean and air-free.
Now we’re at the IP.
Disconnect supply at entrance and check as above to ensure it is not blocked.
Bleed (loosen them open until they drip) IP at the valves  and let them run to ensure clean fuel.  This is the Low Pressure section of the IP.
Crack (same as bleeding, different name..) the injector nuts -fuel should run clean and air free.  This is from the High Pressure area of the IP.
Check the internal “spline” is turning (ie able to create the pressure) by removing the plate cover and watching as you turn the engine over.

are you still with me?  Try turn it over again and if still no good then you will need to return at another time for Part II.   Good luck and please keep us posted on the outcome!  As for us, we’re stuck at the injector nuts as no fuel is coming through.  Good news is the spline does turn.

Coast Guard are towing us into the Marina where we’ll get a professional second opinion and probably end up having the IP bench tested.  We suspect the stop valve mechanism inside the IP has failed somehow – Neil’s money is on a spring-like component..

We’ll keep you posted.

Bye-bye Brisbane

It was a slightly delayed start as some dirty fuel got sucked through the engine. Neil was on it straight away and with a replacement filter installed and a switch to the second tank we were off, albeit in a very large cloud of white smoke. We had a lovely send off from the pontoon thanks to Dave, Rose and Gail. See you all again soon! It felt sooooooo great to be out of the marina and on the water again. She looks so beautiful with all her sails up and filled with wind and Neil has that content cat that got the cream look about him that I hope will become permanent.

We set off from Manly yesterday after lunch and headed to Scarborough in Deception bay for the night. Gorgeous sunny winters day around 21C and perfect light winds for a shakedown sail, plus for a total bonus we had our first pod of dolphins yippee!

All the rather randomly stowed provisions have had a rattle around and we will no doubt be relocating a few items over the journey. The onions and spuds id long forgotten were there were first up as the bottom of the pantry soon gets toasty warm when the engine is on – the whole boat started to smell like stewed onion… not good, unless I’m making onion soup!

We will refuel here at Scarborough and head overnight up to the Wide Bay bar ready to pass through on the high tide midday Wednesday and from there the sheltered straights of Fraser Island.

Location:Bird O’Passage Parade,Scarborough,Australia

Finally ready to get sailing – an update from Captain Neil

an update from Captain Neil

After what has been a huge amount of effort over the last month the boat is finally in a decent enough condition to get ready to depart for Brisbane. Over the last week in the Marina the engine has moved to a state where it can be sea trialled. This afternoon we went out in the bay and ran the engine for an hour to make sure it works okay. All seems well and Brett left with advice for further work and maintenance over the coming weeks. It will take some more attention on my part to make sure the Perkins becomes reliable after a long period of neglect.
We are back at the Marina for the evening and planning to leave at first light in the morning. This is the culmination of a lot of sweat and effort. I have lost at least 8kg in the last month, that was definitely needed and we have reinvested at least $12k in Tiki, that was also needed.  And and I have learnt huge amounts about yachts which was also needed. Next step is to start the 600nm journey to Brisbane and find out how she handles at sea.