Work Begins

April 14, 2006

We have received several emails from folks wondering if we have fallen off the edge of the world; therefore, it seems time to let you all know what is happening with Satori. In late January we made the decision to bite the financial bullet. Not only would we contract to get new teak decks, but also to have the topsides and hull painted…all by a contractor called Pro Yachting at the Boat Lagoon Marina. It will stretch our budget to the max, but we realize that we could not get this work done anywhere else in the world for less money. One of the photos shows Jill and Pro. They had the luxury of choosing their own western names, and it seems that Pro did a good job on that account!

The teak would have to be ordered and left to dry for at least 1.5 months so we used the time to head back to Malaysia for a while and continue with our prep work.

We made the decision not to stay aboard Satori while the work is being done. We found a room at one of the “mansions” to rent for about $125/month. The “mansions” are really hotels with very large rooms, A/C, a bathroom with shower, satellite TV, a medium sized refrigerator and a large bed. Except for the bedding we have to bring anything that we need or want to use in the room. The room that we chose is about 7 km from the marina so we would also need transportation…a rented motor scooter for $75month.

The haul-out came on March 29th. We needed about a week to clear the decks and arrange for a new bimini system to be built. The aluminum welder was chosen and arranged to begin work directly after the Thai holiday. Some call this holiday the Thai New Year; however, it is really a celebration of the changing of seasons from Dry to Wet. They celebrate this change for four days with water fights and silliness. As we zoom along the road between the marina and the apartment, the celebrators are there along the road with buckets of water and plastic water guns.

The work on Satori has moved along at a respectable pace already. First the masts were removed in order to set up a large tent over the entire length of the boat. The tent is needed to guard against sun (about 115 degrees in the sun) and against the rains that are coming more and more frequently. With the tent the work can continue six days a week…except for the holiday celebrations, of course.

Within four working days after the tent was up, the old teak and plywood had been cleared. This took 66 man-hours. We are happy that we did NOT choose to do this work ourselves. We are not very happy with some discoveries, however. Where the deck was especially curved, the plywood for the old decks was held down to mate with the epoxy by stainless steel screws all the way through the aluminum deck, about 75 screws total. Stainless steel next to aluminum is a “No-No” but the assumption was that water would not get below the plywood. To assume is to make an Ass out of “u” ‘n “me”. Actually most of the screws did not show much corrosion. What to do about all these screws is still on our minds. Pro would like to see them all come out and the holes welded shut. Sander wants to grind then down flat to the deck and proceed with the deck installation. It has also been suggested that we drill out a dimple and fill with aluminum weld. The viability of this solution will have to be checked with the aluminum welder.

The schedule is to remove all the old decks, prep and prime (this will include sand-blasting!) the upper structures, lay the new teak decks and caulk…except for the beads directly up against any of the upper structures, cover and tape off the new decks, paint the upper structures and then do the final caulking around the new paint. This sounds like a good plan to us. Scheduled in around all the work will be several days full of aluminum welding as well.

We are very happy that we chose not to stay on the boat. Each night we sleep in the A/C at the mansion and each morning we climb aboard our scooter and head for the boat yard and a day of work ourselves. We have not slept this well for a long time and find that the energy is renewed each night. Since there is no facility for cooking at the mansion, Jane prepares some meals aboard Satori that can be eaten cold and stored in the frig. We also have a choice of eating at a Thai restaurant within a short walk of the mansion. For about $2.25/each we can eat from a buffet. A brazier is brought to the table that has water around the outside and a domed grill in the middle. You can steam your own veggies and barbecue your meat. We are the only Gringos there most of the time and eat so much that we are moaning all the way back to our room.

So you can see that we are well and quite happy with the progress on Satori. It is hard work but we can see that it has been a long time coming and is very timely! We plan to be right here in Phuket on the hard until mid-June at least. We are making every effort to keep the time on the hard as short as possible to keep the marina cost to a minimum. Plans are still in place for each of us to make a trip home to the USA. Sander now carries two passports as he has finally managed to get his Dutch Nationality back. He is still a US citizen; however, with the EU passport it will be easier to visit with family and old friends in Holland again. He will stop in Holland at one point during his trip this summer too.

We hope that Spring has arrived for all of you and that your summer plans include some vacation time and excitement. Write to us when you have a chance and let us know how you are doing.

Love from, Jane and Sander In Phuket, Thailand


Jill and Pro
one of the screws
Port side done
What a difference a day makes