Work Continues

May 29, 2006

We have now been on the hard for two months and seriously doubt that the project can be completed by mid-June. We are guessing that it will take at least one additional month. Since Thailand only offers us a 30-day visa, we must travel out of country each month in order to renew that visa. The most common way for cruisers to do this is to travel to Myanmar…the old name was Burma. The first time that we renewed we took a bus to Ranang, Thailand and traveled across the bay. The second time we rented a van with another cruising couple, Jack and Kathy and an Aussie girl, Jo, who is here teaching English. The trip was fun with Jo along because she speaks fluent Thai (high school exchange program) enabling us to learn a lot about the culture and the language. You can see a set of pictures on this trip…soon to be at the website……if you are interested.

As the sun passes overhead in the months of April and May, the heat builds here. Fortunately the tent covering Satori provides shade and protection from the monsoon rains that are also experienced more and more. We can claim to know the definition of “monsoon” first hand now as it pours nearly every day. We have purchased some plastic raincoats (50 cents) to throw on when we see the rains coming while riding the motorbike.

In the last group letter we wrote about the dilemma of the 100 stainless steel screws used on the deck back in 1980 to hold down the plywood. Because removal of the screws could be accomplished only by dismantling (and likely uining) the entire ceiling in the saloon, that solution was discounted. The decision was made to grind off the screw tops and leave the material there. Where there had been serious corrosion, Sander made tapered aluminum plugs and had them welded in place and ground down. 

Furthermore, the welds that were made around the deckhouse and other appurtenances had never been ground out thereby preventing the plywood from sealing along the edges. Sander has ground out these welds to obtain a fairly rounded corner in most cases. This will help considerably to properly fit the planks. One of these areas is around the aft raised bulwarks and under the aft toe rail in the cockpit area all the way around the stern 180 degrees. Sander had surmised that this area had been skip-welded rather than continuously. This proved to be the case and a considerable amount of time and effort has gone into repairing this area. It is now all welded continuously.We ended up with one welder and his “helper” for 10 days of welding and repairs. They had to be continuously watched as well as encouraged to continue working and welding. In the end Sander actually stopped them from grinding as they were doing more damage than good with the grinders. The cost for the welders and equipment was $1315. What do you suppose 10 days of aluminum welding would cost in the States?

When the welding was finished the ball was back in Pro’s court. The sandblasting took six days...four guys, 8 hours/day. There were about 50 bags of sand lying beneath the boat. Somebody had not thought much about those monsoon rains. One of the first few sandblasting days, the workers arrived at the yard to find the sand bags wet. The sand had to be laid out on a tarp and sifted through to dry out before it could be used!

The blasting was followed by an Alodine treatment of the bare aluminum. This material (a liquid) is actually a corrosion inhibitor and is followed by the application of Zinc Chromate primer. Epoxy filler will take care of all the pitted areas. Once all that is done the teak decks will be laid.

During all this time of welding and grinding at least two of Pro’s guys have been on board making patterns of all the edge pieces, i.e. planks along the outside of the decks, curves for corners, winches and cleats. First the patterns were made with plastic…see the white piece in the photo. The patterns were carried to the workshop to use in cutting the teak. Then all those teak pieces came back on the boat to be fitted and shaped. They must have a great system to remember which piece goes where!

We have kept some records of the hours of the workers on Satori from Pro Yachting. So far we have recorded 942 man-hours of work done. How Jill and Pro make a living with this sort of labor cost is a mystery to us. Keep in mind that our teak decks (material and labor) were quoted at $11,835. The painting of topsides and hull were quoted at $13,789. When we write our next group letter we will figure the total of the man-hours and report to you.

One of the most challenging tasks for Sander has been the removal of all the stanchions and the nylon sleeves that separate the stainless steel from the aluminum bases. We were not surprised to find that several bases underneath the stanchions had completely corroded through the deck.  They should have had drain holes to prevent standing salt water and this will now be done after 25 years.

We also confirmed that the pilothouse super structure is actually a separate entity and is bolted onto a flange on the deck.  This leaves a seam around the base that was filled with some goo over 25 years ago. The goo has failed and we suspect that some of the curious leaks that could not be traced may have come from this “goo failure”. The seam will now be resealed with 21st Century goo.

The pilothouse still has paint but the rest of the topsides are bare aluminum. The old ugly square looking aft cockpit awning is gone and we have used the aluminum to make new cockpit table legs. The aft cockpit will have a new bimini and we’ll have an awning covering the area from the binnacle forward halfway over the pilothouse. This will provide us with shade and a cooler aft cabin and pilothouse. We’ll have an extension that comes from the forward part of the awning all the way to the main mast shading the pilothouse totally.

It hasn’t been all work and no play. We were thrilled to have a short visit from our nephew, Grant in May. One of the photos shows us at one of our favorite Thai restaurants together.

We have essentially put in 8 hours a day since we hauled and are now starting to repair external wood work and do a bit of varnishing in anticipation of putting it all back together. It has proved to be quite a bit of work but we are pleased with the progress and are working hard to keep ahead of everyone with our prep works so as not to delay our outside contractors. We’ll keep you posted as to progress.

Because of the delays Jane is planning to return for her visit with family at the end of June. She will return to Phuket at the beginning of August.

Wishing you a nice summer with warm weather and good winds.

Jane and Sander little of everything R.JPG