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Friday, November 27, 2009

Nov. 22, 2009-Arrival In Malaysia

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Laundry Day

On Sunday, November 22, after a brief stop at Telaga Harbor to check into Malaysia, we reached Rebak Marina in Langkawi.

Rebak Marina! How long we've heard about this place from other cruisers. It is quiet and peaceful here and lots of other sailors to chat with around the Pool Bar. Here we can do small projects and relax a bit. Sherry will come here to visit, and also Mike, both from Singapore.

Going to town involves taking a small ferry boat to Langkasuka Pier and then a 20 minute drive into the bustling town of Kuah. We like Kuah Town. Wine is cheaper here than Thailand because Langkawi is a duty free port. Here in Langkawi we will await some equipment to be shipped in from overseas also duty free which is better than the 15% which must be paid for anything shipped into Thailand.

We are also going through a whole pile of laundry, mostly clothing left for three years in the storage room at Yacht Haven. Whew! It stinks. We gave away some of it but still have a pile and everything except the stuff sealed in airproof bags needs washing. The clothes washer at the marina is cheap but the dryer is slow so we hang our wash on the line. So do the neighbors.

Cruising again.

Click here for more photos from Rebak Marina

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Langkawi

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov. 22, 2009-Scenes from Taratao

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Departing Taratao

We did get a few more shots during our day at Taratao.

Click here to go to the wingsail-images shots from Taratao Island.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Under sail from Taratao

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Nov. 20, 2009-The Far Side of Taratoa

On Thursday we were beating south in a boisterous fresh breeze with a reefed main and a small jib. Wings sailed well in the conditions and we worked the waves and held high aiming for the far side of Taratoa; the windward side.

We could have taken the more direct route to Lankawi; it is a straight line from Phetra passing to leeward of Taratoa. Instead we chose the windward path. The decision was based on the desire to see the unseen. Why does the man climb the mountain? Because it is there.

So is the far side of Taratoa.

It required one tack to clear the northeastern cape and another to break out of the island string which runs along that side of Taratoa then we sailed down the windward coast looking at surf beating on the dark shores, at deep forested hills and small patches of golden sand beaches trying to see something to validate the island’s reputation for mystery. It was a prison camp in the 30’s but the prisoners somehow took over and it became a pirate’s den in the 40’s, then the Brits came in the late 40’s and cleaned it up, they claimed, and the King made it into a national park.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sailing on the Far Side of Taratoa

What we saw as they sailed past on Thursday were mountains disappearing into the low clouds and impenetrable jungle. Hawks with rust colored wings circled overhead riding the updraft of the island’s peaks.

At 17:00 we tucked in behind one of the small offshore islands and dropped anchor. A squall blew through with pouring rain and the waves were choppy even behind the small island. Taratao was lost in the mist. It got dark.

There have been rumors of skirmishes between pirates and the park rangers, and other unexplained encounters, but the rumors are just that, rumors, and morning dawned uneventfully. After breakfast the Hawks dove on a meat scrap thrown overboard then fought over it.

Some fish jumped.

We inflated the dingy and went ashore. There was a road and a ranger station. The rangers were painting furniture. A pair of Germans cycling around the island stopped to take some photos. Otherwise nothing moved and the day was still.

A short walk in the jungle revealed little more than what we could see from the yacht. Taratao is an island which holds its secrets.

We stayed for two days and on Saturday set out for Langkawi.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Taratoa

PS, We've gotten some shots of this place, click here for a few. We'll post more of them as soon as we get some solid, high speed, Internet.

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Nov. 18, 2009-Sailing to Phetra

On Wednesday we sailed from Lanta Flats to Ko Phetra.

Never mind the flat gray day or the rain spitting from the low lying clouds all day; the wind was constant if not steady, jib pulled like a horse, the windvane steered and it’s been a long time since we had a day of good sailing like that.

We needed it. Not fast the whole day but in the gusts we hit 7 and anyhow it felt good to be heeled over. We took turns on deck watching for fish traps and minding the vane and we ducked behind the dodger to stay out of the rain while the other snoozed or read below. Easy; three watches, 35 miles, 6 hours.

Ket’s sails were perfect. The jib is going to open a whole new chapter of sailing: 6+ knots of boat speed in 7 knots of wind and it will carry the breeze up to 15 knots. The main is beautiful right out of the box. Thank You, Ket.

At 5:00 we eased into the lee of Koh Phetra and dropped the hook under another of Thailand’s tall limestone karsts.

And had a glass of wine.

A good day on SV Wings.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Koh Phetra, Thailand

PS, We'll post photos as soon as we get some high speed Internet

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov. 15, 2009-Underway Again

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Judy Goes Sailing

Well, she almost went sailing.

After three months of hard work we finally finished our projects, spent a week packing the boat, several hours waiting for the tide, and got underway from Phuket, Thailand on Sunday, November 15, 2009, as planned. We're back in cruising mode now. We're finished with work, every thing we own is on the boat and we're free to go where we please. And it is a great day for sailing.

However despite the great day for sailing we didn't do any; we fixed things.

After a 12:30 departure we motored the whole afternoon while we dealt with and resolved, one by one, a bunch of niggling problems, and one significant problem which still needs a resolution.

We had trouble with the charting software and found that it lost the nav input when the monitor shut down every 15 mins (to save power). We changed that setting.

We had trouble with the instruments. The buttons on our 30 year old B&G are getting downright sticky. I managed to get them all to work in the end.

I repaired a leaking dingy tube (twice). It seems to be holding now.

But the big deal was the leak which we found in the shaft log. There has been water appearing in the engine bilge for months (when we are motoring) and I thought it was the packing gland, which I've adjusted a few times. I decided that it was someting else and after sponging and drying the bilge completely I tracked down the source of the water: a leak under the fibreglass tube which brings the shaft into the boat. I suspect the tube itself is broken. This will be a difficult fix; it is hard to get to and hard to repair when wet. We might have to haul the boat out of the water. Tomorrow I will remove the rubber hose which covers most of this tube and look closely at the problem (with a dentist's mirror, since I can't get my eyes down into this spot) and maybe I can repair it with some waterproof epoxy long enough to get some fiberglass on it.

Maybe not.

Anyhow, we put the cover back on the engine, anchored at Koh Yao Yai, cooked burgers on the BBQ, and woke up this morning with Phi Phi Island beckoning from 14 miles away.

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Phi Phi Island

Maybe, if all goes well, we'll sail there today.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Koh Yao Yai, Thailand

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nov. 12, 2009-Final Preparations at Yacht Haven

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Early Morning

We've been packing and finishing projects for several days and we are nearly ready to depart for Malaysia. Wings sinks deeper and deeper into the water as we pack more and more of our equipment and supplies on board. Its been three years since we carried all this stuff.

We are also throwing out a lot and we've been giving away piles of unwanted items such as extra clothes, linens, useless spare parts, worthless sails; you name it. We put little piles of junk on the dock near the trash can and it disappears instantly as local boat workers decide that our unwanted items are their new treasures.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
New Look Nav Station

Last night, in a late night of work, we installed the new Nav screen and we've set up our system to use MaxSea with the CM93 charts we have. This will allow us to interface with the new AIS transponder which we are anticipating buying in the US next spring.

This morning we took on fuel, not a lot, it's supposed to be cheaper in Malaysia, and Friday we will check out of Thailand. Actual departure is planned for Sunday, November 15, 2009.

We're ready to go sailing again.

Click here for some more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nov. 3, 2009-Sea Trials: Sailing to Yacht Haven

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Sailing to Yacht Haven

We left with the tide on Tuesday morning and after clearing the tortuous Boat Lagoon Channel set sail in a 15 knot NE wind. The day was cool and we had a good sail. The new sails Ket made for us looked fine and thankfully none of us, myself, Judy, or the boat, have forgotten how to sail.

When asked at the end of a passage how it went a captain likes to be able to say "uneventful" but I can't say that this passage was without drama. After sailing for a while, when the wind went light, we started the engine. Thirty minutes later a water pipe blew off it's fitting and in the 10 seconds it took to stop the engine it dumped about 10 gallons of saltwater on our bed. A couple of new hose clamps fixed the engine but the bed will take some time to dry out even more so after we hauled it out on deck to air out only to have rain begin.

Next the engine quit with what we instantly recognized as fuel starvation. It seems that the port tank was empty. We quickly switched to the starboard tank and are kept our fingers crossed that its level was more accruate then the port's. (It was, we had enough fuel to get to Yacht Haven).

Hurrying under power to make slack water at Yacht Haven we saw an opportunity to add a knot or so by re-hoisting the main when the wind came up from astern. Just as we came into the wind and started to hoist that breeze turned into a 24 knot rain squall and we struggled with setting sail in those condtions. Then when we got the sail up the wind immediately dropped off.

However we made port before the tide started to run strongly, making entance to the marina ill-advised, and were safely docked by 15:00.

So despite the minor dramas the trip was concluded sucessfully and we all passed our sea trials.

Next we have two weeks of work reloading the boat and some additional minor projects before we head off to Malaysia.

Click here to see another shot of the new sails.

Fred & Judy, S/V Wings, Phuket
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