Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Indian Ocean Voyagers

With the increasing dangers of piracy in the NW Indian Ocean an increasing number of boats are choosing to cross from SE Asia (Malaysia and Thailand) or Australia to South Africa.

Last year Dave and Jan on the yacht Baraka compiled a list of these boats with the aim of facilitating communication between them and helping to get boats to team up if they so desire.  With Baraka's departure on the trip and consequent limited internet access, we  have taken over the running of the list, which at present covers yachts planning the voyage in 2012 or 2013.

N route (red), S route (yellow), S route outside Sumatra (green)
Essentially there are two routes. 

The "northern route" leaves SE Asia in January-March and heads to the Chagos Archipelago via some or all of Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives, using the NE monsoon of the N Indian Ocean.  Traditionally these boats have then waited for about 2 months in Chagos for the saesons to change in the southern Indian Ocean, notably the end of the cyclone season.  The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)administration now restrict stays to 28 days so boats have had to adapt plans to accomodate these rules. Boats on this route then either pass to the north of Madagascar and cruise the eastern coast and then to Richards Bay or head down to Rodrigues, Mauritius or Reunion and Richards Bay or Durban.

The "southern route" either passes down the west coast of Sumatra and then to Cocos Keeling or Mauritius or down the Malacca Strait to Singapore then through Indonesian waters to the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java thence to some or all of Cocos Keeling, Rodrigues, Mauritius, Reunion and then to Durban or Richards Bay.  Best timing for this route commences in either May/June or September from the Sunda Strait.  The SE trades can be quite boisterous in July and August.  Boats from Australia would probably pass south of Java to Cocos Keeling.

There are, of course many variations.

Yachts planning this trip can be included on the monthly updates of the list by emailling us at seabunnyhr42@gmail.com. The information required is- yacht name, type, length, communications equipment carried, route and dates proposed, email address, sailmail or similar address if carried, skipper and crew names.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Its neck and neck in the Hull and Galley Beautiful Stakes

The weather held until a couple of days ago

The fibreglass sheet went on without a hitch. We asked Jimmy Watt to inspect it - his view was that Oh's men had done an excellent job so relief all round.

It was left for 10 days for the amine bloom to come out and the hull was then scrubbed with Scotchbrite pads and  hot water.  Then 500 microns West system epoxy was put on & now epoxy filler, which will be mostly faired off, in place. Then the boat supports will be moved & the same process done where they rested. We have kept tabs on the amount of product used etc. Like after 8 coats "we have finished " - NO only half the required quantity of product had been used.  All done without loss of face & great humour!

As our bunk mattresses have at last succumbed to mould after 12 years. 2 queen sized latex ones have been delivered from Bangkok to Mr Peh who has the pleasure of cutting these heavy bulks to fit the 4 covers that make up our bed in the aft cabin. He will store this until we are ready.

The fridge cabinet goes here
In the galley beautiful stakes Richard has removed the fridge cabinet and reinsulate around it,.  Removing the foam was a time-consuming mechanical job and it was interesting to find, on removal that two of the hull stringers had been cut to make room for the cabinet - presumably on initial installation by Hallberg Rassy as it was the original cabinet. Yes that is daylight you can see shining through the hull which is more translucent without gelcoat or paint.

The galley top has been fitted & unfitted. It is now back in the workshop having all Staron fiddles moulded around so that no liquid will drip down beside the cooker or into the cupboards when we heel over. This will take another 2 weeks. Richard has refurbished the fridge compressor - what a guy.

Most days Susan is high on paint thinners 10 & 17, as she is painting the insides of cupboards  with 2 part, ie 4 coat paint. The only type that does not go yellow on boats.
Richard has been in the engine compartment doing more electrics & installed a new inverter/charger system.

On Monday Susan had a girlie day out with Ley, Carla & Diane - little boat talk. Richard may have a day off on his birthday!

Weather permitting - 14 June

Well while we were in the UK there were 4 dry days here.
Since our return it rained on most days for a month!
So during the rainy period Richard was has been crouched in the engine compartment rewiring for the galley panel & updating other bits of knitting! He reinsulated the fridge & the carpenter finished the underlying woodwork. The kitchen guy for the tiny work surfaces in Staron came to remeasure yet again!
Susan did entire boat stowage list that is now on the iPad! Very tedious but will be invaluable.

The best photo would have been of Susan on her bike wearing yellow poncho, sporting an umbrella in one hand, riding through a foot of water in the boat yard at high tide! Unfortunately there was no one to take the picture as it was raining so so hard. During this time we had to be extra cautious getting on & off Sea Bunny, Richard only fell over in the mud once!

Glassing the hull
After long talks with Mr Oh our painter & jimmy Watt, the surveyor, we had agreement ( so many technical details- just to say the glass fibre resin has to be mixed correctly & applied in a tight time frame easy in Europe not so easy in Thai time) & felt happy that Mr Oh with new weighing scales, has the expertise  & was willing, to do the hull work with a team of 6 men. On day 1 of dry days the fibre glassing process started under Richard's supervision. This stage was finished in 3 days with no rain clouds building.

We took photos and copious paperwork to customs for an extension on the time Sea Bunny can stay in Thailand without a heavy fine and duty.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Phuket - itchily back to the grindstone,

Our Emirates flights back to KL were not full, so we were able to spread ourselves.  We only had a couple of hours in Dubai, just time to get a coffee and pastry. Arriving in KL in the evening we overnighted at the Concord Inn, near the main terminal. 

During the night Susan remarked on being a bit itchy.  Over the next few days she developed some 60 inflamed and very itchy red weals, identified as flea or bed bug bites.  These took about three weeks to go down, after a large doseof antibiotics and anti-histamines.

Back at Boat Lagoon we asked Jimmy Watt, the local surveyor, to check on the moisture readings. They were good, so jubillant we can proceed with repairs when the rain breaks.

Monday, July 2, 2012

UK visit 5 - Geocaching in the New Forest

After a few days with friends on the way down we arrived for the Bank Holiday weekend at James and Jane's in Bransgore.  The boys, Josh and Jake were lively as ever.
Out Travelbug
On a walk in the New Forest (actually "New" in the 11th century when it was a royal hunting reserve) we were introduced to Geocaching.  For those who are not familiar with this it involves using GPS to visit exact locations and searching for either a cache, containing a logbook and things left by previous finders, or a clue to the next location in a route that eventually leads to a cache.  In our case we had three smartphones between us, all giving slightly different directions. We discovered that, as our phones do not have compasses they can only accurately show the direction to the next coordinate when the phone is moving, so it can detect the direction of travel from the GPS change - same as a chartplotter on a boat or GPS unit in a car.
Despite this we followed the route to the cache, where we acquired  a much travelled "travelbug" which we took to deliver to a cache in Phuket on its way hopefully to New Zealand.