Saturday, May 21, 2011

More Boat Babble

Where else can you have dinner with intelligent, charming, well traveled, multinational, like minded friends and enjoy table conversation centered around the many faults associated with Fischer/ Panda gensets versus the virtues of the mighty Honda 2000? Where else but Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand can you whine about, cry over or heap praise on  carpenters, painters, machinists, electricians, mechanics, inflatable boat repair persons, outboard shops, electronics shops, banks, grocers, patisseries, hotel staff, internet service, restauranteurs,  fork lift drivers and massage girls. Well, there may be a couple places but none to compare. As the case may be it can be educational, enlightening, frustrating, infuriating or pretty darn boring around this place but there's usually at least one event a day worth remembering. Lunch or dinner with the yachtie group is always a good thing.


Our boat is coming along very well. The 'eyebrow' type biminy is done and looks very good. The upholstery work is underway and should be done soon. It won't be installed until the other work is completed and the boat is cleaned. The old galley tile, sinks and fixtures have been removed. We're waiting for the new custom sink to be fabricated before the installation of the new counter material begins. The big job, the teak decks, is proceeding rapidly. As of today only the anchor locker hatch and a couple small areas aft the turning blocks have not yet been covered. And a large area of the decks has received a first caulking.

The process, even after the teak is down, involves a tremendous amount of hand work. Most of the boards are routed before installation so there are grooves between the boards but then the grooves, each and every inch, are gone over with a draw knife to remove adhesive and even the edges. All the straight grooves are gone over again with a hand router. Then the interior of each groove is sanded by hand with course sand paper wrapped around a hack saw blade.  Everything with sharper curves is grooved again by Phon himself with a wood chisel and sanded by hand. All grooves are exactly 4mm in width.
Areas where planks which are curved in three dimensions come together with other planks which are curved in at least two separate dimensions call for a little art and Phon is certainly an artist in teak. He brings things together very well. After the grooves are smoothed and trimmed each is primed and then Sikaflex caulk is applied with caulking guns. This goes on thick and heavy with little need for neatness because the next step is to sand it all down a millimeter and that will remove the slop.

Then the grooves are re-caulked. Phon will go over everything  very carefully with a wood chisel and sand paper and then it will receive a final millimeter of sanding. The final decks will be 12 mm thick. If it's as good as other work I've seen him finish off it will be a thing of beauty. I really kind of hate the idea of reinstalling  deck hardware over some of the loveliest areas of carpentry.  Oh well.

The immediate plan is for Janet to arrive the 5th of June. "D Day" eve. I've used her as the hammer to pressure people to get the job done by then. I'm the nice guy but I tell the contractors that if things aren't done by her arrival WE are in the hurt locker. Phon smiles and his wife, who works on the boat every day, speaks some English and is a kick, laughs and lays a little Thai abuse on everyone. Basically telling us we better  have the boat  ready for 'madame'.
Nuie, Phon's wife.

People have asked about the long term plan. We will cruise this area of SE Asia this summer and do some land travel up into Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. We'll come home again in October and probably leave the boat in Langkawi, Malaysia. Come early next year the plan is to sail across the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and up the Red Sea and be in the Mediterranean by early summer. We'll see how it goes.

Love to all,
Bill & Janet
SV Airstream


Anonymous said...

You can babble all you want! And we don't even have teak decks! haha. Excellent blogs & we are enjoying them. Seeing we are behind you, can you touch on your next blog about how prices compare especially to Fiji? We are wavering on having work done there or in Fiji. What's your opinion? Sounds like Thailand, I'm thinking! Like several other cruisers we decided to stay in Fiji another season & actually be in big Sur this year. Much of it due to being gone 10 years but I have to admit the piracy issue contributed to our decision as well. We head to Fiji June 15th & will be there 2 months doing boat projects & being at Musket Cove. Take care & hi to Janet. Maybe we'll catch up one of these days.

Colleen 7 tom
s/v Mokisha

Anonymous said...

hi bill

karli and I miss you guys and karli especially appreciates you embracing the boat babble term. karli thinks you are nuts to do the indian ocean thing but I am proud you are not planning to let a bunch of thugs control your life!

cheers from r&k sv la palapa

Anonymous said...

That new deck sure looks great. Hope we will get to walk on it sometime if you let us. Stu and Sandy