29 December, 2006

Near Tragedy Averted with Malua Aground

We were preparing Malua to sail out to sea to rendezvous with the Sydney to Hobart yachts as they sailed south past Batemans Bay. We crossed the bar on high water and secured the vessel to my mooring off Square Head in Batemans Bay. We left Malua that evening in light winds and a moderate swell.
At 4:00am on Wednesday 27 January 2006 Nicola, Iain and I left our house and headed off to launch the Rib to travel out to Malua on the mooring. In the darkness as we traveled over the bar Malua was not on its mooring. We could see at a distance the white of her hull in the surf of the Square Head rocky shoreline. My heart sank as I saw the waves crash over the bow of the vessel as it rode the swell on its side. It was hard aground on the sand meters from the rocks.
We came along side and scrambled aboard, it was listing to starboard at an alarming angle. I quickly radioed a “Mayday” asking for assistance. It was 5:00am and the tide was going out. Terry and Zena on Sivershot answered immediately and said they would steam to our assistance. The Coastal Patrol offered to send a crew. The Water Police contacted me but said they would not come to my assistance preferring to help the glamour boys of the Sydney to Hobart yachts!
Iain in the RIB took the main anchor out about 15 meters but could not pull it further as the waves were breaking over the RIB. We then ran a strong line out to Sivershot to attempt to pull the vessel off the sand.
With every wave we moved inches forward as the anchor strained and Sivershot pulled. We had turned the bow directly into the waves and they now washed down either side of the vessel.
The Coastal Patrol RIB arrived and took my second anchor some 50 meters off the starboard bow to prevent it being washed towards the rocks not more than 10 meters from Malua. Their efforts to pull the mast head over to reduce the draft had little effect with the falling tide.
At approximately 7:00am I called off the rescue effort as the tide was almost at it lowest point. The RIB returned to base but Silvershot maintained the pull on the vessel ensuring that it would not turn towards the rocks. I kept the strain on both the anchors from the windlass and the two main winches in the cockpit. All the lines remained taught at all times. The relay on the anchor winch was not keeping up with the load and tripped out on many occasions. During the wait for the high tide I rewired an extra large relay into the circuit to solve this problem. It helps to know your vessel and how to address problems.
Denny arrived along the shore to capture the near disaster on film. I was so glad to talk with her.
All we had to do was wait and prepare the vessel for the high tide and to drag it off the sand. The hatches remained water tight and no water had entered the vessel. A cupboard had come open and the contents were on the floor. One of my tool boxes had come adrift and gouged its way across the sole. Further than that everything below remained secure in its place.
Malua was now well over on its side with water up to the starboard gunnels and the vessel resting on its side, keel and rudder. The sand gradually washed away from the keel and made an indent in the sand. A potential hazard later in the operation. Thankfully Malua lay on sand with the rocks a mere 10 meters from the vessel but none directly in contact with the hull. I climbed off Malua and walked around to inspect for damage but everything was intact. I also survey the area for potential rocky outcrops and the route to the deepest water.
At about 10:30 the tide started to rise. The swell continue to march at Malua who started to rise to each wave, unfortunately as the bow rose the rudder started to bang into the sand. This went on endlessly as the tide rose. A sickening noise down below.
The Coastal Patrol contacted me to say they were waiting for the tide to rise so they could cross the bar. I confirmed the rescue plan with Mick Kelly who had received permission from the Eden Police to assist in the rescue. A major change from the previous policy of not assisting stranded vessels. My volunteer time spent on the crew of the BB Coastal Patrol has paid dividends. Thanks guys.
At 11:30 we had dragged Malua more than 5 meters from the low tide position. The tide was rising fast to reach its highest point at 14:15 – almost a meter higher than the low water mark.
The cavalry arrived in the form of the Coastal Patrol Waveney Type Lifeboat. Iain in our RIB retrieved their tow rope and I secured it to the bow cleat of Malua. The RIB Rescue started to pull the mast head line to reduce the draft.
The power was applied to Malua’s engine and those of the other vessels. The lines stretched to breaking point and Malua moved slowly forward. We moved out of the hole around the keel and the vessel lay over on its starboard side as another set of swells lifted the boat. Slowly we moved towards deeper water, then Malua was free under its own power.
The lifeboat retrieved its towrope and the Rib Rescue recovered its line to the mast head. Silvershot let loose my lines and I pulled in both anchors.
The rescue was successful and an environmental disaster averted thanks to all involved. I motored Malua back to it berth in the marina. The only damage appears to be the end of the keel and the bottom of the rudder.

21 December, 2006

Fitting Front Window

The final steps in completing the dodger are now in place. I have built a frame to hold the Lexan in place when I secure it to the dodger. Because it is bent this frame will have to stay until the silica is dry and the Lexan is held firm. I have placed rubber spacers in the window frame so the silica will not be pressed out by the frame. Within a few days the hard dodger will be complete. All I need now is to give it a final polish and fit the hand rails

11 December, 2006

Side window in place

The dodger is fitted and securely bolted down to the deck. It looks great and fits perfectly. I will put a wooden cover strip over the bolt heads to make it look finished.

The side windows went in without much of a hitch although it was a lot of work. The front window will be the challenge with the curvature. I will embarked on that today.

10 December, 2006

Final Stages of Dodger

The final stage of the dodger is in sight. I am concentrating on the inside to make it look less rough. I filled in the spaces with foam and used a bit of micro cells to smooth off the inside. It has turned out rather well with a smooth surface. I flow coated the inside and sprayed it but unfortunately ran out of the Almond Ivory used on Malua.

Vince told me last week that his Lexus Lexan Mate did not have the dark grey Lexan. I had suspected this for some time which confirmed that I should have walked away from Newcastle on the first morning as I wanted to do. Hindsight is wonderful!

I have now sourced the polycarbonate and will fit the dodger down at the coast.

17 November, 2006

Hard Dodger Fitting

Yesterday I started to fit the hard dodger onto Malua. It was quite a challenge because the wind was blowing and it was cold. The wind reached almost 30 knots directly from the Antarctic. I had to keep it tied down and move it carefully when I needed to cut the bottom to fit the boat. It took much longer then I expected but in the end the fit was very good indeed.

I started to form a glassfiber lip on the inside of the dodger which will be used to secure the dodger to the vessel. Today I will add more layers and start the create a lip on the front outside. This will be removable and secured by bolts. The solution to the opening for the halyard on either side still has to be solved.

When the fitting is complete I will remove the dodger and take it to Canberra to complete the inside and spray it with the cream flowcoat.

26 October, 2006

Additional Battery Bank

I finally added the additional battery bank which is 4 six volt Sonnenschein SB6 200 amp-hour under the aft cabin bunk. It fitted well and I was able to secure then with little effort. Then begun the task of rewiring Malua to divide the electronics from the motor based equipment. It was obvious that I had to isolate the chart plotter from the other components. After 18 hours of sailing with the autohelm the draw on the current fell below the chart plotters cut-off voltage and it would cut out.

To overcome this I split the electronics on one battery bank and the motor based equipment (winches, windlass and autohelm) connected to the second battery bank. There is still the starter battery. To achieve this I had to install a second four position heavy duty switch (Off, 1, 2 both). This then had to be wired and the other wires re-routed to suit the new layout. I created the attached wiring diagram well before tackling the job. It was easy to follow and everything fell into place. I also uncover an anomaly that had challenged me since I completed the original wring. The power no goes off then the negative is switched off.

The test will come with a overnight sail with the autohelm working away but with 1,000 amp hour I am sure there is enough capacity. The gen-set will have to work hard to keep the capacity up but with a 150 amp alternator and a smart regulator it will find it easy. The two solar panel are able to put in 8 amps of current which will ensure it is always topped up.

14 October, 2006

Glassing the Plug

Yesterday, the hottest day of the spring we decided to fibreglass the plug. Vince's yacht is in his factory and the deck is right under the roof so the temperature was right up there like an oven. As a result the fibreglass went off well before time and we struggled to get it wetted out. In fact it was a debacle. The plug was covered with different thicknesses of glass, some of which were well covered in resin while the others were still dry. Thank goodness it is only a mould.

I designed the windows on the plug then set about cutting the wood to form the frames in the female mould. These will be screwed to the inside of the mould.

Vince will remove the female mould from the plug and buff the edges to form the final mould. I will then return to Newcastle to lay-up my dodger before he does the same for his dodger.

07 October, 2006

Fitting dodger plug

I took the dodger plug to Newcastle to fit it to Vince's Adams 40 which is still under construction. This gave me a change to check the measurements and to see it in situ. I think it will look good although there is still a long way to go so there is still a down side risk.
Collected the sails from Noth loft after having a snuffer fitted to the big spinaker. They repaired some wear and tear on the working sails. I am still very pleased with the choice of North sails - the value, quality and service.

02 October, 2006

Hard Dodger

A Hard dodger is an extra which few yachts add after the event. In most cases they look like add-ons either because they lack design or are constructed from cheap and nasty material. Well a great looking integrated dodger is my challenge to add to Malua. While in the Pacific it rained and when I say rained it came down in bucketfuls. As a consequence the canvas dodger leaked and the water came down the companionway and into the saloon. In Europe it may not rain with such ferocity but it will rain for long periods of time and the canvas will be saturated.

I took measurements from my existing dodger and made a pattern. Then set about constructing the initial plug in wood. After a few design changes I set the final design. Then came the construction from timber I had in the yard. When I had almost finished I received a telephone call from Vince in Newcastle who is building an Adams 40 just like Malua who offered to do the fiberglassing. There seemed to be a win win for all so I said Ok I will take the plug to Newcastle and assist them construct the female mould then make the final product. I realised that transporting a 1.5 by 2.4 meter mould was not going to be easy. I had constructed it to stay in one place. I then had to add strengthening battens and many more pieces of timber to get it not to twist and fall apart.

The final product is now ready to ship which I will do on Thursday.

25 September, 2006

Maintenance at River Quays

After the setbacks of the bar and Ulladulla slip I felt it was time to make some progress. I called River Quays to see if they had a free slot to lift Malua out of the water using their travel lift. Friday would be OK. With the weather forecast of wind from the south at 15 to 25 knots it was a great invitation to take off for Sydney. I left Ulladulla at noon on Tuesday with the breeze behind me. This wind continued all afternoon and right through the night. I had the full main up with the genoa on the spinnaker pole. This continued all night. It was a great down wind sail.
I arrived outside Sydney heads at about 5:00am and set a course for Balmoral Beach to put the anchor down for a few hour sleep. The sun was just below the horizon as my head hit the pillow. I slept for a few hours then picked up the anchor and motored under the bridge to Blackwattle Bay under the ANZAC bridge right next to the fish market.
I again dropped the anchor next to Tiaki – Peter and Jenny who I had met during their stop at BB on route from South Australia. That evening we had a great meal at the local pub.
The following day I motored up the river to River Quays who lifted me out of the water on Friday using their travel lift. Was I relieved to have Malua out the water.
No to get on with the reason for all this effort. The replacement of the shaft bearing in the skeg. Stuart had helped me make a set of pullers to remove the flange next to the flexible joint where the shaft attaches to the engine. This came off with ease – a dream. I then removed the Autoprop propeller. Again with a purpose built puller. Now the real job. The bearing in the skeg. The shaft was removed and I put the puller threaded rod through the bearing and set up the pipe spacer on to the skeg. By turning the threaded rod the bearing slowly moved out of the skeg into the pipe. It was a tough job – taking almost two hours of solid effort. Finally the skeg dropped out. I had catch a taxi to D H Porter to swap the bearing I had for a narrower one. This then was forced back into the skeg with the puller reconfigured the other way round.
No push the shaft pack through the new bearing. It would not fit. The compression of the bearing in the skeg had reduced the size of the hole. Simple process of reaming out the hole to suit the shaft. A great fit.
Next was to reattach the engine flange, dripless bearing and the propeller. I regreased the prop. During all this activity I was washing the antifouling and applying 14 liters of Micron Extra to the hull. That was two coats with a bit extra on the leading edges and around the rudder.
On Monday morning I was lifted back into the water and motored to Blackwattle Bay to wait for the compass adjuster.

06 September, 2006

Ulladulla Slip

At the second attempt we motored over the Batemans Bay bar at 4:30 in the afternoon. There was a little bit more water and I think we took a better route. Stuart and Richard were rather relieved. The trip to Ulladulla was rather uneventful in that there was no wind, as a consequence we had to motor all the way with the autopilot doing the work. We arrived at 10:30 pm and logged off from the local Coastal Patrol. We then secured Malua along side a yacht which had sailed from Tasmania and were on their way north. Fortunately they had not gone to sleep so they helped us with our lines. After the early mornings start and excitement we all turned in and slept uneventfully through to the next morning.
The crew left in the morning to drive back to Batemans Bay. I cleaned up the boat before Denny arrived to take be back to the house. I arrived the next day to prepare for the evening’s slipping. I measured up the cradle and then made marks on Malua where the cradle should go.
Just before the top of the tide I motored over to the slip and waited for the manager to let the cradle back into the water. I then motored up on to the cradle. It was obvious that I had not made the marks and more water was needed for Malua to sit correctly on the cradle. I secured lines to the cradle and winched them as tight as they would go. Not a slight movement.As the tide was about to go out I for the second time in a few days, I had to back out of being stuck without sufficient water. With the engine in full astern the boat was not moving. I had to take the lines attached to the cradle forward and use the windlass to pull the boat off the cradle. What a relief to be free floating again. What to do next?

Aground on Batemans Bay Bar

With no success with the local marina management I decided to sail north to Ulladulla to put Malua on their slip. I was accompanied by Stuart and Richard. The high tide was at 5:30 am so we decided to leave the dock at six. We would be just a few minutes after the top of the tide. I had plotted a course slightly south of the leads because I knew that NSW Maritime could not move the leads to show the best passage across the bar. We moved slowly towards the bar expecting to touch for a few moments as we crossed the bar. Well be hit the bar OK and didn’t move off as expected. Luckily it is just sand although rather well packed. I applied more power and hoisted the main and genoa to get the boat to lean and reduce the draft. There was a slight swell which assisted our forward motion but we seemed to be going nowhere. The boat was solidly aground.
After about 30 minutes and the reality of the tide falling I thought it prudent to contact the BB Coastal Patrol to give us some assistance. We continued to drive forward moving the vessel slightly NE. We were starting to heel but not make any progress. We took stock of the situation and started to look for deep water which much to our surprise was sighted off the port quarter.I put the engine astern with full throttle, hoping that the swell would lift us off. Fortunately Malua broke free and we went astern into some deeper water. Not wanting to chance our luck any more we steamed back towards the breakwater. At that point the Coastal Patrol vessel appeared much to their disappointment. We drew alongside and thanked them for the offer of assistance. We steamed back into the Marina to wait for the afternoon tide which would give us an extra 400mm.

09 August, 2006

Sevenstar Yacht Transport

At last I have secured a spot for Malua on a ship to transport it from Sydney to the Med. The experience was easy with a very efficient email communication to Amsterdam. This is so unlike the Dockwise rip-off that I had endured earlier in the year. The ship is carrying a number of Sydney to Hobart yacht to Europe for the sailing season so I am sure it will leave on time.
Next week Malua is to go through its annual NSW Maritime commercial survey which should be quite straight forward this year. I then take the vessel to Ulladulla to the slip to replace the propeller shaft bearing and the rudder seal and bearing. Quite a big job if things go wrong but I am not expecting any real trouble.
The Batemans Bay Marina Cooperative is still being very uncooperative in not replying to my requests to slip the vessel and not responding to my telephone calls. I now have a strategy to put some pressure on them and the Department.

03 August, 2006

Batemans Bay Coastal Patrol Lifeboat

The lifeboat of the Batemans Bay Coastal Patrol.
If I am not on Malua, I am on the crew of the Batemans Bay Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol. We have three vessels: RIB, Shark Cat and the Waverney Lifeboat. We have a great crew and have undertaken a few "rescues" but nothing challenging. It is good to keep my hand in and to see how other organisations do things. It is quite different to the South African NSRI which, when I was a member was a very can-do organisation, with well prepared vessels to tackle the big seas out of Gordons Bay near the Cape of Storms.

24 July, 2006

Spent the weekend on Malua getting the computer setup ready. I have now connected the laptop back into the Simrad chartplotter and Apelco GPS. They both send NMEA data to the Computer where I use the data in Oziexplorer and other charting systems. I have also connected the Icom HF radio to the computer to get emails and weather faxes. I use to do that in the Pacific so I know it works. I will have to register wit sail mail again or go over to the ham setup. The next step will be the new battery system and the separation of the usage into electronics and motors. That will give me more flexability and redundancy plus much greater power resources 1000ah. More than enough.

13 July, 2006

The Batemans Bay Marina Cooperative is up to its tricks again. They have for the second time refused to take my vessel onto the slip. This time I do not think they have any cause to deny me entry onto the slip. I will take this to the Department of Lands to say they are in breach of their license agreement. If necessary I will take it to the courts but their approach just can not continue to support their "friends" and target those that go against their method of running a marina. (I'm not allowed to say it is cu**upt) No rules and charges for "friends" while the others have to suffer. Lets see what the next step will be.

12 July, 2006

This is the card Nicola sent me for my birthday. It is great. Posted by Picasa

11 July, 2006

Got Waterways (maritime) notice to undergo annual survey. I've scheduled this for Tuesday 21 August as the only time they will be in the district. I will have to update some of my flares and have the liferaft serviced. After it is completed I will do the electrical work and also the shaft. Something to work towards.

09 July, 2006

Here is Malua in Batemans Bay Marina at the start of 2006. It is high tide. I have the tender on the foredeck. Posted by Picasa
Got the paperwork for the boat survey yesterday. I have to undertake an annual survey to keep Malua up to a standard and to be able to charter it. My next challenge will be to get onto the local Batemans Bay slip and to do the work to get it through the survey. This will mean updating the flares and some of the other time based systems.
I have completely redesigned the electrical system to add four new batteries and to route the power into two types - motors and electronics. This will save the loss of power when a motor starts up. It will also add some extra amp hours to use in an achorage. I will have to delay the implementation until after the survey inspection.

04 July, 2006

Started to plan the route from Batemans Bay here in Australia via Darwin then through the Red Sea to the Med. The seasons are not in my favour so I will have to either wait or go early. On balance I will wait and leave Darwin in July next year. By then I will have got the boat ready to a standard I will be pleased with. I have a lot to do and also to try and get a good crew. Well I will take one step at a time.

29 June, 2006

I have finally heard from the Australian Agents of Dockwise. He does not want my custom at any price. I have to deal with the American Principals who have not got back to me for a few days. The internet is littered with stories of Dockwise letting yacht cruisers down with changed and cancelled schedules. I will wait until I hear from Dockwise USA before I pass an opinion of the company. Have now waited a few days and no word from Dockwise. This is the company that pleaded guilty to anti-trust (Non-competitive) trade practices regarding setting prices for their type of vessels. Well I will see what they do and start to make alternative plans.Posted by Picasa

25 June, 2006

Here is Malua off Malua Bay near Batemans Bay in NSW Australia. Iain, my son and I had sailed to meet the Sydney to Hobart yachts as they passed south alomng the coast and we sailed past the headland. Denny took the photo with Jimmy Island in the background.
Posted by Picasa
Great disappointment today. I have received an updated quote from Dockwise with a price to ship Malua, my 42ft yacht from Brisbane to the Med and accepted their offer. I told them to draw up the contract. They came back with an increased price almost double the original price. This is now the sixth price I have received for the same vessel and the same voyage. All previous prices have been almost the same. I can not explain what has gone wrong so I have told the local agent to go away and come up with a final price similar to the previous quotes. We will wait and see.

18 June, 2006

This is the first postings on my blog in preparation to sailing Malua my 42ft Adams yacht to Europe. I have the alternative to ship the vessel via the Panama Canal.
over the following months I will write this journal then continue it while on the cruise.
Spent the day creating a new site for Nicola. I published it at www.ozemail.com.au/~currentinfo
I hope she will like it.
I will have to update my site www.malua.com.au in the near future to keep it fresh.

17 June, 2006

First effort

This is the first post to this blog. I will be adding photos over the next few days. I hope you like them and will add your selection to the blog.