Maintenance in exotic locations: preparing to haul

making seacock bases
It’s been said that the definition of cruising is performing maintenance in exotic locations. We recently hauled Totem for new anti-fouling paint, four through hull replacements, and a few other projects. Living the definition, propped high and dry on the hard.

We had not hauled Totem since April 2008. Five and a half years is a pretty phenomenal stretch without new bottom paint, but we did a lot of barnacle scraping in the last year. Definitely overdue.

Cruising generally comes with the gift (the luxury) of time, which is a good idea when hauling out. It’s all too easy for “project creep” to set in, especially when presented with the opportunity for quality work at bargain rates. However, in this instance, we had a schedule. Our friend Dan, who visited us in Raja Ampat earlier this year, was coming back! We had a date to meet him when he landed in Phuket, and that date gave us just a week to be out of the water.

lots of bronze

Project creep aside, a timeline is not a good starting point for going into a shipyard in a developing country where few of the management and hardly any of the staff speak English. But we had our one week…and we had our fingers crossed. Since luck favors the prepared, we focused on the prep.

Part of the prep was physical work. Jamie wanted to improve the way the through hulls were installed. This required fabricating doughnut shaped bases from fiberglass, which would be turned into a club sandwich with 5200 and 4200 in layers between the seacock and hull. This was partly to spread the load, and partly to better accommodate the difference between the curved hull and the very flat bronze base. We found fiberglass roving at bargain rates in Langkawi, and he prepared a layered rectangle built up to the desired thickness from which to cut out the round shaped bases, with a hole in the middle sized to the diameter of the fitting.

making seacock bases

He’d love a shop on Totem. Maybe when we are “empty nest” cruisers? For now, the cockpit and the side decks are the shop areas. Thanks goodness for an accommodating climate…not to mention, a really nice view. I guess that’s the “exotic locations” part.

Totem in Telaga

The other side of the prep was having all the materials for the job on hand. Most items, and maybe all, would be available at the shipyard- but it wasn’t a sure thing. If we needed to order any supplies in, the resulting delay would blow up timeline. So we had a gallon two-part primer, three gallons of anti fouling paint, and a selection of brushes, gloves, and protective union suit- not to mention the sandpaper, and epoxy for getting the hull prepped and faired.

We were ready: now, just a short hop from Malaysia to Thailand, with maze of fish traps and tidal navigation to get up the river to the shipyard.

first glimpse of PSS Satun

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7 Responses to Maintenance in exotic locations: preparing to haul

  1. Doug and Carla Scott December 6, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    Hope your haul-out projects go well and you are able to meet your timeline!

    • Behan Gifford December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry about the timeline every day- but we made it!

  2. kirsty higgins December 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    I am loving hearing about your adventures and how you all go about your daily business; repairs etc, it’s fascinating! Is that a kombucha brew I spy on your bench – cool!

    • Behan Gifford December 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      thanks Kirsty- and well spotted, that is a jar of kombucha brewing away behind the bronze boat jewelry!

  3. Dracey December 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Looking forward to hearing all about the repairs, and changes aboard Totem. Reading about your family’s adventures brings a smile to my face.

    • Behan Gifford December 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      thank you Dracey- I’m glad to know it.

  4. M Martin March 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi, Nice blog. Maintenance of yacht charters in exotic locations is very hard. Normal wear and tear should be maintained. When sailing in Croatia you have to ensure that your yacht is in good working order.
    Thanks for your post.

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