February 21, 2018: Our latest round of boat works started when we hauled the boat in April 2017 and painted the green hull (see previous post here), continued upon our return from our summer trip home to Canada until we splashed (see previous post here) and didn’t stop until a few minutes before we untied the lines from the Subic Bay Yacht Club on February 21, 2018.
We tend to treat this as a job. Our work day starts at 0800 and we knock off around 1630 or 1700, with an hour for lunch. Six days a week. Although we had some great people who helped us with big projects like painting and stainless work, Chris takes on many of the projects himself, while Sandra runs errands, pays bills, shops for and makes food, organizes contractors, cleans and generally tries to stay out of the way. Of course, boat work never really ends, but here’s an update of what we’ve been up to since the end of October.
On the Deck
We don’t tend to spend a lot of time on the deck when we’re in the marina. It’s just too hot and dusty. But once we’re away from the dock, we live out here, following the shade around the boat. Our changes on the deck are generally operational or for making this space more livable.
|Chris designed and our stainless fabricator built an aft rope reel to accommodate 600 feet of Samson MFP Floatline. This was installed in the railing of the aft deck before we left the boatyard. We’ve had the line on board in storage for two years. It freed up a lot of room when we moved it from the forward stateroom to the reel. We are now ready to stern tie.|
|Our stainless fabricator installed a bracket on the starboard rail so Chris could install a new winch for our mainsail. This change was necessary so we could manage both sails at the same time with our new hardtop bimini in place.|
|Chris worked with the stainless fabricator to create a mount on the stern railing to store our 18kg Danforth stern anchor out of the way but in the area where it will be used. The anchor had previously taken up a large amount of space buried at the bottom of one of our deck lockers.|
||We kept Rolan the canvas maker busy with projects big and small. He made us a custom shade cloth using Coolaroo and Sunbrella that covers the entire forward deck, making that area much more usable when we will be in one place for an extended length of time. It also helps keep the inside of MOKEN cooler too. Rolan also made us two Sunbrella cushions for our dinghy, one of which incorporates a storage bag underneath one of the seats. This means no more sitting on hard, uber hot aluminum seats. He also made custom Sunbrella covers for our horn and FLIR camera, and a sock for our wind generator blade that acts as a brake and keeps the blades from spinning when not in use.
||We got a sheet of honeycomb polymer from Manila and had Tony, our fibreglasser, make four new steps for our aft stairs and two new lids for our side cockpit lockers. These replaced plywood core steps and lids that had water ingress and were rotting.
||We now have two different sets of custom stainless racks for our kayaks. One set is mounted on the pilot house roof and that’s where we now store the kayaks when we are underway. The other ones are mounted on the rails on each side of the forward deck and the kayaks can be stored here when we are in an area where we are likely to use them regularly. These racks fold out of the way when not in use. The really nice thing about these racks is that they have freed up our forward deck where we used to store the kayaks, and given us a lot more deck space.|
|While we were in the boatyard, our fabricator made a stainless pole for our wind generator, with two bracing struts attached to the rail. Getting the wind generator onto the pole was not an easy job. In the first couple of attempts, Oliver’s guys passed the unit to Chris, who was standing on the rails, but when he went to place it in the top of the mounting hole, it wouldn’t fit, although in earlier tests it had. A light sanding of the fitting and a bit of dish soap didn’t help. Switch to plan B. The pole was disconnected from the braces and aft mount, and lowered to the deck before carefully moving it to the dock. Here, the wind generator was secured in place on the end of the pole. Then the whole unit was carefully lifted back onto MOKEN and it took all of us working in unison to lift to up in place, bolt it to the mount and hold it while the braces were reinstalled. Whew. Those were a few tense moments. Now, we discovered that the two braces didn’t seem to provide quite enough stability to the pole with all that extra weight at the top. We were back in the water at the yacht club, where welding is normally not allowed, but we were able to obtain permission from the office to have the welder come on board and install a third brace. With the easy part behind us, now Chris had to run the wiring. This involved clearing out several closets and lockers so he could run the wire through these spaces and under the bed to the inverters. Testing the wind generator would have to wait until we were out of the marina, as we simply ran out of time.|
|Getting from the deck to the roof of the pilothouse is not an easy feat, unless you can climb like a monkey. You wouldn’t want to do it in rough conditions or rainy weather. So we designed a stainless ladder that attaches to the forward railing on the roof and folds down to the forward deck, or folds up onto the roof out of the way. Now climbing up is a breeze and it has opened up even more deck space for lounging about. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and gets the best breezes.|
|We quite often borrow ideas from other yachts and incorporate them into MOKEN. Chris really liked the stainless bow guard he had spotted in photos of ICE, another Diesel Duck. So he had our favourite stainless fabricator make one for us too. After measurements were taken and the first design was delivered, Chris decided to cut it back in size a bit. The final version was mounted with heavy duty adhesive and sealed around the edges. This should help protect our new paint job from pesky anchor nicks.|
|We installed a new horn and mount on the pilothouse roof.|
|Oliver’s crew looked after some white paint touch-ups on the deck and we took our starboard pilothouse door off for prep by Al and spray painting by Carlo. We also had new stainless door handles made for both of the pilothouse doors.|
|There was still a bit of green painting to do as well. We sent our aluminum anchor windlass cover to be sandblasted, treated with an etching primer, primed and painted. We also did the hatch for the fuel intake, which had seized at the hinges and took a lot of effort to remove. This one required a bit of extra fabrication so the dissimilar metals of the hinge and the lid won’t come into contact with each other in the future. These two items used to be white, but we opted to paint them green as we had green paint on hand, and we think the added splash of colour on the otherwise mostly white and light grey top deck is fun. The finishing touch for the green hull was some detailed work around the portholes. This was also completed.|
|We had been planning to reapply our dark grey Resene antiskid on the deck, as it was stained after all the painting and cracking or bubbling in some areas, notably the forward deck, bow area and pilothouse roof. We had one of Oliver’s guys working on the prep for weeks. Russell started the job, Erik took over from him and Al finished it. When it came time to apply the Resene and we opened the cans leftover from the application two years before, the paint was off. It simply wouldn’t stick. So we scrambled to find enough cans of light grey Kiwi Grip to do the job. We almost had enough for the whole deck. One deck section and the pilothouse roof will have to wait. The new light grey colour is much easier to walk on in the hot sun, but it certainly shows the dirt more. Oliver applied the Kiwi Grip with help from Al and Patrick.|
|Remember all that white polyurethane overspray that ended up on MOKEN just after we painted the green hull? Well it needed to be polished off the white deck areas, the stainless and the solar panels. Russell did the stainless, Al and Patrick looked after the white paint, and Chris cleaned the solar panels.|
|Chris added an external DC outlet on the aft deck so we can plug in our dive hookah system.|
|Before we left the boatyard, a lot of the deck hardware had been reinstalled after the painting was finished. But there were other items that had to wait until after the anti-skid was repainted. In the final days before our departure, Chris went around the deck and knocked off these items.|
|We wanted to leave Subic Bay and start cruising on February 21st. There was just one item left outstanding. We had sent our aluminum davits that we use to retrieve the fish for our paravanes to the fabricator in June to have them copied in stainless. Eight months later, we were still waiting. There had been many delays. It took a long time to get the right size of stainless tubing. Then their bending machine broke when they tried to bend the tubing. After several trips to the shop to check on progress and a flurry of texts on our day of departure, the guys delivered them at 1400 and soon had them in place. Whew. It gave us just enough time to depart on schedule for our appointment at the fuel dock. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute.|
Up the Mast
Doing work up the mast generally requires several trips up and down in a harness with someone playing out or reeling in the safety line on the winch. Chris is the climber and Sandra is the line handler.
|Chris mounted our FLIR infrared and thermal camera unit partway up the mast and ran the wiring down through the mast and into the pilothouse.|
|Chris installed a new, brighter LED anchor light at the top of the mast and two LED lights on the spreader, that light the whole deck.|
|While we were in Canada, we had sent our sails off to Hyde Sails in Cebu for restitching and repair. Upon their return, we put the mainsail and foresail back onto their respective roller furlings. This year we really do intend to try the sails without the engine to see how the boat handles.|
In the Engine Room
Chris’ man cave got some much needed TLC and a few added creature comforts.
|The flooring in the engine room is designed in sections that can be removed to access the bilge and systems below. The sections were removed, stripped of the old rubber flooring and the contact cement that held it in place, prepped and painted grey. Then Chris installed black carpet that we had brought with us from Canada. A luxury when he’s lying on it to repair some hard to reach item.|
|We had the sea chest polished and added a new fitting to enable it to be vented after cleaning the strainer.|
|We got our new Reverso oil change pump up and running.|
|We replaced the engine exhaust lines with silicone lines.|
|Chris added an auxiliary breaker panel in the engine room.|
|We swapped a faulty Jabsco fresh water pump for a new one.|
|There’s always a lot of regular maintenance to do and checks to make in preparation for departure. Chris changed the oil and filters on the John Deere engine and Northern Lights generator, polished fuel and topped up the engine coolant.|
|Oliver and his guys were busy washing the outside of MOKEN on the morning of our departure, so she was gleaming by the time we cast off the lines.|
At the Helm
When we’re underway, someone is at the helm at all times. Our changes here were focused on providing additional tools for safe navigation, adding redundancy, upgrading some of our existing systems and keeping everything close at hand.
|We installed a second Raymarine depth sounder transducer while MOKEN was out of the water, and Chris connected it to the monitoring station at the helm. Now if one fails, we always have a back up.|
|Chris installed two new Raymarine A97 touch screen monitors so we can increase the number of instruments we can monitor at one time. We also purchased CMap charts for our current cruising area (Philippines and later this year, Malaysia) to run on these monitors. (Our older Raymarine E120 monitor runs Navionics charts). We can see what’s happening on the new A97 monitors with two apps that we can sync to run on our phones or iPads (RayControl and RayView), which is a nice feature to have.|
|Chris replaced an old camera system with a new Rear View system. This involved installing the monitor in the bulkhead above the helm. We also have four cameras. Two are already in place and operational in the engine room and aft deck. Two more will be installed later on at the swim deck and up the mast.|
|With the FLIR camera unit mounted on the mast and the wiring in place, Chris cut a hole in the bulkhead above the helm station and mounted the controller and connected everything to the monitors. We haven’t actually tried it yet. I’m sure that will happen soon.|
|We installed a BIOS wireless thermometer which measures inside and outside temperature and provides a reading at the helm. Currently it’s just 35C outside. It topped 40C the other day.|
|Chris also cut a hole in the port side of the bulkhead and added a second VHF radio. We now have an ICOM IC M602 and an ICOM IC M604.|
|Our old AIS unit was not working well. Chris replaced it with a new Raymarine AIS-650. Some of the countries where we plan to cruise shortly (Malaysia and Thailand for example) now require that all pleasure yachts have a functioning AIS.|
|We replaced our primary hand held ComNav auto pilot controller with one that is now built in to the helm station. The hand held will now be used for back up.|
|We installed a new Victron BMV-702 battery monitor at the companionway.|
|Chris installed a new breaker panel at the helm with easy access to navigation and anchor lights, engine room lights and blower, window wipers, window wash water and window defogger. He also replaced the window wipers and fixed the wash system.|
|Last, but not least, we purchased a portable Garmin inReach global satellite tracker before we left Canada in October. This little unit allows us to display our track, send text messages or emails via satellite and check weather when we are out of cell phone range. We could also send an SOS if necessary. What a great gadget. You can follow our route here.|
In the Galley
One thing we didn’t like when we bought MOKEN was the AC apartment-style refrigerator in the galley. It simply used too much power. This wasn’t such an issue as long as we were at the dock and plugged in to shore power, but it became a big issue when we were on the hook and generating our own power. Our solar panels couldn’t keep up and we’d have to run the generator at least once every two days. So changing the fridge was a big priority now that we’d be leaving the marina and cruising more or less full time.
|Last year we gave away the LG apartment-size AC fridge that came with MOKEN. When we moved back on board after our stint in the boat yard, Chris’ first priority was installing two new stainless Isotherm Inox CR-130 DC fridges in the same space. These use very little power and should free us from our reliance on the generator. Now our solar panels and wind generator should be able to keep our batteries topped up most of the time.|
|While there was really nothing wrong with our DanFoss compressor and the freezer plates in our chest freezer, they were undersized for the space. The bottom half froze but the area above the plates did not. We’d heard good things about the Ozefridge, so we ordered one from Australia about a year ago. It took up a lot of space in our storage room (AKA the forward stateroom), so one day Chris decided to install it. Check out their website. It is a Eutectic plate system that is very efficient and we highly recommend it. We now have much more usable freezer space and Sandra went right out and filled it up with lots of meat, seafood, butter, cheese, ice cream and other tasty treats. Sadly, this still hasn’t solved the problem of having to dig to the bottom to find what we want.|
Here are a few other projects that we’ve been working on.
|Halfman and MacMac were enlisted to climb into the engine room bilge and aft bilge to prep and paint these areas.|
|Chris replaced all of the remaining old halogen reading lights throughout MOKEN with 3W LED reading lights with touch dimming. Chris also swapped out older lights inside cabinets and lockers with LED strip lighting.|
|When we arrived back on MOKEN, our fairly new LED lights in our pilothouse flashed on and died. I contacted the supplier, Dr. LED, and they quickly sent us replacement innards for just the cost of mailing this to the Philippines. Chris swapped out the inner workings of the lights and we are once again fully operational.|
|Keeping things in place in rough sea conditions is important. To this effect, we had hold downs made to keep the batteries in place and a bracket made to keep the Sony TV in the Salon from moving back and forth.|
|While Chris was busy getting our stainless fabricator to make all sorts of goodies, he also asked them to make this. Who doesn’t need a heavy duty, super heavy, polished stainless steel prop puller. In a pinch, it can also be used as barbells, or a spare anchor.|
|We recruited Jackie for a few days to help with cleaning inside MOKEN and getting her ready for our departure. It’s always nice to start off with a fresh, clean boat.|
Somewhere in the midst of all of this, the marina increased the berthing rates substantially and we decided to shift from our berth at C dock to a less expensive (but still vastly more expensive than what we’d paid before) new berth at G dock. Not only was this inconvenient in the midst of all the boat projects, but the new dock had a different style of power connection, so we ran around trying to find a new plug at the end of December when all the hardware stores were closed between Christmas and New Years for an extended holiday. We missed our neighbours at C dock and we didn’t like all the motion at G dock, as boats passed by us more often on their way in and out of the marina and didn’t bother to go slow to reduce their wake.
The big price increase and the move did give us the extra push to be on our way, and may have been a factor in the reason why Chris opted to go work on a helicopter in Thailand for two weeks at the end of January. It delayed our cruising departure but it also helped to replenish our cruising kitty. Next up, we actually leave Subic Bay after almost six years at the yacht club. Where does the time go?
Extra special thanks to everyone who helped us maintain and get MOKEN ready to go and who’ve looked after us for nearly six years in Subic Bay:
- Oliver Cruz and his crew (Al, Patrick, Russell, Carlo and Erik) for all the painting, prep and cleaning outside
- JB Diane for diving our hull and all the guys on B/C dock at the marina for being great neighbours
- Ador Tan and his welders, fabricators and staff at ART Metal Fabrication (Rein, Ricky, Alvin, Rachael and more)
- Ray and his workers at Wolfe Marine (Ritchie, Rollie, Billy and more) and Bill at Seahorse Marine for allowing us to be under the corporate membership at the yacht club
- Jared Leong and his staff at Watercraft Ventures Corp
- Rolan Abegonia for all his canvas work
- Tony Cabiara for all the fibreglass work
- MacMac and Halfman for crawling inside and painting the bilges
- Belle at Broadwater Marine
- Ivy, Mercy, Miguel and Andy at Subic Asia Pacific Marine (APM)
- RGIT Industrial Trading for helping us with hoses and fittings
- Jhun at OBP Trading
- Everyone at Ho Tee Hee, the best place for stainless hardware in Olongapo, Goodyear Hardware and Bacon Brothers.
- Pecxon and all the marina staff at the Subic Bay Yacht Club
- And everyone else we’ve missed.