That end-of-year project announced in an earlier blog article arrives!
To recap, in April last year we used Marly of Yachts Repair in Yacht Haven Phuket to strip and revarnish the cabin soles in the saloon and galley, which were showing their age. That part of the story has already been covered in the blog article Refit at Yacht Haven Phuket.
Teak decks are well past their prime after 14 years, having spent most of their life in the tropics, and also having had big seas crashing over them during numerous ocean passages.
We were so impressed with Yachts Repair’s approach, workmanship and attention to detail, we decided to bite the (££) bullet and ask Marly to replace the teak decks from the cockpit forwards. He estimated work could be completed in approximately 5 weeks, and suggested it would definitely be better for us not to be living on board during that time. A good excuse for some land travel. (See the blogs on Myanmar and Indochina.)
So on 2nd December we left Pipistrelle in the capable hands of Marly’s team who were already hard at work, with a couple of sets of friends kindly offering to keep an eye on things whilst we were away. Marly also sent us frequent emails and photos – the bare GRP; the tent like structure covering fore and side decks; and new deck planking etc. as the project progressed.
Gluttons for punishment, we had also commissioned more revarnishing below decks in our absence and on returning from our travels on 2nd January after four weeks away found that living on board immediately was not a viable option. The final, final coats had not been applied and the team was still very busy completing the decks. So the easy solution was to decamp to an air conditioned room/studio at Chamil Tours just outside the marina until work was complete.
Meanwhile Chris and Sophie arrived from the UK to join us and after an initial few days’ relaxation at Patong Bay, helped us greatly in commissioning Pipistrelle and provisioning for the trip.
On 22nd January with Pipistrelle spick and span, we finally slipped our mooring lines and left Yacht Haven for the next stage of our journey. We have been filled with admiration for the professionalism of Yachts Repair, under the leadership of Marly. Nothing is too much trouble. If it is not right, it is fixed, all with a big Marly smile! The cost of the work in our view is very good value. We found we had in fact hired a cabinet maker, whose expertise is in restoring boats to their former glory. Pipistrelle’s new decks look fantastic, and even Superyacht managers were admiring the quality of the work, and asking Marly for quotes.
Before we left, we invited the team to a small pontoon party to thank them for their hard work. We will never forget these people; most of them are craftsmen and all were a joy to have on board!
Other experts in their field were Graeme from Stem to Stern, an engineering company. Graeme had helped us in March during routine maintenance, but when we returned in November we knew we had a problem with the Lewmar deck winch, used to haul the main and the headsails aloft, as well as hoisting Bob aloft in the Bosun’s chair for mast and rig checks. As well as most of the other deck fittings, Marly wanted the Lewmar winch removed, and apart from finding that the electric motor was filled with gearbox oil, the key in the shaft had corroded as well, preventing separation of the gearbox from the winch. Certainly not the best advertisement for Lewmar. But Graeme solved the problem. It took much head scratching initially to find a solution to remove the gearbox, followed by 2 days implementing it using tools he had made himself especially for the job!
Somsak of AEM Electrical Engineering provided and installed our solar panels, and again came up with ingenious solutions to several electronic issues. One of these was installing cabling and a switch on the chart table to enable the engine room fans to run even after the engine has been turned off, thus reducing the engine room temperature to an acceptable level without having to wedge the door open and let the heat escape into the saloon.
Finally we returned to the Rolly Tasker sail loft – the largest in the world – to have our staysail checked for the Indian Ocean passage, a couple of small rigging repairs done, and two replacements cut for running rigging – staysail sheet and spinnaker halyard. David now runs the rigging department and could not have been more helpful. Service with a smile and everything expertly done at Rolly Tasker!
See also our Customer Service page for further contact details.