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Old 09-26-2011, 06:51 PM   #15
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

UPDATE

For those following this saga, the good news is that the Insurance Company are going to come to the party. This is a huge relief for the owner and although he will not cover all the additional expenses incurred, it will most certainly help.

The boat is currently on the hard in Singapore waiting to be rigged. For safety and liability purposes, the owner elected for a new mast. This will take about a month to arrive from Z spars. Meanwhile, the other damage is being mended and the opportunity is being taken to attack the other defects and maintenance issues.

Since I've been "off station" for nearly 5 months, the owner very kindly flew me home to BVI so that I could complete my commitment to 2 East Coast to Caribbean deliveries in October. By the time these are done, we hope that the cat will be ready and I'll fly back to Singapore with a new crew to complete the journey to Brisbane.

I'm hopeing not to have to spend Christmas at sea (been there, done that, in an earlier existence). Best to all, Tony
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:42 AM   #16
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Helluva tale there. Obviously you have vast sailing experience to successfully deal with such a series of catastrophes. Kudos to you!

Rob
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by haiqu View Post
Helluva tale there. Obviously you have vast sailing experience to successfully deal with such a series of catastrophes. Kudos to you!

Rob
Thanks, Rob.

The saga continues: After a few deliveries over this side, I'm off to Singapore next week to pick up the recently re-masted and generally "dollied up" Athena. It'll be a straight shot to Darwin to "import" the boat into Oz, then over the top and down t'other side, refuelling/re-victualling as necessary on the way.

If anything exciting happens, I'll let you all know.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:54 PM   #18
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Latest update.

OK - Here we are back in Singapore! After a couple of weeks faffing around we should re-start this trip on the morning tide. The only slightly worrying thing is the poor state of the batteries...

Interestingly enough, inspired by kind comments on this board, I cobbled together a digest of my disjointed reports and sent it off to my Sailing Association. Not only did they publish in their journal, I also won the Prize for the Best Foreign Cruise Report!! As a Newly Published Author, I am anxiously scanning the post to see if Mann Booker or maybe Pulitzer, have picked up on this....??

Taking local advice, my route has changed somewhat: From Singapore I'll trek over to the Malaysian side of Borneo for a replenishment stop then down to the Solomons/Luisiades area over the top of PNG, before crossing to Australia. I'll probably do a straight shot to Brisbane from there: Much as I would love to do a bit of Barrier Reef Tourism, I don't think I've got the time.

Hopefully a stress-free trip over to Borneo where I'll update. As Ever - If anyone has experience of this route and can recommend any "must-sees" or "must-avoids", I'd be very grateful.

Safe sailing, all. Tony
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:36 PM   #19
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Thanks for keeping this up to date.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:29 AM   #20
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Thanks for keeping this up to date.
No problems!! Well, actually, LOTS of problems. What should have been a fairly reasonable 5 to 6 day passage became 7.5 of electro mechanical nightmare.

Now in Labuan (top of Borneo) recovering with a beer at an internet caff. More later when I've got my act together!! Tony
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:43 AM   #21
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OK - Got Australia. Route from Singapore was across the top of Borneo to Kota Kinabulu (well, actually we also stopped in Labuan) then down to Ambon, across and through the Torres Strait and now in Cairns.

Absolutely horrible trip!! Rather than detail off the saga, below is a cut and paste of an email I sent to my owner who, by the way, has been magnificent in support!

Leaving for a straight shot to Brisbane tonight - maybe another 12 or so days. No time for tourism I'm afraid.
Beginning of Paste

Singapore – Cairns (via Labuan, Kota Kinabulu and Ambon)


Several things broke and many have been replaced from onboard spares. In no particular order of occurrence.


SAILS: Main. Reefing lines broke several times. Two of them have to be retrieved from inside the boom (will do in Cairns). Currently only have one working reef line which is a pain in the ****.


Clew Cringle Steel Ring. Broke open. So at the moment can only sail with first reef in.
Currently first reef line is semi-perm fixed as of course that is one of the reef lines in the boom!


Jib. Jib Furling Line broke, giving us a very much unwanted full genoa (in rather exciting circumstances, howling gale, middle of the night, heading for a reef!! Only one engine working at the time so had to get the sail down). It also pulled its guide ring out of the deck. I've replaced the line but in the kerfuffle of getting the jib down, we let the halliard disappear through the top mast-head fitting. Will have to climb mast, send down a messenger line and re-fit the halliard (will do in Cairns). The guide ring was badly positioned in the first place, giving a not fair lead to the turning block (which itself is slightly distorted as a result.) It will have to be re-positioned and the original fixation holes sealed to stop water ingress into the fibreglass. The jib is currently hoisted by the Spinnaker Halliard. Luckily it has not been spinnaker flying weather...


SHEETS: Have replaced both jib sheets from onboard line. Main sheet and associated blocks and shackles. We've had continual problems with the Main Sheet arrangement from the Seychelles so its been jury-rigged for the whole trip. Currently down to the last shackle on board which will fit! I only expect it to last till Cairns then will have to get stronger and correct fittings plus a couple of spares. The main sheet continually jumps out of its gripping jaws so one has to choke the luff to keep it in place.


Main Sheet Traveller: Starboard side line has reached the end of its useful life but I dont have the right size cordage onboard. We can live with it but also the end fitting pulley wheel is also just about finished. Anno Domini, I'm afraid.


RIG. Remember that I thought the new Main was cut rather short? Well, I'm now beginning to think that when the mast was replaced, the boom fittings were attached a few inches too low. This isn't completely Singapore's fault as Z Spars had a black tape where they expected the boom to go. As a result, the boom is much lower (MIND YOUR HEAD!) and the mast winches are also lower, making you skin your knuckles when winching anything up. Otherwise, its holding up and has proved itself in up to Force 9 with associated lumpy seas.


GOOSNECK. Not a brilliant job in Singers: The Vertical pin holding the boom to the mast was incorrect. The Horizontal pin is not the right size and incorrect washers fitted. As a result as it “works”, it is elongating its hole. We are doing what we can and being as gentle as possible.


FORESTAY. I noticed that a set screw holding one of the aluminium extrusions together had worked loose. On tightening it up, I noticed that some appear to be missing....another not so good job, Singers.


TRAMPOLINE. Nearly lost it several times! The centre-line ladder with duckboards broke loose (weather conditions). We lost the duckboards but managed to rescue the ladder. The tramp holding rope is broken in several places (age, again) but we've managed to get enough lashings on it to hold for the moment.


ENGINES/ALTERNATORS. As you know, we've had continual problems on both sides. One has to wonder why there were an inordinate amount of engine spare belts and voltage regulators onboard!!


Starboard: Now working OK. However, the fuel line from the tank (copper tubing) detached itself inside the tank which of course was invisible! You can imagine the head scratching that went on whilst tracing the lack of fuel!! Currently using 5 gallon containers with the fuel line secured. This lasts about 10 hours before having to change out. Although a Pain in the ****, I actually dont mind too much as I can monitor the fuel quality since I dont trust the main tank cleanliness! KK sorted out the water pump pulley wheel but there is no way of tensioning it. “McGyvering” it got us to Ambon where we puchased the island's stock of small belts! Actually the one we have on has held up very well! Electrically it is supplying the battery bank and its voltage regulation is fine.


In the cockpit, the Yanmar Starter/tach panel has rotted out. Its clear that the port one has been replaced and its now time for the starboard one. However much we tape it up, any rain or spray gets in and so we have the alarm continually on. Not “alarming”, its just shorting out....annoying.


Port: Engine is good but electrically its a disaster. External regulation failed after the first few hours of running so in the end we have taken the belts off and it is just a “driving” engine. It had also managed to fry its own starter battery which suggests that voltage regulation from the small alternator is bad as well. When required, we start it from the Starboard engine battery.


AUTOPILOTS.


Rather an exciting time when the wheel jammed hard a Port! This of course happened in another howling gale at night with very little sea room to spare. It transpires that the metal bracket bolted to the steering rod (this has a hole drilled into it to accept the autopilot ram arm) had fractured and the ram arm was jamming up the works. The whole set up is behind a panel in the starboard aft cabin. I managed to clear the jam and we hand steered for the rest of the night. Easily fixable if I had a spare piece of metal plate, a drill and a stubby screwdriver!


Wheel Pilot. Tried fitting it the next day and find that yes, it works, sort of, but its belt is stripped (easily replaceable but no spare onboard). On detaching it, its fixing (plastic) fittings broke (age) so, although mendable, currently unuseable.


We are managing reasonably successfully to balance the sails and lash the wheel – enough anyway to be able to leap down to the head for a quick pee. But often for much longer. Doing this on a monohull is considerably easier, I find!


HATCHES. They all leak!! Side hatches when smacked by waves let in gallons. We have to use the large portable bilge pump regularly. The starboard after cabin top hatch tore off its mounting but we have managed to rescue the hatch and jam it back in place.


INTERNALLY. Not a pretty sight, I'm afraid. The big heavy bookcase in the saloon detached and was crashing around the cabin. Its now swimming. (I recall you were going to ditch it anyway!)


All soft furnishings are sodden wet. Both forward cabin doors have come off of their fixings


FRIDGE. Working fine then turned itself off for a day or so. Now back up and running. Mysterious...I doubt it has an automatic defrosting programme!!


STOVE TOP/OVEN. Changed the gas bottle a few days ago for new Singapore gas. Now only one burner will work (but you have to have everything shut or the weak flame blows out). Either the pressure is wrong or something is interrupting the gas flow. Domestically its not a happy scene! Later
its getting worse.


HEADS. The starboard toilet bowl has broken. Not the porcelain (thank goodness) but the base plate.
Luckily no-one was on it at the time... The base plate on the other side is probably on its way out as well.


WATER TANKS. Both filled in Ambon. On changing tanks I find the Port tank drained!! Difficult leak to find, I'm afraid as the tank is glassed in.


INSTRUMENTS. Apart from auto pilots mentioned above, the wind instrument has started to go off as has the depth guage. This is almost certainly dampness.


Not an exhaustive list 'cos I've probably forgotten a couple of things! But enough to be getting on with.


The last leg from Ambon has been absolute hell and morale is a tad low at the moment!! end of paste.


Many thanks for all support and advice so far!! Tony
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:11 PM   #22
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OMG, I've got so many thoughts and opinions, I don't even want to GO there.

It sounds miserable and especially like an old boat that needed a seriously good rigging re-fit that it didn't get.

Dunno your gooseneck set-up but folks have run webbing round-and-round and used in place of a broken gooseneck. You might wish to make sure you've got quite a bit aboard. Similarly, I became a bit anxious when you mentioned problems with forestay aluminum fittings--can't picture but can worry


One bit of advice--though you can surely sail on reefed--

I've dealt with main sail clew ring break before, myself. In my case, I had quite a bit of leather aboard, a palm and sail needles--as well as a couple large rings to sew in properly to the clew so it was well reinforced with the metal rings.

You CAN remove that ring and if you don't have another ring to sew in (you must sew since you don't likely have a hydraulic press), sew in another ring set. Sailmaker's Apprentice is a book which gives the scoop on reinforcing sails, clews, and whatnot. Assuming one doesn't have that reference book aboard and perhaps no clue about how to get yourself a new clew (ha! that was a joke, did you get it?) , and no idea of how to use a rope-reinforced clue...if you've got a good amount of 1" webbing aboard, you CAN hand sew webbing to make your new clew--you are basically making a stacked ring of webbing with reinforcing webbing legs radiating out into your reinforced clew patch. You could get away with 3 in a pinch but let's say you do 5 webbing legs which radiate out 16" each on a mainsail of between 300 and 500 sf--one leg along the foot, one along the leech, one on the diagonal and then two more between those 3 you've sewn in by hand. You now have a little bundle of web rings where the clew should be. They must be loaded together, not individually. You can neatly make that little bundle into a soft new clew by a wrap of leather sewn over it and neatly into your sail as well. You do not put a hardware pin through this bundle/soft clew, but rather you use small line to seize the soft clew onto your main boom's outhaul. This does work well and off you go. If you've got the needles, palm, and webbing, you can do this. Then you'll have your whole sail rather than just part.

So sorry to hear that life below decks is getting pretty raunchy as well. This sounds like a terrible trip. I am sorry that you can't just stop somewhere and properly refit--but it is not your boat to do that with. Such is the life of someone doing delivery.

Thanks for keeping us up to date. If there is anything that we can actually give you some advice on or research for you--let us know.

Fair winds,
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:33 PM   #23
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Man you have sure had an eventful trip so far ... now Cairns to Brisbane ... 1000 nautical miles with the wind on the nose for the most part and punching into a head sea all the way. I don't envy you the days ahead. I just checked the marine weather forecast and its not good news for the next few days ...

PRIORITY
Coastal Waters Wind Warning
For Mackay to Point Danger, including Hervey Bay and Moreton Bay.
Issued at 4:50 am EST on Sunday 10 June 2012

Synoptic Situation
A high [1030 hPa] over the far eastern Great Australian Bight extends a ridge over the Queensland interior, and will continue to move slowly eastwards and enter the southern Tasman Sea during Monday. A trough off the southern and central Queensland coast will continue to deepen today, with a low pressure system forming off the Capricornia coast this morning. The low is forecast to intensify and be located east of Fraser Island by tonight and well seawards of Brisbane by Monday night. Large seas and swells are expected to affect waters south of Sandy Cape from Monday.

Gale Warning
Sandy Cape to Point Danger
Expect S to SE to increase to 25 to 33 knots during today north of Cape Moreton, and spread south to Point Danger overnight. Seas rising to 3 metres with E to SE swells 2 to 2.5 metres.

Expect SE to SW winds to increase to 34 to 40 knots over offshore waters during Monday morning. Seas increasing to about 4 metres. E to SE swells 2.5 to 3 metres and increasing.

Strong Wind Warning
Mackay to Sandy Cape
S to SE winds 25 to 33 knots. Seas to 3 metres in open waters. E to SE 2 to 2.5 metres in open waters.

Winds will slowly decrease below 26 knots from the north between Mackay and Gladstone during today.

Strong Wind Warning
Hervey Bay
S to SE winds will increase to 25 to 33 knots from late this morning. Seas increasing to 2.5 metres in the northern Bay.

Strong Wind Warning
Moreton Bay
SW to SE winds increasing to 25 to 33 knots during Monday morning. Seas increasing to 1.7 metres.

The next warning will be issued by 11 am EST.

Please be aware
Wind gusts can be a further 40 percent stronger than the averages given here, and maximum waves may be up to twice the height.

-------------------------- End of warning ----------------------------
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:46 AM   #24
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Good advice 'Lexx' - It's not a good ride south in this weather. I've PM'ed Tony - to contact me if he needs any assistance. Not a ride I'd do without 95% of gear working properly - but it's his call - of course. I sure wish him good sailing - but it's going to be difficult. Caio, james
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:11 PM   #25
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Much admiration. Once again I am gobsmacked by the undertaking.

Rob
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:57 AM   #26
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Many thanks to all for the comments - and the weather !!

Well - we got in to Brisbane this morning and the boat is securely at the owner's dock. The last leg from Cairns was not without its electrical and mechanical problems - but we've come to expect these! In particular, we lost the autopilot again and this time I couldn't coax her back. Then the depth sounder went which was a little unnerving coming into the very shallow Moreton Bay. However, we didn't manage to bump into anything. Then the Starboard engine water cooling system completely broke down so I had to rob the port engine of the exhaust muffler and various cooling hoses, so we came the last few days on one engine - I robbed the Port because the Starboard is the only one giving us electricity!

Otherwise, the run down from Cairns included a couple of 150 mile days in the right direction so it was generally the best part of the whole trip. Nice to be finished though!!

Once again, many thanks to all and Safe Sailing to everyone. Tony
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:06 AM   #27
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You deserve a medal, that's all I can add to this.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:43 AM   #28
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Quote:
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You absolutely need to turn this into a blog somewhere -- it's proving to be an interesting read if not entirely for the schadenfreude.
This thread was started a long time ago, but I just read it and enjoyed reading it. Thanks go to the OP!



And I agree with the quote above.
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