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Anthem Adrift
Singin' in the Rain
04/27/2016, South of Singapore

Monday 11 April 2016

First Day in Puteri Harbour after arrival around 1430 was spent waiting for slowest internet in this hemisphere to divulge information on traveling by bus to Singapore. Oh, we also imbibed numerous adult beverages beginning at 1700 after 2 of last 3 days on the wagon. Motivation rapidly evaporated leaving us with only the vaguest of notions about buses. Perhaps tomorrow will bring fresh energy or possibly a moment or two at nearby Starbucks, which may have a faster connection.

- Later

Great, we have a plan. If it works out that will be even better. Bus from Puteri Harbour leaves at 0845, but may leave anytime after 0815. Starbucks doesn't open until 10. That's just wrong. Given expected time en route, coffee with breakfast won't happen earlier than 1130. We get off and on transport 3 times en route. Given caffeine deficiency this could be a challenge.


All ran like a clock, albeit a really slow one. Took about 3 hours to get from boat to hotel, but there were no glitches going through immigration, customs and finding correct transport. Entire cost was US$3. It's about 4 times that coming back due paying in S$. By the way, public transportation in the city by bus and by MRT is excellent. Both Singapore and Johor have Uber as well.

This city is one of the cleanest and most attractive in the world. Even the utility alleyways have floral landscaping. Of course it's one of the most expensive places on earth as well. However, it boasts 100 Starbucks and some wonderful restaurants so blowing the kid's inheritance is worth it. They're just lucky we didn't have any. Hotel is in the Arab section which is a wonderful area of restaurants, shops and bars (and a big honking mosque) - diet takes another header.

After checking into Hotel 81 we ran around getting boat stuff so we could have the next 2 days free to have fun. Long day, but easier than doing a day trip like in October and riding 3 hours back to Malaysia. May, however, do that again before heading east.


Jan got an A-OK from Doctor Dutton who gave her a bionic knee 3 years ago. X-rays show joint is perfect. He also shot us both with cortisone for tendinitis (Jan's leg, my heel) and didn't charge a cent. Wow. Used the windfall to celebrate with 2 original Singapore slings at Raffles Long Bar where they were invented: $62 + $13 tax. When you consider the free peanuts it was a massive bargain.


Despite above subject title, although it has rained every day, the sun usually shines. It's hot and humid, but after awhile anything less than sopping feels comfortable.. at least until going into air conditioning where your shirt becomes an icicle.


Currently on detour to Raffles Marina chandlery via MRT and bus to look for last couple of items not at Marintech in town and to see what was missed by blowing it off in lieu of Puteri Harbour.

Thursday - no, not the next one, but the one after that - 28 April.

Yowser, time flies when you're not having fun. Both of us have the lurgy. Jan had laryngitis, but couldn't stop trying to talk and all of crew is still coughing up furballs.

Both primary winches were buggered. Won't recount boring details, but temporary reparation has involved drilling off screw heads, chasing around Johor looking for fasteners, seals, bearings and such, 3 trips to machine shop, ordering expensive parts from UK to be delivered over the next 3 to 9 weeks and liberal use of amusing vocabulary. The things now hum like sewing machines and if they don't rip out of corroded bases when placed under load we'll be laughing. List of planned projects for Puteri Harbour, last availability for some time of shore power and water, remains intact.

Currently just south of Sentosa Island, Singapore, en route to first anchorage on east peninsula. No large ships have made a serious attempt to run us down, so life is good. Will now send this off due being sick of looking at it.


Hot to Trot
04/09/2016, En Route Puteri Harbour

Sunday 10 April 2016

After a very pleasant layover including 11 hours sleep at Admiral Marina where we belatedly celebrated Jan's birthday (she doesn't look a day over 65.. probably won't even when she gets there someday) with cruising friends on Slip Away and Dash we are again overnighting through Malacca Strait dodging significant vesselage. Current flow reverses with tide, but seems to prefer adversity to accommodation this time through. Helpful onshore and offshore breezes have been more considerate, keeping average speed tolerable.

With temperatures descending to 28C (82F) last night plus air over deck one could almost get chilled. Oddly it does seem cooler as we approach the equator. Acclimation for us has been helpful, but hope the guy who invented air conditioning made a pant-load of money. Speaking of which, saloon AC has been perfect after disconnecting start capacitor and whacking compressor with ball peen hammer a couple of times until it got the message.

Having also acclimated to getting up early and ingesting vast quantities of replacement water due work related loss, much appreciated deadly sin will continue a distant memory while in Puteri Harbour. Renovating big power winch, powering starboard secondary, rebuilding 6-way fuel valve, replacing bearings in KISS wind generator, more varnishing and nefarious.. err, multifarious other projects that have languished on the "to do" list and should get attention prior to heading into the wilds of Borneo will keep us from fun.. err, complacency and provide always unwelcomed character building experiences. Be assured any incidental merriment will be strictly monitored and controlled. You believe me don't you?


Here's the Rundown
04/07/2016, En Route Admiral Marina

Friday 8 April 2016

Last installment carried good news. This one is the yin to that yang. Mr. Chang did a fine job of welding cracked winch body after destroying a bearing, a seal and 6 screws holding it to base plate. Once off, the plate is seen to be remarkably corroded, particularly where the shaft seal keeps water out of the motor gearbox, and should be replaced. Added highlight: Can't figure out where the destroyed bearing goes and Lewmar documentation is unhelpful. Port sheet winch remains a box of parts on the sole of forward head.

Silver lining is that aft head now has a wonderful postmodern look sporting visible utilities and a skylight to brighten the shower stall. Seems a shame to close it back up when there's a smaller secondary winch that wind allowed use of yesterday afternoon. Of course having the big genoa rip it off, leaving a large jagged hole would be inconvenient, but then there would be more light over the nav table. How bad could it be?

Weather remains hot and, incongruously, both humid and dry in Thailand and Malaysia. Smoke, just detectable in Pangkor, has become steadily worse as we proceed toward Admiral Marina just south of Port Dickson. Apparently Smokey the "only YOU can prevent forest fires" Bear didn't get through to to somebody. Perhaps we'll run out of it by Singapore.

Speaking of that town, desire to take the boat has been thwarted by boat show over-populating close-in marinas and the one with space demanding use of clearance agent who charges $200 for the pleasure of his business before he does anything. Although somewhat more convenient than staying in Johor, we'll sail into Puteri Harbour in Malaysia, bus over for a few days and save a ringgit or two.

Ill advised night passage of Kuala Lumpur's Port Klang was an interesting game of dodgem, although staying awake during watch is a real pain in the posterior. BUTT (Big Ugly Tourist Transporter), Queen Mary II, one of the biggest (.186 nautical miles) and ugliest cruise ships in the universe, aimed for us and missed. The refined British accent on VHF seemed to suggest that they don't use Filipino or Ukrainian crew and that we should be honored to get run down by such a magnificent vessel.


Eclectic Enumeration
04/02/2016, Marina Island, Pangkor

Monday 28 March 2016

Apparently the northeast monsoon is ending on schedule as southwest onshore breezes are becoming fairly reliable. As with sail to Penang, today was good, though not enough without obnoxious undersole noise to make the adverse current, 70 NM distance in a timely fashion.


Good news: Global warming has not destroyed all terrestrial life on the planet below the top of Mt. Ararat and politicians have not destroyed all agreeable life on Earth with draconian measures to combat it. However, motor gear on port sheet winch is totally buggered and winch frame is cracked. Mr. Chan can apparently weld frame, but not until Wednesday and we must be in Singapore NLT Sunday. Not only that, but even when fixed and until a new motor can be acquired (probably by end of April) that winch must be cranked manually.. by hand. How do we cope if starboard tack is required? Oh sure, virtually everyone out here extols the freedom, beauty and health of this lifestyle (including me in the odd lucid moment), but don't be fooled. Stay home, be safe and age gracefully.


More good news: We have 4 days, which would otherwise have been squandered in having fun, to fix everything else on the boat that is in need.

Even better news: A quick perusal of the aforementioned compilation reveals that only the most trifling headway can be made in said list so the 'squander' option has been revived. A suggestion that carousing and farting around should be added so that something would get worked on is tempting, but as the job is never done it just wouldn't be helpful.


One For Two
03/27/2016, Straits Quay, Penang

Sunday 27 March 2016

Hot water abides. After checking current at appropriate locations on recalcitrant water heater, thermostat was determined to be culprit. While contemplating bypassing that to check if element was operational noticed a pin sized bit of red plastic sticking out of it. "Hmmm?", he queried. When pressed this niblet made a clicking sound and disappeared. "Hmmm", he declared. Subsequent manipulation of circuit breaker showed amp increase and voila, back in business.

Felicitous circumstances, however, have not translated to winch. After pulling off aft shower headliner discovered that power unit had been improperly installed and winch drum shaft was rusted solidly into gearbox. As loving ministrations and sweet blandishments proved ineffective, borrowed sledge from helpful local guy Aziz to apply somewhat more incentive. Apparently the thing is immune to all such cajolery. Will write ahead to James at Harbour Island, Pangkor, to facilitate finding professional assistance (possibly with torches and a bigger hammer).


Bean Working
03/25/2016, Straits Quay, Penang

Friday 25 March 2016

Crikey, another week has sneaked (snuck?) past and, accompanied by great chagrin, boat work has continued unabated. Despite having a surprisingly delightful 10 to 12 on the beam during sail to Penang and discovering that Hydrovane wind steering worked brilliantly even with obstruction on port quarter, decided to re-engineer said offending antenna tree. Just as well, it being indefensibly ugly and containing 3 defunct chunks of hardware plus bracing that is now no longer required. This, as could be predicted from every other project that has ever been attempted on any boat since the beginning of time, turned into a giant ball of wax and is only this morning complete. Oddly enough, all electrics and electronics with cabling that was of necessity cut and reconnected have returned to operation.

One might think that sloth would now return to its rightful place as primary activity (oxymoron?) aboard, but this would be an unwarranted assumption. Unfortunately the water heater and motorized port primary winch have taken opportunity to go on holiday. This usurpation of above mentioned deadly sin, which should properly reside only with crew, will now require additional application of labor from them. This is just not right. As departure from Penang is set for Sunday and likelihood of quick rectification is small (entire complement are squandering midday at a coffee beanery), work will almost certainly be continued in Pangkor after arrival Monday evening. Gosh darn or stronger words to that effect.


03/19/2016, En Route Penang

Thursday 17 March 2016

Except for a bit of cleanup, installation of Hydrovane was virtually done Tuesday morning before we motored over to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. Might even be able to use it following re-engineering of antenna tree on port quarter. Work could happen next week in Georgetown. Wind in the Malacca Strait would be another thing entirely. They ain't no sich a thang 'round deeze heeah pahts (translation available upon request).


Having cleaned out the stock of Liquor Warehouse owing to dearth of duty free ports until Tioman, spent last ringgit in the process and checked out to Pengelih on the far side of Singapore (a tactical move to avoid undue paperwork and aggravation at any intervening stops) we departed RLYC bound for Penang Island's Straits Quay Marina. Beautiful place and cheek by jowl with Georgetown it's a favorite. Regrettably, total sloth is largely off the agenda, but getting up at 0630 and working until 1700 as enjoyed for previous several days in Langkawi will be relegated to an ugly, distant memory. Choking down copious amounts of mind altering fluids at happy hour will, however, remain unchanged due continuing necessity to avoid dehydration and kidney infections. If you have your health...


Untrivial Pursuit
03/14/2016, Rebak Island Marina, Langkawi

Sunday 6 March 2016

Manifesting reasons for previous concern about mounting Hydrovane so far off center, issues have arisen that are causing delay in mounting the thing. As we are awake when Will Curry, the fount of Hydrovane expertise, is not and vice versa, communications are on a diurnal cycle.


Notwithstanding lack of any fatuous dissemination for 6 days, have not been goofing off. No really! Prep work completed and a coat of varnish has been laid upon all deck brightwork (this expression like many in maritime activity is misleading (much like 'sheet' which does not refer to the large expanses of fabric, but rather to the ropes (which are, of course, called something else) that control them)) and does not mean the shiny stainless steel (OK, it's not especially shiny at the moment - it's on the list).

Also accomplished was creating a 10mm hole through the transom. This would not normally be considered a positive achievement, but for purposes of this report, we shall consider that it is. At some point in the near future 5 additional such holes will be produced (wait, wait, this may not be a further descent into the abyss) through which 6 bolts will be introduced to fasten supports for previously mentioned Hydrovane wind steering appliance. Despite rampant misgivings, technical crew remains highly optimistic of a non-disastrous outcome.

Final bits for this particular enterprise were procured today, to wit: teak for pads to fit flat mounts to rounded fiberglass, coarse sandpaper to accomplish appropriate curvature, 10mm x 75mm bolts with nyloc nuts and washers as well as some non-related stuff. As we have reserved a slip for Tuesday at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, which finally has electricity on its dock, normal indolent behavior will be held in abeyance for the interim.

In the 'non-related stuff' category was a cap for petrol tank (gasoline to us insurrectionary, former colonists) that came with new Yamaha outboard, but went walkabout several months ago and proved extremely difficult to find until visiting Yamaha dealer in Kuah who had one (should have been 2 sentences, but got on a roll and stuck with it).

Sunday - Again

All varnishing done. Large expanses of stainless steel polished. Lower bracket of Hydrovane installed. Upper bracket unlikely to be completed tomorrow due prep for awkward location of port mount and boat a disaster area, but progress. Probably go to Royal Langkawi Tuesday done or not. Longing for return to observance of favorite (possibly second favorite) deadly sin, sloth.


Should have sent this yesterday. Didn't.

Upper bracket easier than originally anticipated except for port-side mount. Placed 60 grit sandpaper over gelcoat with double-sided tape and now rubbing back of teak pad on it for shaping to contour. If anybody knows a better way don't keep it to yourself. "May", he optimistically averred, "get this thing mounted today". However, every hour or so have to come inside to pound down a liter or two of water, cool off and change T-shirts. Have visions of retiring from retiring. Couldn't get me to do this for money.


The Devil You Say
03/03/2016, Rebak Island Marina, Langkawi

Thursday 25 February 2016 - Later

Following previous communication, overflowing with confidence in the rightness of the universe and all that occurs therein (except for weather prediction), head of genoa ripped out sending it down the extrusion track and into the Andaman Sea. Sailmaker Tony uses a webbing strap instead of cringle for good reason, but that then is apparently a weak point. As crew turned off to retrieve same, conditions picked up well above forecast (perhaps weather weasels were trying for an average). With apparent mostly blowing 30 to 35 knots at 40 degrees off would have been down to staysail and fully reefed main anyway so not really missing the big foresail. All considered, the bilge beast was awakened to punch us more rapidly toward shelter and out of rather more spirited seas than optimum.

Now at anchor off Tarutao, Thailand, just north of Malaysia. Today was less fun than one might imagine. Up to 35 knots and short choppy seas are best left to someone else. Speaking of which, our charter buddies in unweatherly cats are at Ko Lipe and may expect similar conditions tomorrow (at least in the morning) with a highly unfavorable angle toward Langkawi.


During mid-evening previously quiet anchorage began experiencing williwaws, a minute or two of calm, then 10 to 20 seconds of 30 to 50kts. Everything on the boat that could shake and make noise did. Spent long night with occasional bouts of sleep. At least we weren't at Ko Lipe or underway.


Sailmaker, South African Chris, in Telaga says sail more damaged than initially thought. Bolt rope for extrusion ripped out requiring some effort to repair. Gosh darn or stronger words to that effect. Oh well, we'll be engaged in installing Hydrovane and varnishing over the next couple of weeks so sails of minimum moment for awhile.


Friday 4 March 2016

Neglected to send this in timely manner. Now in Rebak Island Marina. Kidney infection has plagued some of us for last several days, but hopefully now beaten into submission. Genoa returned/installed and Hydrovane arrived (last evening). Expect hands not to be the devil's playground for a couple of weeks.


Here Come Da Judge
02/24/2016, En Route South

Wednesday 24 February 2016 - Later

As virtually everywhere we've been over the last 3 months has been endowed with water visibility approaching chocolate milk the Ko Roks were a pleasant experience. Snorkeling wasn't special, but there was healthy coral, many fish (albeit mostly juvenile) and one could see for 15 meters or more. While replacing prop zinc the mooring ball and its anchor line were visible from the transom.

Suffering from a smidgen of lackadaisicality (probably not a real word), hadn't checked weather for a day or two, but sitting in a windward anchorage as dusk approached decided to pull down latest GRIB (Grainy Replica of Insufficient Babble). Lo and behold, wind was forecast to increase presaging an over-lively, under-restful night. "So that's why half the boats went over to the lee side", he muttered. After motoring all the way around, it appears that safe passage could have been made between the islands saving a dinosaur or two. It's still a wee bouncy and sure to get worse as high tide approaches.


After excellent panaeng pork (Jan's new recipe) during fun movie "The Kingsmen" and watching one of the cats re-anchor as tide change current reversal put him too near another, had a very restful night with, as it turned out, light wind. That didn't help folks left to windward as they wobbled like Weebles in a meter swell.

Just before our early departure (yes, between islands) British friends Norman & Sara from Norsa whom we hadn't seen for a few years motored by. They were delayed in crossing to Sri Lanka with Inspiration Lady, et al. due his eye surgery, but we hear they may try to catch up in Maldives - to be revealed in the fullness of time.

Actual wind was lighter, further south and veering instead of backing, but otherwise forecast was perfect. Adding effect of pounding into waves right on the bow expect arrival after dark, but never mind, we possess minimal skill and an appalling judgment that has often served us well on such occasions.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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