On the 2nd of May 2018 Spirit was hauled out of the water in Port Takola Marina near Krabi, Thailand. Her masts were taken off and a ‘shed’ was built over her because the rainy season was starting. The main purpose was to remove the old teak decks, leaking at several places, and replace it with epoxy and paint. Only the cockpit seats and deck over the rear cabin get new teak, to keep something of the original look and avoid a bath-tube like cockpit.
All the standing rigging, now at least 12 years old, will be renewed; the sheaves and tangs on the masts inspected and where necessary repaired or renewed.
The work is in the careful hands of Popeye Marine Services Co., Ltd.
When I first saw the Spirit in November 2015, she was moored in the Kilim river in Langkawi and suffering from a termite infection. This can lead to the total loss of a yacht but the broker hired by the previous owner had discovered it timely and a pestcontrol company was already fighting it.
They used the right method: baits mixed with an insect hormone that prevents moulting. This does not immediately kill them so the workers get time to spread it over the whole colony, even to their Queen, before dying. A few months later she appeared cured of the termites.
However, when the carpenters of Popeye started to look at the plywood deck under the teak, they still found evidence of live termites. There was no choice but to remove all the rotten wood and renew it; especially along the starboard forward deck and in the bow section around the anchor chain locker.
Several more places were found where the wood was rotten – explaining the manifold leaks when it was raining. So quite a lot of surgery was needed before beautification could start.
Wood rot had often started on the edges, via the screw holes that held the aluminium toe-rail; more so than directly under the teak planking.
The carpenters prepare for laying the new (beautifully fine-nerved and honey-coloured) teak decking on the rear cabin deck and the cockpit seats.
The caulking was brought in the seams after priming and then left at least two weeks for drying before cutting/ equalizing- to prevent it shrinkage.
All wooden beams around the anchor chain locker had to be renewed, including the bulkhead separating the locker from the lazaret, providing a much stronger base for both the windlass and the cutter stay chain plate.
.After the structural repairs came a seemingly never-ending phase of filling, fairing & sanding of the decks, then priming, filling and sanding again etc.
Weeks during which the Spirit looked more like a ghost:
Or as if in a surgery room: (spraying the primer coat)
At last, the first top coat (white) and marking of the anti-skid areas:
This was the situation on the first of September ’18: all is prepared for the final spraying of the (sand-coloured) anti-skid areas. Hope this could be
finished the next week. An amazing job – still wondering how it can be that laying a whole new teak deck would still have been more expensive than all this filling, fairing and painting …
Through circumstances it took a week longer but on Saturday 8 September the anti-skid paint (mixed with two grades of grid: coarse and fine) was applied to the whole deck. I chose a light sand/beige colour: a compromise between not too bright when the sun shines on it and not too dark to avoid the deck absorbing too much heat.
The paint had to harden for three days.
On Tuesday 11 September the plastic coverings and tapes were removed:
Now the rebuilding stage can start: re-installing all the deck fittings: genoa and main sheet tracks, chain plates, stanchions of the guard rail, cleats, windlass, toe rail and water and fuel tank filling points. Now the deck looks so new, all the hardware looks so old! Anyway, as these are still strong, there is no need (nor budget) to renew them. However, some items still had to be renewed, like the chain plates. It was unforeseen that the deck at some places had become about 8 mm higher, so that the threaded bolts of the stainless steel chain plates did just not protrude downward enough anymore to put on the nuts.
On 18 September mr Wit and Lek helped to get out the, still very strong but heavily corroded, aluminium pins from the mast heads. These will be replaced by stainless steel pins. The aluminium sheaves were still good but will be provided with bronze bushings, replacing the hard plastic ones that had worn out.
Spirit starts to look like a sailing yacht again (4 Oct 2018). The reinforced stanchion bases still need to be screwed on the deck and the un-corroded parts of the old aluminium toe rail will be replaced in between them.