Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Mon 26 Mar 2012 05:10

07:53.0N   98:24.0E

Women love to go to the “Spa” and that includes our beloved lady, “Peregrina.”  We all know the damage that the sun can do.  Add on 16,000 miles of sea travel, tons of salt spray and a few million waves pounding on your skin.  Life as a sailing lady can be hard!

So, it was off to the boat “spa” in Phuket, Thailand for Peregrina.  We hauled Peregrina at the Royal Phuket Marina which is right next to Boat Lagoon - the center for maritime repair with a full cadre of experienced marine craftsmen.  There are talented woodworkers, stainless steel welders, painters, mechanics etc.  That is the good news. The bad news is that the prices in Thailand have risen steeply and it is no longer the “bargain” that older cruisers speak about.

For this reason, many of the spa treatments for Peregrina were provided by her devastatingly attractive owners, Margie and Peter, who worked alongside their Thai crew every day for five weeks,  since we returned from the USA, while Peregrina sat “on the hard.”  (Not to mention the fact that Peter is a penny-conscious old codger!)
To begin her “spa” treatment, Peregrina was lifted from the water. Notice that Margie stayed aboard as Peter sought the safety of standing on shore. What if those straps broke or slipped off!

In Thailand, the cost of haul-outs, marina fees and imported boat supplies can be more expensive than the United States.  The good news is that the labor rate is very low.  Sanding, varnishing and most labor intensive activities tend to be inexpensive.   In Thailand, the average boat worker makes $10-20 per day.  $30 dollars a day is considered HIGHLY skilled labor!  It is a very prestigious occupation and all the Thais we employed took great pride in their work.

Our two Thai helpers, Tan Wu and his wife, Eith, from Phuket Inter Woodwork Company, were on the boat for two weeks, every day, sanding and varnishing all the teak topside and the inside of the hatches.  They do all sanding by hand.

Thailand is famous for replacing teak decks on boats and it is easy to see why so many of our friends had their decks replaced. The wood and craftsmanship is beautiful.  Here’s a photo of Green Ghost’s new deck being installed.

One extravagance, we splurged on was to re-varnish all our railings plus everything in the cockpit, the hatch covers, the doors leading down below and our ladder.  We also replaced our rotten plywood deck boxes with solid teak boxes. The boxes are so beautiful that we don’t want to put anything in them!  Here’s a picture of our contractor, Nai, and a couple other members of her team at Phuket Inter Woodwork Company.  We recommend them highly!  You can reach Nai at woodwork992000 {CHANGE TO AT} yahoo {DOT} co {DOT} uk or +66-81-970-2687

One of the hardest jobs for live aboard cruisers is to manage the power consumption onboard. We rely on our 12 volt battery system to run our refrigeration, autopilot, electronics, lights, etc. which require a lot of electricity. For the last two years, we have generated electricity while motoring using our engine’s alternator. At anchor, we use our generator which works when it want to but feels entitled to many holidays. When these holidays  occur ,we have go into “conservation mode” which means not turning on all the lights, cutting the use of the refrigerator and sometimes even hand steering for days.
This year, we will be traveling to some remote areas for extended lengths of time - many without repair facilities - and we wanted some safety net for electrical production.  To provide us with the necessary backup and to “go green,” we have installed two solar panels and a wind generator.  Our friend, Ton, from Tu-Ton Services at Boat Lagoon did the stainless steel frames for the solar and the wind generator.  His crew was fast, very professional and delivered excellent work and a reasonable price.  You can reach Ton at +66-83-173-7378.


As we noted, many of the jobs we did ourselves. This included rigging work done up the mast. One day, Peter went to the top of the mast four times to try to diagnose the reason that the newly installed masthead LED light was not working.  Voltages checks were done, wiring cleaned, etc. all 65 feet up in the air. The answer turned out to be that a critical electrical switch on the electrical panel (the tri-color light) was in the “off” position which reaffirms our belief that the few brain cells we have left are aging rapidly.  Duh!!!!

Margie was hard at work inside the boat cleaning, reorganizing and finding things hidden under drawers (from previous owners) which we did not know existed!  Here she is with her head burrowing deep into one of our lockers.

One of our safety issues has been with the VHF short distance radio and the AIS collision avoidance warning system. Peter installed a new AIS antenna and did some wiring work at the Navigation Station.

Another unsafe system was our main salt water strainer which feeds cooling water to the main engine and generator. It was 22 years old, corroded and seriously dangerous.  We had a new one made in town by a man who worked on a dirt floor. The copy, on the left in the picture, was perfect.

Our 300 feet of anchor chain was re-galvanized and the picture below shows Margie sewing on depth indicators so that we know how much chain has been let out when we anchor.

Finally, yesterday, March 25th, after four months, we left the dock and traveled about 12 miles to anchor next to a pearl farm on the island of Koh Naka Noi. 

Peregrina’s trip to the Spa was over. She is “looking good” and SO happy to be back to sea.
Post Script:
The following is a list of the spa treatments Peregrina enjoyed:
-Teak rail section replaced after being hit by a tour boat (long story…..)
-Sanding and varnishing including teak rail, steering wheel, folding table, louvered main companionway doors, cockpit lockers,  hatch slides, stairway ladder, five hatches
-Sails removed and re-sewn
-New main halyard
-Gooseneck removed, new one fabricated and re-installed
-Bottom sanded and painted
-Speed thru-hull seals replaced
-Zincs replaced
-New masthead LED lights and tri-color lens
-LED lights installed down below
-New AIS antennae
-Re-wired navigation station
-Wired up solar panels and wind generator
-Re-galvanized chain and zinc spray anchor
-Put on new depth markers
-New teak deck boxes installed
-Stainless steel polishing
-Re-painted chart table light
-Cleaned and waxed hull
-Epoxy collision damage repaired in bow and stern
-Raised anti-fouling water line
-Removed underwater salt water grills, cleaned and replaced
-Replaced dingy lash downs
-Greased Maxi Prop and coated with Prop Speed
-Greased Maxwell anchor winch
-Removed steering quadrant to clean
-Removed steering cable attachment iron casting to remove heavy rust. Repaint
-Repacked steering tube stuffing
-Replaced watermaker filters
-Treated fuel with biocide
-Lubricated sail tracks up and down the mast