Back in Rebak
Saturday 5th January 2019
After a good long break from sailing, we arrived back here in Rebak a few weeks ago. Were we looking forward to some gentle sailing up in Thailand? Yes. Were we going to do it any time soon? No.
And the reason?.. The boat had a lightning strike while it was just minding its own business sitting quietly on the hard. Apparently it was a particularly bad storm, and four other boats sustained lightning damage at the same time. This did not make us feel any better. We had taken every precaution we could to ensure she was safe while we were away, but nothing can protect a boat that has a huge metal mast sticking up 15 metres from its middle from lightning. It’s an open invitation, and the storm gods took it.
We had known about the strike since May when the guys doing guardiannage on the boat emailed us to say the batteries weren’t charging and were at very low voltage. They suspected a strike. Our insurers sent a surveyor in our absence to assess the damage, but he was unable to check very much without 12v power, and recommended replacement of the battery chargers as a first step. So we managed to organise their replacement and the surveyor was due to carry out his assessment on our return to the boat.
That assessment took place a few days before Christmas, and because of the Christmas break we didn’t hear until after New Year that we could go ahead with repairs under our insurance claim. We had hoped that the damage was just restricted to the battery chargers as a result of a power surge, but sadly that hope was dashed almost as soon as we arrived back at the boat when Steve found the misshapen VHF aerial from the top of the mast on the ground beside the boat, our shore power cable split apart where it passed over our toe rail and cans of beer in the bilge against the mast post literally peeled open!
The aerial from the top of the mast, bent out of shape. Damage to the 240v power cable.
Two cans of beer next to the mast post in the bilge tore open. The rest were untouched.
Most of our electronic instruments are dead, as are the two alternators on the engine. There is quite a lot of work to be done, and fortunately there is a Raymarine dealer on Langkawi who will be able to do much of the electronics work. We are having a very frustrating time, however, trying to source the equipment he does not deal with and trying to find someone with the expertise and knowledge to fit it. It feels like wading through treacle, but hopefully things will start moving along soon as the sailing season is passing us by.
In the meantime, however, we started by cleaning the boat. The dehumidifier did its work well below decks and there isn’t a spot of mildew anywhere, at least not that we have found as yet, so it was just a matter of moving stored stuff around, dusting and freshening up, sorting and tidying lockers and generally getting her comfortable to live in again.
Outside, the shade netting had done a good job of protecting her from the sun’s damaging rays, but the constant shade and dampness had led to mould growing on the teak deck in places. We started by taking off the shade netting above the deck to allow it to dry out and then gave it a good wash down with a soft sponge. This did the trick as the mould seemed only to be on the surface. After a couple of days we replaced most of the shade netting, as it made a lot of difference to the temperature inside the boat, but left it open at the bow and stern and lowered the netting around the hull so that there are gaps all round for air flow. We’ll keep an eye on the decks for any future mould growth, but hope this will prevent any more.
Shade netting back in place with gaps for airflow, keeps us cooler and helps protects the boat from UV damage.
With the cleaning up done, we were starting to get frustrated and bored with life on the hard with no prospect of launching this side of Christmas, when Bear and Pepe on Beez Neez arrived in the marina. It was so good to see them again and we had a lot of catching up to do. They had also suffered a lightning strike and had just sailed up from Pangkor, testing their new instruments on the way. They were looking forward to some down time before setting off on their trip across the Indian Ocean, but their autopilot had other ideas and packed up on the way here. So not all play then. But we had some good laughs on our shopping trips around Langkawi in Mr Din’s cars! See blog.mailasail.com/beez neez
We spent Christmas and New Year at Rebak. Bear and Pepe needed to do a visa run, so they flew off to Hong Kong on Christmas Eve for 10 days. We considered closing up and heading off somewhere, but decided as we were already in a five-star resort, it seemed a bit pointless. So on Christmas Day we had lunch at the Senari restaurant overlooking the beach, cooled off in the pool after, and then had sundowner cocktails at the beach bar.
A visit from Santa at Christmas lunch. Christmas Day cocktails on the beach.
On New Year’s Eve we joined in the festivities at the Hard Dock café in the marina. This was for marina residents only, and although a scaled-down affair compared to the resort event, was much nicer as it was really aimed at the yachties. The food was excellent and the sparkling wine flowed freely all evening – well until 10.30 when the buffet was cleared away. At that point Steve popped back to the boat and brought back further supplies! There was a countdown to the New Year, which may or may not have been at midnight, and then everyone jumped out of their skins as extremely loud firecrackers started to go off in the eaves of the building, scattering paper flower petals everywhere. They were deafening, but certainly were a spectacle. Everyone was stunned that they were so close, and several tables emptied as the explosions moved from one end of the building to the other. It was a startling but wonderful welcome to 2019!
Happy New Year!