Launch and sea trials

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Mon 25 Mar 2019 22:52

06:17.742N 99:41.881E


Monday 25th March 2019


Distance run: 7 nmiles


We were finally ready to go back in the water as all the work beneath the water line was complete and the new engine alternators were fitted.  We were still in a bit of a mess below decks as some work remained to be finished which meant that locker contents could not go away yet.  So we tidied as best  we could, and at 1100 on Monday 18th March Scott-Free went back into the water.  No dramas with burst tyres this time, it was a very slick operation- these guys have done it before!  As soon as she was in the slings, one of the guys from Seaspray Marine arrived to finish anti-fouling her bottom, and then she was off.  A few minutes later she was slowly and gently lowered into the water and held in the slings while we checked the bilges to make sure there was no ingress of water.


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Once the cradle was off she had her bare patches painted.            Trundling into the launch bay, no tyre dramas today.


Satisfied that she was watertight, we gave the yard guys the nod and they began removing the slings.  Steve turned the key to start the engine and…nothing.  After a couple of tries it was clear she was not going to start, so Steve went below to bleed the engine.  After several minutes, and to our great relief, she eventually fired up.  We let go the lines and edged our way out of the lifting bay.  It felt great to be in the water, even if it was just a couple of hundred metres to our new berth on E pontoon. 


We settled ourselves alongside at E9, and our first job was to turn on the fridge which we can’t use on the hard because the compressor is water-cooled.  We had been using the portable ARB fridge, so it hadn’t been a problem, but as it’s under the saloon table, getting stuff in and out is a pain, done on bended knee and ducked head.  Good exercise, yes, but wearing after several months.  Mainly, though, I was keen to get the main fridge going because it has a little freezer compartment where we make ice cubes for our drinks…  Sadly, it was not to be.  It tried its very best, it really did, but could barely get below 10 degrees. 


After some enquiries, we found a chap who tends to poorly fridges, but he only comes over to Rebak when he has at least a couple of jobs to do to make it worth the time and hassle of the trip.  Luckily for us he was coming over in a few days’ time, and it was a very quick and easy job of changing a couple of ‘O’ rings and re-gassing. He charged 200 ringgit, just under £40, all in, and we were happy to pay.  The fridge now works better than it has in a very long time, and the ice in our iced coffees is a real treat.


The problem of cooling things down is sorted, so we now just have the problem of warming things up – the defunct immersion heater that is – to deal with.  It stopped working when we were on the hard, and we have a new one on order from the UK, but it seems to be taking a very long time to get here.  Wonder if it’s snowbound too?  Anyway, we had enough to be getting on with, and turned our attention to putting the boat back together as far as we could and starting to get her ready for sea.


Today, Monday 25th, Alex and Hendrick came to the boat to do the last few jobs and then to come with us on a sea trial to commission and test all the new equipment.  Before leaving we used the lead line to check the depth of water below the boat and calibrated the depth instrument.  Then we had to wait while the Police RIBs that were berthed at the ferry dock moved off.  They are here for LIMA, the Langkawi International Maritime and Air show, being held nearby. Eventually we slipped the lines and headed out of the marina into open water.


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Police vessels were berthed on the ferry dock during LIMA, so there was more boat activity than normal for our sea trials.


It was good to be out of the marina and to feel the boat moving through the water, even if the sails did stay firmly furled.  There wasn’t a breath of wind, but there was a swell, and it didn’t make it easy for my land legs – or stomach for that matter – when we were just bobbing around calibrating instruments.  We turned the boat in circles several times swinging the compasses and all seemed well.  Then we tried the remote control for the autopilot and things went haywire! 


We had plenty of searoom, so although a little disconcerting it wasn’t too much of a problem when the boat changed course wildly from one side to the other. At one point though, we were in quite close company with the grey funnel boats at anchor in the harbour for LIMA!  After resetting the autopilot to factory settings it was fine once more, but there was clearly a problem with the remote control as it was still making the autopilot do some strange things – like going back to the original heading after a course change.  Its audible signals were not audible, though if you placed it to your ear you could just hear them.  They were in there, just couldn’t get out!  Eventually, and happily for my stomach, it was decided that as everything other than the remote control seemed to be working fine, we would head back in.


Alex and Hendrick signed off and handed over the paperwork which means we have a full, worldwide 3-year warranty on all the new Raymarine equipment, then posed for a team photo, and headed off.  They will contact Raymarine about the anomalies and let us know the way forward.



Alex and Hendrick give the thumbs up to the new equipment.


We sighed a HUGE sigh of relief as they left. We now have the boat back to ourselves, with the work finished we can re-stow everything in its rightful place, and who knows, we may even manage to go sailing.  Now wouldn’t that be a treat!