Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
Wednesday 3rd April 2019
Distance run: 11.6 nmiles
Change of plan!
When Steve tested the outboard on Monday, it started fine, but very quickly conked out and refused to start again. So frustrating! He had made sure to flush it through and prepare it to be laid up for some time (although admittedly it had been left rather a long time), so it was a mystery why it was playing up. No way could we go anywhere involving anchoring until it was sorted.
Steve contacted Alex at Asiatic Marine and he was happy to send his guys out the next day, but it would involve a RM 300 travel charge to get to Rebak. We couldn’t easily get the outboard to their workshop, so a solution would be to take Scott-Free round to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club as it’s much closer to their workshop and on the main island of Langkawi. A berth was available, so we decided that was what we would do. Although the berthing is more expensive there, it would still work out cheaper as we would not have the RM 300 travel charge. Also RLYC is within walking distance of the ferry port where we have to do check out formalities so we’d be saving the car hire from Rebak, and we could set off for Thailand from there.
It seemed the ideal solution, so yesterday we were up early to get the boat ready, visit the office to pay our final bill and be off the dock by 0930. The trip round would take a bit over two hours, and Alex’s guys were booked for 1300. Plenty of time.
Except we didn’t factor in the fact that the prop and engine bilges would be full of water. Well, not quite full, but when there’s not meant to be any, it feels like full. Steve checked the prop bilge as he has been gradually adjusting the stern gland since we launched, and wanted to see if it needed tightening further. The stern gland is where the propshaft enters the boat, and the packing around it keeps out the sea but at the same time uses it as lubrication to stop the rotating propshaft from getting too hot. As a consequence there is always a slow drip into the bilge – if the gland has been tightened the right amount.
But with the boat having been ashore for so long, the packing around the gland had dried right out, and Steve was gradually tightening the gland to allow it to swell. The trip to Telaga obviously sped up the process, and the drip was slow no more. So the prop bilge had filled up and then overflowed into the engine bilge, just not quite enough to trigger the float switch on the automatic bilge pump. We spent half an hour pumping, scooping and sponging out two bucketfuls of water, and at last it was dry. We finally slipped our lines at Rebak a little after 1000 and said “Au revoir” to a place that, by now, seemed almost like home.
We motored round to RLYC on a flat calm sea, marvelling at the beauty of the surrounding islands that even after all this time we had not yet seen.
We passed the cruise ship terminal that we had only recently discovered was tucked away on the south of the island.
The trip went smoothly, except that on checking the bilges, Steve discovered that the raw water pump was leaking. Oh, FFS! Yet another thing to sort out before we can go further.
By midday a young chap was taking our lines at berth E37 at the yacht club. Once we were safely alongside, Steve began the task of contacting a mechanic to deal with the raw water pump, and Azmi and Bunny arrived to look at the outboard engine. They very quickly did their troubleshooting and found that the carburettor had a sticky valve and the stiff gear shift was in the gearbox. The bottom half of the outboard along with the carb was taken back to their shop in Kuah.
Later yesterday they were in touch to say it was all fixed but they wouldn’t be coming today as it’s a Bank Holiday, however they would be along tomorrow. We are still waiting to hear from the mechanic if/when he is able to fix the water pump, so at present our plans to leave Malaysia are on hold. Hopefully not for too long.