Bang in the Night

We have been hard at work every day, and making a lot of progress at the boatyard. Last night, we turned into bed on a calm evening with not a breath of wind. We spent a few minutes on our tablets catching up on things and just as I was about to go to sleep I felt a sudden gust of wind hit the mast. It’s the monsoon season here, and there are these thunderstorms that blow from the southwest across the Indonesia island of Sumatra. They are called Sumatras and can sometimes pack very strong winds (60kts+). I made a quick check that everything was put away and it wasn’t long before the wind was howling and rain showers began. We heard a little thunder, but not very close.

Broken bits

Broken bits

Eventually, we both went to sleep. It was still raining, but not as windy. This time it took me longer than Karen. I was sound asleep by about 11:15 PM. Suddenly we both woke up to a LOUD BANG! What the heck was that?! It was still raining lightly and a little wind, but not a lot. It was 10 minutes past midnight. I threw on some clothes and grabbed a flashlight. What I eventually found was some broken pieces of plastic on the deck. Then I saw a little piece of metal, and then more. I suddenly realized what it was.

On our spreaders up the mast, we have had a radar reflector which is a long thin cylinder filled with pieces of metal and wrapped in plastic. It was screwed on at the top to a cable, and then taped to cover the cylinder at the top. At the bottom there was a sail tie. About a year ago, I replaced the sail tie because the old had gotten tired in the sun after 4 years. Well, apparently the sun here is more intense, it apparently broke. During the strong winds the bottom must have broken off and then the cylinder fell out of the top and onto our deck. Luckily it didn’t hit any windows, although it wasn’t all that heavy. A rude way to be awakened!

Fortunately, this is an easy thing to replace, and doesn’t stop us from sailing. But, it is important for other ships to see us, and without the reflector our radar signature is very weak on other ships. Fiberglass doesn’t reflect radar well at all.

We have done a host of jobs. We finished installing the new thru-hull ball valves, changed impeller on the generator, performed other basic maintenance on the engines (oil and filter changes, and more), changed oil on the sail drives, cleaned the props, organized painting and sanding, and we just got the jib sail down. Unfortunately, we have to take down our jib furler unit because the extrusion have some screws that will need re-tapping. It’s a big job – essentially a two day job, one to take down, the other to put it back up. It also involves multiple trips up the mast in the bosun’s chair.

So, we’re very busy!

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