Recycling continues

When I was a small kid back in the communist Czech and Slovak Socialistic Republic, a friend of mine introduced me to this marvelous new gadget – a digital watch. The Vietnamese throw them into the garbage when the battery is dead, said my friend. Yes, that marvel was battery operated. I’ve never seen battery operated watch. Why wouldn’t the Vietnamese replace the battery instead of tossing the whole watch I didn’t understand. My friend just shook his head and pointed out to me again that the fact that these can be found in garbage cans is what I should be concentrating on.

Surely I did peek to garbage cans for a while then before emptying the content of our household bin. Yes, there were no plastic bags used then. All went to the bin, we would fold an old newspaper on the bottom, and the bin would have to be cleaned from time to time, because it would start to smell quite badly. I guess we were quite ecological back then, regardless of the fact that people didn’t know much about being ecological.

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Boom-gallows

We have a new, large roach mainsail, which significantly overlaps the topping lift and little bit the backstay too. After few trials, playing around with topping lift and pondering our options, we decided that we will make ourselves a boom-gallows. We wanted it for a long time anyway.

We were about to make a dodger, but the gallows idea got in the way and the dodger project was postponed. It didn’t take too long to convince ourselves that we are a tough bunch and that like the many other cruisers before us, also we will cross the oceans without the unsightly roof above the companionway.

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Non-skid

Not much has happened in the last few days, i.e. nothing worth telling a story about. We were concentrated on one thing only (not to mention translating of course): creating a new non-skid deck.

We were little reluctant to get into it, because we knew it will be slow and nasty work. The first phase for sure, because first we had to sand the old non-skid, which on our boat is a molded gelcoat. It’s 39 years old and especially the front deck was almost flat and was turning into a dangerous skating rink when wet.

We are planning to paint the whole boat, step by step, but it was imperative that we do the non-skid before our crossing to the Philippines, because most likely we are up for a bit of wave action. The north of South China Sea is well known for it.

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Visitors

Once again we’ve left our sanctuary at Xingda fishing harbour and returned to Kaohsiung. Main reason being that Jana was asked to share few of her delicious “instant meals” with few friends.

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At the beginning of last week, still in our oasis of quiet, we finished the last version of the translation of Li Ang’s novel “Magic Garden”, put it aside for a week to read it one last time before we send it to the publisher and submit it to a scrutiny of a proof-reader. Have you ever noticed that every time you read what you wrote, there’s always an error to be found? We’ll soon know how many we’ve left behind.

Anyway, we felt good about the work done, and the rest of the week just flew by. We cleaned the boat and became hosts to couple of groups of visitors.

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Back in the Oasis of Quiet

We casted off as planned. This time we were resolved that nothing can stopped us.

The last three days were a real ordeal. From peace of a quiet bay we stepped right in the midst of a full-blown house-party. The Chinese New Year that’s nine days of national holidays, desperate traffic jams, every hotel in the favorite destinations is hopelessly over-booked, even small shrines and temples offer their meditation cells to tourists.

Why would we go back to Kaohsiung at the peak of the busiest tourist period of the whole year? Why?

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Never put off until tomorrow what you should’ve done yesterday

We’ve installed a new propeller not long ago and immediately we’ve noticed slight vibrations, which occurred periodically in about 2-3 seconds. First we thought that it’s not a big deal. The vibrations were very minor and we try to sail most of the time anyway.

About a week ago, we sailed little further out. The weather was wonderful, fresh breeze, waves about one meter high, perfect day. Just about when we decided to turn around and head back, the wind died. We were just at the outer end of the south-west Kaohsiung cargo ship anchorage. For a while we tried to sail, but the current can be quite strong in these parts and it started to push us towards the anchored steel monsters.

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Getting a new mainsail from Hong Kong

The approaching deadline for two translations, which we accepted recently, and the weather, which is going bonkers, made us bite the bullet and once again board a plane to Hong Kong. The main goal of the trip was to bring our new mainsail, which was waiting for us at the UK Halsey loft, extend our Taiwanese visa and pick up my diploma, which was stored for a couple of months at some binder deep in the bureaucratic jungle of Hong Kong.

Jana and luggage

Jana and luggage


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Christmassy

We have started the day of Christmas Eve with a cold frigid shower on the deck. Taking a shower the day before was just unbearable. You might not believe it, but the temperature dropped to non-tropical 14° C. Yes, that’s right. And it started to blow hard too. Regular tropical blizzard. We even had to put on our socks and long sleeves. Yuk. Taking a shower in that weather defied our collective common sense. We Bohemians have a saying: cleanliness is half the health, dirtiness is the whole health. Preventive medicine, you know.

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Portlights on Hallberg-Rassy 31 Monsun

The most dreaded item on our TODO list is finally crossed off. The portslights on our Hallberg-Rassy 31 Monsun probably had the original gaskets and all the windows had leaks, some leaked a lot. We were really afraid to remove them, because there was a lot of aluminum corrosion, salt sediments, etc. What if we can’t put them back again?

To get us some time, we finally made storm covers from 1/2″ acrylic sheets, trimmed with thick gasket. The storm cover is held over the broken windows by two or three supports that are placed across the window opening. It works quite well and is easy to deploy. When we removed the first window, we had the storm cover ready in case of a rain.

Storm covers with temporary plywood supports

Storm covers with temporary plywood supports

Detail of backing plate mounting

Detail of backing plate mounting

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Janna’s upgrades continue

Everyday, the forecast says, that it will rain the next day. The next day the forecast is the same. For few days we fell for the bait and postponed our boat maintenance to the next day. At least we had chance to advance our translations. So the forecasts were helping us in a way.

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Chainplates have to be strong, but the crew also appreciate when the water does not leak around them

When we finally understood the recurrent method of Taiwanese meteorologists’ predictions, we got back to work on Janna. Last week we replaced lower shroud chainplates and decided that it’s time to replace also the two cap shroud chainplates. That gave us a chance to reminiscence over our first attempt to cross South-China Sea from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung, when one of our cap shroud chainplates broke. We had to return of course and quickly have a new one made. But the machinist that we found only had SS 304. When we finally reached Taiwan, we had new chainplates from SS 316 made and now after two years, we decided that it’s about time to use them. I still remember quite vividly how we had to disassemble Janna’s cabinetry in order to be able to remove and replace the broken chainplate back then in Hong Kong. For some reason we remembered that it’s a complicated work and we were procrastinating accordingly. The main excuse we used these days was an unfavorable forecast.

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