Singapore – Update

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A year ago today we lifted Quo Vadis out to start work on her at Scott Bradley’s yard, ‘Precision Shipwrights’ in Phuket Boat Lagoon, the last 2 stories refer to that refit…

(for the July update, see footnote)

So why, as the picture shows, just 364 days later, is she now on the hard at Raffles Marina in Singapore?
The answer of course? -is to put things right…
As the stories tell, we were generally happy with the work done in Phuket, although it took far longer than we expected and eventually, we were just pleased to get away!
Unfortunately, we didn’t stay so happy for long!

Our major concern was the lifting of the newly laid cockpit teak sole. Within 3 months we were aware of water collecting beneath some planks across the transom as the Sikaflex adhesive gave way.


It has just progressed from there so that now a large proportion on the surface is lifting.
Our second major problem has only been revealed as we lifted the boat here for corrective work to be done, our Micron 66 antifoul paint also applied by Precision Shipwrights is blistering and falling off after just 6 months, a problem we have never had before, with that or any other International paint.




That will have to be stripped back completely and re-applied.

As for the teak? It is neccessary to lift it all off the cockpit floor and start again, at a major cost and inconvenience. On the positive side however, we are thankful that it is just the cockpit sole. Had we replaced the original teak on the side decks and it was lifting too, the repair would be another real nightmare…the boat would have to be emptied, the rig and all deckgear would have to be removed, and then replaced. Inevitably, there would be damage to the paintwork, more through-holes drilled in error, more deckgear loosening and leaks, we had more than 20 to be fixed when it rained the day after we emerged from the shed last time!
So we are pleased we decided against replacing the teak on the side decks then and will probably also elect to be rid of it in the cockpit now, although that may depend on how easily it can be lifted and how much can be saved.

This work is estimated to take 2-3 weeks, depending on weather.

So one year later, we are out of the water once more while work is being done, and to complete the feeling deja-vu, we are living in a tiny, (but comfortably air-conditioned) apartment at the marina…only this time it is Singapore.

Why have we these problems? We don’t know. We thought and were assured that by paying a higher price in Phuket we were buying a better quality of service and skill-level in our tradesmen, but that doesn’t seem to have been so.
The reason for the anti-foul failure is not yet clear but Scott has  accepted the problem with the teak work and offered to correct it free of charge if we go back to him. However, that is not so simple as we are no longer in Thailand, instead, we’re in Singapore and on the way to Northern Borneo.

Even if we were to go back to Phuket, nothing is ever free of charge. Redoing the work for nothing is just a small part of the whole cost,  there is the added expense of the additional liftouts, marina and hard stand fees, accommodation while the work is being done; and lastly but not insignificantly, the inconvenience and disruption of our cruising plans, -surprisingly, we would lose close to another year! 

Instead we have accepted his refunding of what he says the original teak-work cost in the interest of getting the work done quickly and effectively recognising that it will be only a small part of the overall repair bill.  

However, endless living in boat-yards is not what we think blue-water cruising is about, we are not happy!
Although to date we have no problem with the Awlgrip paint job and our Glacier Bay refrigeration system still runs beautifully, we consider the need for this reparative work is unneccessary and the simple result of lack of care. We think it only fair to warn other cruisers thinking of getting work done in Thailand to choose their contractors carefully and to consider all possible eventualities…

On a brighter note, since leaving Phuket, we have enjoyed getting here, cruising more of Thailand and the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, revisiting some places we had been before, but also seeing some others new.
There’s been a short trip back to New Zealand; and subsequently a bike ride from Lhasa to Kathmandu, a trip I wouldn’t have missed for anything…

Once this boat work is in control I hope to stop the grumbles and will update the webpage with stories and pictures about those…      


The work has all been done now, Quo  Vadis is back in the water and we’re finally getting back into cruising mode.
It took 6 weeks in all to have the teak removed, non-slip laid in the cockpit, all anti-foul stripped, the hull primed and Micron 66
We are very happy with the work done in Raffles boatyard and the assistance given us by the operator, Jeffrey Leng,
especially his advice to us while resolving the anti-foul issue with International Paints.

The Singapore branch of International took samples for laboratory analysis. They found that there was no problem with the paint and that the flaking had occurred between layers of Micron 66. That confirmed it was just the recent coat that was falling off and so by inference, there was a fault in the preparation or application done by Precision Shipwrights.
As Scott Bradley, the owner of that company, is their distributor for Thailand, we are pleased to say that International, although accepting no blame themselves, have
agreed as a gesture of goodwill, to compensate us fully for the boatyard costs of the paint stripping and re-antifoul.

This fairmindedness certainly further vindicates our consistant use of International antifoul over the 12 year lifetime of the boat.

Of course there have been many other expenses to us, tangible and less tangible, in doing all this work to remedy the results of Scott’s poor workmanship, but we are delighted with the responsibility shown by International and are leaving Singapore on a much happier note.

However, our caution given above still stands; that is, choose your contractors carefully and the most expensive is not always the best! 


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