Posted by: powellpjc | March 9, 2012

The Refit/Makeover in Subic Bay.

Notice to reader:

This post will appeal to few, and those few will be sailors that are currently working on their boats. What sailor/boat owner is not? So, if you’re interested in travel, adventure and general good times, skip this post. A few folks have asked what I accomplished in 8 months at Subic Bay, Philippines, so I attach this post.

Hauled the boat same day as I arrived in Subic Bay.

The big boys use a floating drydock for their jobs, like this one in Subic Bay.

Had a Philippino cell phone and notified Watercraft Ventures and they were ready with diver and 6 helpers. Lifted no problem. Hardstand was pipes (8) secured by welded rebar. Looked good to me. Tie-downs attached to cement 4X6 polyhedrons buried in sand. Looked good to me.

The Travelift worked just fine for me.

First job was to remove caprail/toerail to address the rust weeping from under the teak. It was monsoon season so job took 4 weeks instead of 2. Removed all plugs, screws, stainless stanchions/bow roller and fore and aft pulpits. Ground steel, applied rust converter/remover, 3 coats of 2 part primer and then 4 coats of topcoat 2 part.

The caprail removed, cleaned up and primed for painting.

Replaced teak with new plugs and sealed all round.

New antifouling. Ground back to steel where possible. 3 coats of antifouling and 4th near waterline. Epoxy filler where needed.

Some of the gang prepping the bottom for anitfouling.

Hull paint job next. Filled, ground puttied, wet sanded, 4 coats of epoxy filler then new bootstrap and top speedline and 8 coats 2 part hull paint. Wet sand, and 9th coat. Wax job twice to finish.

Oh, she looked pretty bad alright. This was after the wind vane steering rig was removed.

But sleek as hell when the painting was done.

Deck required removing all pieces including hard dodger and bimini plus all fittings. Epoxy filler, wet sand, etc. then top coat 4 coats, then non skid 3 coats. Salted on sand for antiskid.

We did the topsides painting whilst in the water. I use the royal 'we' pretty regularly.

Interior: removed all headliner. Repainted all woodwork. Revarnished all teak/wood 6 coats. Removed all brass portholes (leaking fuckers) and replaced with 4 opening Beckson’s and the rest simple 10mm plexiglass bonded to steel.

Starting to look smart.

Somebody's got to do it and if it's not fun, easy and quick, Pete Powell ain't doing it.

Polished all stainless. Sanded teak caprail (did not want oil or varnish there).

Removed wind vane and polished/greased. Added new studs on skeg to accept another diver’s dream zinc plate. All zincs replaced.

Removed shaft to get at transmission and to replace the cutless bearing. Removed gearbox and replaced in and output seals. Removed water/exhaust mixing box (split seam) and had it re-welded (stainless custom design). Had to cut off the muffler hoses and buy new ones.

Old and new muffler hoses. Very difficult for a dentist to install but I got it done.

The split seam on the muffler/water mixing box. When it let go the cabin was filled with exhaust and steam. Not a comforting sight. Box is stainless and I had it re-welded in Olongapo. $3

You put the screws to the shaft to break it loose from the flange with this medieval contraption. Likely left over from the Spanish Inquisition.

I polished the prop shaft and noticed some pitting. Asked around and answer was 50/50 as to replace or to repair.I replaced shaft. Aligned engine (was perfect).

We hack-sawed the old cutless bearing out and put new one in with a cranking rod, a lot of banging and swearing. I mostly watched. This is 'CV' at work, the mechanic in the yard. Ingenious guy.

Flushed coolant and replaced. Field stripped Racor secondary fuel filter and replaced filter element. Emptied fuel tank through filter and cleaned inside of fuel tank, then re-filtered fuel back into tank.

New fuel filter. Changed engine oil and filters. Added vacuum gauge for fuel line.

Drained and replaced tranny fluid.

Checked friction plates on gearbox and all looked good.

Cleaned and painted engine.

I don't get it, but I feel better with a clean and painted engine. The pistons don't care.

Checked all engine mounts. Good.

New belts for alternator and watermaker (runs off engine).

Replaced burst high pressure watermaker line (I purchased two in Portland, the stainless steel braided brake line type lines, and both failed due to corrosion).Replaced with 3000psi hydraulic lines. So far, so good.

Remounted alternator which had vibrated a new hole in the engine casting.

Removed starter solenoid and had it rebuilt (scarred contacts) and purchased new solenoid. Have spare starter/solenoid in box but need to lift engine to replace. Too much work for Pete.

3 new bilge pumps. Rerouted watermaker overflow so it doesn’t back up into sink in bathroom.

Removed shower sump because pump would not push up against head pressure.

Replaced all bathroom fixtures with proper stainless fixtures. Remounted countertop with formica instead of ugly tile/grout which was failing.

Installed anchor locker drain. Sounds easy but is far from easy. I have it draining into shower now which works just fine.

Added tack fitting to bow roller for my new asymmetric spinnaker, made in Hong Kong by Lee sails ($1300) including deck bag and sock.

Reduced fridge capacity by about 30%. Don’t need huge fridge. Just need ice.

Cut off last 3 feet of anchor chain where it attaches to anchor. Figured that must be weak link. Should have swapped ends of chain but did not think of that until too late. My ‘Bruce’ Chinese knock-off anchor developed a bent shank (who knows where or how), so bought new 30kg ‘Bruce’ lookalike anchor. Could not buy or steal original Bruce.

Bent shank on 22kg Bruce knock-off. Made me nervous so bought 30 kg Australian 'Bruce' knock-off. We'll see who is better at reverse engineering.

My shiny new Aussie Bruce.

I now have 3 ‘Bruces’ and they seem to me to be the best for this part of the world. I also have 60lb Plow so I’m well anchored up.

Had stanchions re-welded where they had failed (3 spots).

New headsail sheet. New wind vane running line.

Added freshwater washdown pump to clean cockpit when she gets too salty for my ass.

Added 1” cockpit floor padding (interlocking foam/plastic whatever) and it is great. Easy on feets. Best addition to boat since I bought it.

Easy on the feets, not slippery and when you drop a tool you don't chip the paint. Great stuff.

New pots and pans for kitchen

New fish cutting board for fish I never seem to catch.

Ok,Ok, the board might be too small. Then again it may never get used the way I'm going.

New big sea rod for same reason. Broke 2. One on a striped marlin off Cabo San Lucas and one Mahi Mahi off Kiribati. Oh, boys, he must have been 30 kg, easy.

Added two sun shades to bimini, also good for rain showers, but mainly for the beating down sun. Not good for white man. Zip on, zip off.

Had motor lift fabbed up. Makes it a lot easier to board the outboard in wavy conditons. 4:1 pulley system works nicely for an old man.

No more struggling (well, less) with heaving dinghy and heavy motor trying to ship it aboard without davey jonesing it.

Added 3 million candlepower bigbeam spotlight for the fishing boats in this area. Plugs into cigarette lighter deal and blinds those guys.

Added an anemometer (wind measuring device), el cheapo version. It uses a bicycle computer for readout. I didn’t want to run new wires down from the masthead so mounted this one on top of radar dome. Best thing about it is that it works and it cost $79 vs $600.

My el cheapo anemometer. Reads out in knots, too, and near deck level.

Added a number of LED temporary lights for same reason. Clip on, clip off. Too many fishing boats here for my liking. The boys have to live, I guess.

Removed 2 silly mushroom ‘vents’ from deck. They allow almost no ventilation and you always forget and leave one open when the greenies come over the bow=bed wet. These plexi-glass deals act as nice skylights too, adding light to bathroom. And do not leak or rust.

Little, non-leaking skylights instead of mushroom fraud vents.

Fabricated a front deck awning to keep sun off and hatches open. Sunbrella. Also fabbed up a wind scoop for forward hatch to keep my ass cool.

What do I need? Looks like a new 4 battery bank of deep cycles. I have them on order and will pick them up in Kuching, where the factory is. Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo.

I was on the hardstand for 6 months and rented a condo during that time. Could not live on the boat with all the work going on. Then 2 months in the water to complete jobs. It was cheaper at the Subic Bay Yacht Club than at Watercraft Ventures (hardstand). The Watercraft folk charge you a gang fee for your outside workers and a daily head tax for each worker. Amounted to about $80/day over and above hardstand costs.

So, with all that work done we sailed to Puerto Galera and then on to Palawan. When I tried hoisting the main the lines were so tangled and messed up that it took an hour or more to haul up a triple reef. In the meantime the 1/3 jib was flailing away and eventually ripped its ass in half. My fault. Bad seamanship.

Had it fixed here in Kota Kinabalu as well as a new bilge pump and a number of other upgrades.

This boat will be in top nick by the time I want to give up sailing.

You gots to admit, she's looking mighty fine.

If you think for a minute that I did all this work, time for therapy. I did a lot of the engine work but stayed well clear of any painting, varnishing, grinding and sanding. I know nothing about paints, don’t want to learn. Something falls out the back of my head every time I’m told something new and there’s not much left to fall out.

Here is the gang at our Christmas party on the beach in Subic. I had them employed from September to January. Thanks, guys.

The la Rosa gang with the team t-shirt at our Christmas party in Subic.

Now I spend my days where I deserve, being retired, well on (66 in May) and in decling years.

Sutera Harbour Yacht Club, Kota Kinabalu. Poolside, baby.

One last thing. If I see one more sailboat with this name I’m going to have to take an anti-nausea pill.

You will never believe how many boats I have seen with this name. 'Southwind' and 'Wind Shadow' are close behind. Ok, maybe I'm being unkind, but folks, get some originality working.



  1. Impressive. Are you still happy with your choice of a steel boat?

  2. do you regret purchasing a steel boat? If you had the choice again, would you go with steel?

    • Lois:
      Oh, yes, about the steel boat. I and 2 parteners fitted out a brand new Fraser 42 in Vancouver in 1977 (fibreglass and well made) and sailed her to Durban, SA. Nothing wrong with glass but I always wanted steel.
      I like the idea of welding and bolting to steel.
      Rust is everpresent, however.

      • She looks really good. Thanks for the response.

  3. The boat looks beautiful! Great job!

  4. Congrats on the job done! Had you planned on doing all this at the phillipines or it just so happened?

    • I have to admit I was only focused on bottom paint. Then the painter shamed me into doing the hull. It went downhill from there with deck job and interior. Glad I did it though. Feels good to have a pretty boat.

  5. and pretty it is

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: