Friday, April 15, 2016

Hauling Out a Privilege Catamaran with a SeaLift Trailer

There are 3 ways to lift out a boat.  A Travelift, trailer, and crane.  Our owners manual has a detailed section on using the Travelift and crane but has nothing about the trailer.

We're tied to a tree and this trailer needs to be perfectly positioned
I contacted Privilege about using the trailer and got a very non-committal answer saying "we don't recommend it".  Other catamarans however claim that it is the preferred way to haul them out.  In the past 10 years, we have been hauled out 8 times and always by a Travelift.  We heard the FULL MONTY, a privilege 48, was hauled out with a trailer in Tahiti and cracked both their escape hatches.  In Australia, we saw a Privilege 48 being hauled by a SeaLift trailer and it seemed to work out fine.  So we figured why not give it a try.  It may also be a handy thing to know about for use in other parts of the world.

Trailer going down the ramp and under Tortuguita
Pangkor Marina has a SeaLift and the best price going for boatyard storage so we figured why not give it a try.  SeaLifts seem to be becoming a popular means to haul out since they are much cheaper to buy than a Travelift and the boats can be packed closer in the boatyard which increases the number of boats and therefore profit for the yard.

Pneumatic tubes (strapped to steel) that support the boat

We're finally being lifted.
They SeaLift goes down a ramp like a regular trailer and the boat is positioned over 4 pneumatic tubes.  The Catamaran is lifted from under the deck and a monohull is lifted by the sides of the hull.  The trailer needs to be submerged completely beneath the boat and due to the depth of the boat ramp at Pangkor Marina, high tides are a must.  They also only schedule one launch and one haul out each day.

Here are the blocks and timbers lifting the stern

On a Privilege catamaran, the underside of the bridge deck has two different levels.  It is lower where you step in to the salon.  If not compensated for, the tube would crush at this corner and the steel supporting the tubes would be hitting the fiberglass.  At the very least, there would be very high point loads created in this area.  To solve this problem, timbers are placed across the back of the tubes with wood blocks stacked on top.  This allows the aft structural part of the boat to be lifted albeit only at two places.  It also keeps the pneumatic tubes from cracking the Plexiglas in the escape hatches. 

All done and pressure washed.  It actually worked.

We thought we had everything arranged with the crew prior to 'the day'.  They were shown pictures from the lift in Australia, we made measurements.  They knew what timbers we needed to help support the hulls, etc.  Except when 'the time' came, it wasn't correct.  The board was too long and they had no real way to cut it or get one so late in the day.  There was also a huge language barrier.  My Malaysian was about as good as their English.

On the road again, with training wheels.
I ended up in the water with the workers stacking timbers and padding until we finally got it to work.   Booker was onboard when the weight shifted from the floating hulls to the center deck and she said it felt as if the boat was bending severely.  Not ideal, but next time the timbers will be the correct length.  I also think the tube air pressure should be lower to help spread out the load better.  It's really not something to screw around with because 17 tons of boat weight in the wrong place can do some real damage in a hurry.   

So, yes Privilege, it can be done.  As long as you are careful.  But that's true of anything.  Total time to haul, 2 hours.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Penang Island

Our last stop with the rally is Penang Island.  It's a 60 mile day trip so we decided to leave a few days early and kill a few days anchoring off the nice little beach at Pangkor Island where we had the catered lunch.  Big mistake.  We were buzzed all day long by motorboats and Jet Skis.  We did have a nice dinner on shore once all the commotion calmed down.

The following morning we moved to the next bay to the north along with LUNA BLU and FLOMEIDA. We swam to the beach and did some walking.  I helped Christoph troubleshoot his malfunctioning dinghy engine.  Turned out he had bad petrol from Indonesia.  Seems to have been mixed with diesel.  

Rimau Island Anchorage

We left this nice quiet spot the next day at sunrise which was a good thing.  Not that we were running out of daylight but that we barely anchored before the thunderstorms hit.  We anchored in a nice little cove at Rimau Island.  Just off the south end of Penang.  The thunderstorms were brutal and lightning was striking very close for a few hours.  The cracks and flashes were instantaneous, and loud.  We were with about 10 other boats and fortunately nobody was struck.  We spent the next day exploring Rimau Island but it was pretty overgrown and we couldn't get to the lighthouse. 

Rally going under the Penang Bridge
The Rally had planned a group sail under the Penang Bridge during morning rush hour.  About 50 rally boats from various anchorages rendezvoused an hour south of the bridge and we went in full convoy mode under the 2nd longest bridge in Malaysia.  Another 30 minutes further up the Selatan Strait, we dropped anchor in front of this leg's rally sponsor, The Straits Quay Marina.

The streets of Little India, Penang Island
We learned the bus system fairly quickly.  We went with LUNA BLU and LAZY LADY exploring the historic Capital City of Georgetown in search of culture, hardware, and food.  We ended up in Little India for a great lunch.  That evening the marina had free beer and food for Happy Hour.

Penang Hill Incline train tracks
The following day we took the inclined train to Penang Hill.  At 2500 feet above sea level, the air was cool and the view incredible.  

Notice the angle of the Incline train in the background

Georgetown from Penang Hill, still have haze in the air from burning forests.

Penang has a large Chinese population and we spent a few hours exploring the enormous Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple and monestary.  They have 10,000 Buddah statues.  Seems like they must have gotten a good price on them.

Buddahs everywhere

We go to the same barber.

Entertainment at Fort Cornwallis

The Penang Dept. of Tourism put on a great dinner for us that evening at Fort Cornwallis.  It is a star shaped fort built by the British in the late 1700's with some canons that date back to 1600.  We had use of the entire fort property after closing hours, the food was nice for us vegetarians, finally, and the entertainment was interesting.  They had the large Chinese dancing dragons, singers and dancers.

Buddhist Bunny

The following day, most boats departed to the north towards Langkawi and we went south back to Pangkor Island.  We passed CONVIVIA, who was heading up to Penang.  We've been trying to meet up with them since Australia but kept passing and never ended up in the same place at the same time.   Had a nice chat on the radio though.  Tucker is the guy who designed the Farkwar website.  They are heading across the Indian Ocean after Thailand so we may not cross paths for a while.

The day was long, the current strong, and anchorages were nil.  We would be making a night arrival at our anchorage and have to risk collisions with fishing boats.  We passed up an unfamiliar anchorage for the one on Pangkor Island that we already visited, were familiar with, and had GPS tracks from when we left a week earlier.  In 10 years of cruising, this was only our second night time arrival.  The next morning we motored over to our new home at Marina Island and started preparing Tortuguita for haul out and storage.