Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Status of the Gelcoat Spraying

Malaysian Gelcoat Chip compared to Singapore Gelcoat
We are now sourcing our gelcoat from RP Malaysia in Johor Bahru.  They custom mix whatever gelcoat specifications you want.  I gave them some Duratec and told them to mix it 1:1 with the gelcoat to give a 25 second #4 Zahn Cup viscosity.  It was spot on. Their ISO-NPG is high quality, they arrange shipping, and we don’t have to deal with import duty paperwork.  They were also able to provide Styrene, MEK, and MEKP.  All, at a very reasonable price.  We made the arrangements during our Road Trip to Singapore.

The Sunshade also blocks the wind
Chinese New year cost us a few weeks delay while waiting for delivery of the resin.  Malaysian businesses are all shut down for the holiday.  We did some sanding during that time and found out that the gelcoat we previously applied is continuing to cure and is getting extremely hard.  It seems to be best to do the initial sanding within a few days with 100 grit discs.

Starting the next 4m section
Just finished spraying the Inboard Side
Spray days are a real challenge.  We try to arrive at sunrise.  It is not possible to tape out the day prior because it may rain at night or the morning dew will make the tape peel off.  It has to be done in the morning.  

Setup and test panel spraying takes about an hour plus.  The wind builds up and is usually too strong to spray after around 11AM.  This gives us 2-3 hours max to git'er done.  The sunshades block the wind somewhat and that extends the time a little.

We started spraying sections from work scaffolds.  The nice thing with gelcoat is that blending and repairs are a piece of cake.  You don’t even have to be a very good paint sprayer since any runs will get sanded out anyway. 

We started with the Toe Rail to Rub Rail, Bow to Stern, on the Outer side of the hull.  I apply 5 thick coats to 4 meter sections and then overlap the next 4 meter section.  Guide Coat is sprayed the next morning and sanded that afternoon.  We then did the Rub Rail to waterline, Bow to Stern.  Guide Coat, then Sand.

Repeat for the other hull, Top to Bottom, Bow to Stern.  Guide Coat, then Sand.

Next came the Forward part of the Inboard Side of the Hulls.  Port, then Starboard, Guide, then Sand.  In all, this took us 8 weeks.  We had pretty much used up 40 liters of gelcoat and were ready for a break.  About 80 percent of the boat has been done and it looks pretty good.  Not sanded and buffed shiny yet but consistent bright white without dings nor cracks.
The Nacelle is also sprayed when doing the Inboard Side

All that remains is the Cockpit, Salon Roof, Swim Platforms, and some tie-in areas.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Road Trip to Singapore

The 8 hour drive

We left the Marina at 5AM.  The drive is mostly 4-lane tollways except for the first 2 hours which is a local 2 lane road with truck traffic and lights.  The early departure allowed us to beat the morning traffic mess.

On the drive down, our plans changes tremendously.  Instead of doing all the errands the following day, we had made good time and decided to press on and get Singapore done that very same day.

The most common way for cruisers to go the Singapore is to take the bus or car to the JB Sentral Checkpoint, clear out and take the bus across the causeway to clear in at the Woodlands Checkpoint.  We were going to do that but came up with a different plan on the ride down and decided to try to drive all the way into Singapore.  We had heard it was not going to be easy.

Clearing out with the car at JB Sentral was easy.  Stamped and Go.
We then crossed the causeway to Woodlands and things got interesting.  Car documents, insurance, registration, and passports had to be verified.  Similar to if you were going to import a vehicle.  After all, how do they not know you aren't going to sell it while you are there and never pay import duty.  A temporary permit had to be purchased, and lastly, a toll pass had to be linked to our license plate to allow us to pay the bridge toll.

We stopped at the bus terminal to top up the toll pass and exchange US dollars for Singapore dollars.  We made it to Wee Tee Tong Chemicals before they closed and picked up their last remaining 6 gallons of Duratec.

We fought the afternoon traffic also heading to Malaysia, got back to Woodlands, cleared out, and drove back across the bridge.  At this point it got interesting.

Customs searched the trunk and wanted to know about the ‘paint’.  I showed them the invoice and boat papers which allow us to bring boat repair materials into Malaysia free of duty.  The inspector wasn’t sure of the “Yacht in Transit” tax exemption and didn't understand the high cost of the ‘paint’  ($1000 Singapore dollars).  He had to call his boss who was incredibly nice.  He said “…you absolutely have the right to bring boat parts into Malaysia free of duty…. just have the documents ready next time you come through here…”. 

Of course I had the documents ready on this crossing, but they feel they always have to say something.  I thanked him, shook his hand, and off we went to Immigration.

Immigration seemed to take forever and we caused quite the traffic backup.   There aren't that many foreigners driving across the boarder apparently.  Malaysians just get the 'wave through'.  

This is where it all comes down however.  We gave them all 4 passports.  Then each one of us was called out of the car to have our fingerprints scanned. We saw a bunch of stamping happening.  Malaysians love stamping things.  Our passports were returned, and off we went.  It wasn’t even 5PM.  Wow, what a day.  The four of us headed off to the hotel for a drink.

Oh yeah, 3 of us got 90 day visas.  Booker only got until the ‘investigational’ visa that she just received in Ipoh the day prior was set to expire.  79 days.

Thanks Trump.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Return to Malaysia, January 2018

Sorry, It has been almost a year since the last post. I will catch up soon.  

We returned to Malaysia at the end of January 2018.  Booker got hassled by Kuala Lumpur Airport Immigration and only was given a 14 day visa instead of the 90 day visa which everyone else gets, including myself. She supposedly had to be investigated for some such nonsense. No reason was given but we suspect that the Immigration official had a problem with the US Muslim Ban and was retaliating by hassling Americans. 

Thanks Trump, actions do have consequences.

Lunch at the Lam Fong Biscuit Shop, Ipoh
We were instructed to go to the closest Immigration office within 14 days and they will do an 'investigation'. We went to the office in Ipoh, the Capital of Perak State. We also gave a ride to Claude and Georges from the sloop CARIAD. They are French and needed a visa extension.

The 'investigation' went fine and Booker received the remainder of her 90 days as a visa extension sticker in her passport.

Claude and Georges were not so lucky. Apparently the EU is banning Malaysian Palm Oil for use in their biodiesel. In retaliation, Malaysia is not granting visa extensions to European Union Citizens. Georges and Claude must now leave the country within 2 days.

Our next errand was to make the 8 hour drive to Johor Bahru (JB) to arrange for a new supplier for Gelcoat. JB is across the river from Singapore. We could also use some more Duratec Additive which is only available from our source in Singapore. Since Claude and Georges now needed to go to Singapore and then re-enter Malaysia to get another 90 day visa, the next step seemed logical. 

We're all driving to Singapore.