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The Teak Deck Project Starts – The Hunt for a Yard

May 16, 2014

Note: This post will be published with an earlier date than today’s.  This is common practice for me, since I am really hopeless at blogging, and therefore have massive gaps.  By publishing with the dates on the photo, at least it keeps my ‘memories’ in chronological order!

So, today we lifted our boat out of the water.  It is in desperate need of repairs. During the ocean crossing from Cochin to Phuket, we got absolutely drenched in  heavy seas, since we were beating into the wind at the wrong end of an ocean.I will write up a post about the passage when I have come to terms with it, but for now all I will say is that it was the most stressful passage of my life, and probably even the most stressful life event I’ve ever had.

Anyway, after having sat on a mooring completely alone for three weeks after we arrived (Marc had to fly to Kuwait for work, and the States for a conference), then a few more weeks with Marc, just healing our relationship, we then started looking for places to lift the boat.  So we tootled around Phuket in our little renatl car with the dogs in the boot, and checked them all out.  We saw some lovely places.  Our favourite was Premium Yard up in the North of the island. It was beautiful, with an approach down a small track through a gum tree plantation, and was an idyllic location, and quiet to boot.  But they lift on a ramp with a trailer, which has a two meter draft, so that was out.  Second choice was the G&T yard in Ao Po, since they had wide open beach and little portakabins with french windows, terraces and patios for the boaties to stay in when they lift.  But again, the trailer thing, so no good for us.

AN old fashioned yard with old fashioned rails and old fashioned fishing boats

AN old fashioned yard with old fashioned rails and old fashioned fishing boats

Since we have a deep draft, we were limited to two places only.  The first was Ratanachai Slipway, in old Phuket town, which was my first choice.  It was an old fashioned yard, using old fashioned rails to lift boats, and there was plenty of space.  Up a river, it is adjacent to the fishing harbour, which is colourful and vibrant.   Of course, I never even thought to take a photo of those, since they weren’t relevant to the lifting of the boat!  Like I said, I’m rubbish at blogging!

The other downside, of course, was that being slap bang in the middle of town, we’d have had to rent a small room close by, and the dogs would have had no space to run around.  Or stay where we are, and drive through the most nightmarish of traffic to get there every day.  Plus you’d have to import labour and pay extra to bring them in, plus they have a reputation for charging lots of add ons.

So when they said the tide was too high, I didn't believe them!!

So when they said the tide was too high, I didn’t believe them! Now, the photo is taken from the boat in the water, everything behind this guy is the hard stand. And this was after the tide had been falling for an hour!

Anyway, we were basically forced to lift at the very expensive Boat Lagoon in Phuket.  At least they have a travelift, but they also have problems with boats grounding in their channel.  It takes about half an hour to motor up, and they provide a pilot in the fee to bring you to avoid this nonsense.  Plus you have to go up at high tide.  Although they dredge it, ay low water you can clearly see where they dump the mud, making huge drying areas which you can’t see at high tide of course.

So, we dutifully arrived at high tide, the pilot efficiently met us outside the harbour mouth exactly on time, and we arrived with no difficulties.  Just to be told we couldn’t lift at 11am, as per the booking.  They told us the tide was too high.  We replied that the tide could never be too high!  They disagreed and told us to go get some lunch.  We obeyed, and then saw what they meant.  The entire lift area was built BELOW the water level at high tide.  This photo was taken two hours after high tide, when the edges of the lift bay were at least visible.  The water was a metre higher than that an hour earlier!!!  I’d love to find out who engineered that one, and ask them why!!

Anyway, we got the boat lifted, pressure washed and sat on the hard stand without any problems. And I have to say, all the staff, all of them, were very polite and very helpful.  And surprisingly efficient.   If you can afford to lift there, I’d recommend it.  At least you’ll know that they know what they’re doing.



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