The new lazy bag

After some years in the sun it was finally time for a replacement of the lazy bag. like many things boating, I was amazed about the prices for replacements and a decent quality bag would set us back at least 600 Euro plus shipping and duties. somehow I felt that this was a justified cost and we started looking at other options. We also felt that the original sail bag had a few downsides that we would like to adjust. For one we would like to have a little more space to be able to fold the sail quicker into the bag. Secondly we did not like that the very front part of the sail was still exposed to the sun as the sailbag did not completely reach the mast. Lastly, the rain still penetrated the sail bag through the zipper, which may not be a big deal but could have been avoided through better design.

After some shopping around we found out that our current lazy bag was probably made out of Sunbrella material and we think that this is also the best way to go. However what we only noticed later is that there are various different types and strengths of materials. We opted for the thickets material which was noticeably heavier and stronger than the original sail bag. we purchased 9 meters at US$ 30/meter. Apart from some thread this was pretty much the only expense for materials. temporary sailbag...

the much harder part was to copy the original sailbag and incorporate our enhancement ideas. Luckily we have a very talented tailor working with us who was of immense help to this project.

the best way forward was to remove the original sailbag and completely dismantle it to its core parts. then it was easier to copy these individual parts. we also decided that we wanted an additional 10 centimeters of hight so as to have more room for the sail. and we decided to continue the bag around the mast, much like we have seen on several mono haul boats before.

the sewing took much longer than anticipated and required a heavy duty machine, but like in all thing boating it always takes more time than estimated.

we decided to recycle a few things of the original sailbag as they were still in good condition and we would not find a better alternative. these were the fibre rods holding the sail bag and furthermore the reinforced plastic batches and aluminum rings connecting the sailbag to the lazy jacks.

the nice thing doing things from scratch is that you can do them correctly and to the quality expected and desired by yourself. With this in mind we used nylon thread for all our sewing and double and triple stitched just about everything.

as you can see from the pictures the result turned out better than what we could have hoped for and it will surely give us several years of good sail protection. the added benefits also turned out just as we had hoped.

mast protection for complete cover

mast protection for complete cover

recycled previous patches

recycled previous patches

extra flap for rain protection

extra flap for rain protection

the finished lazy bag

the finished lazy bag

Well. here are some of the pictures of the final product. Pricing wise it was certainly a considerable savings as we spent less than $300 on materials vs. about $800 for a original replacement, but the hours put into it and the required experience and sewing machine required may not make this a suitable project for everyone.

Swimming with false killer whales

While we do not sail anywhere as much as we would like to we always do enjoy the moments that we spend on Kokomo! Every so often we take her out for a day sail and often combine this with a snorkel session and more often than not do we get rewarded with amazing underwater life.

We are lucky enough to live right next to the only known reef on the planet where whale sharks can be found on (almost) a daily basis throughout the year. While this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, we have gotten used to these gentle giants (but we still love every encounter!) so always welcome some diversity.

On many occasions do we find Manta Rays and about a year ago we spend a few brief moments swimming next to a blue whale, the largest animal on the planet. Recently we thought we saw some dolphins in the distance and sailed closer to cheek them out. we quickly noticed that these were either some mutated huge dolphins or something else and soon learned that these were false killer whales. After whatching them playing next to the catamaran for a while and not knowing what they usually like to eat we hoped that we are not on their menu and jumped in to enjoy this unique experience of watching an entire family sharing a tuna that they had just caught.

These are the moments where we remember how lucky we are to be living on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean!

Size does matter!

When we first named KOKOMO we were proud of our new logo on the hull, but soon noticed it was definitely in need of some super-sizing and so we finally ordered something a little bigger.

we remembered very well that placing even the small sticker was a headache we did not quickly forget, so getting something 3 times the size was something that worried us quite  a lot. 

in addition the stickers available here in the Maldives do not come with a ‘top layer’ which would ensure that the letters remains their size when placing them on the hull.

after a lot of intent research we decided that the best way to proceed would be to use some window cleaner and water mix to keep the hull slippery while placing the letters. Even with this it was not an easy feat to keep the letters in line and from sticking to each other. if you look closely at the pictures the logo is one entire piece rather than separate letters. once one section was in place we tried to remove all bubbles and then fix the section with masking tape. with a towel, the soapy water was removed and after only about 30 minutes the sticker was pretty much fixed in place.

However, similar to so many other little projects, what we expected to only take an hour, ended up occupying 4 of us for more than 4 hours. but in the end, it was all worth it! here a few pictures from the progress.

the blank canvas

the blank canvas

getting started

getting started

one letter at the time

one letter at the time

don't move

don’t move

Done!

Done!

sailing off into the sunset

sailing off into the sunset

A week of electrical repairs

Ever since we bought Kokomo we keep finding new things that need attention. One big topic that has been scaring us were the electrics. Over the years the previous owners seemed to have added things without any real strategy and the cables in some cases look more like spaghetti than anything done with much sense.

so this week we are lucky to have two friends visit us that could not be more qualified to bring clarity into this mess. Both of them are airline technicians by trade, Kai being an all-round magician and Falk specializing in electrics.

One of the things that quickly became clear to me was something that we all know, but not always follow: a quick fix may be quick but will surely become a major issue sooner or later and should be done right form the beginning! we discovered many (and I mean MANY!) cables that had been badly affected by the salt air and water as they had been installed as one would do in a house . The lack of good contacts and connectors caused entire cables to suck humidity many meters inside the cables, where one could not see any damage from outside, but the cable were so eroded that in some cases the electricity could not even flow anymore.

Amazingly both Kai and Falk had a way of quickly pinpointing the critical areas and in a matter of a few days repaired many of the things that had been annoying us for months. An example would be the engine that sometimes started and sometimes did not (without any obvious reason). After investigation one of the cables between the engine and the panel at the helm was corroded inside and needed to be replaced. Sure enough, after that everything was like new!

These days were a good training for me to learn how to search and identify problem areas and hopefully will help us in the future when we are at sea and do not have smart friends around anymore.

For the ones of you that are going through similar experiences, i can only recommend to take some extra time rather than rushing things, such as:

a properly applied shrink wire

properly applied shrink wire

solder each cable connection possible. this is the only way to stop humidity entering the cable.

use heat shrink wire as this will waterproof the connections. if you have not used shrink wire, it is like a wonder tool. it is a rubber hose that you put over cable connections, heat it with a lighter and ‘presto’. a waterproof connection safe for marine use.

don’t use electrical tape hoping that it will last, it will not!

clearly mark as many cables as possible, even though they may seem obvious right now. later you may not remember or someone else needs to work on them.

for many of you these may seem obvious, but over and over again, shortcuts seem so much easier and are tempting to apply… try to resist the temptation!

A country without Marinas

believe it or not, there is not a single Marina in the Maldives! while there are some harbors in local islands and the capital island of Male, in most cases each island is on their own. this means that KOKOMO has her home in our lagoon. in most cases the lagoon is nice and it is a picturesque sight, in this case from the birds-eye view

kokomo-lagoon

At times KOKOMO wants some company and comes to the jetty to collect some guests wishing to go sailing. so it is not uncommon that she comes across other boats (mostly the local dhoni boats) or perhaps one of the seaplanes that comes to our island several times each day.

Rush hour

Rush hour

but there are the days when things are not quite as calm and we try much miss the protection one enjoys in a Marina. while there are no tropical storms or hurricanes in the Maldives, we do get rough weather at times during the monsoon season. in and example of today, we were greeted with a big storm, lots of rain and winds up to 50 knots. in these cases even the calmed lagoon becomes a battlefield and this is when I wonder whether our mooring will be enough. we made sure to have plenty of weight, using two mooring blocks of about 1 ton, 30 meters of very heavy chain, but one never knows what their limits are. in days like these we added another two anchors as backup, but seeing the catamaran rising up on one wave and then crashing down right after does not make us feel very comfortable at all and we just have to trust that all will be well.

bring it on!    the moment before the storm.

bring it on! KOKOMO just before the storm.