Rehua has been upgraded, refreshed, repainted and is ready for the next leg of our journey.
We hauled out here at Raffles Marina, earlier this year, for some much needed bottom care. Given the uncertainty on where we might be able to haul out next, we decided to go for the longer lasting copper coat paint. It’s a bit trickier to apply and needs to be activated correctly (by gently sanding it after it has been applied and fully dried), but if done well it can last up to ten years, much longer than the ‘regular’ anti-foul paints which need to be reapplied every two to three years.
So far, so good and we’re very happy with the result.
The next major upgrade were the sails. Our previous set had served us 7 years but had started falling apart recently. The UV damage in the tropics is definitely a huge factor and sails tend to not last very long out here. We got Phil from Zoomsails to make us a custom new mainsail as well as two new genoas (the second one we need for goose-winging it downwind). They look great and are a good fit. Only job left to do is to make a new sail cover for the mainsail, which we will do ourselves (note that I’m using the royal ‘we’ here as I have no idea how to operate our Sailrite sewing machine).
Next, we looked at our main source of energy: solar power. We wanted to get more of it. We replaced the old solar panels and added a few extra flexible panels on the newly reinforced aft cockpit rooftop. Several weeks after we installed them (the royal ‘we’ again) we noticed the flexible panels had started showing some signs of early degradation (weird bubbles). The supplier was very helpful and provided replacement panels (a different type). We opted for the heavier but more robust non-flexible type this time. This of course meant we had to re-install and re-wire everything again and also required further adjustments to the rooftop. Hopefully these panels will be long lasting and the power output should give us a significant increase.
We also wanted more water. Who doesn’t like to take a fresh-water shower after a dip in the ocean? Other onboard luxuries like the washing machine and the fresh-water toilet flushes use up a lot of water too, so being able to produce enough water makes a big difference and enables us to be self-sufficient whilst still enjoying some everyday comforts. Our Spectra watermaker had been great and being able to run it on solar power was definitely a bonus. However, the last few years Seathan probably spent more time upgrading components and buying expensive repair kits and the output is still not enough for a family of four. It was definitely time for an upgrade. We opted for a more robust system with a larger output capacity and less electronic interfaces. The installation was another big project completed recently.
Adding to the above major upgrades, there have been plenty more smaller projects, equally time consuming. Seathan made a new cockpit enclosure, sewed new sunshades for the saloon windows, installed new trampolines, replaced some of the navigation equipment, serviced the engines and the generator. And of course, the boat still had to be cleaned, polished and washed on a regular basis.
Rehua 2.0 is almost ready to go. So where to next? Unfortunately, we missed the weather window to cross the Indian Ocean this year. However, we do have some excellent cruising grounds nearby that are open to visiting yachts such as Indonesia, Thailand or the Philippines. We’ll try and make the most of what we can do and we hope the international travel restrictions come to an end soon. We had planned to visit our family and friends in Europe this year but unfortunately this is not possible due to the current travel restrictions. It’s very sad that we can’t go home and I have to admit that for the first time in seven years I feel a bit homesick.
But there’s no point sitting around moping so let us finish off those final few jobs, sort out our visas and the necessary paperwork, stock up the boat with plenty of provisions and hopefully we can post you some happy sailing pictures set in turquoise water near desert island shores soon. Stay tuned for more!