The afternoon we arrived, Imani was hauled carefully and expertly then immediately power-washed. Days prior to the haulout the staff requested pictures of Imani's keel and measurements, and that preparation definitely paid off since the process all went very smoothly.
That brought us searching for another paint that would be compatible and still keep the little sea rascals off our hull. We talked to many cruisers who have been in this area for quite a while and heard at least a couple of horror stories of incompatible paints that began to peel off within two months after application. But we also heard of folks who just painted on the new paint and had no trouble. Still others told of sanding off the old paint and then applying the new one, and others talked of using a barrier paint before applying the new paint. With all this information floating about us, we were still unsure what to do. We contacted Pettit Trinidad by way of their website and still remained in the dark because they didn't respond to our questions of how best to apply a different anti-fouling.
Ultimately, we decided to give the hull a heavy sanding and then apply a barrier coat of Jotun's Epoxy Coal Tar and thereafter Jotun's HB-66 anti-fouling, which most sailors we met here use and endorse willingly.
Another challenge in hauling out so far from home is the language barrier. In Thailand most people do not speak English, and Thai is not an easy language for English speakers to acquire. This makes directing your workers a real challenge. Ratanachai Slipway is well aware of the communication difficulties, so there are numerous Thai-English translators all over the yard. These young ladies are ready to assist the boat owners and workers whenever the need arises. This service is invaluable; yet even with the translators, there is often miscommunication because of all the nautical and technical terms that these young ladies have to master. Nevertheless, the camaraderie in the yard between the translators, workers, and boat owners makes the work move quickly, with smiles all around.
Painting Imani's hulls went smoothly thanks to the very careful prep work performed by our helper, Boi, and the spray painter we hired. They paint a lot of boats in this yard and Imani has definitely benefited from all that experience. I should reiterate that Ratanachai is a commercial boatyard and thus at night you often hear work crews continuing into the wee hours of the morning. It's also situated next door to a fishmeal processing plant that regularly sends an aroma wafting through the yard that is enough to make you want to take refuge elsewhere. But we found we could live with these discomforts. The only negative we heard from other boat owners was the quality of the carpentry staff. This yard mostly works on large fishing vessels and thus does not have a lot of experience finishing out yacht interiors. Still, if you are a good communicator and have plenty of patience, it is possible to come out with a very good result. But if not, you should probably haul out at Boat Lagoon, where they specialize in yachts.
Nine days after Imani's arrival she was lowered back into the water. The foreman of the slipping-crew gave Marc the go-ahead to light the "bad-spirit-chasers" and a riot of machine gun bangs filled the air as six feet of firecrackers exploded one after another across Imani's bows. And so Imani followed Thai tradition—cleansed of all bad spirits, she was carefully placed back where she belongs to skim easily through the waters again. We've crossed our fingers that the anti-fouling will stay on her hulls.
Hauling Out Thai Style
In case you're cruising on this side of the world, here are the coordinates of the two major haulout facilities for sailing vessels that can be found on Pukhet Island: Phuket Marina Services Phuket Boat Lagoon20/9 Thepkasatree RoadMoo 2 Tambon Koh Kaew, Phuket 83200 Tel: (076) 238 943; Fax: (076)238 944 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Ratanachai Slipway Co 60/58 Ta-rue Mai Road Phuket, Thailand Tel: (076) 252 852, or 210 246; Fax: (076) 212 2443 E-mail: email@example.com