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Taking a shine to the Boatyard Blues (and blacks and reds, too!) while going

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  • Flying Pig
    Taking a shine to the Boatyard Blues (and blacks and reds, too!) while going slightly batty (well, dinghy ) When we left you last, we d just completed a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4 8:47 AM
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      Taking a shine to the Boatyard Blues (and blacks and reds, too!) while going
      slightly batty (well, "dinghy")

      When we left you last, we'd just completed a booming trip from the Ragged
      Islands of the Bahamas to Fort Pierce, FL, averaging 8 knots over a 480-mile
      nonstop voyage.

      Now that we're settled in to the Riverside Marina boatyard life, things are
      happening at the usual pace of such an environment, which is to say, slowly,
      but surely.

      No sooner did we hit the ground (well, were carefully placed on boards under
      the keel and supported by several special jacks under the hull) than someone
      from my earliest days in our boat searching walks up and introduces himself.
      The guy who was so enraptured of Endeavour 43s that he was convinced it was
      the only boat I should consider has had his boat, bought before we even
      started our search, STILL in the yard.

      I'll save you the myriad unhappinesses with that model boat, but he's still
      working on it, over 8 years later. Granted, it's a work of art, and once he
      gets his new knees, he'll probably, finally, ship out. Ever helpful, he
      also immediately offered the use of his specialty tool (well, specialty to
      the average cruiser), a vacuum high powered sander, for doing our bottom
      job, as well as offering a variety of other helps..

      Hard on his heels were three other cruisers, spaced out over a day or so,
      who - apparently my reputation precedes me - wanted to talk to me about our
      internet setup. True to form, we were online from the moment we entered the
      channel on our entrance to the area, albeit on various connections as we
      moved from in front of the USCG facility to the yard. Our supplier,
      www.islandtimepc.com, is out sailing as I write, but there are now three
      orders (that I know about, anyway!) for the same system we have waiting for
      his return in a few days. We also have a half-dozen other cruisers sharing
      our signal from our local (inside the boat) router, all of whom have come
      over to see us as the site name for our router suggests they do :{)) It's
      one of the ways we meet other cruisers, and, as those of you who have been
      with us for a while know, sometimes, when we move local anchorages, we have
      a "following" who keep near us to stay connected.

      We're not moving from this spot for quite a while :{))

      We have a three-page list of boatyard projects which is not only slowly
      being whittled away but, as usual, has had additions made to it as we go...

      Our first project was to obtain an inexpensive car, accomplished, courtesy
      of Craigslist, in a couple of days. Cheaper, even if we threw it away, than
      renting, it will wind up going to one of my children's family, they having
      lost their second car a few months ago. We need that due to the
      long-distance traveling we're going to be doing while we're ashore, and, not
      insignificantly, our reprovisioning.

      The last reprovision we did was in August 2009; we ran out of a few things,
      and have surplus of a few others, but, in general, that turned out to be a
      pretty accurate list. That will put our water line back closer to the
      surface - we've been moving higher, a millimeter at a time, as we worked
      through our provisions.

      We'll likely add close to a ton of provisions, which will bring us back down
      to the new waterline we did in our original refit, and restore our 7' draft.
      So, while I would REALLY have liked to have gotten another Fiero (I used to
      be a Fiero nut), as it's unequalled for comfort and style for long distance
      travel, as it has a trunk about the size of couple of a large suitcases and
      is a two-seater, it would be very inappropriate to our tasks. So, we got a
      one-owner 2000 Mercury Marquis, with its limousine seats and cavernous trunk

      The next major project was to clean off the bottom of the boat so we could
      do a new bottom coat. Between the blister repairs we did in our original,
      3-year-long refit, the hull repairs we did after our wreck on our maiden
      voyage, and our interest in not having to do this job any time soon after we
      launched the first time, we had between 6 and 10 coats of ablative (it's
      designed to slough off under use, exposing new paint all the time) paint to

      Of course, the nature of that paint is to come off, naturally, so what drove
      us to this project was that there were places which were bare, and major
      areas which were down to the first, color-change (allows us to see when the
      outer layer is gone, but still protect against the critters which want to
      attach to our hull) coat. The fact that we got 4 years out of our initial
      work suggested we'd done it pretty well - many folks do their bottoms every
      year, and most are happy to achieve a 2-year cycle!

      None the less, much of it was still very thick. The specialty sander,
      offered to us by the above friend, was not making much of a dent. So, I dug
      out my tool I'd used in our wreck rehab and commenced grinding away. More

      Another major project was to replace the covers to our aft berth mattresses.
      Portia has done a number on the lightweight terry material, and, if you've
      been with us a long while, you'll recall that we had to redo our bow cabin's
      covers after an inadvertent disposal of the same stuff as is on the stern
      presently. We did the needed research into various suppliers of that
      skillset, settling on Brant, of Canvas Works, a very talented fellow who has
      done some very serious work with governmental boats, as well as the more
      typical small-boat work.

      We'd originally thought to use the material we replaced the bow cushions'
      covers with, but found a similar product in his catalog. It seems a thinner
      material than that in the bow, which I expect is a bonus, as we, now
      sleeping in the bow due to the work happening in the stern, find the cover
      there too stiff, depreciating the benefit of the Tempur-Pedic clones we'd
      designed for that cabin...

      However, in the course of discussions on our work in general while he was
      designing the changes we wanted to make in the salon seating, Brant
      mentioned that he also knew a fiberglass wizard. In his work on smaller
      boats, usually brought to his shop, this fiberglass wizard, who'd cut his
      teeth on Zimmer modifications to Ford Mustangs many years ago, also did work
      on the hulls. Brant thought he'd be very reasonable if we wanted him to
      take off our bottom paint.

      As our list is prodigious, and we want to be back in the Bahamas in late
      June (after the 5-7 total weeks of family time which would take us away from
      the boat), having someone else take on that chore would allow me to be doing
      other things. True to expectations, the price quoted was very reasonable,
      and John, who's also an ASE certified technician, and whose card reads
      "Expert auto body and fiberglass restoration services," set to work.

      I'd told him what to expect, and pointed out the various small repair areas
      I'd already uncovered, but it was still a surprise to him to see how much
      black (outer coat), blue ("reveal" coat) and red (original boat's reveal
      coat) paint there was to take off. However, his work in the automotive
      business created a perfectionist at what he does, and, while there is still
      much to come off, his art in removal is stunning. Eventually we'll have
      pictures of all of this, linked to a picasa album, and, also eventually,
      uploaded to the gallery in my sig line, but it suffices to say that the
      bottom will be very well prepped for the very minor repairs (some new, very
      small, blister areas, and a few corrections to some repairs done after our
      wreck, now 4 years ago) we've discovered.

      We'll also be doing a new barrier coat - special paint which will keep water
      away from the fiberglass, which can aborb moisture, leading to blisters,
      later. We've taken most if not all of the barrier coat which was applied
      over a "peel job" (removing all the original gel coat, the factory means of
      applying a barrier to the fiberglass during manufacture) at a very long time
      ago in a prior owner's history, during our blister repairs in our initial
      refit so that will happen before we apply our
      critter-killer/vegetation-discouraging paint.

      Topsides, we also decided to redo our salon cushions and fabric, long a
      thorn in our sides, as the cushions were worn out (original, which makes
      them 30+ years old) and we weren't fond of the pattern on the upholstery
      (which was extremely high quality material and workmanship, but just not our
      style). Design changes we'd been thinking about for years will be
      incorporated, making seating vastly more comfortable, in addition to the new
      foam which would help in and of itself.

      The fabrics for both the aft cabin bedding and the salon seating are
      red-based, so between the bottom paint and the fabrics, we pretty much have
      the color scheme in the title covered :{))

      The shine part is that, in our last refit, in '09, we'd heard about a
      varnish substitute which seemed literally too good to be true. Tuf-Shield
      was promoted to us by a guy who'd used it on his boat in Maine. Always
      exposed, the severe weather, from freezing - along with the snow and ice -
      to broiling in the 19-hour summer daylight there (he claimed) hadn't caused
      any deterioration in his finish in 10 years!! Some research revealed that
      the original owner of the company had died a few years earlier, but the
      company was once again producing the product.

      Viral marketing hasn't yet taken hold, and they currently have only two US
      distributors, but this product was selected by Bill Gates for his family
      compound on a lake in WA, a massive project; it's a reasonable assumption
      that cost was not an issue, but performance definitely was.

      Hmmm. Perhaps this was worth pursuing, even though it seemed more expensive
      than other alternatives more commonly used by sailors. Particularly,
      refinishing of teak is an onerous job, second only to bottom work. Those
      who contract it out pay VERY dearly for it due to the insane labor hours
      needed for a quality job, so if we could mitigate that portion of keeping
      our teak looking great, we were all for it.

      Thus encouraged, we contacted the company, which sent us a sample package of
      their base coat and both gloss and satin top coats, along with the special
      reducer used in the base. It's taken us nearly 2 years to get to where we
      are able to apply it, but Lydia's giving it the acid test, refinishing some
      extremely weathered areas we'd let go natural.

      Of course, it will be some years before the proof is apparent, but all we
      read about the nature of the product suggests it will perform as advertised.
      If we find it to be effective (that is, we don't have to do anything at all
      to it for a couple of years, and additional coats are as easy as shown in
      the application instructions), likely we'll carry a stock, as distributors.
      The tropics are a great proving ground for marine finishes...

      The other shine is that we're considering repainting our topsides. In boat
      terms, that's the part above the water, but not the part on the top of the
      boat, that being "deck and house"... We'd had stunning initial successes in
      restoring shine to the presumed-15-year-old-paint with Poli Glow, but the
      realities of reapplication from the water or deck made it such that we
      didn't keep up with it. As a result, our topsides are not at their best.
      However, re-enter the fiberglass wizard...

      As he keeps at the grind below, we've been talking about how to attack the
      part above. At this writing, it's a wrestling match between gel coat and
      AwlGrip, the "standard" in boat paints. Gel coat is more forgiving, being
      able to patch or touch up in the event of a scuff, or worse, but will
      require more labor to keep shiny after a few years. Awl Grip requires less
      later work, being an epoxy paint, but its hardness means that it is easy to
      chip, and dings can't be repaired - at least not cosmetically perfectly.

      Both our fiberglass wizard and the yard are quoting on that job. As that
      was one of the things we thought we'd do - assuming we got there; cruising
      is not subject to very hard dates! - in Cartagena in Columbia, a place we've
      heard is VERY inexpensive in very talented labor, including two major refits
      of a sister ship, if it's not "reasonable" (reasonable being a very relative
      term in the boating world!), we'll wait on that.

      The yard is also quoting on a modification of our arch. That, if we do it
      here, will be a real nuisance to accomplish, as it will have to come off,
      along with all the electrical attachments (wind generator, solar panels and
      4 different antennas), which will have to be rethreaded and reattached,
      along with the new connections required when I cut the wires under the deck
      (better than taking out all the wiring back to the batteries!) when it's

      However, this arch has been a thorn in my side since the day I installed it.
      Despite my having specified materials orders of magnitude larger than the
      usual arch, it's been wobbly since the day it was installed. Worse, there's
      a weld failure on one of the reinforcing tubes, at the top on the port side.

      Addtionally, due to the fabricator making a mistake he wasn't willing to
      rectify during construction, our solar panels are at a permanent angle,
      inefficient for a fixed location (some arches' design allow for tilting the
      panels, but the need for the swing room makes for a much smaller area which
      can be covered in solar panels, leading to less output other than in times
      you continue to adjust for the sun's angle, something we'd not wanted to
      bother with).

      I'd designed it with davits incorporated, to keep the dinghy out of our line
      of sight, which made for a very tall arch. So, our proposed modification
      would shorten it so that piece with the broken weld was no longer there. In
      addition, another, inner, reinforcing structure would supplement the outer
      one I'd designed.

      Along the way, we'd straighten out the solar panels' misalignment. A bit
      fiddly in fabrication to make the now-shortened outer reinforcing frame
      match up, as well as to come to the right point on the new top pieces so
      they'd match up with the existing leg-remainders, but it could be done. And,
      as we'd never found the dinghy to be anywhere near our line of sight,
      shortening the arch would also allow for more stiffness just by virtue of
      the smaller lever arm resulting.

      There are LOTS of small jobs, but the other major one was to resolve our two
      dinghies' failures. Porta-Bote came through immediately, prorating our 10
      year warranty; the new bote (intentional "misspelling" due to the actual
      name of the product!) arrived much more promptly than we'd expected. Walker
      Bay continues to be a black hole of frustration, as their customer service
      department moves glacially, despite it being based in Mexico. None the
      less, they assure me that we'll have that one resolved before we set out
      again, as well.

      If we don't have a follow-up to my most recent request for a progress report
      in the next few days, I'll try the trick our Kiwi buddies who have since
      swallowed the hook (the term for cruisers who move ashore and sell their
      boat) used, which is to call the headquarters and ask for the CEO's email
      address. According to him, they REALLY don't want to see this go to a board
      meeting, and, since we've been working with various folks there, starting
      with the VP of Marketing and working our way into the Customer
      Service/Warranty departments, for close to a year, including the "Alice's
      Restaurant"-like multiple color glossies, my guess is that this might -
      possibly! - speed up the process :{))

      There are 16 projects currently in progress (started, but not finished due
      to waiting time or other eventually-to-be-resolved impediments to closure),
      another 30 or so smaller ones not yet started, and about a dozen major ones
      already crossed off the list. (Lydia gets huge satisfaction when she can
      draw a line through one of the projects, large or small, as it means the
      list gets shorter!)

      As seen in our last, the reason we hurried here - aside from the ideal
      weather window at the time - was to attempt to achieve our list completion
      before leaving for the wedding three weeks from today. That probably won't
      happen, but we're very hopeful that we'll have it all finished before Lydia
      gets the call to go play Grandma sometime a few weeks after we've returned
      from the wedding.

      Ever hopeful, this will do for now, in hopes that it's not quite as long as
      the typical diatribe from me :{))

      So, until next time, Stay Tuned!


      Skip, back in the boatyard

      Morgan 461 #2
      SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
      See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !
      Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog
      and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

      "Believe me, my young friend, there is *nothing*-absolutely nothing-half so
      much worth doing as simply messing, messing-about-in-boats; messing about in
      boats-or *with* boats.

      In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's
      the charm of it.

      Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your
      destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get
      anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in
      particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and
      you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."
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