The Haul-Out…

Our boat is 49 years old and this year for her birthday, we got her a Haul-Out! We’ve spent the last three days Hauling her out of the water, putting in two new through-hull’s! One in the Galley… …And one in the Head. The thru-hulls turned out to be easy, no really(!) …So we could take our sweet time on the bottom and get it done right. Day one and two were picture perfect best-case-scenario, haul-out days. The weather was cool and clear on the first day and cool and damp on the second day making for comfortable working conditions both days. This is our first go-round with the Trinidad S.R., the most pricey of West Marine’s bottom pain offerings, so doing the job right was a luxury we could afford on this haul-out. The first step was to chip-n-scrape every square inch of the bottom of the boat to make sure none of those pesky Chesapeake Bay Critters survived the power washing. Next, we griddle bricked from stem to stern using griddle cleaning pumice bricks to wet-sand every single part of the boat that makes constant contact with the water. It was indeed a back-breaking job that coated us both in a thick black goop made up of YEARS of local crustacean life from here to Key West, FL… Day Two was also spent buffing out the top-sides with 3M buffing compound and that made the boat look incredible! After that we prepped her bottom for a serious Petit, Trinidad SR bottom-painting. Interlux 216 is a special solvent that leveled the paint on the bottom.  It gives it a smoother look and helps the new paint adhere better. On day three we gussied-up in our best bottom-painting gear and put a new thick coat of bright red bottom paint[…]

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Refinishing the Hard Dodger, Part 1

At the same time I was working on the plumbing, James and I have been fixing up our aftermarket hard dodger.  It’s a really nice feature on this boat, keeping the companionway out of the weather most of the time and allowing us to hunker down when we want to hide from the wind for a bit while sailing.  That was mostly on the way up to Baltimore last winter, between snow storms.  We were certainly in hiding mode then. But that’s a bit off topic, eh? The topic is this: the dodger had been painted with some sort of epoxy paint and then some other materials.  It was a mystery mix that was cracked and peeling all the way down to the fiberglass of which it is made.  I haven’t gotten in the habit of getting before pictures, so you just get the process here.  It’s pretty simple, really, if time- and energy-intensive.  I picked one area for close-ups so you can really see how it started and went along. The first step was to scrape off all the old material.  Patience and persistence are key here, because every single bit of material that isn’t 100% adhered to its substrate will need to go.  I used a painter’s scraper with a long flat edge that is blunt on one end and pointed on the other.  I used the pointed end to pry large sheets away and the flat edge to make sure the remaining material wasn’t going to come up.  After scraping all the loose bits away, I sanded everything in order to soften the edges for fairing. The next step was fairing everything.  I made the fairing compound with regular West System epoxy (several batches) mixed with 407 low density filler.  It’s a blended micro-balloon based filler that[…]

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Plumbing Systems, Part 1

We needed to CHANGE EVERYTHING!  I usually hate projects that start like that because, sooner or later, we decide to keep part of the old system after all.  And that’s where things get complicated. But not on this project.  I removed the old faucet, household-style filter, and pump in order to install new everything and tee into the system for a water heater.  Sorry, no before pictures. Replacing the faucet meant creating a new base.  Our new faucet has a different hole pattern, so I epoxied together 2 pieces of 1/4 inch Spanish cedar and took the hole saw to them.  I cut the new holes in the maple countertop with the jig saw. And this is what it looks like installed, first with it in the upright, ready-to-dispense-water position and second in the out-of-the-way, downward-leaning position. Of course, it’s hard to get at the bottom of the faucet in order to attach the female NPT to 1/2″ barbed fitting, along with the ever-important plumber’s tape.  Attaching the hose and tightening 4 hose clamps (because I wanted to have everything double-clamped if there is room on the fitting)…easy in comparison. I attached the hoses to the underside of a shelf in the sink cabinet and then along the side… The pump is living, temporarily, atop the lid from one of the integral tanks.   In order to leave myself a bit of play in the lines later, I wrapped them to get them where I wanted.  The input from the tank starts just above the pump and circles all the way around to the same place before going onto the pump.  The output goes to a tee.  One side goes directly to the cold water side of the faucet and the other side goes into the head, where the water[…]

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An Evening at the Theatre

We went last night to a play!  At the Everyman Theatre on North Charles, we saw “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment. The Amazing Adventures of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself)”.  Whew, what a mouthful! The whole play was like that – rococo with the language of romance-adventure and filled with sea-monsters, deserted islands, aboriginal maidens, and so on and so forth.  The form and content are well known and still enjoyable. Rather than sticking to the 19th century version of the adventure, this is moves into the 20th century (though not beyond) by framing the story as an exhibition given by the main character, a storytelling that we have agreed to hear.  He begins by stating that it’s amazing and that IT’S ALL TRUE!!!  But the story doesn’t end at rescue.  Louis takes us into the London to which he returns, where his story is published, lauded, rewarded, criticized, and finally excoriated as mostly lies.  The overwhelming sadness of Louis (the exhibitor performing the amazing story) is played straight, with his cohort bringing a script on stage and prompting him to help him past the heavy emotion of his shame. As with so many stories, this one questions whether fact and fiction are the important matters, or whether true and false are somehow, in a story, independent of fact.  However much of his story is made-up (and, unlike in Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi”, there is no factual recap to restructure our understanding of the story), it is fun to the very end.  It’s a good story, and therefore has part of truth on its side.

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