Ready to Splash

We’re drinking coffee, relaxed but excited that we’ll be underway again soon.  This haulout has gone pretty damn well, considering we went into it without planning ahead.

The insurance adjuster showed up the day after we were hauled.  His visit was an all-day event.  We showed him the damage, told him what we wanted.  He hemmed and hawed and said there was no way they’d pay to paint the entire boat.  The adjuster went back to his running car to start writing things up.  In the heat, we fumed that there was no work being done while we waited around for him to come back and talk to us again.

That’s when we brought over the manager of the yard and the master painter.  We all debated for a very long time.  First he tried to say it could be spot painted.  The hull isn’t uniform enough for the painter to find a good feathering place for blending the new and old.  Then he said it could be gel coated and washed and waxed. I told him that the painter was not wrong about the hull being non-uniform, but that I’m also not wrong that it would look silly as shit to have a patch of perfect new paint in the middle of the boat.

This guy is a car and motorcycle person.  He doesn’t really know what boats require.  He just knows it sounds like more money than he is supposed to approve on his own.  Just when it was about to get really upsetting, the adjuster retreated again to his running car.

He must have deliberated with his bosses.  An hour later, he came to the side of the boat and I clambered down the rickety ladder.  He held out a sheaf of paper an inch thick.  On top of the mass sat a check.  Whatever happened in his conversation with his bosses, I imagine it went something like this:

“The yard wants $10,000 to paint the whole boat or just over $5,000 for one side.  The owners want the whole thing done, but I think they’ll take half.”

“If they’ll take half, pay them quick before they change their minds!”

So we took half.

Out of that money, we pay the yard for the haulout and we do the repairs and a bottom job, plus replace an old seacock and add a zinc anode to the prop shaft.

They pay for the rental car.  Which, by the way, was a 2013 rag top Mustang.

With the money left over, we go cruising for a couple months.

We were upset about having to haul out for the inspection because it causes and reveals problems.  Pressure washing peels paint and we had to fix about fifteen significant chunks that had come off all the way down to gel coat.  Popped and cleaned a few blisters too.

To those of you who have no idea what all this means…sorry.  It’s a big job.  One that we hadn’t planned on doing at least another year.  And it could have waited!  We will still have to do this again in a year or so, with a complete bead-blasting and new barrier coat, so this really isn’t the best way for us to have spent this time or money.

But hey, we’re still coming out ahead financially.

An anode on the rudder created some turbulence that pulled the paint up.  That repair was an epoxy/colloidal silica job and went pretty damn well.

The other big bottom task was fixing a new found gap between the fiberglass of the hull and the lead keel.  There was a considerable amount of separation and deterioration that needed quite a bit of epoxy filler and of course it was at an angle that was a pain-in-my (James’)-ass to get at.

The keel is the counter weight that essentially keeps the boat in the upright position and keeping it on and secure is fundamental to the sailing experience…

Remember what really matters: *Keep the water out. *Keep the crew on the boat. *Keep the keel side down. *Keep the mast up. *Keep the rudder on.

This one is number 3.

Some G-Flex and colloidal silica, and that thing is sealed.

The gel-coat repairs involved tricky taping.

Now the boat is protected and, from 20 feet, looks good as new.

After a day’s work was done, I (Dena) took the opportunity to practice my splicing.  I did two shackle splices for our anchor bridle and two eye splices at the other end to go over the bollard.

I also did a 12-strand eye splice around a thimble – 4 times – to reduce strain and chafe on our Amsteel lifelines.  I need to put a couple more thimbles in and then add the pelican clips that will make it easy to open and close a section for stepping through.

But the day work was brutal.

While James did the detail work on the gel-coat, I washed and scrubbed the bottom with a brush.  Then I did it over again with a grill screen, used by diners, but very effective on bottom paint as well.  We usually use griddle bricks (same idea, but pumice rather than metal) but couldn’t find any in this town.

This process?  Messy.

Then we suited up for the last portion of the bottom job.

Once the surface is cleaned and smoothed/roughed up by the grill screen, we smooth the paint by rubbing the entire hull with Interlux 216.  That softens the paint that remains on the hull and smooths it out.  Immediately after finishing the rub down, we painted.

Just like that, our boat went from this:

To this:

That slight red tinge is reflected from the red on the concrete.  It’s truly black – a good match for our sail covers.

She looks great and is in cruising condition.  Let’s get out of here!



  1. That thing about hauling out causing work? Here is an example. We got the boat back in the water today before 11 o’clock. As we tried to leave, James realized that the output for the sink was leaking in a steady stream across the cabin sole. Rather than sailing to port jefferson right away, we picked up a mooring ball and fixed the problem. Tada! That thing hadn’t leaked once since we installed it two years ago…drying it out was the problem!

  2. You guys have done this so much you could start your own repair facility—or get work in one if needed?

    At least now you know for sure what the bottom “stuff” looks like and that it’s in good condition for whatever comes next.

  3. Bottom surgery. Tricky business. Nice work.
    I love that splicing photo so much. Clever hands.
    SO HAPPY you’re floating again!

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