Friday, May 27, 2011

Credit Where It's Due

The 1st Mate says that I'm doing all the work on the boat... if so, who's this?
But she does more than sand and stick down blue tape.
She provides me with the best possible infrastructure I could ask for.

When I get up at 5 am to get an early start on the boat (when there's a lot less heat and no wind) she's up making coffee and breakfast so I can get out the door in a timely manner... usually, I get a wake up call from her- hot espresso in hand, a kiss on the lips.

She just now delivered a load of workyard laundry... with all the fiberglass particles, sweat and dirt washed out. Fluff dried and ready to put on tomorrow morning.

When I break for lunch, she's got that all ready to eat, and when we're done we stretch out for a brief nap. She makes me another coffee and sends me off to work while she does the dishes and cleans up the galley at home.

She shows up at the workyard when I need her, sometimes stopping off at the paint store to pick up supplies (with her own money), and sometimes she brings colas, Dr. Pepper, cookies.

Tomorrow she'll mix catalyst and gelcoat for me to spray the deck, cockpit and topsides and stand by if I need something else masked off or taped.

If I had to do all that stuff myself, I'd still be months behind.

1st Mate. She really earns her title.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On and on...

We've finished spraying the sides of the hull and the 1st Mate is busy putting blue tape all over the deck in preparation of the new gel coat. Meanwhile, it falls to me to disassemble and remove the hardware we don't want painted or we're just not using anymore. The stern, shown below, had four pairs of brackets used to hold a Monitor wind vane steering system I installed prior to our trip to Mexico in 1997. The vane worked fine, using the water sweeping past the boat for power, and the wind telling it which way to turn the wheel, We would set it and forget for up to 24 hours as we made our way down the California coast. The prevailing NW winds didn't vary much until we entered Southern California at Point Conception. Since then, the winds have been either too light or too shifty for it to be much use to us, so we removed the vane and stored it (installing instead a electronic autopilot on the helm). The brackets have sat, stuck to the stern, dripping rust for thirteen years now and it's time to remove them. That part wasn't hard, the sealant I used held up well and the 16 quarter-inch bolts came out with just a little coaxing, but the rust under the brackets will keep me busy for awhile. I have to remove all the sealant so the epoxy filler I use will stick to it. Just another step along the way.

We're both feeling really good about how this project is shaping up, and we're losing a little weight because of the exercise. We get to the boat at 7am and work until lunchtime, nap for an hour and drive back to the boatyard to finish up the day when the shadows get long.

Today a Mexican yard worker next to me gave me a lesson on using polishing compound. I had been using it like rubbing compound, where you keep your powered buffer loaded up with compound and just swirl away until you get a shine... Nope, wrong.

The idea is to spread a thin coat of polishing compound over the area, let it dry for an hour or two and then come back with a clean buffing pad to shine it up. Here's the result of the stern, after a few days of filling, plugging and sanding... priming, painting and buffing.
And from the side...
and the port side hull using the new buffing technique... thanks, Arturo!