Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking a holiday

Its hard to get anything done over the holidays. There are too many things and people vying for your attention. Having to maintain steady employment is more than a little bit of a drag too.

The only productive thing this week was I installed the fuel tank fittings.

I wasn't smart enough to specify exactly what size fittings I needed for the tank when it was built and the sizes were a bit more 'industrial sized' than I would have liked. I guess I should have expected it from a welding shop that builds tanks for the local commercial fishing fleet. I needed to reduced the sizes for the 5/16 inch fuel hose I am using (per Moyer Marine's recomendation- I think 1/4 inch would have been fine too). A problem I had is that the aluminum fittings aren't available and bronze would set up a potential for dissimiliar meta corrosion. I used a stainless reducer on the tank that goes between the aluminum tank and the bronze hose fittings. That brought its own set of probems. The stainless threads, being much tougher, tends to cut into the threads in the aluminum tank making it difficult to tighten sufficiently without destroying the tank fitting. I think I got it but I will have to see how it holds up.

I have a shut-off valve at the tank which should prevent any accidental fuel siphoning disasters. The hose runs to the forward end of the engine where I have a mini 'service center' still under re-construction. The hose will connect with a fuel/water separater, electric fuel pump, final inline fuel filter, second shut-off valve and then the carburetor.

The holidays are almost over and progress will accelerate shortly.

I promise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snug as a bug in a rug

Snowstorms all weekend so I don't expect any progress.

Its not really the snow on the boat though. As you can see the cover sheds snow well and the boat is dry and comfy underneath.

The problem is all the shoveling around the house and the fact that I have barely begun my holiday shopping.

Oh well, that's what happens when you try to work on boats in the winter. If I get anything done this weekend I will post it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cozy warm

With the temperature around 20 degrees today there wasn't much I could do outside. I grabbed a blanket and tossed it over the companionway, fired up the electric heater, and surprised myself by sweating ten minutes later. With the heater running it was quite comfortable in the cabin. Not 70 degrees but maybe 50. Apparently, all that hull insulation is doing something. What a surprise :-)

I picked a temperature tolerant job today and plumbed in my raw water intake for the engine. Last spring I moved the raw water seacock to a point in the keel on the port side. Just like before I included a 'T' valve so I can switch between drawing from the seacock and drawing from a 4 foot section of hose inside. That makes running the engine on the hard really simple. Drop the end of the hose in a bucket of water and I am ready. I don't have to loosen the plumbing; just throw the valve.

I needed a few more 90 degree elbows so I stole them from another upcoming project of lesser priority. Actually, I think the new installation is much cleaner and simpler. I like it. I also replaced the normal engine water hose with heavy reinforced hose. I ran into problems with the suction line collapsing last time and the reinforced hose is much stiffer so I shouldn't have a problem again.

Because it was so cozy inside I decided to start routing the potable water fill lines. Not exactly high priority but a good inside job. You will have to forgive the mess. I did not have a vacuum to clean up after myself. I didn't secure the hoses in place either as I need to dress up the cuts I made (paint) and figure out a way to secure the hose in position.

The two fill lines drop down the starboard side forward of the main bulkhead in the V-berth. I sleep on the port side so these aren't a problem. The forward hose goes through the V-berth, turns 90 degrees and attaches to the V-berth water tank. The aft hose goes down and makes the same 90 degree bend to the aft end of the V-berth water tank, then hangs a tight 180 degree turn and ducks under the sole. I should have thought to put the inlet for the bilge water tank on one side instead of right in the middle. Oh well.

(leaving the water hoses in my basement for a year didn't make them look any nicer. Luckily they clean up easily...)

Temps should be warmer tomorrow so I might break out the sealant and get the cockpit scuppers in place and do some other plumbing under the cockpit sole.

Or maybe I will enjoy a day off...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Other People's Boats

Working for a living has been the story for the week.

Just before I was offered a new full time job last week, (that I accepted) I had taken on the job of bottom stripping another boat.

Now I have two jobs.

I initially started with 40 grit paper in my DA. This has worked for me in the past. After all, there was only a little bit of paint to take off...

Well, the red 'signal coat' that was supposed to be the bottom layer before the barrier coat was in reality just a layer on top of several more layers. The paint is quite thick. Sanding was going too slow and I was using a sandpaper disc every square foot. Since materials are coming out of my pocket I went to plan 'B'.

A couple of months ago I helped a friend strip another boat bottom. While I was there I was shown the proper way to use a scraper. It's brutal work but very effective. Putting one's full body weight into the scraper you can take off 10-20 years of paint in a single swipe. Its also a great cardio workout. Scrape for 30 seconds and then stand back and rest for a minute or two. It isn't fun but it gets the job done quicker and safer than any other method I have tried. Don't skimp on scraper blades, changing them on the hour keeps the progress coming.

I didn't take a picture but in the past, around the rudder, someone had used a pressure washer to remove paint. The pressure washer managed to fracture the laminate along with the paint and left pock marks in the hull. I looked into soda blasting the hull, supposedly relatively safe and effective, but the equipment is very expensive and the blasting media alone would cost around $500. If I had a full time business stripping boat bottoms this would be the way to go but since I am being paid a flat rate for this one boat, scraping was my answer.

The owner suggested a disc sander and we tried it. I was hesitant because I had seen grinders with sanding discs make a real mess of the hull; creating a scalloped surface. The disc sander was better but 36 grit was still incredibly slow and while 24 grit worked, it was leaving deep grooves in the hull that would have to be sanded out later. In a side by side comparison the scraping was still a bit faster so I just had to suck it up and scrape.

As far as my own boat, she is well. I took some measurements for some hoses so I can do some cold weather tolerant projects; namely, cockpit drains, bilge pump plumbing, and engine exhausts.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Distractions ++

The holidays are my excuse for the week.

That and I am preparing for a new job that starts this week. Jobs are a double edged sword. With more income I can freely shop for the parts and materials I need. With less available time I will have to be more disciplined about getting boat work done in my limited free time.

I recognize that lots of boat projects fail mid-stream due to changing life commitments or the simple realization that the enormous amounts of time are not available. Its a worry for me but I think the worry will be my motivation. The boat is 'close' to being launch ready and I think I am still on target for a spring launch.

Not much was done on the boat this week. I did some shopping for a few small projects. I added some information to the website. The holidays are a bad time to get much done.

When I stopped by the boat today I noticed that my fancy boat cover is moving around. The wind is causing it to shift side-to-side; about a foot from its starting position as of today. I need to stake down the 2x4's that the tarp ties down to. Preferably soon.

Keep the faith.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blah blah blah...

Working on other people's boats.

Jenny is safely tucked under her tarp and protected from the wet windy and cold weather.

I have hopes of working on the engine electrical box today but just in case I felt I have let the blog go silent for too long.

My thoughts on the electrical box are to re-use the original spice rack which originally housed the entire electrical panel. The real panel is going to be moved elsewhere but I have an expanded engine electrical switch box planned that will use the old location. I figure its inside and out of the weather and yet close to the cockpit so I can start up the engine quickly if I have to. Rather than use a normal key switch, I am going to use separate switches for the different functions of a key switch. Keys break. Keys get lost. Keys seem unnecessary to me so I am doing away with them.

Pictures soon.

Sorry for the lousy post but I figured a crappy post is better than no post.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Small steps

Nothing terribly exciting this week. I have been busy trying to find a real job to pay for my boat work.

Today I played hooky from things I really should have been doing and installed my cockpit locker lids. Its a minor thing but very satisfying after living with loose lids for the past few years. Its just one more loose end tied up.

Hmmm... what do I say about cockpit locker lids... They have 36 screws per side?...

I decided to reuse the old piano hinges. They function fine. They are not bright and shiny but I didn't see the need of dealing with getting new ones and cutting them to fit, filling the old holes, etc. New hinges would look old in a couple of years anyway. I never intended to build a completely new boat. I am happy to have a nice looking old boat. The old hinges work fine.

I used #6 flat head machine screws and nuts for the lid side. I thought I was going to do the same for the cockpit side of the hinge but the underside was pretty rough and uneven and there wasn't a good surface for the nut to tighten down on. I went back to the store for self tapping screws. Then I went back to the store again when I learned that #6 machine screw heads and #6 self tapping screw heads don't have the same diameter. The self tapping screws fell right through the holes in the hinge. I upsized to #8's. The heads don't fit great (slight lip on some) but good enough for now. I really can't stop to worry about little stuff like that. I guess I should have stopped and reamed out the holes with the countersink bit but I wasn't bothered enough about it to make the effort. I used Lifecaulk sealant (polysulfide) and I really didn't want to get my drill bits messy or deal with the extra hassle of having sealant everywhere. (it always gets away from me)

I have plenty of working room in the cockpit under the tarp. Here is a view looking forward.

The only other thing accomplished this week was finishing off the ends of the tarp system. Entry is a bit tricky. For now I have settled on simply pulling the ends of the tarp away from the boat when I am working.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


A picture says it all.

What really hurts is that I was using part of the rainy day to review my finances. I clicked the wrong button by accident. Seems I broke the $10,000 mark for the year already...

Of course that includes the new standing rigging, new roller furler, paint supplies, all that big stuff that I purchased early in the year before I was laid off. Sad to see how quickly it can go though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prepping part two

I continue to be plagued by visitors. I guess I shouldn't complain. At least today's visitor didn't spend all day telling me what I should be doing.

Yesterday, I got the 'foundation' built. I wanted something to tie the tarp down to and I wanted it to go under the boat so that it couldn't just up and blow away.

Basically, it is 3 twelve foot 2x4's running down each side with 2 2x4's running under the keel. The 2x4's running down the side are bolted so I can take them home and store them for next year.

Then the fun part. I have always admired Stimson sheds.

I even bought the plans. Unfortunately, they don't fit in the space I am in. They are taller and wider than I have available to me. I really wanted to try out some of their design features so I decided to use the double-strapping-with-spacers idea for a curved 'bow' that would hold the tarp out and away from the boat. The ridgepole is firmly on deck so the bows don't need to support anything.

The bows were custom fit in position which made them a bit tricky to fabricate. The inner strap was fed under the ridgepole and then the strap was screwed into the 'foundation'. Then I bent the bow to clear the sides of the boat and screwed it to the ridgepole. Then I added the spacers and attached the outer bow. What I hadn't factored on, however, was that when I released the pressure on the bow, the bow would spring up a bit, lifting the ridgepole and the fixtures I had built for the ridgepole to sit on. By the time I had made two opposing bows, the nearest fixture would be six inches off the deck. I tried holding the ridgepole down with ratcheting straps with no success. I did succeed in putting some pretty impressive bends in the ridgepole. My solution in the end was to live with the springback and when I was all done I added extensions to the fixtures so they were taking the load and not the bows. In the end I built 3 bows for each side (6 in total for those that are math averse).

Finally, I ran a length of strapping near the gunwale to keep the tarp away from the edge and ran vertical strapping, left over from previous incarnations of boat covers, from the ridgepole to the strapping. I did this about every 2-3 feet.

I still need to finish off the ends but with almost 2 inches of rain expected tonight, I decided to just throw the tarp over and finish it when the rains cease. It was dark when I finished up today so I couldn't take photos.

So far, I am on target to spend about $100 on the boat cover. I seem to spend about the same amout every year. Even though I re-use a good portion of last year's parts. At the rate I am going, I expect to have a complete barn that can be broken down and stored in my garage during the sailing season in about two years...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prepping for snow

Another slow week but at least I have something started.

For my excuse this week I will say that I have had a hard time getting much done with the constant stream of people that come over and want to talk about my boat. The color really draws them in. Hours every day are spent talking about it. Its nice to be congratulated but frustrating to have to keep stopping.

Every year I have to reinvent my winter cover. Over my first winter, I had stanchions and pulpits. I was able to build a simple ladder structure along the stanchions with strapping. Then, I built a curving ridgepole with 2 layers of 1x3 strapping screwed together. The curve allowed me to have standing headroom inside where I needed it and reduced the total windage. I kind of liked the look too and it was no harder to build. With the sides and top secure, I ran short sections of strapping from the ridge down the the stanchion ladder. This gave me room to maneuver (note that I didn't say walk) down the side decks or over the top and the roof pitch was steep enough to shred every bit of snow. I built a cover with a lower pitch on my old boat and had problems with melting snow collecting in the tarp and re-freezing, creating 200 pound blocks of ice supported by the tarp. Not a great result.

The second and third winters I didn't have stanchions. I built a similar structure and just wrapped the tarp tightly to the hull. I didn't have any room going forward but I didn't need it either. It worked okay. For these two years I used 3-4 tarps to cover the boat with the idea that I could remove just one for some fresh air and light while keeping most of the boat covered. I had issues with rain blowing sideways under the tarp and I only used the multiple tarp system a couple of times in the early spring and late fall. Leaving the ends open was nice but having to deal with the water ingress over the rest of the winter was annoying. This spring I ordered one big tarp and simply covered everything. That made everything much drier inside but pulling it all on and off was a pain.

For now I am going to stick with the one big tarp idea. I don't have much, if any, deck work to do over the winter so I don't need access or need to remove the tarp again until spring. My real issue is that I can't wrap the tarp against my freshly painted hull. I was going to stake the ends down or build a framework on the ground to tie the tarp down (and out) with.

I tried drawing it all out but, just like every year, I find once I start things don't go according to plan and I wind up just building stuff until it all looks about right.

This year I built a couple of free standing supports for a ridge pole. I was going to cut notches in them and fit them to the toerail but now this seems like a lot of work for little gain.

The ridgepole itself is made up of strapping with 2x3 spacers every 4 feet. The idea was to build a rigid pole that was lighter than solid wood. I only half succeeded. Its definitely lighter but it isn't as rigid as I had hoped. Its good enough though.

I had some water pipe insulation around the house and I found that it fits over the toerail nicely to protect the toerail from the ridgepole supports.

I was hoping to build one side out so I could leave the ladder in place permanently and have a ready opening to get into the boat but that doesn't seem to be working out. First, I am limited to 12 feet wide. Second, I don't want to create one big sail to catch all the wind. Keeping the tarp close, but not on, the hull is my best goal. I even toyed with using shrink wrap and having a door glued in. I am still considering it but I still need to anchor the shrink wrap down to something and keep it from blowing off. I really wish I had stanchions right now. They would solve a lot of problems. What really kills me is that I could probably get stanchions installed in a day or so if I had the materials and if the weather was warm enough to pour some epoxy in the mounting holes. Alas...

That's where it stands at the moment. Tomorrow I plan on taking my old strapping and running short pieces from the ridgepole to the gunwale to support the tarp. By then, hopefully, I will have decided on how to anchor down the tarp. As a bonus, I expect most of the boatyard people will be working and I will be able to work without interuptions.

So, if you have nothing to do tomorrow, stop by and chat. I should have some time :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hurry up and wait

After all that progress last month my current pace is abyssmal. Nothing has happened this week.

A friend of mine is trying to get his boat ready to head south to the Bahamas and I have been helping him. I want to work on my own boat but I just can't resist the tears of a grown man. I had to help. He is gone next week and progress should resume.

I think my weather window is closing so top priority is to enclose the boat for the winter. I need to do something a bit different this year to protect my new paint. No more wrapping the tarps tightly around the hull.

I have been working on writing up the work on my decks for the 'real' website. There is a lot to say and lots of pictures to edit so it is going slow. Its coming though.

Hang in there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New pictures

Just a couple of pictures of Jenny home from the paint shop. In the direct sun, the hull color was definitely showing some purple but the contrast was too great, apparently, and the camera really didn't pick up on it.

Today, I installed the bungs in the toerails. It was rather cold for varnish and at a friend's suggestion I used shellac to secure the bungs. Shellac, being alcohol based, isn't affected by temperature like varnish. I am assured the old time boat people would frequently use shellac for bungs as well as other sealing functions. I'll say something if it doesn't work out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A moment of reflection

I haven't seen the boat since it was dropped off on Tuesday. I have cleared my weekend schedule though and the boat is the only thing on it.

I thought I would post a before and after photo of the hull just to remember how far it has come.

Not bad, if I do say so myself :-)

I found teak bungs for $11.99 a hundred so I ordered 2 bags and will put bungs in the toerails. Then, a couple of sealer coats of varnish to protect the toerails and rubrails.

Then, its time to think about a winter cover... :-(


I have just noticed that Google Blogger has started dropping my earliest posts. Another reason to move away from Google and onto my own website I guess.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tentatively Tuesday

The boat might be coming home Tuesday, weather dependent.

In the meantime I need to get some materials together for some minor jobs.

I have been asked off-blog about the toerail ends and I want to make clear that the 'ends' are not finished. I just cut them off flush with the transom because having 3 feet hanging off the back looked rediculous. The final shape at fore and aft are as yet 'to be determined'. To be sure though, they won't look as they do now when it comes around to launching season.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Time to rest

Time to rest and explore other interests.

To be honest I don't really mind having the boat several hours away. It gives me an excuse NOT to work on it all the time. Or at least it relieves me of my guilt.

With a mind free of my boat's needs, I have been allowed to pursue other interests. One of those interests is website creation. So now I have a website, about my boat naturally, that I think is ready for public viewing.

I am pleased to announce the launch of http://www.triton680.com

While I intend to continue this blog, I think a real website is a better place to keep track of the project. Try searching for past work on this blog and you will see what I mean. I intend to update the new website as the rebuilding process continues and when that process is 'done' (Hah!) I will leave the site as a static description of the work done. I don't intend to document my sailing activities or other such stuff. This blog is good for things like that. I really don't find that stuff very interesting to read anyway.

The website isn't complete by far. That is months and years away. There are still some big gaps in the project descriptions but hopefully there is enough to keep someone's attention for a few minutes. I have tried to dig up information that people might not already know about boat. I am not sure if I have really succeeded with that. Oh well, I tried.

Anyway, there it is. http://www.triton680.com has gone public.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Home from 'Boat Camp'

It has been a busy few weeks.

I have been living boats for the past month. I worked on boats, I sailed on boats, I talked about boats. There was indoor, weather-free storage, no distractions, big changes. My head is spinning as I try to grasp all that has happened in the past month.

"It all happens right at the end". I was told this at some point and now I understand. All those months and months of grinding, sanding, and priming and in a few days it suddenly goes from a project to a boat.

I have a ton of pictures but there is already a bunch on the website I posted earlier. Here is just one to show how the deck looks now. In between projects I was able to get some of the deck hardware back on and the companionway trim.

So this month...

The deck was re-primed.
The deck was painted.
The deck non-skid was painted.
The hull was painted.
The toerail was fabricated and installed.
The rubrail was fabricated and installed.

Not too bad.

The toerail design is one I shamelessly copied from Nathan Sanborn's Triton. www.dasein668.com I had a chance to meet Nathan and see his new toerail just days after he installed it. From the moment I saw it I vowed I would have the same. Its a great design; high enough to feel very secure and be of real safety value, and not so big as to look clunky or out of place on a plastic classic. Combined with the rubrail it is a great look.

As a final touch, I saw some metallic flaked tape on Bolero, a modified Shields that was in the shop waiting to go home. The Shields is quite a work of art and you can read more about it at www.knockaboutsloops.blogspot.com/

Anyway, the gold flaked taped looked great so I decided to copy it with some silver flaked tape.

I am just too overloaded from the busy month to sort it out and write coherently.

As a final note, the website is almost ready. I just need some real content to make it interesting. Maybe next week...

Now I have to rest and savor the experience.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog changes

Just a quick note to mention that I have added a 'subscriptions' gadget at the top of the right hand panel. With it, readers will receive notifications when a new post is put up rather than having to check in every five minutes... (yeah right)

There is also a new gadget at the the bottom of that sidebar list to add your name to the list of readers. I like talking to myself but I might also be curious to see who is actually listening. If you feel like being annonymous don't worry, you can 'sign in' annonymously. In any case, I will continue to blog even if there is no one on the list. Like I said, I like talking to myself. That way I never have to worry about being interupted or asked awkward questions. Well, that isn't quite true but let's leave it at that.

Paint = Done

Someone took my boat and I can't find it anywhere.

In its place is this other beautiful boat. I am finding it hard to get around the idea that this 'new' boat is mine also. It just looks so different and suddenly I am tip toeing around not wanting to leave a fingerprint anywhere.

Curiously, the topcoat was much darker when I returned. Something about the curing process continued to darken the color and I am just fine with that. My first impressions immediately after painting were of a little concern in regards to how light the color was. I was hoping for an almost black but not quite kind of look and right after painting the boat was clearly purple.

After a week of curing it is mostly black-ish with a hint of something else. With the sun low on the horizon I expect to show off the purple but I am okay with that; as long as the boat doesn't scream 'purple people eater' all day long.

What I find quite strange is that inside, when the sunlight through a window strikes the hull it still shows very purple. Outside it doesn't; just through the window. Its an interesting color and I like it. Definitely not like every other boat in the yard.

The non-skid is complete but I forgot to take a decent photo of the finished product. Sorry. I will try to get something next week.

The deadlights and opening ports are in. The opening ports in the head/hanging locker area are only in temporarily as the removal of the headliner there (actually the falling out of the headliner) left a gap that needs to be filled in before the ports will seal tightly. Suddenly the interior feels much smaller when I can't just reach through the holes to the deck or feel the afternoon breeze through the cabin. Putting the glass in definitely makes the boat look more 'complete' though.

Everything I wanted to do at the 'paint shop' is done now but in talking with the shop owner we both came to the conclusion that 1.) the toerail would be much easier to fabricate and install in the heated inside shop space and 2.) There was an open bay at the shop for another week that was going unused and 3.) It sure would be nice to get that toerail up quickly and make the boat look more 'finished' on the outside at least. So, I am shopping for teak tomorrow and will plan on installing it this week. At that point my resources will be tapped out (actually they are now, thank you VISA card...) but at least the 'heavy stuff' will be basically done and what will be left is a thousand small 'one day' projects before the boat is ready for launch.

It has been a productive summer being unemployed and working on the boat every day but I am fast running out of financial resources and I desperately need some income. Anyone got a boat bottom that needs sanding? I work cheap...

It has been an expensive summer but happily, I have a fabulous looking boat to show for it. Not a bad trade in my opinion. No regrets at all.

I will be back next week and the boat will be home the week after or so.

I hope everyone is out there enjoying the last of the good sailing weather. Next spring it will be my turn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big Ports

Cutting out the polycarbonate (Lexan) for the large deadlight ports turned out to be quite easy.

Using my jigsaw (technically saber saw I know) with a fine blade I had no problems cutting out the new lexan to match the old ports. I was concerned about heat and melting but it was never an issue. I kept the saw blade moving quickly and I pushed the saw lightly and it cut fine. 'Just like wood'.

I tried using my aggressive hand file (the name escapes me now) to fine tune the fit but the file made slow work of it. My belt sander with 60 grit did a much better job. Again, 'just like wood'. A real bench sander would have been nice but the motor is burned out a the moment. (I got it for free with the burned out motor three years ago. I took the motor out earlier this year so that means I must be making progress!)

The truck is packed with supplies and tools I might need so I just have to get myself ready and I am out of here. I should be back at the end of the week with more progress to report. The same link I posted earlier is still being used to post updates by the shop and will continue to be used until the job in the shop is 'done'.

See you next week!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting the ports ready

When I head back up to the paint shop tomorrow I am bringing my ports along so I can start closing the boat up and making it water proof. While the boat is enjoying the indoor storage for now I know it can't last long so I need to get the boat prepared for rain. Somehow I know those first few raindrops on my new paintjob are going to hurt.

By mixing and matching I was able to get all the broken parts (mostly) on one port. I spent a few hours trying to find a glass company that could fix the broken glass. When I dropped it off they said it would probably be ready tomorrow and cost around $7-$8. What a deal.

The port comes apart by pulling out the rubber seal (carefully- its 40 years old) to get to the six #4 screws holding a retaining plate underneath. 5 of the screws came out with some soaking in penetrating oil. The last screw I had to drill out. Sometimes my left turning drill bits will grab the screw at some point and spin it out. Not this time. I am pretty sure I can fill the hole with epoxy and tap a new hole. Its not a high stress fastener.

With the retainer removed I had to scrape out the very hard -what appears to be- window glazing. Its hard, flaky white stuff. With the glazing out the glass popped out easily.

Two of the outer retaining rings are broken on my boat. On one, it is only cracked at one point so I think it will still function correctly. On the other, it was cracked in two places and a chunk was missing. That one I had to fabricate new.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the 0.1" stock I needed so I substituted some 0.063" stock instead. Its a low load application and for now it will hold the port in place and make it water tight. I am going to order the correct material to fix it properly before I set off on my next ocean crossing... The holes are custom drilled so I need to wait until the glass company returns my frame before I can drill the final holes.

One of the large deadlight frames was cracked completely through too. I don't know how I am going to fix it well so instead I stuck some epoxy in there and I am hoping for the best. Again, it is only clamping the lexan sheet between the inner and outer frame so I don't know if it makes a difference - other than cosmetic under close scrutiny. I am going to have to keep my eyes out for a replacement but I am not holding out much hope. Maybe I could have it welded. That might look worse than it is already. For now, it will keep the interior dry until I can do better.

Tomorrow, I pack up and head north again. The plan will be to raise the waterline up to the new bootstripe. When we found the original scribed waterline that I had painted to be no good we raised the bottom of the bootstripe up to more appropriate place and made it straight. That left some topside hull below the bootstripe. I need to sand that bit and apply bottom paint up to the bottom of the bootstripe. It doesn't look bad as-is but the awl-grip isn't going to like being submerged for long. I need bottom paint below the bootstripe.

Then I have the non-skid to paint.

Then I will be installing ports and whatever deck fittings I can squeeze in. I expect the boat to remain at the shop - indoors or outside - for another week or so until the paint has a better chance to cure and its convenient for the painter to haul it back.

Then its rush rush, build a winter cover install a toerail and rubrail, and get to work making the boat launch ready for next spring. Chop chop, there is a lot to do...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I forgot to mention that working indoors makes a tremendous difference. The boat stays much cleaner, work continues while the rain falls and the wind blows, no tarping up at the end of every day; just far more effective. Next time, shop first then boat project :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

First impressions


I was looking for a color that was somewhat unique and I think I got more than I bargained for.

The goal was a unique hull color; preferably dark. Blues and greens are good but have already been done often. Dark green has actually been my favorite boat color for many years but I have been seeing too much of it lately. Green is the most popular color in my boatyard- after white of course. Reds are nice but they really aren't 'Me' I guess. It was close. My backup color was claret. Most of my friends in the know were pushing me to make claret as my first choice. Instead I called Awl Grip about making a custom color like a really dark 'eggplant' purple. It turns out they have a stock color in their Awl-craft 2000 line called Aubergine that seemed to be perfect. I wanted an almost black with a little 'something' to it that might be hard to identify right away.

My first impression on seeing the boat after the hull painting was that I had hit the jackpot. It was exactly what I was hoping it to be. As I walked around the boat though, it appeared as though the color was a much lighter and bolder purple. This appears to be a color that changes a lot depending on how the light strikes it. Overall, I think it is a lighter shade than I had envisioned but still very nice. It is less subtle than I had expected and it makes a stronger statement than my meek personality is really comfortable with. This is a color that doesn't hide but rather expresses itself rather strongly. It is purple and it doesn't apologize. Strange as it might seem though, it is a very pleasing shade of purple. In some lighting conditions it retains the very dark, subtle shade that I was looking for. All in all I am very happy with it and I am happy to have found a very unique and pleasing color. I could continue to try and describe it but it is really tough. Even looking straight at it, it just makes you stop and stare and dares you to define it. Both the painter and I spent a good hour or two just walking around saying 'hmmmm...' It is very striking and unique.

The pictures so far are not very good. The boottop is being painted today and will really help set off the hull. The toerail really needs to be there to help define the deck too. And then there is the plastic covering over the deck to protect from overspray. The overspray on the deck covering is a very light pink and purple which makes seeing just the hull difficult. More pictures coming soon.

The plan had been for me to do all the prep work before sending the boat to the paint shop. Then I would stay on site to do all the grunt work like taping, sanding, solvent washing, ect. so the painter dude would only have to spray. This was done to help support my failing finances. The first issue that came up with the deck priming. When the 545 primer is applied by brush or roller, each coat has to sit for 24 hours and then be sanded between coats. This makes it tough to build up any kind of thickness, especially on the rounded corners and sharp edges that tend to get over sanded anyway. We decided to re-apply the primer with spray equipment. That made a HUGE difference. Not only does the spray gun lay down a much more even coat that doesn't require much sanding to make smooth, but all three coats can be applied 45 minutes apart thus sparing the sanding between coats ordeal and guaranteeing a much thicker buildup. That made all the difference. Maybe Awl-grip and the like can be rolled and brushed but it is clearly designed for spraying and when sprayed it is a totally different ball game. There is no comparison between the two methods and I am convinced that spraying is the only way to go. At least as far as the priming is concerned.

With the deck primed, I spent half a day sanding it smooth (compared with 2.5 days for each coat when I rolled it on) and the second half of the day was spent taping and covering the non-skid areas. The following day the deck topcoat was sprayed.

A year's worth of grinding, filling, sanding, fairing, priming, re-priming all covered in a day by shiny bright white topcoat. It is head spinning how fast it all comes together right at the end.

Then of course came the hull which I have already talked about. The priming was decent and didn't require any extra work other than washing off the bugs that got mashed into the bow on the road trip to the paint shop.

Today was boot top day. There was a bit of a head scratching moment when we realized the original scribed in waterline was hogged by about 2 inches. It rose up in the center to an unacceptable amount. It looked okay by eye but when we tried to strike the top edge something was clearly wrong. This meant spending some time getting it straight and going through some old photos to see where the boat liked to float and lining up an entirely new waterline. This turned out to be about 3 inches higher than the scribed line and right around the top edge of the original scribed in boot top which was also hopelessly not straight. I had to leave for home to pay bills and open my 167 emails that I hadn't read since I left for the shop. As I was leaving the painter was just getting the equipment warmed up for the painting of the boot stripe.

And now a plug for 'the painter dude':

Most people involved in boat restoration have heard of Tim Lackey and his Triton Glissando. If you haven't please go right now to my links section and check it out. Don't waste your time here if you haven't read Tim's thorough website detailing the rebuilding of his Triton. Really. Go now. That website is why I am here today with my own boat project. As some have figured out, Tim is 'my painter' that I keep refering to. He is really more of an overall boat guy that paints rather than strictly a painter but 'painter' is easier to write than 'overall boat guy who paints boats too'. Anyway, Tim had a couple of weeks between major projects and he was willing to allow me to work alongside him in his shop to cut down labor costs. He made a professional spray job affordable to me and let me tell you again, spraying is the only way to go unless you have a lot more natural ability than I do when it comes to paints. Tim also happens to have an incredible eye for small details that I would never have thought about and he kept me out of a lot of trouble. There is no way I could have come close to achieving the great results I have had without him. I suggest you also check out his business site where he posts details of his projects. www.lackeysailing.com The link I posted last week is the project page he set up for my boat. Really, he does great work and he has an eye for details few can match. More of a 'boat artist' in fact. Check him out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good as it is going to get

I really wanted the overhead liner to be finished so I could install the windows and ports as soon as the exterior is painted. So today, I sat down with some paint and thinner, and penetrol and 2 different kinds of rollers and a nice natural bristle brush and decided to experiment until I figured out how to correctly roll and tip.

I failed.

Working under the galley area where no one will ever really look I rolled a short section with a 3/8" mohair roller and then tipped with the dry brush and waited. The brush marks never went away. So I mixed in some more thinner and tried again. Slightly better but not good enough. So I did it again. Same result. I mixed in some more thinner. Same result. I tried my foam roller and tipped. Getting slightly better each time but brush marks every time. So I mixed in a little more thinner, and now I start seeing orange peel. I tried tipping it and it looked like orange peel brush marks.

So I went back to what I knew which was the foam roller and no tipping. I mixed in a fresh can to reduce the percentage of thinner and painted the overhead, starting with the undersides and working my way up to the sides and visible overhead. Its okay. Orange peely. I will get used to it or I will put some automotive headliner material up there some day. It is as good as it is going to get.

I am just not a very good painter.

Wednesday is the day for transporting the boat up to the paint shop so tomorrow is the day for me to prep the boat for moving. I need to clean it out of everything I don't need and put the stuff that does need to go up (like the paint) into the boat so I don't forget it. (that would be embarrassing)

The only other thing that has been happening is that I have been working on a real website. I am a little bothered about Google having all the rights to everything I blog and post so I was thinking of my own real website. I will continue the blog. Its the best way to post the day to day activities. I can also rant about silly stuff and a month later no one will remember it. The website, as I envision it, will be more of a permanent record of what has been done. It will be an easier way to navigate around to see what I did on the various parts of the boat. Going back through these blogs to find the same thing sounds like a nightmare to me. Maybe I am fooling myself to think that someone would want to know what I did but I have enjoyed and benefited from the websites of other boat projects and I wanted to contribute my own efforts. Plus, it is rather fun.

I have never coded in HTML before so there is a bit of a learning curve but my plans are modest and what I have so far suits me fine. When I find a host I will announce it on this blog. Probably not for a couple of weeks yet. The blog will continue throughout the project.

And that's it for today.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Achievable Perfection

I have reached that point.

Touching up the hull was a mistake. The burned through spots I believe are caused by minute discrepencies in the hull. This old Pearson hull is no where near fair. Sanding the spot primed areas just hit the high spots again before the primer was completely sanded smooth bringing the burned through spot right back where it was before. In addition, the edge between the sanded primer and the fresh rolled on primer had a hard edge. Sanding the edge smooth often took away too much of the previously sanded surface thereby creating a new burn through spot. All and all it is a draw. I made a few spots better. I made a few spots worse. I would have been better off just leaving it alone.

I am holding onto my pennies until I get the final cost of the topcoat application covered. It wouldn't be right to leave my friendly painter with an unpaid bill. I was hoping my plastic deadlight windows would be okay for a couple of seasons but a good cleaning and honest appraisal quickly pointed out that only new lexan was going to work with the freshly painted boat. Oh well, add it to the credit card.

The boat will tentatively be picked up next Wednesday. Something might be done before the weekend but I expect at least a week before the painting operation is 'done' and I can take pictures. Let's say Wednesday, September 10th is the day the boat will roll out with new colors. Setting a deadline seems to be good for me. Hopefully, I didn't just make myself look like a lazy idiot...

I am tired from obsessing about this boat.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


With the move to the paint shop fast approaching I washed down the decks with a little soap and water. The birds have been eating blackberries and then using the foredeck for target practice. There is an industrial park next door that generates a lot of dust too. It was just time to hose it all down. The interior got rather wet but everything is painted or epoxied so I am not real worried about water damage at this point.

Then I indulged my vanity. The secret color is not going to go well with the black bottom. Wanting to put my fresh paint job in its best light, I painted the bottom with a more neutral color.

I seem to remember puting two coats of ACT bottom paint on and using less than a gallon of paint. I used about 3/4 of a gallon this time and only covered the bottom once. I used Micron CSC, more for the superior coloring than anything. I was pretty happy with the cheap ACT before but I thought I would give the Micron a try. That's about $150 worth of paint. Vanity is not cheap. It was nice to cover up the thru-hulls and hull patches. I want to spend a day on the rudder doing some preventative maintenance so I didn't paint it. Kind of makes the boat look sporty with the black rudder.

I fixed the tear in the tarp but I think I will be ordering a new tarp for the fall. Sadly, this tarp didn't make it a season but that is my fault not the tarp. I felt some resistance and gave an extra tug. Oops. My last silver tarp lasted two years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As good as it is going to get

I think I am reaching my point of achievable perfection on the hull prep.

I caught myself working on details that I couldn't even see from more than 3 feet away and under the counter to boot!

Having to wait a couple of weeks for the second coat of gray primer and having to open a second can to do so has its issues. It seems there is a slight color variation between the coats. As I sand through the topmost coat I hit a darker coat underneath. I am not sure it makes a difference. It might even add some mystery to to the final topcoat color. A sort of ambiguous shading. Others might refer to it as elephant skin.

Here is a closeup with my thumb for scale.

I didn't really notice it until it was pointed out. The pictures tend to really highlight the contrast and in real life I don't think it looks so bad. I probably have some dust on the hull which is making the color differences look worse too.

In any event, there isn't much I can do about it unless I want to put a couple more coats on and sand it off again. That's not going to happen. I can barely flex my wrists to type today. I am done hand sanding for awhile. With what I know now, I think it would have been much better to pay the painter to spray the 545 primer as well as the topcoat. From my conversations with painters, a sprayed prime coat often doesn't even need to be sanded or at most a light brushing. My last coat was relatively smooth but it still took some time to sand smooth. I probably spent 12 hours over the past two days with a hand sanding block in my hand. It feels great. It looks okay. Next time I will pay to avoid the pleasure. It was a good learning experience though.

I did burn through in a few small spots about the size of a quarter. No big deal but I decided to spot prime them and sand them in a couple of days. Whether it works or not I am basically done. When the painter sees it we will talk about whether it is good enough for a base coat. If not, I will cry, and hopefully he will offer to spray a coat of gray 545 on the hull before putting on the topcoat.

I started going over the decks again but the industrial park next door has been laying down a slight amount of dust and dirt that really needs to be cleaned up before I grind it in with sandpaper. I installed the mooring bit temporarily so the boat hauler will have something to hook a strap around.

And I did an improptu experiment today. Last week when I was finished with the hull priming I still had a quarter of a can of mixed up primer. I didn't want to leave it lying around so I poured it back into the empty can and took it home. Then I forgot about it until today when I needed a bit more. I had to do some testing before I figured out which was the mixed up batch and which was the single base part. The mixed part seemed to still be viable so I used it on a couple of spots. It dried REALLY quick on the hull and it hardened very quickly in the paint tray too. I tried it on two spots before I really noticed how quickly it was going off. The directions give a pot life of 12 hours or so. This can had been sitting with the lid tightly sealed for maybe a week. The results of the experiment was that the old mixed primer might look okay and seem to behave okay at first but it isn't the same as the 'fresh' stuff. It was an interesting experiment but I can't recomened using old mixed up primer.

Another day, another inch of sanding dust...