Monday, December 12, 2016

Lazy Saturday, Busy Sunday

In an effort to avoid boatyard burnout, Dawn and I have been taking Sundays off (other than last Sunday, when I was in London). One Sunday we visited Fort Sumter, another we toured the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey at Patriots Point. This weekend, we switched things around and took Saturday off instead. Dawn woke up feeling under the weather, and a cold front had blown through and lowered overnight temps below freezing, making both varnishing and my deck project impractical. So we just vegged out for much of the day; in the afternoon I made a visit to the boat to inventory my supplies for the deck project and then stopped at West Marine to buy some 2-part epoxy. That night we got together with Canadians Dan and Isabelle in downtown Charleston. We had pre-dinner drinks at the Griffon Pub and then had dinner at historic McCrady's Tavern. It was a really nice time getting to know a cruising couple our age - a rarity.

Sunday was considerably warmer and we were able to get work done. Dawn had sanded the cockpit caprail on Friday afternoon so she was able to tack and varnish it. We were fortunate that the morning dew earlier in the week didn't ruin the entire finish, and decided that given the current forecast and the shortness of the days right now we'd wait to apply more layers until further south. So, I took off the masking tape today. The caprail looks great. The companionway hatch looks a little off, though - I don't think we sufficiently sanded down to bare wood before we started applying Rapid Clear. I think the lessons here are #1) stay on top of varnishing so you don't have to start over and go back to bare wood and #2) if you do start over, put a lot of time into getting the prep exactly right. The varnishing itself is pretty easy, so long as the weather cooperates.


Meanwhile I started on my deck project. Everywhere there was a popped bung, I pulled the screw and countersunk the 3/8" hole in the teak just a little deeper. There's not a ton of meat left on the teak, so I had to be careful that I didn't drill through to the underlying deck. There were a few places that the teak was too thin, or the screw had snapped off, and in those holes I didn't replace the screw. For most of the holes, though, I mixed up a batch of West System epoxy with fast-cure hardener, which I injected into the screw holes using a syringe. Then I screwed in a new screw, squirted a little epoxy on top, brushed epoxy into a 3/8" teak bung, and tapped it into the hole. This went much more smoothly with Dawn helping me - initially, she was down below organizing in the aft cabin and I simply didn't have enough hands. By now it was fairly warm - around 60° - and the first batch of epoxy "kicked" in only 15 or 20 minutes. With Dawn's help I was able to finish the deck using the second batch. It was really a pretty easy project, I don't know why I procrastinated on it. With the age of our deck, replacing popped bungs will be an ongoing project. There are actually a number of partially-exposed screw heads right now, but they have a layer of epoxy on top and are likely sealing just fine for now, so I left them alone.

Just as we were wrapping up the deck project, Dan and Isabelle came up from the docks for a short tour of our entirely torn-apart boat. Afterwards we moved the party down to their Jeanneau 41 for sundowners and a few hours of chatting. It was nice just being out on the water, for a change. Right now I'm starting to think of boats as expensive, compact stilt houses with dusty yards that one accesses with a tall ladder!

Today Dawn stayed at the house but got a bunch of sewing done, including new fender covers for all our fenders. I went to the boat and finished up the deck project, took the masking tape off of the cockpit combing and companionway, did some reorganization of maintenance supplies, and a couple other small projects. It was a fairly unproductive day but we really don't have much left that we can do before the boat is back together. Just as I was leaving, our order from Jamestown Distributors came. That gave me another potential project as the shipment included an engine insulation & soundproofing kit, but installing that will really be a two person job, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow.


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