Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little by little

"You've got soul!"  Greg from S/V Sonrisa said to us when he learned our intention to repaint Troubadour's 51-foot hull. On days when we've put in eight or nine physical hours and the last coat of primer is going on after sunset, those encouraging words really lift our spirits.

Upon our return to the yard,
Chris completes sanding down the boot stripe
I guess not many boat owners would take the time to prime and roll and tip their own hulls. It's easier to spray the hull, or to hire someone else to do the work. We've seen boats in the yard completed in a matter of days that way. We've got more time than money, so we opted to do this work ourselves. And work it is! Don't kid yourself if you want to take on this project.

Starboard side prior to priming
Am I whining? No way. Just being real. Yeah we're "living the dream" but the dream doesn't come without trade-offs. Would I rather be at anchor in a secluded bay surrounded by crystal clear blue water, or sailing in a beautiful Caribbean breeze? You bet. I would also rather be enjoying some of the island activities that other cruisers enjoy. But, for now, we are working. And yes, we would rather be working on our boat, in a dusty, noisy boat yard, in the 86 degree heat with the sun beating on our backs, than sitting in a Kaizen meeting in our former jobs at GE Healthcare in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Yes! Yes! Yes! 

Troubadour after two coats of primer
There are actually several projects going on simultaneously: priming and everything else.

The actual physical act of priming the whole boat starboard, port and stern takes about two hours. The preparation takes more time. Our complete priming begins with a close up examination of the hull for any nicks or pin holes or scratches that the previous coat of primer did not cover. I mark all these imperfections with blue tape.

How many coats of primer to cover this repair?
She looks like she could use some Clearasil®

Close up of "blemish" covered with glazing compound
Chris follows behind me with glazing compound and fills them. This takes about an hour. When the glazing has dried, Chris sands the whole boat with 240 grit sandpaper using a random orbital sander and feels for any imperfections with his hands. This will take 2 - 3 hours. Next comes washing the hull with a mix of laundry soap and TSP. Chris wipes with the rasta rag and I hose the boat down. Usually the next day, we prime. We begin the priming at 3 pm when the sun has moved to the port side of the boat, leaving the starboard side in the shade, and by the time the sun goes behind the hills, the port side is in the shade. I wipe down the boat with a solvent called 2333N to remove any soap or dust or sanding residue, this takes about an hour. While I am doing that, Chris prepares and mixes the primer and prepares the rollers/brushes. Chris rolls primer on the hull, while I prime around small taped off areas like vent covers and through-hulls (holes in the sides of the boat). And finally, we clean up, and most importantly, stop at the Dug Out for a few beers.

The following day, we inspect the priming job, using the bright sun as our guide. And after a review of the weather forecast, the whole process repeats. After two coats of primer, and seeing that some of the color of the fiberglass repair was noticeable through the primer, we opted to put on a third coat. After the third coat, we felt a fourth coat was necessary. Our fourth coat of primer goes on this week.

At least he is smiling!
In between the priming project, Chris is sanding, priming and painting our swim step; and working with Nick at Technick on the redesign of our davits/bimini/dodger frames. I have been taking measurements to make cushions for our new settee area. We have not tried to fit our rudder yet, as we want to paint the bottom prior to installation and the area around the rudder gets a lot of fouling. In addition, the propeller shaft needs to be pulled so that the cutlass bearing can be replaced. We plan to install the rudder after that project, as well.

With all of this work going on our social life is lacking. So tonight we are looking forward to happy hour with Scott from S/V Asante and George from S/V Earthling at Port Louis. Friday we will be going to our first Christmas Party of the season at D Island Roots Dug Out Bar. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Guys, We're taking notes as this is a project we hope to do ourselves someday, in a tropical location of course!! We like doing this kind of work ourselves because like the saying goes, if you want something done right....

    Big hugs from FLA!!


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