I realize that it was some time since I updated. Well, there is a good reason for that.
I’ve kept myself busy and every evening I crashed in bed after making dinner, topped off with some Spanish class. So every night when I normally write a post I’ve been so tired I haven’t had the energy to document what I’ve been doing. You who follow me on Instagram have had some pictures along the way, though.
But today I take the time, because if I don’t do it there is a risk five days turns into ten, into… forever?
So, why have I’ve been so busy? I’m getting tired of being on land! And also, it is getting rather warm here in Ireland, and thus there is no reason for me not to get into the water since I no longer (fingers crossed) need the heater. So, what I’ve been doing is getting the last things off the must-do-before-launch-list! Yes, it is absolutely true, the list has been obliterated! But let’s start from the beginning.
Where did I end last time? Ah, yes, the batteries. Okay, after the day of deliveries I did sand a lot. There was two old layers of anti-fouling that didn’t like each other, and that meant that any added layers after those just chipped away, some times almost just by looking at them, where they didn’t adhere properly. I should have taken the old “missing paint” blemishes as a sign that there were issues deeper in the layers. And frankly, they seem to never have sanded down the paint on this boat. It is thick! I will most likely bring it down to gelcoat at some time, just to make sure that I don’t put on paint that only falls off because bad prep from the former owners. Anyway, I digress.
In total I spent about tree days sanding and painting primer on the areas where the paint chipped away easily. As a way to distract me from this never ending pit of boredom and despair I was also working on, and finished, three other projects that I started earlier.
One was the steering linkage, where one of the ball joints needed a replacement, the second was sealing the helm station and the third and last was to seal the cockpit table. They are all intertwined, so maybe it is one project with sub-projects? I don’t know, but they all got done at the end and that is what matters! So lovely to get them off the list.
The steering linkage was not that complicated, really. But I had to adjust its length so that the wheel will be centered when the rudder is centered. It’s important to make sure that the rudder turns the same amount in both directions. One thing that I noticed when I adjusted this is that the stopping blocks on the backing plate of the helm station actually never engages. This is not good, so I have to take a serious look at this some time. The reason it is an issue is that if, for any reason, the rudder gets a hit at one of the extreme positions, the force from the rudder will not stop at the backing plate, but will travel all the way up to the steering wheel and the delicate gears there, which will be at either of its extreme positions. There is a risk that it will break the gears, or their supporting structure, which would mean a fatal failure. Perhaps I need someone to take a look at the backing plate sooner that I thought.
The sealing of the helm station was a bit trickier, mainly because I couldn’t remove the pedestal without some major work, which I was trying to stay clear from. So instead I propped it up on a pair of wooden blocks as high as it allowed and then I had to lie on the sole of the cockpit with my face flat against the sole, trying to figure out what was happening under the pedestal. It is obvious that there has been some leaks over the years, since the paint under the pedestal is pretty much non-existent and replaced with aluminium oxide. I scraped it as good as I could, put on two rounds of butyl tape and slowly, slowly let the pedestal down on the sole before bolting it down once more. I got a good squeeze-out all around and later that evening the rain that was promised came. It seems to hold! So, one less leak on the boat, that is great!
The last sub-project I completed today was to re-attach the cockpit table. I noticed that three screws were missing and one was loose attaching the tabletop to the leg, so it needed some drill-fill-drill action to give the screws something to bite into. After that it was pretty straight forward to seal the foot of the leg and through-bolt it to the sole and bolt it to the steering pedestal. In the end it looks just as before, except it is now fully sealed.
So, that was the side projects, the diversions, the distractions. But what about the bottom paint? The sanding and scraping did take a lot of time and energy. Not until Sunday I started the final preparations by taping the waterline and washing the underside, first by just hosing it down, and then by scrubbing it with a brush. The reason is that I wanted to get rid of any dirt that was on the hull, and also to get a fresh surface of the old anti-fouling to paint the new one on so that it could bond firmly. I really hope it did, I don’t want to see any flaking with all the job I put into it. It did take longer to wash it than I expected, of course, but I did end the evening by applying the first layer of the new anti-fouling, and I was done around 9 o’clock. What a different it made! The old was gray, this is black! But it did get late and as I was done my body was literally aching for the bed.
Yesterday after breakfast (call it brunch) I heard that someone was grinding away on my boat! I thought that they were about to prepare the rudder for the repair, but as I go out one of the employees was grinding down some of the glass that was already put on, earlier that morning. So, I missed the chance of getting some insights of glassing, but on the other hand I got the rudder fixed while I was sleeping. I call that a win. So I got into painting the hull instead. After a while when I had put on paint on the bow of the boat he started sanding the fairing, luckily the wind was favorable, but I could see some dust in the sun, so I decided to take a break. Apparently it was around lunch time since i noticed that he wasn’t sanding any more. So I got down and continued painting the anti-fouling. The boat finally had a second layer on, but I wanted to add a third. Yes, a third layer! Insane. But the International 350 paint states that if you put on two layers it will be needed to be redone next year, adding three layers meant I could wait two years until it would be required to be done again. The math wasn’t super-complex. Put in 50% more job now and save 100% next year. And a haul out. I’m not sure though that I saved much money-wise since the paint was at a premium. But if I include the haul out it will. None the less, it is an experiment and I will have to get back to you with the results. I hope that it will hold up more than two years, that would be awesome. What I did learn though is that it takes 5 litres of bottom paint for one coat, more or less. When I talked with them in the chandlery they said I would probably need ten liters all in all, I doubted that and said that I take an extra tin just in case. Maybe they didn’t remember that I said I was going to apply three layers, but it took me another trip to the store to get a sixth tin of paint to be on the safe side as I realized I didn’t have enough if I would use the same amount for the third layer as I did the second. And I got about half of it left, which will be enough to paint the spots where the cradle supports the boat, as well as under the keel once she is lifted and about to go into the water.
Oh, yes. While I was away buying more paint the rudder was finished, and it looks good! You can’t see that it has been repaired and now it has a thick layer of glass all around the bottom and the lower part of the forward edge so it is ready to go into the water now. They are really good at making glass fiber repairs here at the boat yard, for sure!
After adding the paint the unpolished topside looks rather bad… So I will try to talk to the boat yard if I can borrow their tools and some scaffolding to polish the boat. Just to give her that good looks as she goes in. I’m still trying to figure out the weather here on Ireland, though. It was forecast that the rest of this week would have heavy rains pretty much every day after lunch, including today, but it wasn’t to be apparently. Now when I look at the forecast it has all changed and it will be mostly cloudy without rain. Who would have thought. Island weather, I guess. Some storm that changed direction, possibly. So I got some time to polish, if I can have the tools. We’ll see.
Thank you Rhys of Sailing Yacht Zora for the aerial photo of me sanding Away! Always fun with new toys!