|First afternoon of work it is close to 100 degrees and that hull looks awfully imposing.|
But duty wins, and off to the club I go. Loading my Suburban for the one hour journey over to the club with all the stuff I think I'll need for a long day in the hot sun, working one issue after another. Let's see, there's that one chain-plate support I want to switch out with a composite that will resist any minor leakage from the deck or the rub rail. I'd noticed it was wet before and told myself to change it first. Can't, need my vise grips to hold the shoulder bolt and they're in Italy. Ok, backup plan, find a socket set at Lowe's and put the small socket on the other side of the bulkhead where it can turn and lock itself against the hull while I fiddle with my closed end wrench and loosen one by one of the 5 bolts on that port shroud plate. That should work. But can't start that yet, have to attend to the hull on the exterior.
The small bubbles in the bottom paint don't appear to be of significant problem and the sole reason I need to get the bottom paint off is that if I don't do it, I can simply add 3 years to the next 4 or 5 years it will be in the water, and there you go, too late to get it done! Gotta do it. Now.
|Holding my phone on the wand etching away at the stern.|
The bottom now takes priority. I've already done the work list in my head, and I've parted out some of it already. The dodger I handed off to Alex, who also supplied my hull ceiling fir strips. The salon cushions I handed off to Randy whose sew shop in the city does all sorts of business with upholstery. The standing rigging I handed off to West Marine, they do such a great job, preserving original parts if possible and making shipping easy because they pay for it. But the bottom paint stares back at me with its arms crossed as if it would prove I'll never hold up in the 8th round.
|I surprised myself after the two hours in the hot sun had passed, and I've nearly conquered 60% of the portside bottom.|
Then, as if the bottom paint collaborated with the weather, our September was hijacked by an arctic dip and shift, and has left our Fall feeling like Summer, swelteringly intense 100 degree heat and no rain, has dried out the weather and our anticipation of cooler temps which were supposed to arrive already. Bottom paint just laughs. It's thick black brittle surface is my job. The last hull I prepped was on BaggyWrinkles herself, my 19 foot Cape Dory Typhoon. (Click on link too see that from May 2015) It was summer too, hot and challenging as well. But 19 feet compared to 30 feet might as well be an exponential difference because that's how boats are, one more foot means another couple in another area, and so on. I looked at the job with a tactical perspective, thinking that if I used a power-sprayer in the hot weather, I'd be cool somewhat just because of the ambient spray. Then, if I work in the mornings, early, I can avoid the direct lay of the sun's UV spearhead against my efforts. I was three years younger when I prepped and painted my Cape Dory. Those are also incremental years as aging seems to come like a college party, everybody brings somebody else to the event. When the knees don't work so well they are joined by light headedness from that damned high blood pressure med the doc just tossed my way, and oh yes, my diabetes requires an entire assortment of meds for the possible dips brought about by heat and exhaustion, and the spraying is exhausting because I'm an overachiever, and I want this thing done yesterday!
I set about to attack the hull in two hour increments each day. This is a handy measure. Whatever I can reasonably achieve with the sprayer in that time frame is my work calendar. I discovered the gas tank on the sprayer runs for two hours and chokes out from lack of gas. Perfect.
|The surface tells a story of various bottoms, but nothing looks like a mishap, all appears sturdy for its new suit.|
And really, it's been a rather helpful adventure on the hullside of things. It has provided me the opportunity to examine what I could not discover but will now know as I sail into the next few years. Knowing what is there is as good as a depth finder. What I apply and when it is done and what is the result will be part of my spread sheet. Some lucky guy or gal will relish that one day.
I've found the sprayer does a fabulous job flaking off the rather hard but brittle, black, bottom paint with a relatively easy short stroking approach. No, it's not easy, if that's what you're thinking. It's hard on the back, and on the eyes, and it's a wet experience as it speckles me with black debris. So far, I've muddled through a couple of sessions, and the debriding job is half done. About four hours so far. I expect another four before I can dry it out and take my sander to the hull and smooth things over.
|Duplicate work on starboard, after two hours.|
One of the most interesting things I've noticed is how durable this vessel was constructed. The gudgeons and pintles are solidly in place and appear free of mischief, as is the foot portion which shined it's brass looking metal as the sprayer ripped some sealer out of the way. The appointments are solid. The bottom paint merely resides atop this heavy cruiser's frame, a bottom which looks like it was taken care of by past owners. I am indeed very fortunate of this.