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Getting ahead of the season

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
No matter what the calendar says, it doesn't feel much like "almost spring" around here. It was 38 degrees and drizzling when Makana went back in the water yesterday morning. But that relaunch marked the end of my first "spring yard bill" in decades, so it feels noteworthy for that alone.

One of the very few things noted on the purchase survey was a condition the surveyor called "paint sickness" - there were places where the existing bottom paint was so thick that it had cracked, allowing water in between the paint and the hull. He indicated that the only way to solve that was to remove all the existing bottom paint and put the new bottom on a solid surface.

So, we did that. Starting from this point....

...the yard sanded off all the existing bottom paint. Yes, sanded. I had asked about other approaches - the surveyor recommended chemical stripping in order to avoid damaging the barrier coat, trusted friends in the marine industry recommended soda-blasting... but as it turns out, environmental regulations up here make such things problematic. In fact, in this yard an owner is not "allowed" to do sanding without having demonstrated ability to conform to their rules on containing dust, drips and detritus - note how pristine the asphalt is under the boat, *while* they are working on it. We've come a long ways from when we would scrape stuff off a bottom and sweep the pile into the bay...

40-grit velcro-backed random-orbit pads, multiplied by labor hours, equals a hull that looks something like this. (this photo is still in progress, but you get the idea.)

As it turns out, I needn't have worried about damaging the barrier coat... because there wasn't one. The rudder and waterline had received an application of a gray substance at some point, which the surveyor took to be epoxy, but it didn't exist elsewhere on the hull. So we discussed whether or not I wanted to have a barrier coat applied. On the one hand, there was *no* sign of any blistering on the hull, and one line of thought was that if it hadn't blistered in 30 years, it probably wasn't going to. On the other hand... probably not ever going to have it down to gel-coat again, and so if ever there was a time to do a barrier coat, it was "now". So, checkbooks were consulted, and I gave the go-ahead to add a barrier coat to the work order.

I think - someday - I'll be glad I did. Just not entirely sure how I'll know when that moment arrives, since "continuing to not have a problem" is a hard event-threshold to detect.

Two coats of "high build epoxy primer" in order to get to the recommended 10-12 mil dry-film thickness. Rolled and tipped to make her bottom sexy and smooth.... Plus an extra layer at the keel joint.

...and then two coats of a compatible high-grade bottom paint - plus an extra coat at the waterline, and along the leading edges of the foils - and she's looking ready for her close-up. Isn't she pretty?

Along the way she got her topsides buffed, her cutlass checked, her dripless serviced, her keel bolts checked, her shaft- and strut-zincs replaced, and a few other things. Kinda like an annual checkup. And then back into the water. pretty as can be.... and with the nicest bottom in town.

I might be a little biased on that. It's hard to tell.

yeah, I know this is old hat to most of you guys, who have been doing this kind of stuff for decades. But I've really enjoyed getting "back into the game" - I find I've actually *missed* being around boatyards, and the craftspeople who populate them - and I motored away from the yard feeling like I've done something that will help keep this lovely girl healthy and whole for a long time to come.

Rig goes back in next. New wires and coax are ready to run, new lights ready to install, new sheaves and pins are due to arrive this week, about all that remains before that can happen is for there to be a weekend day over 50 degrees so that I can acid-wash, prime and paint some places where I remediated some minor surface corrosion. Pictures will, of course, inevitably follow.....

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Updated 03-18-2016 at 12:40 PM by bgary

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  1. Shelman's Avatar
    beautiful job! I too enjoy working on my various boat projects, and preserving a lovely vintage sailboat for future year to come.
  2. PapaGrande's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. I'm doing our boat, S/V Maren now here in Everett. We are in south Marina, E dock. Ericson 27'

    see you around!