Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Shining

With only three work-on-the-boat days left before we get back in the water, we have to choose our battles. Today, we started with an easy one. We took the little cockpit step ladder home last Sunday and during the week disassembled it and then sanded and refinished the teak steps.  We had to drill out the rivets holding the steps in place and once that was done, we tried to polish up the aluminum frame, without much success. We sanded the teak steps and applied four coats of Sikkens Cetrol Marine Light.  Once at the boat yard this morning, we reassembled the ladder using stainless bolts, washers and stop-nuts. Looks OK, especially when you compare it to the fly bridge ladder that is next to it in this photo.

Next, it was time to bite the bullet and apply PolyGlo to the hull. While this stuff is remarkably easy to apply, I was surprised at how much hull a 34-ft. boat really has and how many times you must go up the ladder, apply the PolyGlo, come back down, move the ladder and repeat the process again. While doing this, several people came by to say how good it looked. Good for them maybe, but not good enough for us. After applying the first coat, I walked around the boat trying to catch the light just right and the finish, while much more shiny than it was before, looked very uneven.  So, after taking a break to read the directions on the PlyGlo bottle, ("...will look uneven at first and up to four applications may be required"), I began again.

I knew this wouldn't be easy.

In our shed we have many other folks working on their boats and music seems to be the lubricant that makes them work. Larry, three boats away, likes rock music from his satellite receiver and I must admit, it isn't bad.  A new couple, with a Carver just two boats away, arrived with a boom box and turned up the volume on WMRQ-FM, which plays "music from the sick and demented" as far as I could tell. As I mounted the ladder to apply a second coat of PolyGlo, I could only remember the cold days of winter, where, all alone, I could enjoy NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" as my only entertainment.

Two coats of PlyGlo look OK, although a third would look even better.  The pictures show the reflection off the hull.  The old Silverton's hull was never so clean or looked so good.

After that, there was still the port side of the cockpit that needed a second coat of paint. We got that done and then called it a day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Black weekend

One evening this week, we left work early and went to Portland to put a second coat of paint on the starboard side of the cockpit. With that done, our plan for this weekend was to put a coat of ablative bottom paint on over the barrier coat, paint the port side of the cockpit floor and, if time permitted, clean the hull since once it is in the water, we won't be able to do that very effectively.

We donned our Tyvek suit on Saturday morning and began applying the MarPro two-year black ablative bottom paint. The green barrier coat had gone on easily but the bottom paint, because it was much thicker, didn't.  In fact, it took us about twice as long to apply the black bottom paint than it did the green barrier coat. This is what it looked like half-way through finishing the bottom.

The boat next to ours in the top photo is just four inches away at the deck.  They do park 'em close at Portland Riverside! That neighboring boat is a 1964 Chris Craft Sea Skiff, bought a couple of years ago from its original owner and now virtually abandoned. It hurts us to be that close to a dead Chris-Craft Sea Skiff.

Several weeks ago we removed some of the wood trim in the cockpit and Frances refinished it. Today we reinstalled those pieces and they look much better now.

Saturday was a long day but before we left, we painted the port side of the cockpit floor. Frances had masked it perfectly, as she always does.

Then we finally went home to a darn tasty meatloaf, a great safety food for us when we are too tired to cook.

Sunday dawned cool and damp and that wasn't good, since we planned to put a second coat on the port cockpit. When we got to the boat, the Saturday paint wasn't hard enough to repaint. So, Frances began packing up and moving the winter stuff off the boat and we began cleaning the hull with PolyPrep prior to applying PolyGlo.

But to apply the PolyPrep, we needed water to rinse it and there is none available in our storage shed. We found an available hose and hauled about 25 gallons or so in buckets the 500 feet distance back to the boat.  We dumped the buckets into our boat's water tank, hooked up a hose to our new deck faucet, turned on the pump and went to work.

Thanks to John and Bob on A-Dock for this stuff.  It takes a little work but it removed dirt, mold and other discolorations on the hull.  Next weekend we, apply the PolyGlo.

At this point, we have only three weekend days to go before the boat goes into the water.  There is still lots to do but we'll get it done.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our 38-ft. Silverton

No, we didn't buy a bigger boat but about half way through applying barrier coat to the bottom today, it seemed like the boat had grown by at least four feet.

Nothing like getting to know your bottom really well.

An office problem kept us from putting in a full day on Saturday but we did get half of the cockpit sole vacuumed and scrubbed in preparation for painting and moved all the stuff that had accumulated in the cockpit over the winter into the salon. We also removed some wood trim pieces and took them home where Frances thoroughly sanded them and began applying varnish.

On Sunday, we started early and donned our Tyvek suit in preparation for applying a coat of Marpro Hard Modified Epoxy barrier coat to our newly stripped bottom.

Painting the bottom of any boat isn't fun but the Marpro was easy to apply with a small foam roller. "Easy" is a relative term.  It took 2-1/2 hours but the result was about as good as it gets.

This barrier coat will be covered by one coat of black ablative bottom paint. Next year (and we hope the year after) where the ablative paint has worn off, we'll see the green barrier coat showing through and touch up with bottom paint accordingly.

While that was going on, Frances began masking the cockpit so that it could also be painted. Attention to detail is important here and Frances masks perfectly.

Then we painted the starboard side of the cockpit. Silverton painted the deck 30+ years ago and we followed the original factory lines.  Once finished, it looked very good. "Boat shoes only" next summer on Act Three, please.

One afternoon this week, we'll apply a second coat and then next weekend start the process again with the port side. At that time, the Tyvek man will also put on that coat of bottom paint.

We've listed ourselves for a launch date of Thursday, May 6.  That will give us a day or two to erect the newly repaired canvas on the bridge enclosure, start the engines, haul all the winter stuff off the boat and make it presentable in case anyone wants to join us for the slow cruise to Norwich on Sunday or Monday.

We've both had fun this winter doing all these renovations but we think it's time to quit and begin enjoying summer.

Monday, April 5, 2010

High water

We should be used to this by now.

On Friday, April 2, the Connecticut River at Middletown (where our boat is stored) rose to 14.3 feet. That's about a foot below Major Flood Stage. At that height, the river comes right up into the boat yard although it takes at least another 4-5 feet before any real damage is done to the boats. By the next morning, the river level had already begun to fall.  When we arrived, it looked like this:

At its highest, the water was just touching the bottom of the white 38-ft. Pacemaker seen at the right and had advanced up the driveway toward where we were standing when we took this picture.

We've had a boat at this boatyard since 1986 and only once, in 1987, did the river come up far enough to actually lift the boats off the jack stands. In a yard like this, boat owners are expected to show up and work in an emergency and we all did. The water crested at about 9 PM and we began moving the boats out into the driveway.  During the night and into the next morning, all of the boats that floated were towed out of the yard and down river about a half mile, were they were all anchored.

Some boat owners elected to take their chances and left their boats on the jack stands with the garboard drain plugs out, so that the boats would slowly take on enough water to keep them in place. For some, that strategy worked, leaving only a muddy bilge.  For others, the engine and batteries went under and many of those boats - mostly wood in those days - were damaged beyond repair.

Just part of being on a major river in New England.

This weekend, with warmer weather, we concentrated on painting the forward deck.  That was two coats over three days with paint that is as close as we could find to what Silverton originally used.  But before anything was painted, Frances scrubbed every inch of the foredeck and side decks with Dirtex, her favorite heavy duty cleaner. Since there was no water near the boat, we hauled buckets from the nearest tap to rinse off the Dirtex and associated grime.

After scrubbing, drying and painting, it looks very nice and at this point, we have only the cockpit sole left to paint. We also applied another layer of fiberglass and resin on the soft spot we had previously excavated on the rear deck.

Before leaving on Sunday afternoon, we mounted the TV that Frances bought as a Christmas present for the boat. We looked at many swivel type wall mounts and most appeared to be pretty weak.  Frances finally found one that appeared strong enough and had enough flexibility to allow the TV to be seen from virtually any angle on the boat. Actually mounting it was a two-person job but the time we took really paid off.

As it is now mounted, the TV folds back flat against the wall, completely out of sight in that upper berth, leaving plenty of room for someone to still sleep there without the TV getting in the way. When folded out, it can be seen in the salon or flipped back the other way, viewed from the v-berth. And, in the third position, the Commodore can watch and participate in a cooking program in the galley!

Aside from painting the cockpit sole, only the nasty job left is to paint the bottom. We got the bottom masked on Sunday but luckily for us, the boat yard had run out of the paint we needed. Guess that will have to wait until the paint comes in and we can devote an entire day to it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thanks, Google

It amazes us after looking at the 25 posts or so we have done on this blog over the winter that anything this good and easy to do is free. Certainly, you do have to play around with the various controls to make each post look the way you want it to, but once you figure that out, it is really easy.

We like to add pictures and the camera we use is an Olympus D-380, a clam shell type camera that Frances gave us as a Christmas present many years ago. It was the first digital camera we ever owned. It's just 2 megapixels but it always works. We also have an expensive Nikon but the old Olympus is so much easier to use and takes such great pictures that we carry it with us everywhere.

That appears to be trim paint on the carrying strap. The old D380 had a tough winter but it still works.

We're going to try some video when we launch. Hopefully you'll be able to see it on YouTube.

All of this is made possible by Google. Free, can you believe it?