Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pooka, the boat cat, has crossed the bar

No time to work on the boat this Saturday. Instead, we had to see an old friend off, an old friend that we will miss a lot.

Our Pooka hasn't been feeling well lately. After many trips (and some long visits) to his Vet, he came home one last time and was miserable. We both think that cats have a way of telling you that they want to leave and Pooka told us that very clearly on Friday night.

After a sleepless night on Friday, we knew it was time. It was so tempting to let him stay. We both looked for signs that he was, at least a little, back to his old self but, what we wanted to see just wasn't there. And of course, what we wanted was far less important than helping him.

It was time to let him go. 17 years old. A good run for a kitty that wandered into Frances' house in Marlbrough all those years ago and then went on to live with Frances' parents in Florida and then came back to Connecticut to eventually live with Frances in Suffield and with us on the boat during the summers.

This was the cat who went with us wherever we went on the boat. Sure, he puked a little on some rides, but that guy was always ready to come out and greet whoever was there once we docked.

So, Pooka is gone and we have to move on. No more cats (or dogs) for us, at least for a while. We need some time to pass. A friend like Pooka took a lot of our love. It takes some time for us to accept that he is no longer there.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Attacking the rotten triangle

It's time to get started on the winter list of improvements. The first was to order new lights for the cabin and the head. Those will probably arrive this week and we took some time to plan how they will be mounted and what the wiring plan is to be. We're good at hiding wiring and these new lights will look like they were always there while giving us lots of extra light.

Then we examined the triangles, which were a feature of Silverton boats for many years.

The triangles were simply a styling feature; 3/4-inch plywood capped with a piece of mahogany trim and butted up against another piece of trim on the rear wall of the cabin next to the door. The outside of the triangles is up against part of the fiberglass cabin.

Silverton boats with this design feature almost all experience rot of that plywood panel and we're no different except that the plywood on the starboard side look very solid. No rot at all. The port side was another story.

With the top trim piece on the port side removed, the rot became apparent. We tried prying the entire plywood section out but the top seemed fastened in place. It will take a heat gun to break the bead to that trim piece shown at right. That trim is in good shape and we want to save it.

Then we amused our self digging out the soft plywood.

Once we get the last of the triangle out, we'll glass a piece of 3/4-inch plywood, slip it back into place and paint it. We'll also refinish the trim pieces along the tops on both sides.

Like many of our boat projects, no one will ever notice what we've done.

As we drove out of the marina, we noted the many boats that still had to taken out. We learned earlier in the day that they have 50 more boats for winter storage and a number of them haven't even arrived yet. That's a scary thought considering that we had several inches of snow last night in northwest Connecticut.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Back after a week off.

It was definitely time to use last weekend for some housework. We changed the bag in the vacuum cleaner and went at it. Things look so nice after a thorough cleaning and we have to admit, it has been a while.

Two weekends ago, we removed the sea lip molding in our galley.

Once we got the molding home, we rubbed each piece down with paint thinner using fine steel wool. That helped, but really didn't remove all the old discoloration. Then we tried a palm sander with 120 grit sandpaper and, although it took a while, the molding cleaned up very nicely without removing too much material.

Our intention was to put on a couple of coats of Sikkens Marine Light, which we have used before very successfully on other areas, including our swim platform. But that was going to take some time since this molding is exposed both front and back. (It mounts against the 3/4-inch counter top in a groove that is milled into each strip but part of the back of each piece is exposed to form the lip.) That would mean applying the Sikkens to the front of each piece (all 14 feet of it), giving it ample drying time, then turning each piece over and applying Sikkens to the back. Two coats could take the better part of a week or more.

But Frances, the Queen of Process Improvement, came up with a better idea. Why not coat both sides of each piece of trim with Sikkens and then allow them to dry while mounted on toothpicks that had been inserted into the mounting holes?  Why not, indeed?

Toothpicks went into the holes in each section of trim easily and with a few pieces of scrap, into which we had drilled some small holes, we had a place to let each piece dry, both front and back.

That worked perfectly. Yes, we did wear disposable Nitrile gloves while applying the Sikkens to both sides, but we would have used those gloves anyway.

The result was some very good looking molding.

The miniature cleats were on there before the refinishing and are used by Frances to hang up various galley gadgets.

This weekend, we reinstalled the sea lip trim and it looks great. But, like so many of our little projects, we did this for ourselves. No one will ever notice it.

After the trim was reinstalled, we looked at our to-do list for the winter. We measured for the installation of new lights in the cabin and a new one in the head. We looked at the "dreaded Silverton triangles" about which you'll hear in coming weeks. Finally, we figured out how to remove the big glass sliding door in the cabin so we can replace the little wheels that allow it to slide smoothly. We got the door off but have yet to figure out how to remove the old, worn out wheels, which, we found out, you can buy at Home Depot.

To finish out the weekend, we did what lots of people here in New England do at this time of year: we raked leaves. We use an old tarp to collect them and then drag them out to the street where the city will pick them up soon. So far, we have about 50 feet of leaves, about three feet high and we'll add to that soon. Hopefully, that will happen before it snows.