Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: April 2011

Hard Times

Every relationship has them. And right now, the boat and I are having ours.

We put the lifelines back on yesterday. Realized afterwards that one set was put on backwards. Problem with that? The connection at the bow is meant to stay connected. The one at the stern is made to be removed, to make it easier to get on and off. Now, that isn’t possible.

The other set of lifelines was twisted.

In both cases, it can be fixed. It’s just one more thing on the long list of things still to be done.

There’s the rest of the non-skid that needs to be applied but hasn’t arrived yet.

There’s the stripes on the hull that need to be put on.

There’s the layer of bottom paint to put on.

And there’s the engine.

My plan with the engine was to ask the marina to remove the plug that was put in when they pulled the prop off, put in the battery box for the new 400 lbs of batteries, and mount the engine. The estimate I got back? $4900, give or take. And that estimate included a fabricated platform for the engine that I kept telling them I didn’t need.

Since the piggy bank doesn’t have that kind of money around, I’ll be doing it myself. Well, I’ll be doing it with the help of friends. I made a desperate call to Dave A., who said he’d be happy to help. If there’s anyone who knows anything about engines, it’s him.

But it brings up the other frustrating part. I’m leaving town next Wednesday for a week and it doesn’t look, at this rate, like everything will be done before I leave.


This has been one hell of a spring. I thought I’d allowed myself plenty of time to get all the projects done. And what has made it most difficult is the long hours at the job that lets me keep this expensive hobby also does not allow me to work on the boat very easily during the week. The weekends have given me so much rain that it’s made it difficult to get the painting done.

And, on top of all of that, I now have wasp nests in the boat. I’ve counted three so far: two in the vberth and one aft, near the cockpit locker. I don’t like wasps. I’ve picked up some spray that I hope will work fast enough that I won’t get stung when I use it on them.

Enough venting.

Now this is a post that won’t get alot of hits.

False Starts

Doug (the marina owner) suggested that white paint was not a good idea for the deck – too much glare from it. The ‘white’ paint I bought, Matterhorn White, to put on the deck and the white part of the hull, was looking more snowy white than grey-white as the picture would indicate. So I went by TruValue, found a paint sample that was a *much* lighter version of the green stripe on the side and asked if they would mix my paint to that. First guy passed me to second guy, who passed me to third guy who said, ‘Let’s see’. He proceeded to, rather than look at the ‘formula’ (too much paint in the can – formula wouldn’t work, he claimed. Guess he didn’t learn fractions in school), he just dumped some green in, then mixed it. It came out a nice teal. Great. I’d go with that. I put it on the locker covers and it looked really nice. So I painted it on the deck on Saturday.

The sun was just starting to get low in the sky when I finished. I headed to the car and I looked back ARGHHH! It looked awful!!

I didn’t sleep that night, stressed about what I was going to do about it. Stressed about the wasted day. Stressed about the wasted money ($30/qt x 2).

The next day, I went over and re-evaluated the situation. Decided it didn’t really look too bad. All I needed to do was change the stripe color (too much clash) and it would be fine. I asked others opinions. Erik didn’t like it. My sister, Peggy, thought it looked fine.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about people who mess boats up for the next owners, and about what would happen if I had repairs and had to try to find more of that color to repaint portions of the deck. And I took a bit of the original  Matterhorn White and put it over a small portion of the teal. It covered well!

So Sunday was spent with the help of Paul and Grant, sanding, the covering the teal with white.

Now my concern is the shine. On the one hand, I’m using one-part polyurethane which, frankly, doesn’t’ keep its shine for very long without waxing. On the other hand, there are products you can buy to add to the paint to tone down the gloss.

We’ll see.


KiwiGrip Non-Skid

The standard choices for non-skid on a boat are filler mixed in with a paint, filler you add to a paint, and filler you sprinkle on wet paint. KiwiGrip, a New Zealand product, does it differently. The non-skid properties come from the texture laid on the product after it is spread on the deck. I read about this product in an article in the January 2011 issue of Good Old Boat magazine. The technique described seemed alot simpler than that of conventional products. And the application looked like it would easily solve one of my other issues: covering up alot of really badly stained non-skid on the deck, including what was left over after I filled the soft spot.

As I mentioned before, I removed the cockpit locker covers and cover over the cabin stairwell to paint them separately. It also allowed me to perfect my painting technique before trying it out on the entire boat. For the locker covers, that also meant getting a chance to apply the KiwiGrip before putting it over the rest of the deck.

Painting the rest of the pieces took quite a bit of time. I put on two coats of primer, as I had with the rest of the deck, to better cover up the crazing and the patches. Then I put on one coat of Interlux Matterhorn White Polyurethane. After putting on that one coat, I had a conversation with Doug, the proprietor of Wormley Creek, who suggested the worst color to paint a deck was white. Off-white was OK. But white was too bright to have out there on the water. He said that he told another owner that, but he’d insisted that’s what he wanted. The next year, they were painting the deck again.

Well, the Matterhorn White in the ‘sample’ on the front of the can, and the sample online looked a bit grey, so I didn’t worry about it too much. But that first coat on the covers looked more like snow white. Hence, Matterhorn? So I took a couple of the quarts to my neighborhood TruValue store and asked if they could help me out. One person passed me off to another, who passed me off to a third. That third person was willing to take a chance, when I told him I’d accept whatever he gave me. I showed him the sample I wanted. It was a lighter version of the Kelly Green I was using for the boat stripe.¬† He said that most bases weren’t full cans, so the computer-generated sampling would overfill the can. But he decided instead to try putting just the green dye in to see what would happen. I should have stopped him, I know. But deer-in-the-headlights me just let him do it. It didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted, but it was OK.

So I went home and put on a coat of the new green matterhorn. Unfortunately, the TruValue guy didn’t keep it in the mixer long enough and the stuff was streaky the next day. So I mixed it myself with a drill and put on another coat. That wasn’t too bad.

Now there were two coats (well, three) of polyurethane on the pieces in the shed. They’d been sanded smooth after each coat and still needed touching up in a few spots. But I was ready to anxious to try the non-skid. And since more rain was expected, so there would be no painting on the boat, this was a good opportunity.

Non-skid applied to locker cover

I taped around the edges, cutting the rounded corners. I opened the can of KiwiGrip. It looked like yogurt. The author of the article I’d read suggested applying it with a spatula, so that’s what I did. Then I proceeded to texturize it with the special brush they sent.

Non-skip application

I put it on quite thick the first time. But when I tried using the texturizer on it, it looked awfully sharp. These are ‘seats’ after all, and I didn’t want sharp objects poking people in odd places. So I scraped off about half of what I’d put on and tried again. The results were quite good!

Finished non-skid

As the author of the article said, it will take a few years to see how well it holds up. But I am imprssed with how it looks. And it does cover up the sins of the original non-skid. I’ll add more pictures after I get it on the rest of the boat.



Sometimes life throws you lemons. Sometimes you get to make lemonade! :yes:

So the rain has stopped, enough for the wind to blow 30+ MPH. A bit hard to paint in that. But I have perservered. There are two coats of primer on the deck, and the topside is completely sanded so the first coat of primer can be added to that. The first coat of polyurethane has been put on the locker and cabin covers. All is (almost) right with the world.

What about serendipity? Well, this weekend, on Saturday, it was raining. After it finished, Erik and I headed out to do some sanding. I had purchased wet/dry sandpaper. But, naive as I was, I assumed that meant you could sand something that was wet. Duh! What it means is that you can keep the sandpaper wet, you can keep the surface wet, and the job goes much more quickly. I’m guessing it’s because the sandpaper doesn’t get gummed up as quickly, since you can keep washing it off. Nevertheless, I don’t hate sanding as much as I did now that I’ve made this discovery. The serendipity came in because I probably wouldn’t have discovered this if it hadn’t been raining so much.

Okay, so I went back to Don Casey’s book and he said to use wet sandpaper. He also suggested having a spray bottle to keep the surface moist. I actually found it more helpful to keep the sandpaper moist.

Second bit of knowledge gained was more of a thankful oops! When I finished putting the primer on the covers, I neglected to put the cover back on the paint can. Half a quart of $30 primer sat uncovered for two days. When I came back to it, there was no film on the paint, and it didn’t look like it had evaporated too much. Sigh of relief!

Funny thing is that the primer does dry fairly quickly when it’s applied to a surface. Interesting chemistry. I wonder what the mechanism is.

I talked with Mike at Wormley Creek. When I showed him the engine compartment and told him I was thinking the best place to put the battery bank (400 lbs of AGM batteries) would be aft, where the diesel tank had been. He suggested it might actually be better to put them as far forward as possible. He explained that you actually want your weight to be as close to the keel as possible. Besides, he said, that way it was easier to get the batteries in and out. Made sense. We’ll wait until the batteries and engine actually get here to put it all together.

I’d already heard about boat bucks. They’re about $1000 apiece, and it’s how one measures boat projects. Recently, I also heard about boat days. They equal one week. At this point, it looks like my ‘projects’ on this boat are going to be extended about one boat day.