Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Category: Fixing It Up!

Drunks and Fools

The old saying goes that God always helps fools, lovers and drunkards. Well, someone was watching over me last night and this morning.

As scheduled, we towed the boat back home about 2 a.m. As we were motoring out there, the tow boat operator was suggesting that I might want to haul the boat out and take a look at the keel. It would also be good to call my insurance company, in case they wanted to have a surveyor look at it.

I did call them this morning and they added to the towing report the possibility of damage to the keel. They did ask that the repair work being done show the parts and labor separately. Apparently it would help increase what I might have covered.

So we hauled the boat out. And it looked fine. There was no damage to the keel.

Keel after grounding

Notice, though, that you can see how far it had sunk into the ground. Nevertheless, I came out lucky.

The fiberglass, however, will require repair:

Starboard bow cleat

That was the location of the starboard bow cleat.

I’m not sure how much the repair will be. But either my insurance or Tow Boat US will cover what my deductible doesn’t.

So, to save myself the cost of not hauling it out to clean it, I had to haul it out anyway.

Next time, I guess I’ll just rent a scuba tank.


Five weeks ago, I asked the marina to pull the boat out for spring prep.  It was early enough that I hoped to beat the rush of boats also wanting to get ready for a spring launch.  I had purchased the boat 6 years ago and, according to what I’d read, the bottom should be stripped. So I asked the marina to do that. They told me that the bottom didn’t need to be stripped. Good news!

So I asked the marina to smooth the bottom and check for blisters. I have little upper body strength and I don’t like spending my time with a 30-lb vacuum sander over my head.  I also figured, with the schedule I’ve had lately at work, it would be much faster to have the marina do the work.

That was 5 weeks ago.

We’ve had weather delays. The wife of the guy who was working on it had a baby.

And we had communication errors.

See, when I told them to smooth the bottom, I meant that I thought there were blisters to be taken care of, and the paint was pretty wavy because I’d just been slapping it on. But the head worker thought I meant that I wanted the paint sanded off, so he started to do that.

Now, I don’t know why he did that, especially after he told me that it didn’t need to be stripped. But that’s what he was doing. And that was taking so long, because the paint was on there hard, so they called in someone with – not a sandblaster – but a bead blaster? Anyway, same idea. They stripped the paint.

Well, that did open up any blisters. But it also meant that there would need to be a barrier coat put on. At first I told them I’d take care of that. But as the time went on, I again figured that it would be faster to have them take care of it. But I don’t know. They haven’t even gotten that far.

I stopped by tonight. They have about 2/3rds of the bottom prepped. Meaning that it’s had the filler put on and it’s been sanded smooth. They still have half the keel and all of the rudder to do.

The good news is, I won’t have to have this done for about 10 more years.

Will I have the boat for next week’s race? A week after racing season has started? I hope so!

Stripped boat bottom

Stripped boat bottom


Line Back

After last time’s unsuccessful attempt by a Sea Scout to get the jib halyard back on the mast, their Scoutmaster, Mike, offered to do it for me. So, the following weekend, we met and he donned the climbing harness that Liza had used the week before.

I had been concerned about being able to get Mike, or any full-grown adult up the mast, since I don’t have alot of upper body strength and I figured that alot of the physical part of overcoming gravity would need to be done by me and the winch trying to raise Mike on the main halyard. Mike assured me, however, that he could shimmy up the mast to help in the effort.

Well, it didn’t quite work that way. Apparently, my mast was too slick for him to climb. So, like with Liza, he climbed onto the boom so I could get enough slack to get the line through the catch block we had set up and onto the winch to turn it to lift him up.

Mike atop the mast

Mike atop the mast

The job turned out to be much simpler than I thought it would be. Gotta love Newtonian physics in action! There was enough mechanical help from our setup that I had no trouble turning the winch and lifting him up. Mind you, it took alot of turns to get him up – it was a slow job. But it was fairly painless from my perspective.

Not so Mike. He got as far as the shrouds and asked me to stop. I assumed he was tired and needed a break. Luckily, the line was through a clutch, and on my self-tailing winch, so I didn’t have to hold it while he rested. It also made it easier on the climb up because I didn’t have to worry about losing ground.

Once Mike reached the top, it was a quick job to get the line in place. He had pulled the core out of the line and woven the ends back to make a loop that was narrower than the line itself. He then attached a string, and attached the straightened coat hanger to the string. The whole thing went in and he was ready to be lowered in no time.

Lowering Mike down, with that setup, was no problem either. I wrapped the line around a nearby cleat, to give me some leverage, lifted the clutch, pulled the line out of the self-tailer, and started lowering him. Again, it proved to be much easier than I expected.

When Mike got down, he said he’d gotten dizzy when he was up there, which surprised him. That had never happened before. He did take some time to lower his head and get back his equilibrium before pronouncing that this was the last mast he was likely to climb; he was going to leave it to the Sea Scouts from now on.

Mike, after his rest

Mike, after his rest


Climbing the Mast

I discovered last year, when replacing the jib, that the jib halyard was starting to look worn. But the line itself was much longer than I needed, and the rest of it, beyond that top foot, was in really great shape. So this year I asked a friend of mine if he could reweave the eye back in for me. He agreed.

So I attached an extra line to the halyard I wanted to pull down and pulled the new line into place as I pulled the old one down. That way, when the old one was repaired, I only needed to reverse the process to get the old one back into place.

Well, my friend fixed the old one over a weekend, and the next weekend, Erik and I went down to run the halyard back up. It was quite breezy that day, so we decided to wait. We wouldn’t be able to reattach the furler jib, so it seemed a waste of time to mess with the halyard, so I tied the line back up, re-stuffed the jib into the cabin (we’d taken it home and I’d cleaned it off while it was down), and headed home.

So, I must not have tied the line off well. Because the following weekend, when we came by to try again, the line I’d used as a placeholder was neatly coiled on my deck.

So back to my friend I go. He happens to be the scoutmaster for a Sea Scout troop, so I asked if he thought one of his scouts might be willing to climb the mast and replace the halyard. He said he thought so.

So today, I met Liza (the Sea Scout) at the boat with Mike (the scoutmaster). Liza donned a climbing harness that Mike had brought along, rather than the bos’n’s chair I had borrowed. We moved the jib pulley back so it was next to the jib winch and hooked Liza up to the main halyard. We pulled the halyard through the pulley and into the winch and pulled her up the mast.

Liza up the mast

Liza up the mast

We had sent Liza up with a straightened coat hanger to use as a guide, the halyard, and some painter’s tape, to attach the halyard to the coat hanger.

Liza first had trouble trying to get the coat hanger through. It was apparently not a straight shot. She was doing this from the rear of the mast and finally came around to the front and figured out how it needed to go. She tried again and got it through, after a few more attempts.

Next problem was the tape. The painter’s tape wasn’t strong enough to hold the halyard on to the coat hanger. So we passed her up some duct tape to use instead. This worked, but now she was having trouble pulling the coat hanger back through. The coat hanger had been straightened out. But one of the spirals in it was hanging inside the pulley.

At this point, Liza had been up the mast for an hour, so Mike asked her to come backd own and we’d try again another time.

So now my conundrum. Do I ask Liza or another of the troop to try this again? Do I get one of my experienced buddies, whose more heavy, but would know what they were doing to do it? Do I attempt to do it myself? Or doI pay to have someone at the marina do it?

We’ll see. No hurry. I don’t need to have it done until April when racing season starts.


Follow Ups

Seems I’ve gotten a bit behind on the follow up to the products I’ve tried. So here’s a summary. Will try to figure out if I missed anything.

Judging by the amount of time it took for the knotmeter to stop working, it appears that the Lanocote only worked about 2 months. Mind you, I haven’t had anyone dive the boat, so I can’t say that the barnacles have taken over for sure. But symptoms do appear to point in that direction.

Kiwigrip has shown mixed results. It’s definitely still doing well as a non-skid. But the spot that people walk on the most, the spot right in front of the companionway, is pretty worn down. There is little of the texture left. In addition, I’m still in search of a good stain remover for it. Problem seems to be that the staining material gets down in the valleys of the texturizer and it’s hard to scrub it out.

The anti-mildew paint I purchased at Home Depot (will need to look it up) and used to paint the entire interior is still working like a charm. No mildewy smell at all on the boat!