Sunday, July 12, 2009

Progress At Last...

The weather finally broke on Thursday. It was a bright, sunny, perfect Maine summer day. Unfortunately, we had to stay home to wait for a shipment of batteries. Long story, short, we finagled a deal where all new batteries for the boat would be delivered to our house if we guaranteed we would meet the truck and off load them ourselves - over 1,000 lbs. of batteries according to the delivery guy. They were supposed to be here by noon leaving us the afternoon to work on the boat. They arrived at 5:45pm. Our months of weight training paid off as we moved them onto wood planks in the basement.

Fortunately, two more days of perfect weather followed with more rain Saturday night into Sunday morning. That left us all day Friday and Saturday, and Sunday afternoon to get things done - and we sure did.

We brought one each of the monster batteries (8D's at 169 lbs) for the bow thruster to the boat on Friday and Saturday. Our boat is still on our storm mooring about 2 miles from the town dock. Getting it down the ramp, into the dinghy, and then onto the boat was hard enough, but we then had to get it down in to the lazarette. Jeff rigged some line so we could lower them down in what we hoped would be a controlled way.

We used a technique we learned from Larry to surround the terminals before covering them with anti-corrosion spray. They're now installed and working fine. We still have 12 more Trojan T-105 batteries for our house and the starter banks but we've decided to bring the boat up to the dock to load those.

We secured the saltwater wash-down hose with tie-wraps for its entire length and cut the final hole in the bow deck. It turns out the deck is wood sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass. Jeff was fortunate to learn basic fiberglass skills a few years ago from a friend in the business. He over-drilled the hole, routed out some of the wood inner section, and coated it all with West System epoxy to keep water out. We also over-drilled the three screw holes and filled them to be drilled again when the epoxy is hardened. The deck fitting will go in this week covering the patch work.

Our horn has been slowly fading to the point where it's embarrassing - kind of like a Chihuahua bark on a Doberman. So replacing it was on our list. Of course, there was no way that the mounting from the old horn would match up with the new one. So not only did the old one need to be removed and holes drilled for the new one, but we had to repair the old holes. Out came the gelcoat and epoxy boxes again. We patched the bottom with 4 layers of fiberglass and filled the holes with epoxy. When we get a chance to breathe, Jeff will apply gelcoat over the repair and we'll never know where the old horn was!

On Saturday Jeff was finally able to coat the cap-rail on the bow and portuguese bridge with Semco. We removed the varnish several years ago (yes, I know it's beautiful to look at, but now I can just admire the labor of others). After, trying different things, Jeff settled on Semco - a teak seaker - and we've been very happy with it. We still have the stern left to do.

While he worked on that, I worked on the bow railings. I recently read a novel that described how in marriages of certain durations, tasks become the responsibility of one or the other spouse, for example, making sure there's toilet paper or monitoring the room temperature. One of my tasks is polishing the stainless steel. I actually don't mind it. I've tried several different products and really like StarBrite's Marine Polish with Teflon. I've even added it to Products and Tips We Love listing. It's easy to use and looks great. I've found that putting on a second coat soon after the first makes it last much longer and makes subsequent coats easier. It generally removes most of the discoloration but when it's been a long time since cleaning - like the first time of the season - I also use Nevr-Dull (another Product We Love) to remove the tough stains. Another trick I discovered is to leave the marine polish on for a bit before buffing it off. Unlike fiberglass polish which I find works best if you buff almost immediately, the marine polish actually works better if left to harden for 10-15 minutes.

Dyna and Dylan have enjoyed their dinghy rides to the boat and are learning to sit nicely while underway (well, sometimes anyway). Visiting the boat is a nice little adventure and each finds a comfy spot to sleep or to supervise our activities. How could we do it without them? Dyna has quickly remembered where to do her business. Dylan needs some remedial training. We're not sure what they're going to think in about 6 weeks when that dinghy ride turns into a 9 month adventure. They'll keep you posted.

We're getting some of the major projects done and it's beginning to feel like we'll be ready on time. If the weather holds we'll keep checking things off the list!

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