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July 3, 2003

Neil took his vacation this week.... and he's spending it working on the boat! It's been such a hectic and exhausting week so far, I am not sure I can recall everything we did. But I'll try! First, we removed everything from the decks and taped up all the hatch and port openings with plastic. Then we began to wash the deck with TSP. There was so much dirt and grease on the decks from a year of construction in a greasy warehouse, it was amazing. Took both of us all day long. Halfway through, we realized that everything underneath the boat was getting soaked. Neil had thought the cockpit drains would miss stuff, but that wasn't the case. So we took several hours and completely organized all the parts and supplies, which actually felt really good to do.

Once the deck was clean (I mean it was IMMACULATE!) we put up a big "No Shoes!" sign on the ladder. Then Neil wiped the entire thing down with Awlgrip Bottomprep Dewaxer. I masked off the non-skid areas, inside their borders, and he began working on the foredeck repairs. There was a poor repair job on the foredeck where an old windlass had been, and he needed to fill the holes from removing the windlass that came with the boat, as well as one of the chain pipe holes. The windlass we bought (a Lofrans) has a different footprint so we'll need to reconfigure the foredeck. Large holes are filled with a foam coring material and faired with West System epoxy with 410 microballoons.

The next few days were itchy and scratchy with lots of grinding, sanding, and sweating. We ground out any areas with large gelcoat cracks: there are a lot in the cockpit, mostly at corners. Then we went around with a Dremel too (what a cool tool!) opening up small cracks somewhat. Some of the gelcoat cracks are stress cracks, like at the forward edge of the cabin. These are really small and will only come right back, so we're leaving them alone. Here you can see some of the worst of the cockpit cracks bsing opened up with the Dremel.


Next everything gets a first application of fairing compound. This is kind of a fun job. You are racing the clock, trying to get it on before it kicks, yet not miss any spots or make a huge gloppy mess you'll have to sand off later!

We also opened up the deck on the starboard genoa track where we knew there was some moisture. We were happily surprised to see that the wet core was only about 5 inches square. It's fixed now!! Neil's friend Fred came over one night and helped us grind. That's fiberglass dust swirling in the air: yuck!!!

July 10, 2003

Well, we THOUGHT we were ready for finish coat! Everything looked and felt fair. Primer looked good. But when the first coat of Awlgrip went on the coaming sides: UGH! The areas we'd repaired there (on a large, smooth, unbroken expanse) showed that they were in fact not fair at all. The glossy paint showed it like a topographical map with peaks and valleys. Poor Neil!!!!!

So, back to the fairing and sanding. This time, with a dusting of spray paint to show the valleys, and with a long sanding board. Neil's vacation is over, so it's back to after-work working, and this is adding a whole another week to the project. BUT it'll be done right. Another coat of fairing compound tonight, then maybe we'll be ready to reprime those areas tomorrow and paint this weekend. On the plus side, the deck areas look great with their first coat of Awlgrip. It's going to look fabulous when finished.

July 31, 2003

The deck proper is finished!!! (Neil's still working on the spray hoods and locker covers.) It looks like a BRAND NEW BOAT up there. The non-skid (Epifanes in #1 Cream) went on beautifully, so easy to work with. But when it dried it looked the most hideous color! I got all upset about it, but then we took the dried paint pan outside into the daylight and it looked just fine. It's these gross fluorescent lights in the building. They make our skin look like pallid grey-green ghost skin, and they make perfectly good deckpaint look awful, too! Here are some pix along the way. First, the tape and masking paper from the previous steps was removed and I carefully retaped on the new Awlgrip to mask for the nonskid. I used a can of spray adhesive as the template for the radiused corners, since it matched MOST of the original corners.

Then we just rolled on the Epifanes. Two coats, a day apart.

The finished product!!!!!!:


Next: whining and worrying....