Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who Needs a Gym Membership

Pretty much since I arrived in Brunswick, it has been cold and rainy...or at least that is how it has felt. Finally after Christmas, the weather improved so I've been busily working on the boat.  And just too tired at the end of the day to write, so sorry about that.

You know about the deck light.  It ended up taking three trips up the mast to fix, and then improve, the light.  Each time I used the block and tackle system to hoist myself up there and that can be a bit of work even with a 4:1 purchase.  After that I tried going up to the top of the mast to check on the anchor light, but found that the block and tackle system prevented me from reaching the top.

Since that time, I found someone interesting in helping with the anchor light.  Since Jim was the lighter weight of the two of us, had a bit longer reach, and he wanted to go, I had him go up the mast to check out the light. This time I rigged the bosuns chair without the block and tackle (so instead of a 4:1 advantage, it was reduced to 2:1) so hopefully he would reach the top. Bill volunteered to help man the safety line (we used the topping lift line for a safety line), so we both cranked Jim up to the top of the mast using the winches normally used for raising the main.

Jim took a picture of us cranking him up the mast.

When he got to the top he could reach the anchor light.  But he couldn't see it all that well.  After a bit of time trying to open the fixture, he decided he needed a bit more height.  The only other option we had was to switch from the Bosun's chair to the climbing harness I had originally purchased for going up the mast.  The climbing harness attaches a bit lower than the chair, so the theory was that would gain him a few more inches.  We lower him down, swap out the gear, and then crank him back up the mast...again.  The third time up the mast was the charm with the anchor light and he was able to get the fixture open.

I took a wild guess that maybe the bulb in the anchor light was the same as the other nav lights, so I sent Jim up with one of the LED lights I had installed in the rear nav light.  Fortunately it did fit.  In a rare bit of luck for me with the lights on this boat, that was the only problem and the light came on when I flipped the switch.  Jim cleaned the contacts, applied a little dielectric grease to the LED bulb, installed it, and put the fixture back together.  And finally, for the first time since I bought the boat, the anchor light works.  This is the first time that all the lights on the mast have worked at the same time.  But to keep me humble and in true boat fashion, I just discovered that the power to the lights in the port hull is acting up again.

As I also previously mentioned, I washed the boat the other day.  While it looked a lot better, there still seemed to be a brownish hue to the gel coat.  There were also some stains that didn't come off.  So, I decided to try a few different cleaners and waxes to see what works.

I got a recommendation from a local marina employee for a product called Presto.  This stuff is supposed to be a mold and mildew product, but the marina scuttlebutt is that the pro detailers often use it to clean hulls. So, I went and bought a gallon (the smallest size it comes in, and at $10 a pretty decent price).  I think you can use it full strength, but I diluted it 50%.  Apply the stuff, let it sit for 5~10 minutes, and wash off.  I tried it on the rear swim platform and it worked pretty well.  The brown hue was gone and most of the stains were at least lighter, even a rust stain.  I then tried the stuff full strength on the stains that didn't come up.  It lightened them further and removed some of them.  So, for the price it is a good second level cleaner (above basic soap and water), but not good for the stubborn stuff.

The next thing I tried is some stuff called On and Off that the previous owner left with the boat.  I applied it to the stubborn stains.  Again, this stuff you are supposed to let sit just a bit to let it work and then wash it off.  It did a good job getting rid of all the remaining stains on the boat, except for a couple spots where the gel coat is damaged (it appears like it is crazed, not sure how it happened or what can be done about it beyond new gel coat).  This stuff was pretty effortless and did a great job removing the stains.

The reason for re-cleaning the back of the boat was to test out some polishing compounds and waxes. I have some Meguiars polishing compound, 3M marine polising compound, Mothers synthetic wax, and 3M cleaner wax.  So far the 3M products seem to be worth the extra price, but I need to do a bit more testing to be sure.

And about the title of this post.  You really don't need a gym membership with a boat.  Just climb the mast 3 times a week, wash and wax the hull, and perform all the other maintenance and repairs and you'll get quite a workout.  If the weather is nice, you may get a tan too.

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