Monday, November 30, 2015

Marina "Wildlife"

In case you didn't figure out from the lack of posts the past few days, it has actually been nice here.  From Thanksgiving through yesterday it has been relatively warm during the day (the 60's and low 70's) and not raining.  So we have been working hard trying to get the finish on the I could tell you how we spent the last several days repeatedly applying gelcoat and then hand-sanding most of it back off, but I won't.  I think I've previously mentioned all the issues with hand-applying gelcoat to make a smooth surface and don't want to bore you with more of the same.

About as smooth as we can apply this gelcoat.

The marina I'm staying at is in a bit more rural part of Virginia.  It isn't the west's version of rural where your nearest neighbor is 50 miles away, but there is some forested land here and there in between the houses. The homes I see on the roads here seem to sit on somewhere between 1 and 50 acres if I were to take a guess and there isn't a lot of empty land wedged in between them and the roads on this peninsula. Farm fields are still a bit further down the main highway and technically I think this is a town, but it isn't as densely packed as bigger cities or their suburbs.

Across the Severn river a couple mornings ago.
Not densely populated, but not that sparse either.

The reason I'm telling you this is because it is hunting season, something we are painfully aware of as we work out in the boatyard.  Off in the not-so-distant distance we hear a regular smattering of gunfire. I think someone mentioned it was deer season, but I don't know what they are hunting for sure.  All I know is that they don't seem to be too good at it. Often the shots are heard in groups of 6 or more, and one time I think I even heard a semi-automatic weapon of some sort being fired. The theory of being a good shot, making a clean kill, and not wanting the animal to suffer seems to be lost here.  And given the proximity of homes, property, and even this marina, I'm a bit concerned with what seems like less than good marksmen nearby. They recently put up no hunting signs at a local city park in the area. Fortunately we are surrounded by boats that should act as shields from most directions.  But it still amazes me how people are hunting on relatively small plots of land in close proximity to civilization.

Our new cat friend resting on her favorite
scratching post.

Back at the marina there isn't much in the way of wildlife (out of the water).  There is the kitty that has adopted me and my project and I think has taken up residence in the tent when I am gone.  She is definitely more comfortable with us than she was, and a guy with a boat two down from our project in the yard is trying to befriend and adopt the stray.  That same guy painted his boat a couple days ago and ran afoul of the other bit of wildlife we've encountered in the yard: bugs.  I don't know how these beetles did it, but they managed to get their backs stuck to his paint...which begs the question of how these bugs fly that they get stuck to a vertical surface on their backs.

It's hard to take pictures of the stupid bugs
with their backs/wings stuck in the paint.

Today it is cold and rainy so I don't know how much work will be done...and I had time to write a post.  We have a couple spots we sanded too thin and will need to reapply some gelcoat at least one more time.  After that, we just need to apply the non-skid gelcoat pattern to the topside body of the hardtop and we should be ready to move it to the boat.  So close, yet so far away.


  1. Soooo close.....
    Leave the bugs, they can help move it to the boat. Many hands (and legs) make lite work.

    1. The bugs aren't on my top but on another person's boat. Don't think they will be enough to move the boat without the help of a lift. ;-)

  2. You are doing a super job on that top. It will be the best one out there, and you will always have the satisfaction of watching people's faces when you tell them that you made the top yourself, from scratch!
    We have an aluminum hardtop that you can walk on, we pulled it off last year, and repainted it. We used non-skid sand additive on the top, the undersides we left slick and shiney. The additive went into the paint, and is a really easy non-skid approach. I did not realize at the time, that mold seems to like both sides of a hardtop, so beware of creating any indentations that might hold water and hence promote mold. It is hard to get rid of if it starts, especially on a white top.
    Hope to meet up with you soon, in sunny South Florida! It was 84 degrees today!
    Chris, SV Saltrun

    1. Thanks Chris. I think we are doing a pretty good job, but it definitely hasn't been easy. Since we are doing gelcoat instead of paint, we will be using a simple technique to create a non-skid surface - when the gelcoat starts to thicken up, roll over it with a roller. It makes a nice texture without adding any grit to the mix. This means as it wears, it will still be a uniform color.

      Mold seems to always be an issue everywhere, the only real means of combating it is to clean regularly. Now, if we could find a mold-inhibitor additive for gelcoat, that would be cool...but I doubt it exists.

      Hope to be south sometime soon, but right now it depends on when the weather will allow us to finish...and the schedules of the boatyard and welder. If we could get a few more nice weather days I think we could get the top done (if I can manage to stop sanding through gelcoat spots). hope we can meet up sometime.