Saturday, January 2, 2016

Becoming a Boat Again for the New Year

First, I want to wish everyone a a New Year with all your heart needs or desires!

Sorry for going quiet right after my post on the "completion" of the hardtop project.  It has actually been far from quiet here on the boat.  Lots of things to be done to turn our floating project space back into a seaworthy vessel.

We've repaired the D-ring issue.  After digging out the rotting wood we spent a lot of time forcing warm, dry air into the space to make sure any residual moisture was gone.  I'm sure my neighbors didn't appreciate the constant droning on of the shop vacuum that was sucking warm air through the holes but with the new year we have bid that annoyance farewell. A few very small holes were drilled in the deck and epoxy was injected to fill up the voids.  Filling the area with epoxy was done in several pours to prevent excessive heat buildup (we would wait for a layer to pass its' highest heat potential but before it was fully cured to apply the next layer).  The holes allowed any air bubbles to escape so the void is solid epoxy.  The holes in the deck are tiny, the smallest drill bit I had and the one that just barely allowed the West Systems syringe to inject resin, Once everything cured, new holes were drilled for the D-ring bolts, new 316 stainless hardware was purchased to mount it, and it was all installed with the use of butyl tape as the bedding compound.  The D-ring is now installed in a section of the deck that is probably stronger than the original and should remain leak free for a long time.  And if it does ever leak again, the balsa core will be well protected by the epoxy and should never see any water.  Once we get to warmer climates, the tiny pinholes will get a drop of color-matched gelcoat and the repair should be nearly invisible.

The stack pack and mainsail were reinstalled on the boat yesterday morning.  With that task we are already reaping the benefits of having a hard top.  Having a platform to stand on while installing these items is far superior to trying to work around the old soft top or take it down to access the boom. Even zipping up the stack pack is easier than before.

Sails back up...starting to look like a sailboat again.

We have been cleaning up the boat as well.  When boat projects are ongoing, there are tools and supplies lying around and you don't generally put them all away just to take them all out the next morning (particularly when it takes hours to dig them out of their hiding places in the various storage spaces on a boat). Of course, the result is a LOT of stuff lying about where it doesn't belong and the packing up and storing of all that stuff can take a while.

With any luck we will finally start our journey south in the next week. The idea of sitting out in the cockpit with temperatures in the 40's and 50's isn't a pleasant thought, particularly given that we have no dodger or enclosure that fits our new hardtop.  We are considering taking our old dodger and some of the material from the old soft top to make a temporary dodger that will fit the new top.  It won't look pretty, but will hopefully provide a little protection from the chilly wind in our face. Too bad Scotty isn't around to beam us down to warmer latitudes.

It is good to see our home starting to look like a sailboat again.


  1. Hi Mike,
    Boat with sail and stackpac looks good. Idea- for temporarly holding dodger on to hardtop..... temporarily replace two of the SS bolts on each of the front supports top and bottom with two I bolts, with the I part on top of hardtop and the other I bolt sticking up from the base plate on cabin top. Gives you someting to tie jury rigged dodger to... top and bottom.
    Doug in VT

    1. Hey Doug,
      We are actually cutting the boltrope slot in the front rail and then will take the bolt rope off of the back of the old soft top and use a bit of the material from the old top along with the old dodger to make a new dodger that will span the appropriate gap. Should be more wind and rain proof that way. Spent part of today cutting the slot, now I need to clean it up and break out the Sailrite machine to patch together the temporary dodger. Gives us a chance to practice with the Sailrite that way. ;-)

    2. Yours is a much more elegant longer-term solution for the dodger. Have a great trip heading south. Hope you can do much of it outside, like you did before, to complete the trip to warmer climes quickly.
      Doug in 30 degree VT

    3. I'll be happy with a not terribly cold trip south. But I don't think that is in the cards. That is why spending just a bit of effort on the dodger might yield a bit more comfort. Keeping my fingers crossed that we can jump outside and not have to go most of the way in the ditch.

  2. Congratulations on your top completion, it looks awesome, I could never have done it! I am sure that you are anxious to head south to warmer weather, shed some jackets and all that. We hope to see you soon, either in Miami or the Keys.
    Chris and Joyce
    SV Saltrun

    1. Thanks guys! Definitely wanting to head of course the temperatures are dropping quickly here now. Gonna be a cold run down for sure. Hope to be down there in a few weeks.