April 2nd & 4th. 71 Days And This Boat Is Out Of Here!

I have to admit at this point in the project the process of writing the blog is seeming to be more exhausting than the day itself. That may be a bit of a hyperbole but tonight I struggled to come up with the first line. I don’t want to even think of a title. The reason may be that there are now so many different things to write about.

When we first started in mid-August of last year the work ahead of us was relatively simple. Tear everything out. We had to figure out a lot of things along the way but we still had time. We worked on one area together and so the blog was pretty simple.

What a difference a few months have made.

First of all we are now working on everything we couldn’t during the winter and the realization is starting to set in…this is a big boat. There is a lot to do.

Secondly we can no longer work together. We are doing our best to make sure that we stay the appropriate distance apart which is pretty easy on this boat. Donald goes from the shop to the lower berth and I stay outside. Luckily the weather is cooperating.

I’m done complaining now.

Thursday’s weather looked great so we decided to give one full day to the exterior. Since we are planning on getting the platform installed soon (and soon means sometime in the next 2 months) we decided to work on the transom. It would be a great place to figure things out.

This is what the stern looked like when I first saw Becky.

We took off all of the cleats, bars, lights and lettering. My friend Jason suggested that I get a 3M Stripe Off Wheel to remove the lettering and pin striping. It is amazing. This will not only save a lot of time removing the vinyl but now we wouldn’t have to repair all the damage that we would inevitably do using a putty knife and a heat gun. Keeping it at a low speed worked the best.

Eventually we were able to remove everything and were about to start cleaning the gel-coat when I decided to ask Dan the electrician what we should do. Apparently he also does some body work and suggested that we use a very fine sand paper to clean up the spots that needed it first. I had some 1000 and 1500 grit wet/dry paper and so we spot sanded the problem areas. One of the previous owners had done a very bad painting job which was quickly removed. The 1500 grit easily removed any sanding marks from the 1000 grit so we were left with a matt gel-coat in some spots.

Then we got out the buffers.

Using a cutting compound (there are a lot of new terms to learn) we were able to get the entire transom to shine and we hadn’t used a polish yet.

Going over it again with a polishing compound we could see our reflections.

This gel-coat is 33 years old and it was shining. Just sanding the area that had been painted before and doing a quick buffing brought it back to life. So here we were 2 amateurs working for about 3 hours and it was looking fantastic already. Imagine what it could look like if we actually knew what we were doing!

The series of 3 holes just above the waterline was where the brackets were for the original swim platform. I will be filling these but they will eventually be covered by the new platform.

I decided that I would remove the waste tank to see what condition it was in. We think that boat hasn’t been used in about 5 years and the tank wasn’t even hooked up to the toilets. It felt empty so it couldn’t possibly have anything left in it…

I think you can guess what happened next.

After disconnecting the waste hose about a litre of the most vile smelling liquid oozed out of the tank and ended up on the floor of the engine room. Luckily I had a lot of rags and some cleaner nearby so I was able to soak up most of it and drenched the area with Lysol.

This is the plywood the tank was sitting on.

And here is the tank. It seems to be in pretty good shape.

I think Donald was realizing how much we still had to do here. Perhaps he was questioning my sanity. Maybe both.

Although today was another beautiful spring day we decided that we needed to keep working inside and by inside I mean Donald was working on the cabinets and I was working under the winter cover.

Donald made the cabinet that the microwave sits on. Here is a photo of the microwave and fridge/freezer in place for fitting.

He continued working on the mid-berth bedroom.

He also installed two of our mirrored stainless air-conditioning vent covers.

I wanted to work on the windshield frames to see how easily they would go back together. Taking them apart was tough so I wasn’t holding out much hope. When we had them powder coated we made sure that they didn’t finish the areas where they were connected. I started with 400 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to 1000 to clean off any buildup that was on these channels.

I ended up taking off any anodized finish that they had and so will have to get some rust inhibitor in there every year. I was able to get them all sanded pretty smooth and, using WD-40 grease spray, I was able to get them back together easily.

I also worked on the windlass area again. Using the Dremel tool I cleaned out the tiny stress cracks and then filled them with the Marine-tek putty. Once I have the larger holes fiber-glassed I will sand everything smooth and apply a couple of coats of gel-coat. This area will be then ready for the ipe and then the windlass.

I also put a first coat of gel-coat on the dash where the windshield frames sit on.

The colour match is a lot closer than it shows in the photo but not exact. Once I buff the area of the bow just in front of it, it should match better. Or so I am told.

We also had to work out the layout of the steps for the stairs at the entrance to the lower berth. I made some plywood steps so that we could do a mockup. The 2 x 4’s are just for figuring out the height of the steps.

We are hoping to get in 3 full boat days next week. The plan is to have all of the cabinets completed in 3 weeks so we can then concentrate on the exterior.

Until next time…

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