Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's hard to believe that it's been ten months since I last updated this blog, but it's been a very busy year: searching for the place to which we want to retire out of snow country; visiting friends and family; pinch hitting for our children with the grandchildren (and we added number 9 this past March); selling our home in Indiana (and of course, there are always things to fix and projects to finish); and then trying to wrap up the boat restoration. I've spent an average of thee days per week living and working on the boat in the marina workshop since April.

Last Fall, "Second Wind" was squeezed into the Brands' Marina workshop along with two 40+foot wooden Chris Craft cabin cruisers - one built in the 40's and a veteran of WWII coast patrols, and the other a classic 50's design. Since I didn't plan to work on her during the cold months I had no problem with the arrangement, and being next to the shop loft stairs I could easily step from the landing onto the deck, much as I had in the old barn. I had ample room in the loft area to collect all the items yet to be installed as well as my collection of tools, paints, and odds n' ends.

The deck was the biggest single project still to be completed, and it took nearly 200 hours to do. The teak, which was largely in good condition, although the caulking was shot, needed to be completely regrooved and recaulked. After experimenting with several tools to cut out the grooving, including routers, 4-1/2 inch circular saws, and thin chisels, the best tool for the job was the Fein Multimaster, a reciprocating saw that was both controllable and easy to use (but not cheap). The quick, vibrating blade cut cleanly and with some practice I was able to open the grooves to take the Teak Deck Systems SIS440 caulking. Since depth control with the Fein was problematic, TDS recommended that I just cut the grooves down to the fiberglass deck level. The downside was that the deep grooves gobbled up the SIS440 caulk at a prodigious rate. I had originally been told to expect to use about 40 tubes of caulk, but when I was finished I had used 70 tubes!

It may be worth passing on a few lessons learned: first, taping the edges of the grooves yields a much cleaner job, although at the cost of extra time to lay the tape down, and second, allowing the caulk to set up for at least 30 minutes (but up to an hour) will minimize the mess when the tape is peeled up and leave a crisp, clean edge. Sanding took several hours, being careful not to take up too much wood. I had to do a careful inspection of all the screw bungs and found that over 200 needed to be cleaned out, the screws removed (using an impact driver to get the screws started), the holes redrilled and new screws and bungs fitted. I have no doubt but that this will be an ongoing project and eventually, over the next few years, almost all of the 1000-odd bungs will be replaced. I don't EVER want to redo the entire deck again and I was so tired some evenings, after spending all day on my hands and knees, that I was ready to cry! Still, it came out nicely and I do love teak decks.

After living for several weeks in the boat cabin, working in the marina, it soon became apparent that the two oil lamps that I originally installed on the bulkhead in the main cabin and V-berth were very vulnerable to damage, not to mention a fire hazard. I removed both for now and replaced the one in the main cabin with a wine rack that will hold six bottles securely. It was an exercise in recycling old teak and some scraps of plywood and I'm pleased with the results. There is sufficient clearance to lift the bottles out individually and yet they are securely stowed with the necks down. I'm looking forward to a glass of wine as the sun goes down over the water! As long as the boat lives in warmer climates and I don't need a cabin heater the rack will get regular use. (Now, where do I stash the Scotch and Vodka?)

The project list is dwindling rapidly. I installed the antique stern light with a teak bracket attached to the boom gallows. The wiring is connected via a waterproof plug socket using the original wiring run inside the teak gallows beam. The side lights, matching antique Perkos, will be mounted in teak boxes clamped to the lower shrouds and connected to similar sockets on the caprail.

The two bow anchor rodes are installed (250 feet of 5/8 three-strand with an additional 50 feet of 5/16 galvanized chain shackled to the anchors - a CQR to starboard and a Danforth to port), and I have a stern rode of 200 feet of 1/2 inch line and a 19 pound Danforth. I plan to add a Bruce to replace the port bow anchor.

Stripping the mast of hardware and paint prior to the repainting was a messy chore. To keep the chemical stripper from drying before it had time to work I had the mast and boom moved indoors. The boom took almost 8 hours to get totally bare and scrubbed clean and the mast took another 14 hours - 44 feet is a lot longer than it first looks! I used a 3M Scotchbrite pad to rub the remnants of the zinc chromate primer off after the paint was lifted. I have Brands' scheduled to prime and repaint the mast and boom the first week in August.

The blisters on the underwater hull have been ground out and the hull is ready for filling, sanding and five coats of barrier and two coats of anti-fouling paint. The plan is to do this while the mast is being refinished so that we can get "Second Wind" in the water by mid-August. It's hard to believe that it will be nearly six years since I first found the boat and began the restoration process. We can hardly wait for that first sail!