Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Curtains

It's been a while since we've posted and hope to get caught up soon but here is a little preview of one of the things we've done - NEW CURTAINS!! I'm so happy with the way they came out!

I'll post a before picture in our next post!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Mast, revisited…

After hundreds of back and forth over what we should do – do we get the mast, do we not – we have decided to wait a year.  The mast in RI is in great shape and the M’s are offering a great deal however, the deal isn’t exactly cheap when you factor in transportation costs, the mainsail, modifying our boom to be able to work with the new mast, reconditioning the boom (may as well when its being modified), destepping/stepping the mast, and installing an additional winch.  This change would not be inexpensive by any means.  All those costs, on top of the money currently and unexpectedly being shelled out on a rental property J still owns in Pensacola, FL (he secretly hopes for a well-placed and freakishly isolated tornado), make the new-to-us mast not very feasible at this time.
While we have reservations about taking an in-mast furling mainsail offshore, we haven’t even given it a chance yet. While we had sailed Knotty (with a Selden in-mast furler) without so much as a hiccup, we’ve sailed Tango (with an older Forespar in-mast furler) only once and feel it is a bit impulsive if we jump into this without at least giving it a try.  After all, Tango has had this mast for 17yrs and she’s been across the pond and back at least once, that we know of, so it can’t be all bad. Plus, many boats nowadays do offshore work with in mast furlers, including S/V Bright Angel, one of Tango’s sister ships that is currently cruising the South Pacific with in-mast furling.  Seems silly to make such an investment at a time when the kitty is being depleted and in something that we may not need.
We have other projects that require the savings that we are certain we want to do with Tango, such as a new composting toilet and a Monitor wind vane – both of which we are planning to purchase at this year’s United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis.  So after much discussion and loss of sleep (more for J) we are going to wait until at least next season to determine if the in-mast furling is staying or going.  This should give us some time to get to know Tango a bit better, do some fall sailing in the Bay and hopefully some offshore cruising in the spring to get more comfortable with all her systems, but especially the anxiety inducing furling mainsail.  Maybe a small investment in replacing worn sheaves and bearings, instead of the larger one required replacing the mast, and some quality time with her out on the water will eliminate our hesitation and fears of taking her offshore with her current mast. More to follow… 

She's SOLD!!

After bringing Tango home we got serious with trying to sell Knotty.  We had her listed for a couple of months and had a couple of inquiries, but nothing really serious – at least we hadn’t had anyone come and look at her.  We were considering sailing her up to Annapolis, where we felt she would get more visibility from potential buyers. The only downside with that is that we’d have to list her with a broker and we were hoping to avoid doing that.  It would benefit the buyer more, as they could get  her for a better price than going through a broker, but it would also help us because then we wouldn’t have to sail her to Annapolis.  Logistically, it was just easier.  We finally got a call from a couple in PA, who, after a few emails/calls back and forth with J, said they wanted to come see her in person – YAY!! 
So a couple of weeks before the 4th of July, J and I spend a few days getting the last few things moved off of Knotty and cleaning her up for her big day!  It was pretty bizarre, to see her go from being our home, to looking (and even smelling) like the day we bought her.  The weekend before the 4th, S&C came to see Knotty.  Immediately, J and I both really liked them.  There was just something about them and after talking with them and showing them the boat, we felt like we had known them for years.  C is very much like me when it comes to sailing (don’t care for the 20 degree plus angle of heel) as well as a few other little idiosyncrasies (which was nice to find in someone else, hah!) and S is very much like J –  prefers to do his own maintenance, tracks it meticulously, and, when out sailing, won’t turn on the iron genny unless he absolutely has to J  The showing went very well and while we knew they would be looking at other boats that weekend as well, we really hoped we’d get a call back on Knotty. 
Now fast forward a week or so, J had touched base with S on our way up to Maine.  Just wanted to see how things went and let him know that we really enjoyed meeting them and if they were still interested, to let us know.  We really liked them and felt that if they bought Knotty that that she would be going to a really great home and, laugh all you want, but that was really important to us.  It’s funny sometimes to think how attached you can become to an inanimate object, but Knotty was our home and she kept us safe and, more so for me, if it wasn’t for this boat, I wouldn’t love this lifestyle and I wouldn’t be looking to sail around the world in a few years.  She was a great boat and part of my heartbreak of selling her was the uncertainty of who would be her new owners.  We wanted someone who would sail her like she should be sailed - not keep her in the slip solely for use as a floating condo and to have sundowners once in a while - and who would maintain her as she should be maintained. 
After a couple of weeks and emails back and forth, Knotty was at the top of their list, but her price was just a little too high for their budget. After some discussion, we decided J would offer S the same price as we would have given our friends, P&S (they too were considering buying her but it wasn’t the right time for them).  Funny, the email back said “you have a deal”.  Talk about a huge relief!!  Not only relief, but a sense of contentment – contentment in knowing she was going to a good home.  We had offered two prices, one to take her as she is or another for us to haul her, paint her bottom, wax and buff her sides, replace her zincs and install a replacement fan for her main salon.   They chose the latter, so after getting back from Maine, we had a busy week and weekend ahead of us.  
We hauled her out and were extremely pleased with the condition of her bottom. She had been in the water almost two years, and looking at the remaining paint and minimal growth – you’d have never guessed. 

22months and paint looked better than we expected!

We had some barnacles, but not nearly as bad as we thought they would be. The paint was still holding up well and we definitely could have gotten another year out of it.  Just goes to show that diving on her a couple of times a year really does make a difference.  The paint we used, and used on her again this time as well, was Interlux Micron Extra.  It is an ablative paint in order to stay “active”, old paint must slough off showing new copper rich paint underneath.  Sailing her helped, but we think the real difference in the condition of the paint was J diving on her.  Come time to paint Tango, depending on how well the Pettit Trinidad SR works out (a hard paint), we may go back to using the Interlux Micron Extra.  
We cleaned and prepped her bottom, then put on two coats of paint, J waxed and buffed her top sides. We treated her waterline with ON/OFF, which, while toxic stuff, definitely gets rid of the slime mustache.  It didn’t help as much on the areas with built up scum, so I had to go back and treat that with some bleach, but she looks great!! 

Knotty with a freshly painted bottom - we LOVED the dark blue!
The last few things to be done (install the new fan, change out zincs, pull and clean the prop, and replace the impeller) is all being done this week to get ready Knotty’s final departure from our Marina on Friday.  S & C will be down to finalize the paper work and then be back on Friday when they and J will sail Knotty up the Chesapeake to her new home in Rock Hall, MD.  I had to be in San Diego this week, so I’ll meet them on Sunday for a celebratory dinner and what I hope (for me) won’t be too hard of a goodbye.

Fast forward and this is J, with S&C sailing Knotty into the Severn River ...  This is when, standing on USNA grounds, that I said a tearful goodbye...  Later, they took the H2O taxi into Ego Alley where I met them for lunch.

Additions to the Inventory

We chose to take advantage of our road trip up to Maine by stopping in RI on the way home to check out the used Mason 44 mast (previously mentioned HERE).  More on the mast later, but in addition the owners, we’ll call them the M’s, were also selling an almost full inventory of sails (main, #2 Genoa and a #3 Yankee) as well as a whisker pole.  So, after checking out the mast (which was in great shape), we hopped on the ferry (actually three, to be precise) to head over to the south fork of Long Island to check out the other items. 
We met the M’s through the PAE Mason Owners Group website.  It was really nice to actually meet them, and being fellow Mason owners, we couldn’t help but like them J.    First we took a look at the whisker pole which was in great condition and it didn’t take us long to decide we definitely wanted it.  Based on what we saw with the mast and whisker pole, we could only assume the sails were well cared for as well – we weren’t disappointed.  At their marina we unfolded the sails one by one.  The main, was in decent condition but until we make a decision on the mast, that one will have to wait.  The Genoa and Yankee both need a little bit of work, but nothing I can’t do with my Sailrite sewing machine and a little sweat equity.  A couple of the chafe protection strips need to be replaced and there are a few thin areas but again, nothing I can’t do and the Genoa is in better condition than the one we have now. The Yankee is new to our inventory, and we’re both anxious to try it out. 
Before getting back on the road, the M’s offered to show us their Mason 44, S/V Mast Transit. They’ve had her since 1991 and have done some really amazing things to her - she looks like she just came from the boat yard.  Her topside had recently been repainted (a dark green, very similar to Tango’s), her toe rail had been stripped and re-varnished, they had their teak decks reconditioned, and that was just a few of the upgrades.  A couple of years ago, they replaced her mast with a carbon fiber mast and replaced her sails, which worked out very well for us!  Down below was much like above decks and she certainly didn’t look her age.  It was hard not to notice the recently redone teak and holly floors – they looked great!  We admired the boat for a bit, the M’s shared some good lessons learned and advice with regards to their Mason and after some discussion between J and me, we decided we’d take both sails and the whisker pole.  So, we loaded the pole on top of J’s Pathfinder, cinched it down, and threw the sails in the back (actually strategically Tetris’d them around the Maine lobster we were bringing home for the next day’s feast with our friends).

A couple of pics from our trip to Maine...

Lobstah dinnah at the camp in Maine

Miss Gracie - Corn Hole Mascot

Summer on the docks…

Summer on the docks in the Chesapeake is just that – on the docks. We don’t do much sailing in the summer because there isn’t enough wind and it’s too hot!  Tango needs at least 10+ knots of wind to sail well and, not only that, but if there isn’t enough wind the heat is just sweltering.  Instead of baking in the hot sun while ghosting along at 2 knots, we’ve found the summers are better suited for hanging out below decks with the air conditioner cranking and getting projects done so that the weekends can be spent doing what any good Chesapeake Bay liveaboard does, catching crabs off the docks, of course! 
Last year we were able to use a couple of crab pots from Trigger, our neighbor who he has since moved on to another marina, so this year we went old school – hand line, chicken scraps, and a net. 
Key components

Tie a piece of chicken, any piece (it doesn’t’ have to be the neck, just whatever is cheap…crabs aren’t picky eaters), on the end of some small line, and tie the other end to the dock. Toss it out and in a few minutes you’ll see the line start to walk away.  Slowly bring the line in while the other person stands by with the net; then, with a swift flick of the wrist, you’ve got yourself a crab!!! 


This little guy went back in the drink, to be eaten another day :)

We’ve had great luck so far, catching anywhere from 12-20 crabs in a matter of a couple hours.  We let them soak for a bit as we walk up and down the docks – it makes for a fun afternoon and a very tasty dinner! 
We’ve found that using our pressure cooker to steam them works really well.  Our secret, pour a bottle of beer (we prefer lager) in the bottom with equal parts water and copious amount of Old Bay.  Place a steaming rack in the bottom so that there is space between the crabs and the liquid (don’t want them to be submerged in it or they will get soggy) and start stacking the crabs on top.  The crabs are often pretty feisty by the time we’re ready to put them in the pot, but laying them on their back seems to work well to calm them, then be sure to sprinkle more Old Bay over each layer…kind of a crab bath salt.  Ensure a tight seal on the pressure cooker, bring it up to pressure and let it cook for about 3 minutes.  From there, do the cold water method to depressurize and voila, you’ve got delicious and incredibly fresh crabs!!  Bon appetit!

Where does the time go??

Again, I'm here to apologize for the lack of activity on this blog... Seems lately, life is just busy and there is a little time to get online and post.  However, I've been taking notes of our adventures and am here to finally share!  Some of these are a bit dated, seeing as how it's been over 2 months from our last post, BUT better late than never :) 

Friday, June 15, 2012

"I read it for the pictures" :)

As promised, here are some progress pics of just a FEW of the projects which kept us busy over the few (to five)  months...  HAPPY VIEWING :)

Removing chain plates

Chain plates removed (thankfully no H2O damage below decks)

Had to remove this "packing twine" (not sure of official name) from around the chainplates - very tedious and time consuming task! Unfortunately had some H2O damage in this area!

New chainplates (not really new, but cleaned, polished, bead blasted) and installed with butyl tape below the cover plates - hopefully this keeps the water out!

J in the amidships locker - yes, it is very big!

J mixing epoxy for our blister repair job

This exoxy stuff is crazy - gets so hot it smokes!

Second step in the process - epoxy with thickener (sorry technical term escapes me at this time)  :)

One side done!

Blister repairs done - next step is sanding...

My bday present - a very practical and worth while gift! Thanks J!

Her bottom sanded and ready for some paint

Finished!  3 coats of barrier and 2 coats of bottom paint

New port of hailing :)

Galvanic corrosion on the mast spreaders - pre treatment

Its a bit blurry but gotta love working with chemicals with 'CANCER HAZARD' written in CAPS on the front!

After alodine treatment - it would turn from a golden yellow upon applying to a blueish color (approx 3 minutes later)

Mast head after sanding off corrosion (pre alodine)

Mast head after alodine, zinc cromate primer and two coats of polyeurthane paint

New teak accessories with three coats of varish

Old rigging, used as templates, for new rigging

J building up the new Sta-lok fittings

New rigging installed

Serviced Max Prop

LONG screws (at least 6in) from pulpit

New USCG Numbers and new trawler gas lantern

Lamp from our first boat, Moondance, which was taken to Knotty and is now in the aft berth on Tango

One of the new winch covers I made

The new hatch covers I made. Once complete, we'll have 6 of them!

Halyard saver that I made - secures with a common sense fastener when not being used.

Interesting Ice “Cubes”

More like ice blocks!  Our refrigeration is made by Sea Frost, with two cold plates in the freezer section - one for 12VDC and one for engine driven.  We found the ice cube trays (I guess you would call them trays) to be intriguing and were anxious to try them.  They are hollow stainless vessels which are filled with water, and then a divider with multiple block cutouts is inserted.  They are then placed beside the cold plates and secured by a metal rod.  Once she was back in the water we finally got the opportunity to experiment.  So, as advertised, within 30 or so min of putting the trays on the cold plate, we had ice!  Okay, that is great but the other night J went to make us a couple of cocktails (I have a FANTASTIC new mint/lime syrup which I made to pour over fresh fruit, but it came out so good, we made slightly modified mojitos out of it!) and we weren’t too sure how to go about getting them out!  The trays are solid stainless steel, so it isn’t like you can just twist them out.  So, in the moment we ran some hot water over the trays, hoping it would dislodge them and eventually it did (but surely there is some easier way, which I’m sure we’ll figure out!). 

Next challenge was dislodging the actual ice from the inserts (thankfully not as difficult as the initial extraction).  Finally, we had our ice cube (yes, singular as you only need one of these!).

By the time we both finished our cocktails, the cube had barely melted!  I guess that will come in handy when we are cruising in hot climates, only need one per drink and they will likely last multiple drinks!! :)

Update:  J just did some online reading on the Sea Frost ice trays…it appears we need to take the ice trays out some time before intended imbibing of libations in order for it to melt around the cubes so they will come out without such a fuss.  So much for spontaneity L

Up I go!

So this past weekend we took advantage of the calm winds to get some stuff done with the sails and the mast.  We were able to get the mainsail bent on a couple weeks ago, but when we purchased her there had been some issues with the in-mast furling so the light winds allowed us to play with that a bit.  Finicky things, those in-mast furlers, especially this one!  We never had a problem with the Selden in-mast furling on Knotty, but Tango has been a bit more of a problem child!  We also got our headsail bent on, which now opens up a lot of room in our forward cabin, or what J refers to as our “storage closet”.
So, back to the in-mast furling...  J and I both agree that when we leave in a few years, we do not want to leave with this mast.  It is just too temperamental and don’t want to have to worry about it when we are in the middle of the ocean or if we hit rough weather.  We’re using the Navy training J had for 20 years and trying to apply KISS (Keep It Simple Sailor) to all essential systems; so, we’ve been entertaining some different options.  We can buy a new mast ($$$$) or we can try to find a used one.   J has been talking to a fellow Mason 44 owner who recently upgraded his spar with a carbon fiber mast.  Depending on the condition of the mast, we may buy that one.  But before we can even consider replacing the mast, we had to know exactly how tall Tango’s mast is.  That meant one of us was going up the mast to measure and, seeing as how I am the lighter of the two of us, it was a no brainer who it was going to be.  Plus, even with the assistance of the winch, I’m not sure I could have hoisted J up there!
Thanks to my repelling experience when I lived in San Diego, and the awesome gift my big bro got me years ago (which I’m so happy I kept through all our moves), I put on my harness and up I went!

Me, repelling in San Diego, 2007 (note this is not said awesome harness)

47' 7.5" above deck (to be exact) :)

Other side of our marina - shame we're the only full dock.

We wanted to run our flag halyard lines last weekend as well, but the line we had previously purchased for Knotty’s port flag halyard (but never got around to putting on) was too short, so looks like I’ll be taking another ride back up the mast to do that.   Oh and when I was at the top of the mast I discovered that the spinnaker halyard is not run correctly (runs around the front of the headsail halyard…oops!) so that will need to be re-run as well.  The positive to all this is that while I’m not afraid of heights, I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of them – these hoists up the mast are certainly forcing me to be more comfortable and giving J a good workout! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

She's home!

Yes, it has been awhile (again) and the excuse is the same – we’ve been very busy with the “Fleet”… 
As of our last post, we have splashed Tango and she is now resting comfortably in our marina a handful of slips away from Knotty.  We scrambled to get everything we HAD to get done in order to get her in the H2O but unfortunately, once we got her in we were disappointed to discover that she would not be able to sail home.  Turns out there were some issues with her rigging which prevented us from sailing.  Right before we launched her we replaced the fuel injectors on the engine and we had changed the oil when we hauled her in November so thankfully her engine worked like a champ.  We, along with some of our closest friends, made the most of the beautiful day, fired up the iron genny and made our way home. 
It was a beautiful day and we were grateful to at least be heading home.  Since she got to our marina we’ve continued our projects and we’ve moved aboard. We are just about done moving everything off Knotty and once complete, she will be hauled and be prettied up for her next owners (which we are still looking for… Catalina 350 Mk II for sale, for anyone interested!!  LOL!) . 
We had hoped to get Tango out on the H2O for the long Memorial Day weekend but since she wasn’t/isn’t ready, we ended up taking out Knotty for a couple of days.  Our good friends S&A joined us - seems Memorial day with them has become a bit of a tradition.  Last year we gunkholed around the bay for 4 days and wanted to the same this year, but the weather was not on our side.  We still had a great time and it was the break that we all needed.  We pushed off around 5PM on that Friday and headed up the Potomac to the river just north of us, St. Mary’s River.  Short sail but it was so nice to be swinging on the hook and disconnected for the night.  The next AM, we were making our way further north towards Breton Bay but decided, with the direction of the wind, that we’d be better off cutting across and staying the night on the hook in the Lower Machodoc (no fun sleeping on the hook with no wind, gets very hot!).  We ended up calling it an early day and dropped anchor around 1500, which was nice.  Typically we are pulling in later in the day, getting started on dinner and then heading to bed.  This time, we all just relaxed - sat in the cockpit with a cold one, read our books or took naps.  J was the brave one and got in the H2O and scraped some barnacles off the prop (thankfully the H2O up river has fewer jellies than where we are!).  That evening, as we sat in the cockpit we got to take in 5 different firework shows – certainly a treat!
The next AM we decided to head back south and visit a marina on the VA side that one of our boat neighbors, S/V Tadby II, frequently visits.  They have a brunch on Sundays which definitely didn’t disappoint!  Due to the weather (hot temps and no wind), after a gluttonous feast, we decided to head back home.  While we were sad to be heading back, J and I had much left to do on Tango and we wanted to try to take advantage of the long weekend to get some stuff accomplished. So, the rest of the weekend was doing more projects and getting a bit more settled.   Still not there, but we are getting closer each day! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sharing a comment...

J made a comment on our last post that I wanted to share. I didn't want it to be missed ;)


I discovered yesterday that inhaling paint fumes for almost 14 hours straight makes one a bit loopy.

Yes, it's been a long road, and yes there's more ahead, but there's been a lot of progress this winter that is bringing us closer to the realization of a dream. We work hard now so, as Tom Sawyer reminds us, twenty years from now we will not be disappointed by the things we didn't do. In a few short years we will throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in our sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Another week or so and this portion of our refit will be complete (or close enough to get her home). There's still plenty of refitting to do over the next three years, but those portions should be considerably less hectic...until the last 3-6 months. I think Kel is still dreading her first major provisioning :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Catching up - FINALLY!

I know, I know…  For the few who follow our blog you probably thought we are like many other blogs which start off strong and then fizzle out.  Well I am here to tell you that is not the case!  Sure, we have nothing but excuses as to why we haven’t posted, but at least we’re still here!  Hopefully, in the very near future, our posts will go back to being more frequent but until then, let us get you up to speed.
Okay, excuses – here they are…  Non-boat wise we’ve had a lot happen in the last few months.  J went on terminal leave from the USN, we had the retirement party with good friends and good beer.

J began the search for a job which was then put on hold by our 16 day vacation to Vietnam (an amazing trip!).
Dinner in Nha Trang

Eating fried crickets in Dalat

Tapioka harvesting in the Central Highlands

Elephant Falls

As soon as we got back, the job hunt was back on.  Shortly after our return J officially retired from the USN – 29 Feb marked 20 years of service (way to go J!).  We’re not done yet….  J had some interviews, accepted a position and started his new job, I celebrated a birthday (the big 3-2), we celebrated Easter with good friends, attended my sis in-law and big bro’s baby shower (can’t wait to be an Aunt – only another few weeks and Lil H will be here!), and we’ve both had work travel (actually I am writing this from San Diego where I am for 10 days which I might add couldn’t have come at a worse time since we are scrambling to get Tango in the H2O)…  So, you could say we’ve been a bit distracted with non-boat stuff BUT boat wise, we’ve been busy too.  Of course (in true boat fashion) things have taken longer than we expected, or we were unable to find parts when we needed them or we’d find more that needed to be done than we thought.  Since we are so far behind, it will just be easier to give you a bulleted list of what we’ve been working on.   Here goes…
  • Removed rotted core from around chain plates
  • Epoxied void created by removing rotted core
  • Reinstalled/rebedded chain plates with butyl tape.  Before we reinstalled them, we had a local machinist inspect them and clean them up for us – thank you Mr. Langley!
  • Replaced/rebedded various leaky deck hardware… between bent screws and the extremely small and tight bow anchor locker this was not a fun task!  Due to it being such a tight space, I drew the unlucky straw and got to spend the majority of the time up there.  J was topside removing the hardware and I was below helping remove the rusted nuts.  Same thing when we received the new hardware (West Marine didn’t have the 6in screws we needed), J was top side as I was in the locker installing the nuts on the backside.   It was definitely a two person job.  
  • Constructed winch covers… unfortunately I need to re-do a couple of them. After a fit-check, it turns out the base is a bit too small so if I want them to cover the entire winch (which I do) I’ll have to redo a couple.  No big deal as they are not hard and don’t take long – just a bummer that they weren’t “goldilocks” the first time.
  • Made first hatch cover and it came out perfect!  I’ll make the other five soon, but other stuff right now it taking priority (read: getting her in the H2O so we can move aboard!)
  • Finished the bottom repairs (blisters/voids/grounding damage)
    • Sanded 
    • Epoxied
    • Re-sanded 
  • Prop back for servicing and now she looks brand new!
  • Cleaned/treated/repainted mast & spreaders where corroded.  It’s always interesting working with chemicals where it clearly states “warning – cancer hazard” YIKES! (Yes, we wore safety gear! 
  • Cleaned all mast hardware (thank you Prism Polish – see earlier posts)
  • Received all parts to build up the rigging (all Sta-Lok fittings) and built up all but the inner forestay.  So happy we are doing this on our own.  The process to do it, while it takes some time to measure and lay it out, the actual building part is very easy and doesn’t take too long.  Whoever came up with the theory behind the Sta-Lock fitting is a genius!
  • Big Purchase from West Marine – when purchasing rigging, trawler oil lamp and wire cutters (a few of the big ticket items) a wholesale, military appreciation sale comes in very handy!!  
  • Completed the plumbing under the galley sink
    • New pump, filters, sink drain plumbing, and sink baskets
  • Sanded, varnished and installed  the teak accessories (spice rack, paper towel holder and toilet paper holder)
  • Repaired broken light in forward closet
  • Replaced almost all cabin dome lights and reading lights with white and red LEDs
  • Installed her USCG documentation numbers
  • Serviced two of four mast winches
  • Replaced broken latch on trash bin
  • Replaced locking arm on navigation station desk
  • Removed old Port of Hailing from stern and applied her new Port of Hailing.  While J and I won’t be leaving our day jobs to start a career in boat lettering, overall it didn’t come out too bad!  
  • Removed/refilled/reinstalled LPG tanks
  • Put interior back together (cushions/cabinets/etc)
  • Repaired broken dome light in saloon
  • Wired DC outlet for the TV
  • Replaced the shower sump pump filter
  • Sorted through numerous lockers full of spare parts
  • Cleaned fridge and stove
  • Replaced air conditioner filter (resembled a fuzzy creature) and cleaned vacuumed A/C compartment
  • Installed oil lamp which has been passed down from our first boat.  Moondance came with the lamp; we took it with us when we bought Knotty and now it has come with us again onto Tango.  Have to admit, it looks great mounted above the berth in the aft cabin.  
  • Replaced steaming/deck combo light
  • Solicited the handiwork (again) of Mr. Langley and had our headstay mast pin remanufactured.  With so much of this boat being metric, we were unable to find this pin anywhere!!  So, took it to Mr. L and he had it done for us in an hour!
  • Cleaned and treated the dodger and bimini. We were a little leery when we began applying the waterproofing and it was so dark, but within a few hours it was dry and you couldn’t tell we had applied anything!  The downpour we had a couple of hours later proved our work was a good investment, the H2O beaded off like a champ.
  • Treated the Strataglass on the dodger
  • Washed all the running rigging… I felt like the mom from Willy Wonka, washing the clothes in the large tub of water, agitating it with an oar J
  • Cleaned and treated all the hardware on the running rigging(again, thank you Prism Polish!)
  • Let out the 200ft of anchor chain, cleaned out the anchor locker and installed Dri-Dek (hopefully this will help keep the chain out of any standing water which may be in there when we weigh anchor)
  • Ran the running rigging
  • Replaced mast head light
  • Reinstalled the anemometer, wind vane and VHF antenna
  • Reinstalled the rest of the full enclosure
We had hoped to get Tango in the H2O towards the end of April – well that date has come and gone. This past week, the barrier coat (at least the first two coats) was applied and today J will apply the final and then two coats of the anti-fouling.  As I said earlier, really bad timing for me to have to travel as he is carrying the full burden of doing all of this stuff by himself.  Add to that that we “may” have a buyer for Knotty so on top of everything else, he’s been busy trying to get her ready for a potential buyer.  I say ‘may’ because they are also looking at another Catalina 350 Mk II (we’ve got ourselves some competition) so we’ll see what happens with that.  I may be going home to a bare boat if they decide they are interested in ours!  

With all the setbacks and delays, hopefully we can get her launched and “home” in a week or two.  It’s been a long winter and a bit stressful here recently so we’re both very anxious and really looking forward to getting her back in the H2O and moving aboard!!
p.s. Ill post some pictures of the above progress soon... 

Friday, March 30, 2012

blows off the dust...

Wow - over 2 months since our last post!  We've been very busy, with lots going on (which means lots to share) and hope to get a blogpoat up this weekend.  Stay tuned :) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Pubescent Sailboat

When we hauled Tango out of the water for her pre-sale survey, we noticed, after a quick look over, that she had a few blisters on her hull.  For those unfamiliar, blisters are essentially boat acne.  Per Don Casey “Fiberglass blisters occur because water passes through the gelcoat. Water soluble chemicals inside the laminate exert an osmotic pull on the water outside, and some water molecules find a way through the gelcoat.  As more water is attracted into the enclosed space, internal pressure builds. The water molecules aren’t squirted back out the way they came in because they have combined with the attracting chemical into a solution with a larger molecular structure. Instead, the pressure pushes the covering gelcoat into a dome – a blister.”  We knew that these were going to have to be taken care of once we got the boat home and out of the water.  
When we hauled her for the winter, we noticed that, upon closer inspection, she had more than we expected – at least a dozen or so.  She had numerous layers of old, flaking paint on her bottom, which needed to be removed, and with the blisters we were seeing, we were now faced with two different options.  We could have her soda blasted (similar to pressure washing with baking soda) or we could have the first layer of gel coat and fiberglass mechanically peeled. The former option would require, once the soda blasting was complete, that all the blisters be “popped” (oddly enough this result is much like squeezing a zit, but what comes out of boat blisters is an acidy liquid that you do not want to touch), opened up, washed out, and then allowed to completely dry out, and then finish with a repair.  This is a significant amount of work, and may not guarantee that you will fix the problem.  With the latter option, it would be the more (much more) expensive option, would be less work for us, but would give us a better chance of not having blisters in the future.  The catch here is that once she was hauled, while we saw a few more than we expected, we didn’t really know the extent of the problem and wouldn’t know until we did the soda blast.  However, if we did the soda blasting and found many more blisters (hundreds instead of tens, we’d be out the money we spent for the soda blast which is, by no means, inexpensive, and may still need to have her peeled, which is quite expensive.
So, in the end we decided to just to do the soda blast, assess the full extent of the problem and repair the damage.  In all the reading we’ve done, shallow gelcoat blisters will not sink your boat.  They are not ideal for the hull, reducing her hydrodynamics, but they are not detrimental to the structural integrity of the boat unless allowed to go unchecked and develop into deep blisters (penetrating the second layer of laminate and beyond).  She now sits in the yard, with a completely bare bottom down to her gelcoat. 
Tango before her bottom was soda blasted
Soda Blast Prep
Tango after soda blast

We’ve discovered a lot of blisters (more than a 100), all but three of which are only through the gel coat with the remaining three only into the first layer of fiberglass.  This is relatively good news, but this also means we have a lot of work ahead of us.  Each one of the blisters will need to be fully opened up, grinded out and then built back up with epoxy ( a combination of resin, hardener, and colloidal silica). The down side is this may only be a band-aid if the gelcoat is prone to blistering, which it seems to be.  In that case we either have to live with the blistered bottom and fix them as they come up, or go ahead and have her peeled and repaired, shelling out several thousands of dollars for an essentially new bottom.  While the money set aside for her current refit is quickly dwindling, we’ll look at her again in two years when we have her hauled again.
A couple of small, surface blisters
The blisters are the dark spots, her port aft hull area has quite a few.
One of the three bad blisters on Tango

Surprisingly, blisters are not that uncommon and it really is a game of chance as to whether your boat will have them.  Sometimes they tend to be seen on particular brands of boats, which may mean that they are due to the way in which the hulls are laid or the ingredients the manufacturer  used for the gelcoat.  Others seem to happen by complete chance, such as those on our Mason 44.  Maybe they waited too long between spraying the gelcoat and laying the first layer of fiberglass, maybe it was a bad batch of gelcoat, but one thing is for sure; there isn’t anything you can do as an owner to cause blisters, but once you have them, they’re yours to deal with  I guess when you compare our boat to others with blisters, it could be worse…
Not our boat but an example of a serious blister problem.

In the end, considering our boat is an adolescent (16 years old), we shouldn’t be so surprised she is suffering from an acne breakout.  Let’s just hope she doesn’t go through that lashing out phase where she hates her parents.