A Miss and a Kiss

Apparently Luna narrowly escaped. Tuesday night was rough in our backyard. High winds blew over the temporary shed. Without the weight and anchor of the trailer, it was merely a matter of time. Just glad it wasn’t last week as I moved the boat in and out of the shelter. This made disassembly easier.

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The table saw under the blue tarp took a beating. All repairable, but its a rusty mess now. I think it took me 2 hard days to erect the structure. In only 2 hours a hammer and cordless drill put the whole thing away. Now maybe we can get some grass planted in its place.

Luna now floats and is much happier. So am I. Who could blame her? All boats lose their dignity on the hard.  I’ll make it up to her. We’re going sailing a lot this summer.

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Mother’s Day Reprise

So much of the “now” is fake, demanding attention, here today, gone tomorrow. As I’ve wrestled to get Luna water ready, furtive thoughts pry, “Is she worth it?” This morning I brushed on a second coat of Petit Trinidad ($250/ gallon paint. Only 1 needed). Yesterday’s coat was rolled and tipped. Got to get that extra fraction of a knot? No, but darn if it doesn’t look better. Wetting the cooking driveway hopefully delays the planks drying. So much to learn about true wooden boats. Loading the mast and installing road supports for tomorrow’s trip east takes no small effort, a two-man job. Glad I have sons to help. Conceptually many simple task s have taken a week of days. In this hurry-up world, is she worth it? There’s varnish yet to be spruced. Yet, she is going back better.

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“Worth” for me all comes down to passion. Not the task to get there, but the reward for the effort. In two nights I plan on enjoying the evening with Luna … somewhere … at anchor, dreaming about distant horizons. Nothing is more divorced from our hectic world than floating in a loved boat. For that joy, I owe so much to my mother. She allowed me to spend so many hours in a boat as a child. I was hooked at an early age. My soul is rooted to the bottom of a boat. I can’t shake it. Don’t want to. This is real. Thanks Momma. I love you-

Closer to Launch

Somewhere, some time ago, I read that an unused boat suffers more than one put to use. This is true.

Several weeks ago I began the process to get LUNA to water. We’ll try a mooring for her. That “official” process was a genuine pain. Too much government and all run poorly by design. Anyway, my little boat “suffered” 16 months under cover in our back yard. Despite occasional watering below the waist, a canvass shed with ground floor, her cedar planks had opened to the point where caulking separated from planks. This was in part due to the nature of the wood, but mostly from life out of water. I had reefed seams before, cotton caulked those needing it and payed all with Interlux brown seam compound three years ago. After talking to well known Maine boat builders Alec Brainerd and Doug Hyland, I determined to take a slightly different tack. Both recommended the same brown compound but split 50/50 with roofing tar. This should be more pliable and sticky.

Alec went further in giving better storage design:

“…  I would recommend adding walls and a roof to your shelter.  The side and back walls can be boards or plywood or whatever and should be spaced 4″ up off the ground for ventilation.  The roof needs to be insulated with something like 1″ blueboard, and then congregated metal would probably be least expensive.  Light color materials are best for both walls and roof.  Put vents in the gable ends of the roof but no windows anywhere.” 

Now I have impetus to start a boat barn.

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LUNA does have a new dress topsides, her name is crisply set, the battery monitor now works (missed a wire before. Ashamed to admit I stared at that wiring diagram too long) and she now has a bilge pump counter. That will be crucial as I plan to keep her on a mooring. In this push, many small details are getting don. As I get her back in shape, I remember why I fell in love with her. She is such a beautiful boat. Launch is in 10 days. Much to do, but all doable. More later-

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LUNA’s Facelift

If only it was so simple for the rest of us. Hard to believe we have owned (had stewardship) of LUNA for 2 years now. After a few bumps and bruises, she needed a new coat. 3 years seems to be the limit for a linear polyurethane exposed to our sun and salt water anyway. That may be 1 year longer than traditional paint. I’ll take it.

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First coat

Thought I’d offer a few tips in the rolling and tip method to covering, some I’ve scoped on-line and some I just had to learn by doing.

  • Conditions: Warm, 70-75 degrees, still, somewhat humid, but early morning.
  • Materials: Interlux Brightsides “Matterhorn White”, Interlux Brushing liquid 333, Tee shirt rags, white “hot dog” roller pads, small paint pan, 3m blue painter’s tape, 3m wet sanding block #220, etc.
  • I previously had wooded, sanded (120 grit to 220) and applied 5 coats of LeTonkinois on the toe rail port and starboard. I’ve saving a final 6th coat until topsides are done.
  • Topsides were wet sanded with the 220 sponge, rinsed, and dings fared with a red glazing compound that worked on UNA well. These spots were then sanded.
  • Before painting wetted the surrounding yard +/-20′ from the boat to knock down the dust.
  • Topsides were then taped off from rail and boot top, sides cleaned with the 333 thinner and hit with a tag rag.
  • A pint of paint was added to pan with 1 cap full of the 333. My middle son took rolling instructions and was a big help. We started at the starboard bow and worked around the boat. We are both right-handed. This allowed me to follow his 18-24″ application by roller with my backhand tipping from top to bottom.
  • Even with the thinner, we had to move fast. Here is a big tip we learned after the first few applications: The brush tipping must overlap the previous patch by a good 8-12″ in order to not telegraph each start and stop.
  • In rolling, place paint in thin coats from left to right and finish with up and down rolling for horizontal tipping from top to bottom, quickly. Do this twice. Once with more pressure to push the paint along evenly and the last with a delicate touch. By this time the roller boy has the next spot ready.
  • We were done in 1 hour. The port side looks best as the technique was mastered by then. A little gentle wet sanding of the starboard side will improve it. You cannot go back and work out any drips or imperfections while the paint is drying. Forget about it. Save it for the next coat.
  • 2 hours later and no drips whatsoever are evident. Thinner coats are better than heavier. 1 quart of paint may get 2 coats done.
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Wineglass gorgeous

We took the dog for a swim and waited 2 days before coat number 2.

 

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dog paddling

 

Coat 2 was quicker and covered the sins from coat 1. Using the same color paint allowed 2 coat coverage and all with less than a quart! 28″ is so much easier to care for than 42. No surprise there, but it is a factor of 4. I’m very happy with the results.

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Found a 1/2 dozen gnats in the mix. To be expected in July.
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Overall. Bootstrap is next.

Given the weather has not held rain (but it is coming), I sketched an idea this morning for shade to go after the decks.

 

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scribble

 

But … Couldn’t finish the real thing in today’s heat, 99 degrees.

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Had to take a “swim” myself. Bud Light helped too. Stinking hot!

September is coming. More later. Stay cool.

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Shelter gained.

Later: got the last trusses and tarps on. The whole elaborate thing took longer than expected, but not having to yank tarps on and off and to have shade makes the whole prospect of working the decks and cabin more appealing. The old traps came from years ago when I renovated our first cruising boat “Emily”, a 1974 Pearson 1 Meter. She too was a nice boat. Too many of them out there. Here she is after an Imron paint job and 2-3 years of sometimes weekend alterations and repair. Too much to list. Emily took us for many, many weeks up and down the Bay for maybe 15 years. Memories.

Going to add some hurricane ties from rafter to beam wall and add a couple cross beams under the trailer for any uplift risk. Not today though. Real feel 105. Yep, it is out there.

Merry Christmas

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LUNA is not quite under the tree, but close enough. Over the next few months some of the projects on the “list” can be completed. And, as she waits on me, she’ll warm my heart with the promise of that first Spring cruise. Can’t wait.

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Getting her home was no small effort. Before yesterday’s sunrise, my middle son and I left for the marina, had a cold motor trip around to the boatyard (no wind), spent 3-4 hours removing the masts, hauling the boat, and tidying up the equipment for travel.  12 hours later we found ourselves back home, but unable to move LUNA from the bottom of our gravel drive onto the concrete apron beside the house. Apparently a Ford F150 has only so much umps to haul uphill. After several attempts and digging too much gravel, we called it quits for the day. This morning a trip to Enterprise returned with a real truck. Make that a Ford F350 dually diesel. That beast in 4 wheel low yanked our boat up the drive like a wet rag. Amazing.

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The Home Owners Association is specific about not keeping boats in yards. So far, no calls. In my opinion, her beauty adds to the neighborhood. God knows there are enough ugly house additions around. Besides, she’s really just visiting and … its Christmas. Hope yours is a blessed one.

 

 

 

My Buddy Huckleberry

As the season closes, Huck and I stole a brief sail across Mobjack Bay and back yesterday. Believing he is still a lap dog, he made for a nice heater as we pushed to weather.

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We’re still assessing the new sails. The stainless steel slides are not right for bronze or naval brass T track. They still snag slightly when raising and lowering. Either I need to file round edges on each slide or replace them with naval brass, if those can be found. Such is the challenge of ordering sails at a distance. Add it to the winter projects.

At 10:30 wind fluctuated between 5 mph or less. LUNA still moved along. Maybe the bottom isn’t as slimy as I thought.

By noon the breeze built to 12-15 and we really chunked along.

Short and sweet.

Steampunk Sailor

Yesterday, my daughter and I took a short, brisk sail with LUNA up the East River, stopping by “Ed’s Cove” on the return for lunch on the hook. The menu offered hot tomato soup, ham wraps, beer and sunshine in a protected cockpit. No one else was around. No one. Granted it was mid-week, but too many boat owners put their craft away after Labor Day here. So many wonderful days are missed. You can have July and August in my book. From September up until Christmas frequently is truly the best sailing time of the year. The water’s summer heating holds its inertia well into November. Yesterday was beautiful … ah, so is today.

Here’s one of my favorite sailors working out music for the picnic.

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