This week we will touch on dams: tape dams to be precise. They are the teaser so you will have read through the rest of the blog to find out about them.
Our week started on Friday. Bill was busy sanding off the epoxy filler that is now filling the blisters on the bottom. You won’t believe how quickly an 8′ 40 grit grinder pad gets dull. He’s probably a wimp, but new sand paper makes the job go easier. He also ground the blisters on Saturday and Sunday. Thirty-six feet by about ten feet wide, and only 15 blisters per square foot. No wonder it took forever.
Nina removed old gasket material from the top of our propane locker. The sides of the locker were glassed to the hull and were gas tight, but the top edge had failing caulk. She removed the old caulk and on Sunday she got to glass the joint. This was Nina’s third experience with fiberglass taping. It was her first in a tight space glassing over head. She did manage to pour a good deal of her resin on her arm (not enough arms to hold the tape, the brush and the resin), but she got the job done and did not glue herself to the boat.
Gypsy has a fiberglass dodger that provides protection from sun and spray in the cockpit. Marsden ground the edges of the dodger to prep it for fitting to the cabin top. We had had a rather large gap between the dodger and the cabin top that had been filled with caulk. The gap also filled with gunk – dirt and mildew. To fix that, we covered the cabin top where the dodger fits with aluminum tape. Then we waxed the tape so the fiberglass would not stick to the tape and boat. Two layers of glass were laminated on top of the tape. On Monday we sanded the tape and covered it with almost a gallon of epoxy putty, which looked just like chocolate frosting. Then we set the dodger down on the putty and screwed it into place. We now have a perfect mold of the cabin top and the dodger will fit tight. There is still a fair amount of work to do on it, but we are off to a good start.
Marsden and Bill also located where the hand rails are going to go on the cabin top. They are moving outward about 6 inches. The new bolt holes now have to be cast in epoxy to protect the deck from any possible leaks. A locator hole is drilled and then you over drill your holes about twice as big as they were and fill them with epoxy. Filling holes on a sloping cabin top is not easy. You need to make tape dams to catch the epoxy and as we found out little dams don’t work. You need super dams.
Marsden got to polish more metal parts. All three of us learned how to use a milling machine to smooth out the tiller cap that goes on the top of the rudder tube. It’s now smooth and ready to be anodized with the other aluminum parts Marsden has been working on.
It has been a busy week in the boat shop. Nina and I put in 5 days and Marsden did 4. On Friday we started glassing the hull to deck joint. This will make the whole boat one solid piece rather than the deck just being bolted to the hull. When the waves are big this means a much stronger boat.
On Saturday Bill finished grinding the bottom paint off of the keel. The bottom is paint free! Now we get to repair the blisters, which means more grinding. Gypsy’s keel is very flat and so to make her sail better we are going to add a foil (wing) shape to the keel to make Gypsy sail better.While I was doing this, Nina continued to remove the galley counter and prep the engine bed logs. This means grinding old resin and paint off.
Sunday Marsden got taken off blister repair and put on the polishing metal task. He spent most of Sunday and Monday getting the companion way hatch rails polished to a mirror finish. Polishing is a slow process.
Bill and Nina did more sanding and demolition in the cabin. If you are wondering about boat work, much of it is repetitive. On Monday the final demolition work prepping the space for the new diesel fuel tank was done. Nina cleaned more butyl rubber off the ports. This stuff is sticky and messy, but it dissolves nicely in lacquer thinner. The weather has been great so this can happen outside. Then we helped to finish the glassing of the hull to deck joint.
While we were doing this Tom was making our new rudder. He laminated new fiberglass skins in the two mold halves. Then he had to fit the rudder post to the mold and glue the two halves together. After glassing the hull to deck joint we watched as Tom filled the open space in the rudder mold with foam. The foam is made by mixing the two component parts together. Then you have a minute or so before the chemical reaction starts and the foam expands. To control the reaction we did three smaller pours instead of one big pour.
Tuesday found Bill re-sanding the bottom blister epoxy fills. Nina getting rid of more old carpet glue and cleaning parts of old caulk and Marsden got to get the rust off of the engine bed plates. Luckily these are going to be painted so a mirror finish is not needed. While we did this Tom worked on grinding the newly glassed hull to deck joint into shape.
We also have decided to replace our wood toe rails with aluminum ones. The four 20′ rails came this week and they are going to be lovely.
We have finished another week and you may be wondering when we will be done? Well, if we are lucky and funds hold out we should be finished in June. Even though we have been racing along this is not a fast project. We are making progress. I finished sanding the bottom paint off and now I get to sand the keel to repair some poor glass work on it. While I work on the bottom, Nina is working on removing bulk heads, (dividers across the boat), in the cockpit lockers that we don’t need or want to move. She is also removing the counter top and some storage in the galley. This is in preparation for a new sink and refrigerator. Marsden has been fixing blisters on the hull. Blisters form when water makes its way into tiny voids in the fiberglass laminate of the hull. To fix them you need to grind out the blister and fill it with epoxy putty.
While we are doing our part Tom has been designing new water and fuel tanks as well as overseeing the project and Chris has been working on the improved cockpit combings.
We were thinking of calling this the weekly grind. Bill’s been working away at the bottom paint. The fun part of that is that it gets harder to sand the longer it’s out of the water. Today he pretty much finished and is now going back around to pick up all the leftover red bits. When that’s done, he gets to start grinding out blisters. Thankfully, we only have about 15 per square foot. It could be MUCH worse.
Meanwhile, in the inside of the boat, Nina’s been learning to use a Makita grinder. Carpet residue and glue is not the best learning medium since it gums up sanding sheets before you turn the thing on. She also discovered what a loose grinder with the lock on can do in a small space. Don’t try this at home. Luckily, a small rip in the suit was the extent of the damage.
Marsden totally escaped grinding or sanding. His particular version of boat purgatory was cutting 720 feet of fiberglass cloth into various widths for Tom to glass onto the hull to deck joint. His other fiberglassing experience was making the backing plates for the remaining thru-hulls. To do this, about an inch thick pile of fiberglass cloth was laminated together and then cut out on a drill press, very slowly.
It’s been a crazy busy week and we are at our one week anniversary at the shop. The good news: Gypsy’s in better shape than we are.
Tuesday we worked on stripping the boat of yet more hardware and Bill continued to rediscover the joys of sanding bottom paint. Dante does indeed need to add more levels. More of the bottom paint gone.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I did the day job while Bill and our eldest son Marsden continued removing hardware, thru-hulls, disconnecting the engine for removal and grinding more bottom paint. Friday morning was back to the day job for all of us and in the afternoon Bill and I took off for Bainbridge Island to stay with friends and fellow sailors Jerry and Joy. Saturday was the Seattle Boat Show where we looked at a few new sailboats, decided that we were quite happy with our old one, and met up with Tom from Becker Enterprises to find ways to spend money.
Sunday, we headed home and then back to grinding and removing more stuff. It is hard to conceive just how much stuff is on a sailboat until you have to take it ALL off! Chris, from Becker started working on sanding the hull to deck joint. Dry for the most part – no expensive surprises, hooray!
By the end of Monday, there’s a bit of wiring left to remove, the stove brackets to put in a bag and tape to the stove that is now in Tom’s basement, and a few more thru-hulls for Marsden to pop off (which most did quite easily, yikes!).
No more fuel tank. There is still carpet on the ceiling and starboard side. The blotchy patches on the right of the photo are where other carpet was peeled off already. The center bottom of the photo is where the engine sits. The fuel tank was the last big thing to get out and by the end of Tuesday, it’s out.
Its Monday morning and we are going to haulout Tuesday. We are getting the day planned to do all the last minute things we need to do. It is 9:00 am and Nina says, Jeanne just called and can Gypsy get hauled this morning? The schedule just moved up a day, but we have been waiting so long to get this done that we say sure, we can have Gypsy at the boat yard by 10:30. We are librarians, we don’t mess around! We jumped in the cars and headed to Danish Marine to drop off a car and then to Rose City Yacht Club to get Gypsy.
Empty boat, on the way down river.
In the lift at Danish. James is driving the lift and Cedric is on deck.
Bill is laying on hands hoping the mast will ascend.
It worked, the mast is on the cart.
Now it is Gypsy’s turn.
I can fly! (just ignore my scummy bottom).
Bill and Nina say a very big thank you to Randy and Richard for helping to get the mast ready for the truck.
Gypsy and her mast are on the truck and ready to go. Thanks to Tim from Norgard Kirkpatrick’s Boat Hauling for getting Gypsy safely to Becker Enterprises.
In Becker’s shop, Nina and Marsden are hard at work.
Oh oh, they saw the camera.
Dante needs to add grinding bottom paint to the Inferno.
We bought Gypsy in the fall of 2003. She is a great sailboat, but she is now 41 years old and she needs an overhaul. We want to make some changes to the cockpit and cabin. We will also address structural as well as cosmetic repairs that are needed. We want to sail her for a long time yet and these repairs and improvements will make that possible.
You can see that the gelcoat is worn away. Gypsy will look great once she is painted.
We have been busy getting as much prep done as we could before she goes to the boat yard. Most of the deck hardware is off and the cabin is stripped. We also have done some demolition in the cabin where we will be making changes to the layout. When she was built, four colors of carpet were glued to the hull to cover up the fiberglass. That has been removed and we are going find a better solution.
Here are before and after pictures of the cabin.
Ready to go to the boatyard. The silver tape is covering all the holes.