The average high temperature in Chicago in the month of November is 48 and the average low temperature is 32. Much to my surprise, I read that epoxy (West Epoxy Systems) can be used in temperatures as low as 34 degrees. As removing and fairing the old rubrail ridges is the priority, this one task gobbles up the hours this month.
In a bow to my wife, I agree only to spend Saturdays this winter working on this boat as the work list is no where as extraordinary as it was last winter. Of course, if there is a surprise 70-degree day on a Sunday, I might horse trade some other cold Saturday.
Last month I wrote that the first goal this fall is to grind off two fiberglass ridges off the side of the boat (where the rubrail used to be), fill with epoxy and smooth for painting. On the first weekend I got 3 hours into it, and the shipyard manager shut me down saying the dust is getting over other boats, and insisted I rinse off the neighboring boat downwind, which I do. He recommended I use a vacuum in the future.
On the second weekend attempt, I have the vacuum set up, after two hours the shipyard manager stops by and unplugs my power cord. He says the dust is not be collected adequately and I will have to create a better system. I only have 30% of the ridges removed, and had hoped to have maybe 75% completed at the end of this day. I epoxy fill the 30% which makes things look a whole lot better. The days aren’t getting any warmer or longer at this time of the year, you know?
On the third attempt, I put up a clear plastic tarp tent around the 15′ length I am working on, sending the dust to the ground. It helps that the shipyard manager isn’t working this day, and I get it ground all the way around the 70′ length at last. On Thanksgiving weekend Friday, I put the first coat of epoxy on the newly ground work, sand the older epoxy and get a second coat on this small section. The following day I go back and rinse the deck off, as the long range forecast shows my epoxy work is concluded for the winter due to below normal temperatures for the coming month. The shrink wrap cover goes on the boat.
As I was shutdown on grinding on the second attempt, there are plenty of smaller projects to do, so I spent the rest of that day on the following:
184. The labels I put on the steering pod previously – reverse/neutral/forward and slow/fast were falling off. I penciled around their edges, took the labels off, taped around those penciled edges, sanded the surface inside, lacquer thinned the surface, made new labels and stuck them on, then removed the tape. I can feel they are solidly on now and won’t fall off again.
185. I put epoxy in that one hole in the deck behind the winch pad, this hole is not over the navigators bunk as I thought and a few feet behind the bulkhead. Strangely I acknowledge having seen it for the past 16 months, but it never “clicked” in my head to do something about it. Some time I’ll have to go backwards through this blog and count how many places were leaking that had to be fixed.
186. An “efficient” propeller on sailboats is one that folds when sailing so it doesn’t create drag. To get the blades to fold closed, the pin on the blades needs to be vertical. I climb the ladder to the ground and twist the propeller until the pin is vertical, back up the ladder and use black Magic Marker on the hub on the back of the transmission that the shaft goes into. Then I go back down the ladder, twist the propeller 180 degrees, back up the ladder and mark the other side of the hub as the propeller is symmetrical and will be easier to align when sailing later allowing the folding blades to close.
187. There are three wood access panels in the fiberglass floor belowdecks and two screws keep them from sliding around. Technically it is best to have 1/4 twist quick release fasteners that don’t require tools so you can get you into what needs service immediately. So I take the Dremel and cut these 6 screws shorter so it takes a minimal number of turns to remove them now.
188. When we caulked the leaky handrails on deck earlier in the season, we agreed that later we would remove the caulk that oozed out the sides. It is now later, and the excess caulk is removed.
189. The pod on the steering wheel that holds four electronic instruments uses Torx head screws with the center pin to open the plastic pod. Rather than attempt to replace the screws with slot head or Phillip screws as the threads of the screws are special for plastic use, I decide to get a screwdriver with the Torx head and center pin driver. I tape the driver in, mark the handle what the screwdriver is for (“Steering Pod”) and add it to the toolbox. Like my Boy Scouts training taught me, “Always be prepared.”
190. Installed a new ball valve and hose under the head sink, the old gate valve did not close all of the way allowing water to come into the boat when sailing on starboard tack. The valve is to remain closed while sailing.
The next owner is really going to enjoy this boat.
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