Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All part of the deal

Deb and I picked up some kind of bug within hours of each other. Or maybe its something in the air, allergies or the stuff they are spraying across the river since the wind has shifted from that direction. It is like a bad cold or mild flu and, unfortunately, came to visit at the same time as getting the big hole in our foredeck closed seemed like a good idea, what with a tropical storm fixing to turn into a hurricane churning around out by the islands and all. It may just be a newbie thing, but being in this neck of the woods at this time of the year has made keeping an eye on the NOAA two and five day tropical forecasts my newest hobby. So far so good, the sea and wind gods have seen fit to take it easy on the Atlantic, apparently focusing instead in kicking the snot out of the Pacific this year.

Framing for the structural foam which you can see oozing out the left side.

So we have been pressing on with projects as best as we can, collapsing at night with the day's energy account severely overdrawn. Deb has been adding to the cruising kitty by doing canvas work for nearby boats. I have been depleting it at about the same rate getting materials for filling the void in the deck. It must be admitted that slinging glass in a FL summer, while enjoying alternating visits from a fever and the shakes, is a new experience for me. One I can't say I'm enjoying much, but today saw the deck closed for the last time. All that remains is the non-skid repair, something I put in the "cosmetic" category. No less important, just less pressing.

Foam core in place.

In the end the smaller voids ended up being filled with a combination of stuffed glass mat in one corner, two part structural foam in the other two corners. The main core repair was done with a high density foam mat that looks a bit like a chess board, overlaid with bi-axial glass, filled as required, with the original deck glassed back in place. So yes Mr. Sailboat expert, I fear this bit of Kintala's foredeck has at least four different kinds of core material. If the bow ever twists off and falls to the bottom of the sea I'll be sure to put it in the blog. It must be said though, that part of the deck is now as hard as sin. No more sinking feeling when going forward and, no matter what, much better than it was.

Deck glassed back in place but pre-grinding. You can see why we need to replace the non-skid. It's old and in bad shape.

Two other boats in the marina are undergoing similar repairs, the one next door being done by my new friend Dennis (of slinging glass at The Bear fame) at the same time I am attending to Kintala. We have been helping each other along figuring out the best way to approach two similar, but still different, repairs. His problem was forward of the mast and the core is plywood, not end grain like Kintala. Making an assault on the ugly from the side was impossible. His only approach was to cut away the deck until finding solid core. Once the underlying repair was completed, piecing the top deck bits back together and making it all fit right would have taken days. Instead he is just going to glass over the new core making, in essence, a new top layer to the deck composite. I, on the other hand, could dig the rotted core out from between the layers of glass, stuff it full one way or the other, and put the original top deck back in place. Two different ways, both getting the job done. He put the final layer of filler in his repair today, grinding, gel coat and non-skid tomorrow. I stitched the seam in my deck plug with glass today, filled and ground the repair. Gel coat and non-skid tomorrow as well. It is kind of fun having the repairs going on at the same time, the cold beer we share at the end of the day in Kintala's cockpit feels well earned.
Post-grinding and waiting for the non-skid

There are several more big projects to go. Sometimes I get a bit discouraged. Deb and I used to talk about what we were going to do with the boat next, where we were going to go, what we might see when we got there. Now we talk about what we are going to do to the boat next and how much it is going to cost. We wonder if we are ever going to get off this dock, and how that might be managed. Another friend from this year's cruise has thrown in the towel, the boat up for sale. Breakdowns, stranded in the Islands for months, bad weather, nights of being afraid, and a relentless loneliness not being the kind of life desired.

The seam for the anchor locker is going to be glassed in as well.
It's glassed below but not above deck so water went into the core.

I understand completely, but still can't envision Deb and I living any other way. Just the thought of having to get a regular job, going to an office, needing a car, meeting someone else's schedule, all the while just waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me yet again by some change in Board or Management politics, gives me a headache. Living and cruising on a boat on a fixed or very modest income is often a hard way to live. Anyone who suggest otherwise simply hasn't done it. But grinding out the hours needed to get to a paycheck isn't always a walk in the park either.

Everything gets easier if one can throw large chunks of money at whatever problems arise, and that is true on land or on the water. For Deb and I, and it seems for many we have met "out here", it was a choice to make a go of a different kind of living, one where big chunks of money are not likely to be part of the equation. For others "out here" big chunks of money were never going to be part of the equation, and living on the water offered a chance to live better than living modest on land.

The cruising mags seem geared to those retiring well and going cruising. Good for those who pull it off. For the rest of us though, going cruising means living modest. And living modest sometimes means that problems take a little more effort to climb over.

All part of the deal.

Just a reminder why wer're doing this...


Ben & Terri said...

please try to keep the information flowing when you get to the non-skid. I have a similar repair and resurface to do this fall and the more ideas the better.

Joel and Emily said...

Looking great! Keep up the hard work. Just remember to relax every once in a while and grab plenty of ice cream! :)

tsail samouth said...

Good Job on the glass work. Had to do the same with my T42.

TJ said...

Trying, on both the relaxing and the ice cream. But I think I am out of practice.

Robert Salnick said...

That's some beautiful, precision glass work there! How ever did you manage to get the deck cutout to end up flush with the deck?? And what are you using for grinding?

TJ said...

Bob, it took three applications of resin thickened with silicon beads (making it like peanut butter) to get the core close. Then I applied more resin thickened to jelly-like to both the core and the cutout, laid down the cutout, and weighed it with water jugs. I knew I had it close when the jelly oozed out around the seam.

Grinding was done with a DA and 80 grit, a little slow but harder to make big mistakes. The KiWi grip came today so, if the wx is good, we many actually finish a project tomorrow. Or I will screw it up and have to try again. This is my first run at trying to make a molded in non-skid repair look good. It isn't something we did in aviation, since most people prefer staying INSIDE the airplane.