Saturday, May 20, 2017

Catchup time, again.

Sunday 21 May.

Its been  a busy time of late, spending time with Denny, had a big adventure walking the Tongariro Crossing with a group she's part of.  Thats a big walk, my fitness tracker wristband showed 35000 steps for the day. Its a mighty climb up one side of the mountain, and a long decent down the other side. The scenery is amazing, the walk is very crowded though, there are often over 3000 people a day doing it so its hardly a wilderness walk. But its a good one, recommended. It was a good weekend.
We had a "little" adventure recently, we wanted to watch a particular boxing match and the SKY people wanted a lot of money to view it, and Denny being here that weekend suggested that we find a sports bar with TV showing it. After some enquiry we found one, used the money that would have been spent on the SKY viewing on a nice dinner and sat in front of the big screen and watched the match.
It was noisy in there, but the food was good, I had good company with me, and  “our” boxer won his fight. The outstanding thing about the evening was that someone had very kindly paid for our meal and drink.  Thank you Northern Union bar and restaurant.

Engineering work has taken up  a lot of my days, I do maintenance and repair on woodworking machinery in woodshops and school tech classrooms, and I'm in catchup mode there, it pays pretty well though so thats another catchup thats happening. Its usually fun, I had a job to do in a yacht interior specialist shop the other day and was watching while working, a young man putting together some intricate marquetry ( inlaid wood) on a big motor yachts saloon table. He's got a lot more patience than I have, anyone who says the old skills are disappearing hasn't seen this. Maybe those skills aren't as common but they're still around.

There has been a heap of maintenance to do on my old ship. Welcome to owning a 45 year old wooden boat,  she’s a constant project, and with an unusual amount of wet weather this year its been hard to keep up the sanding and painting so she’s looking a bit scruffy at the moment.
I’ve had issues with the paint on the hull, water getting behind it in patches and peeling some areas off.  I’d not completely sanded it back to wood last year, and although the paint I applied was the recommended system and was applied over a well sanded surface, the undercoat underneath seems to have failed in a couple of areas.
That plus a tiny, suspicious area on the side of the flying bridge turned out to be a major rot spot hiding under the paint, so that piece of wood has been cut out, the soft plywood ground away and sealed with low viscosity epoxy, and I’m about to fit a new piece in there.  The issue has been that the original piece had not been sealed where it stood on the cabin top to support the flying bridge side, and although it was mahogany it was possibly sapwood and has soaked up a lot of water, and rotted out.

I’ve done some rewiring of the lighting as well, and can recommend strip LED “warm daylight” lighting, it doesn’t look as nice as a “proper” light fitting, the LEDs just being stuck on in a strip, but the light that they give from 12 volt supply is really nice.  I’ve a 10 metre roll of them, and am gradually working through the ship to replace the tired old flouros, another benefit is that the LEDs don’t cause the phone or the radio to buzz plus they draw a lot less current. Recommended!

That fitness tracker was included with a Garmin GPS and depth sounder that was going on a very good deal from Burnsco, thats been fitted by the way although the transponder for the depth part has to wait until I can put the boat on the hard.  Its a magical little thing, has all the charts for NZ on it, and replaces two non functional depth sounders, one of which has to be as old as the ship, replaces all my charts ( I keep them though just in case) compass ( Same) and log, which the ship has never had. Technology is getting cheaper all the time.

I’ve got back to work on Long Steps again, fitted the next two stringers up, that’s two done out of four taped the inside seams of the lowest plank to the bottom, cut out and glassed the offcentercase sides, cut the end posts and begun building the ‘board.  I’ll have to scrounge up some lead to melt into the cavity in the tip of the core, that’s 11 kg, a small pour.  I enjoy doing this sort of thing.
I recall, being around 10 years old, making moulds from clay, drying them in the sun, melting lead on the hearth inside and pouring to make things.  I only got burned once, pain helps the learning process.
Its time for a lot of sandpapering, the framing and interior is being gradually sanded and coated, I’m using a very low viscosity epoxy from a supplier who no longer does that product, but its similar to “Everdure” but with a higher density, so two coats, scraped or sanded between, gives a glossy finish and the third ensures a really good coverage.
The ballast tank framing is in, the cockpit floor, at least the centerline piece has been cut from ½ in plywood and it’s a big space, I tried lying down on it with my head and shoulders in under the cuddy and it feels very cozy.

Back to paint.  SEI had a water based semi gloss enamel paint on her, with three different undercoats to see what worked and what didn’t.  She sits on the dock alongside “The Ship” so  often gets a lot of rainwater in her, the intention being to test the paint system to its limit with sun and water.
It didn’t work, 18 months and the paint was falling off in places ( undercoat number one) checking in some places, ( undercoat number two) and sort of doing ok where I’d used International Prekote.
On sanding a few patches I found that the Prekote had stood up well, but the water based enamel was not lasting.
She was past scruffy, I use her for rowing on the estuary and doing my trash collection run on the river, so she’s often scraping the bottom, ( oysters in mud) or pushed into the mangroves, hard on paint for sure.
She needed it, so she’s been sanded off on the outside and a new full gloss water based exterior rated paint applied. Vibrant blue this time!

Its softer than the solvent based enamels, but so far seems to be surviving ok.

When I find my camera case with the charger in it, I’ll get some pics.

John Welsford