Monday, August 30, 2010

My wife, the rock star

Throughout this whole boat yard process Nicole has either been working hard on the boat or off seeing to her real job, some days both. This past weekend we sanded the hull, prepped it for paint, and painted the red area on Saturday. It was a long day but it wouldn't have happened without both of us. On Sunday the weather got in the way of a second coat of paint, and that really took a toll on my motivation. Nicole, on the other hand, spent the day sanding and prepping the hull again so it is ready for paint when the weather cooperates. I am certainly a lucky man, which begs the question "Why would I risk all that just to post a pic?" How could I resist.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Prop-er Job

Anyone that has spent time working in the boatyard knows that any small step forward is followed by two or three steps back. Part of our to-do list in the yard was to change out our propeller for a nifty new folding version, guaranteed to increase motoring performance, decrease drag while sailing, make us better looking to members of the opposite sex......... you get the picture. I'm sure it will do all that and more, but first it needs to be installed. We also needed to replace the prop shaft seal to decrease the water coming into the boat, so the prop shaft was removed. Turns out the flexible coupler between the prop shaft and transmission needed to be replaced as well, and while the prop shaft was out I might as well swap out the cutlass bearing (a rubber sleeve that holds the prop shaft in place). Without going into too much detail, the new prop fit on the shaft but was shipped with the wrong retaining nut, so a new nut had to be machined and sent to us (from New Zealand). The cutlass bearing wouldn't fit in the shaft tube and had to be machined down to size (thanks Tor). The prop was actually too big and hit on the rudder, so the flexible coupler had to be swapped out for a smaller size. The steel coupler on the prop shaft was the wrong part and had to be machined to fit the flexible coupler (thanks again Tor). Lastly, the seal was too big and had to be swapped out for a smaller version, after which it was still a difficult two person job to install. One step forward, five steps back, but in the end it is all installed and looks sexy as hell. Now I just hope everything works if we ever go back in the water.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Black and white and red all-over

Slowly making progress in the yard. Welded new studs on the hull for zincs, then gave the bottom a couple coats of black to cover up the pretty orange. Next up, prep the white and red on the hull for a touch-up coat or two, and reinstall the prop shaft and new prop. The surveyor will be here Thursday and as soon as he is done we are off to Port Angeles for the Metal Boat Festival. Unfortunately the boat won't quite be ready for the trip so Baraka will have to sit this one out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Raising my toxicity levels

There just doesn't seem to be too many jobs you do in a boatyard that don't involve some toxic chemical or another. The first couple days were spent grinding bottom paint, in some places up to seven layers of paint, only to end up with a sad multicolored hull that is no smoother than when I started. We really need to sandblast back to bare metal and start over, but that would require a bit more time and a lot more money than we had alloted for this job. Instead I took layer after layer of copper-laden paint off until I couldn't lift the grinder above shoulder level, nature has its way of telling you that you've done enough work for one day. The different color layers also provide entertainment for others in the yard, turning my white tyvek suit black and then finally blue so I resembled a giant smurf. Because toxic particulates aren't enough I later went around the hull several times wiping it down with paint thinner to remove the grinding dust, adding a good dose of strong vapors to my lungs. Today we made some forward progress, and applied a couple coats of primer. The primer is no slouch as far as killing brain cells, with a chlorinated rubber compound containing benzene and xylene. The primer does a nice job of bringing the hull back to one color, although the color leaves a bit to be desired. I'm thinking the black will be a welcome relief from her current orange color.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the boat yard

Doing maintenance on the boat while it is out of the water is bad enough. In almost all cases a trip to the boat yard includes removing and/or applying antifouling paint, a toxic mixture of paint and heavy metals like copper and zinc. Being covered in toxic dust day after day sounds fun enough, but we decided to go all out and live on the boat while it's in the yard, A couple of things make this particularly enjoyable, the first of which is that you have to navigate about 12 feet of ladder to get in and out of your house. This also means that a couple extra steps out the backyard lead to a fall of equal distance to a nicely paved surface below. Heavy drinking almost seems justified with all the fun you have in the boatyard, but the acrobatics involved in going home make it a poor call. The other fun thing about living in the yard is that most boats function around the premise that they will be floating in water. The toilet uses outside water to flush, the sinks drain overboard, and in our case the fridge uses the water for cooling to make the beer more satisfying on a hot day. Pull the boat out of the water and all these taken-for-granted luxuries disappear. If our marriage makes it through the next couple weeks.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Haulout time

One of the joys of boat ownership is the ritual of pulling the boat from the water to do regular maintenance on the underwater parts. We had intended on hauling our boat in April, things got in the way, we put it off, tried to reschedule, other things got in the way, and it went on the back burner for a while. We scheduled again for mid July, and as many of your know my father passed away so again it was postponed. Finally last Saturday the stars aligned and we pulled Baraka out of the water for some much needed TLC. It has been three years since we last hauled and I was expecting the worst, but the bottom looked pretty good as far as growth goes. The zincs were another story, it seems there is an electrical problem at out dock in Shilshole that ate most of our zincs and had started in on the propeller. Pure luck had us haul out now before the problem got worse.
The work list for this haulout includes new antifouling paint for the bottom, a coat or two of red and white paint for the topsides, new zincs, a new propeller and propeller shaft seal, and some work on the deck paint that seems to be peeling off in sheets. This is all leading up to a hull survey for our insurance company, a necessary evil every five years or so. I'll include a couple pictures of the boat coming out of the water and try to update this as the work progresses.

Thursday, August 5, 2010