Monday, April 26, 2010

Sailboat Blisters


Ken has been working really hard this past week on our sailboat.  Unfortunately I could not take off work and wasn't any help to him.  This past week Ken has finished sanding the bottom of our sailboat (with a little help from a helper) only to realize that the "circles" that appeared on our sailboat while sanding are blisters.  When Ken first saw these "circles" last week when sanding our sailboat, he stabbed a few of them and they were dry.  Therefore, we assumed that these "circles" were not blisters.  However, a friendly "neighbor" working on his sailboat a few boat spaces down told us that these were indeed blisters, and Ken had not "stabbed" them hard enough.  Unfortunately, our neighbor was correct and when stabbed harder with a knife, the "circles" oozed a small amount of liquid.  This liquid,which smelled exactly like vinegar, needs to be released from the blister and then given time to dry.  So, another project to be completed by Ken before our sailboat goes back in the water.  We have eighty-one blisters!

To drain the blisters, Ken used a grinder to cut into each blister and make a circle deeper and larger in diameter than the blister itself.  This process took about two days, because Ken borrowed our sailboat neighbor's grinder for a few hours, then spent the remainder of the day purchasing a grinder and getting some other needed sailboat supplies.  The above pictures show what our sailboat looks like now.  After Ken finished grinding the sailboat blisters, he scrubbed the sailboat bottom with a brush and water.  The scrubbing removed the "scabs" that the blisters started forming in order to allow the sailboat blisters to remain able to drain.  The blisters need to drain and dry this week, which works out fine since Ken is working his normal job this week.  He couldn't take off another week, since no work means no money! 

Earlier in the week Ken not only sanded the bottom of our sailboat and addressed the sailboat blisters, but he also took the opportunity to pull out the three thru-hulls that needed replacement. The pictures on the left and right show inside and outside views of our sailboat and the three thru-hull locations. 

While our sailboat is "on the hard" Ken also removed the depth transducer and the speed tranducer.  We'll be replacing both of these with new transducers.  Here is a picture of the transducer "holes", which are located underneath the v-berth.


As we mentioned on an earlier post, when we pulled our sailboat out of the water, we realized that the sailboat strut (holds the prop shaft - just learned this term thanks to a follower) was loose and needed to be tightened.  The first step was to remove the filler on the exterior of the sailboat that covered the strut bolts. Ken found out last week that tightening the strut bolts from the inside of the sailboat was no easy task!  The bolts are located underneath the gas tank, which is located in the quarter berth.  Removing the gas tank was no problem, but the bolts were covered in a thick mound of fiberglass.  This week Ken spent a full hour chipping away at the fiberglass with a hammer and screwdriver until the interior sailboat strut bolts were revealed.  The pictures below show Ken sitting in the quarter berth area of the sailboat "chipping away" at the fiberglass mound.


These pictures below show the exposed sailboat strut bolts from the inside of the sailboat and the outside of the sailboat.


Once the sailboat strut bolts were revealed, it only took seconds to tighten the bolts.  Sailboats are definitely a challenge when making repairs.  The gas tank was removed, fiberglass and filler removed, and a kitchen cabinet and drawers removed just to tighten four bolts!  The picture below shows our poor sailboat salon after this project and the removal of the thru-hulls, which were located next to the engine.



Ken accomplished a lot this past week, including removing the old sailboat name, which was Warwick.  We ordered our new sailboat letters for Nirvana from a local store, and they came in the same day!  The pictures below show our new sailboat letters and the old name removed.  We'll be performing a name changing ceremony before adhering the new sailboat letters.  We don't want to upset the gods!


The upcoming plans are to lightly sand the hull while continuing to let the blisters dry.  Then Ken will prep and repair the sailboat hull for painting and paint with one coat of Awl-Grip primer and two coats of Awl-Grip paint.  After that, he will fill the sailboat blisters with epoxy resin and fiberglass, lightly sand the blister repairs, then paint the bottom with four coats of barrier coat and three coats of bottom paint (Trinidad 75).

Needless to say, there's still a lot of sailboat work to be done before Nirvana can go back in the water.  Also, we've already gone over our budget.  We expected to pay for new thru-hulls, the paint and primer, sandpaper, filler, and fiberglass.  However, we didn't expect to need new depth and speed transducers or so much filler, fiberglass, and sandpaper (for the unexpected blisters).  Also, with the extra time required to repair the blisters and tighten the strut comes extra days to pay for in the boatyard.  We still should be able to scrape up the money, but this project will definitely empty our kitty for now.

I am so thankful to Ken for all of his hard work on our sailboat.  I know I'm lucky to have someone who can do these projects himself.  There's no way we could afford to pay the boatyard to do all this work.

Ken and I will both be working "paying jobs" this week, and then hope to be working on our sailboat again no later than this Friday.  Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

6 comments:

Sandee said...

The acronym for BOAT is Bring On Another Thousand. It's so very true. You are indeed lucky that your husband can do this work. We spend a great deal of money on our boat because we don't know how to do many things. We are fortunate to have a great yard that pulls our boat and works on it when it's required, but a great mechanic that keeps our boat running like a kitten. We'll settle for that.

Thanks for keeping us up to date on what's happening with your vessel.

Have a terrific day. :)

SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

Wow. Now *that* is a refit.

Windtraveler said...

Nice job - again!!! And boy oh boy do I know about chipping away at through-hull backing plates!! I wish we could work on our boat more :(...so pleased with your progress! :)

Neophyte Cruiser said...

While it seems overwhelming at times, the good news is that you both will have an intimate knowledge of your boat that few people have. The pay-off will be when you're out cruising and something breaks. The confidence and knowledge you're gaining now will pay dividends when others might panic. It's great reading...keep us posted.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks everybody for your support! We know that ya'll are right about gaining knowledge, its just not always fun being so experienced. =) But, the payoff will definitely be worth it!

Tasha Hacker said...

Oof. Boats are such a lot of work, aren't they?! I try to tell myself that houses are just as much work, but somehow I don't really believe that. But on the upside, you guys are doing an amazing job tackling all these projects on your own. I'll be you're learning a LOT!
Tasha

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