Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sailboat On the Hard!

Well, we finally got our sailboat hauled out and "on the hard".  This past Thursday morning Ken called the boatyard and was told that they had one slip open, and we needed to bring our sailboat that day if we wanted the spot.  Ken was able to rearrange his work schedule, so off he went!  I had to go to training for the census bureau, so I reluctantly headed off and wished him well.  A friend of ours took the ride with Ken, and about 3 hours later (around noon) Nirvana arrived at the boatyard.

The sailboat was hauled out of the water by a boat lift that had wheels on it.  Once Nirvana was out of the water, it was immediately hit with a pressure washer to get the barnacles off.  Ken said he was pleasantly surprised at how well the bottom paint had held up and how few barnacles were on the sailboat.  Since we had just recently purchased Nirvana, we did not know what to expect regarding the condition of the bottom of the sailboat.  Hurricane Katrina was in August of 2005 and the previous owners did not know when it had last been hauled out, but knew it was before Hurricane Katrina.  Nirvana was then wheeled into its spot and placed on four brackets for support.  It's amazing how four little (and very rusty) brackets hold up a large, heavy sailboat.  However, it's the weight of the sailboat that assures it's not going anywhere.

As you can see in the above picture, the keel was pretty scratched up.  We assume that this was damage from Hurricane Katrina, and the keel must have been rubbing up against a piling or something.  Luckily this is not difficult to repair while the sailboat is out of the water.  There will be many other repairs on the bottom and hull of the boat that we'll be taking care of in the next week or two, all of them minor.

I couldn't wait to get off of work Thursday to see Nirvana "on the hard".  It was so exciting, and I wish I could have sailed with Ken.  I was grateful that he took a lot of pictures.  On Friday I only worked half a day and headed straight to the boatyard.  Ken had been sanding the bottom of the sailboat, which is really grueling.  Not only is the sander hard on the back and shoulders, but the amount of "dust" created when sanding really makes it difficult.  Ken wore a face mask, but his sunglasses did little to keep the dust out of his eyes.  I wanted to be of some help, so I started sanding some of the interior wood.  However, the sandpaper for the interior wasn't working very well so I didn't get too far.  Later that evening we bought some goggles and a respirator for Ken, as well as a different type of sandpaper for the interior.

On Saturday I started sanding the sailboat propeller, shaft, and the part that holds the shaft to the bottom of the sailboat (I don't know what that is called).  Before I started sanding the shaft, Ken removed the two anodes from the shaft for replacement.  It appeared that there were three anodes, but one was missing.  We were very happy to see that the shaft, propeller and anodes still seemed in pretty good shape.   Anodes are placed on the sailboat shaft to prevent corrosion due to electrolysis.  Instead of the sailboat shaft and propeller drawing attention, the anodes do since they are a weaker metal (so I'm told). By the end of the day the sailboat shaft and propeller looked smooth and in great shape.  However, we are going to remove the two-blade propeller and replace it with a three-blade propeller.  The two-blade props are desired for racing, but we prefer a three-blade prop for more control.  So, we'll be putting the two-blade prop on E-bay soon for resale and hopefully make enough for its replacement.

While I was sanding the sailboat propeller and shaft, Ken was busy sanding the bottom of the sailboat again.   Ken was really getting sore and tired after 2 1/2 days of sanding.  Sanding the bottom of the sailboat is definitely the most challenging part of this project.  Sanding the hull of the sailboat is not near as difficult, nor is painting the bottom and hull of the sailboat.  Those things take patience, but not near as much stamina.  We'll be glad when this stage of the project is over.

The picture below is our "neighbor" Don and his good friend. Don has been working on his sailboat in the boatyard for about 2 months.  He sanded his sailboat down to the gelcoat and is now past the "really hard work".  He just finished the fiberglass repair and epoxy application. They've provided a lot of advice and great support!

On Sunday Ken and I headed back to the boatyard.  Ken needed a break from sanding and wanted to remove the filler from around the part that holds the shaft and propeller at the bottom of the sailboat.  This part (don't know the name) was slightly loose and needs to be rebedded.  Ken easily removed the filler and was able to expose the bolts.  He then went inside the boat to locate and tighten the bolts.  However, it appears that these bolts are located underneath the gas tank.  So, before the bolts can be tightened the gas tank needs to be moved out of the way as well as some kitchen drawers.  Such is the life of sailboat renovation! 

Needless to say, Ken was ready for a break since he'll be sanding most of the upcoming week.  So, we accepted our friend's invitation to go sailing on his sailboat.  We met our friend, Ted, around noon and sailed Lake Pontchartrain for the day.  It was a well needed, and deserved, break.  This week, more sanding and other various projects that Ken will be completing.  Unfortunately, I'll be at work and will not be able to help during the upcoming weekdays.  We're hoping that Ken will be able to find some "hired help" in the next day or two.  Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-life Cruising!


Sandee said...

Wow, you guys are really putting in some very hard work. We've not done any of this kind of work on our boat. They pull in and do all the work for us. I applaud you both for being able to do this.

You call them anodes and we call them zincs. Same function I suppose.

Have a terrific day and don't work too hard. :)

Pineapple Girl said...

Sounds great guy! Good luck with your projects. We too have found no project on the boat is ever as simple as it seemed--like fiding out the bolts are under the gas tank!

Cheryl I think that is the "strut" that attaches the prop shaft to the boat. We had to have the shaft and strut replaced on our catalina 320 (at the prior owner's expense) when we bought it as he did not maintain the zincs (anodes).

Neophyte Cruiser said...

It sounds like you're well on your way to becoming seasoned old-salts. Maintenance is one of those things that allows you to become more familiar with your boat, which is a real necessity if you're going cruising. Good luck to you and keep up the good work!

laura said...

Maintaining a boat is a never ending job! Even though our boat is young (1995) there is something that always needs to be done!!! And our electrician (who's replacing our batteries) is currently stuck in Ireland due to the volcano activity over Iceland!

Travis and Maggie said...

I know exactly the muscles that hurt following a bottom job. We too do all the work ourselves, and that overhead sanding hurts! I'm surprised no one was wearing the tyvex suits. They're hot and sweaty, but when you're done, you emerge from them like from a sauna, refreshed but exhausted. Well maybe sauna wasn't the best metaphor. They do keep you clean, as that antifouling paint tends to dig into your pores, and keep you blue-green for days.

Windtraveler said...

WOW!! And you think *we're* working hard!! Nice job - you guys are going to learn SO much about your boat! This is great - keep up the good work!!

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