We attended the Sea Scouts Safety at Sea day with the U. S. Coast Guard at Coast Guard Sector San Diego last weekend with our Sea Scout Ship, 2013. The event was jam packed with fun activities including entering a life raft in a survival suit, starting and using dewatering pumps, Vessel Safety Checks, distress calls and Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) tour, Jayhawk helicopter tour, pipe patching, lighting off flares and knot tying.
Last weekend we cruising to Glorietta Bay with our buddy boats s/v Coconutz and s/v Sequoya. We rafted up and had an enjoyable weekend hanging out on the hook.
After we left Jacksonville, FL in a rental car we headed to Natalie’s Grandma and Grandpa Ferring’s in Colombus, GA.
After a 3 day visit we hit the road towards Natalie’s Mom’s in Tampa, FL.
The day after Christmas we packed up Vicky’s car with a big box full of Sully’s new toys, and made our way to the airport for our flight to San Diego. We made it back safely and it felt good to be aboard Astraea again because it’s the place we call home.
We’ve finally moved to Chula Vista! We’ve been saying we’re going to move down to Chula Vista Marina since last summer and we’ve done it. Our storage lockers at Pier 32 are cleaned out, the dock box is empty. It’s amazing how much boat project stuff I’ve accumulated here over the past year and a half. Our neighbor Steve helped us run our car down to Chula Vista and shuttle me back to the boat to get underway. He said since we’re keeping our mail at Pier 32 and going to be living at different marinas for our next 10 months we should consider January first the first day we’ve been cruising.
We had a great stay at Pier 32. We met lots of awesome people, had lots of fun with our neighbors and hope to make more friends as we continue cruising.
We took two military Space Available (Space A) flights to the east coast to visit family for the holidays. We found the flight information posted 72 hours before time on the Facebook pages for the North Island and Naval Station Norfolk air terminals. It’s a great way for military personnel, active and retired, to travel when there are empty seats on military flights. We didn’t plan on Space A as our primary means of transportation but as a way to save money. We bought tickets on Southwest for a week after my leave started to give us a good chance to get on a free flight because of their cancelation policy. You can cancel your ticket with Southwest and keep the credit for a year, so we’ll use Southwest later for a return flight from somewhere.
It took a lot of planning and preparation, but we found some things out. It ended up being cheaper to rent a car one way from Jacksonville to Tampa than taking the train for both of us. It was also cheaper to rent a car by the day for the first few days and then return that car and rent again for the trip to Tampa instead of renting the car one way for 5 days.
All in all, Space A is a good way to travel if you have a loose travel plans and you’re willing to make lots of last minute arrangements.
Sunday Natalie and I took Astraea out for a shakedown sail around the south bay. We anchored outside Sweetwater Channel and rafted up with our neighbor boat, JAYGAR. The winds were light, but with Natalie at the helm, Sully sleeping below and me trimming the sails we made a max speed of 6.5 knots over ground. It was great to be underway again.
The decks are almost wrapped up, but that’s not the project I’m talking about today. Today I’m talking about a small boat project that makes life easier aboard and took just a few minutes to complete. Heck, the hardest part was getting my tools out!
We’ve been using suction cup toothbrush holders for a while. Occasionally they’d fall off the bulkhead in the head and fall in to the sink in port and I think they’ll fall off in any kind of heavy seas. I removed the suction cup that was holding them to the wall and screwed the toothbrush holders on to the cabinet next to the sink where there were two preexisting holes. Sully’s little toothbrush is above the faucets so we can still use them easily. An easy project that made life aboard better!
Astraea finally has a new look. After two coats of Interlux Prekote primer and two coats of Interlux Brightside paint. We did one coat each day. The primer covered the entire deck and the paint went down just around the deck edges. In between coats we sanded with 220 grit and cleaned up with Interlux 333 brushing liquid.
We rolled most of the area and only brushed in the areas behind hardware and corners. We didnt roll and tip because the results from just rolling were really good, there were very few bubbles. While working on the deck preparation and painting we wore clean socks to keep dirt off the decks.
The day after our last coat of paint we taped the area around the deck edges and hardware we didn’t want nonskid to go. It took us about 8 man hours to tape the entire deck. We made all the edges the same width of a roll of blue 3M painters tape. The straight edges were easy to tape, just put the tape against the edge and roll the tape. Natalie used a compass to draw some easy curves, but it didn’t work for everything. She got creative and used kitchen tongs holding a pencil for curves around the deck house and hatches where a compass didn’t work. We over taped and traced the width of a roll of tape then cut away the excess using an exacto knife and peeled up the tape.
We sanded the deck with 100 grit sandpaper and cleaned up the deck twice with rags wetted with Industrial Maintenance Coating Thinner. The directions for the Durabak nonskid calls for Xylene, but Xylene isn’t available in California. Industrial Maintenance Coating Thinner is OK to use in place of Xylene.
Finally we were ready roll the nonskid! I opened the first can and mixed it up with our electric drill and a paint mixer and poured it in to a paint pan. I did some test rolling on cardboard to get used to rolling the textured material before rolling on the boat. It took about an hour and a half to cover the decks. I took a break and then rolled the second coat.
That night after the Durabak dried for four hours we could walk on the nonskid and peel up the tape from the edges before it fully cured. The tape came up easily if the Durabak wasn’t too thick. We cleaned up areas where the tape tore with an exact knife. We had some issues with the tape pulling up the white paint underneath where it hadn’t dried completely because we applied the paint too thick. We will touch up those areas later when we finish priming and painting the cockpit locker covers.
We’re so excited that this project is almost finished! It’s been a long six months…now on to re-mounting all the hardware.
Today we cleaned the deck gwice with acetone and once with Inerlux 333 Brushing Liquid. The deck was nice and clean and ready to prime. We put Sully down for a nap and Natalie brushed around the edges and raised parts and I rolled the rest of the deck. I thinned the primer about 5% for the rolls but my measuring must not have been very precise, or my mixing wasn’t perfect because the first half of the primer on the starboard side of the boat is a thinner coatn than on the port side. Tomorrow we’ll sand and prime the decks again.
While we’re painting the boat we’re staying down the dock on our neighbor and good friend Bill’s boat. It’s awesome to stay in a marina with a lot of great neighbors.
Sorry for the long blog hiatus. A lot has happened off the boat since the last update. I was selected for Chief Petty Officer at work and went through 6 long weeks of training. I wasn’t able to make any progress on the boat during that time so I had some help from a coworker taping over the holes I drilled to mount deck hardware. I have a new perspective for work and it feels good to get away from leaving for work at 0400 and being back home by 2100 exhausted. It’s awesome to be back to work on the boat and return to my normal life.
All the decks have been faired and sanded. The toe rail has 8 coats of varnish and now we’re doing the finishing touches and are getting ready to roll primer and paint!
Then we’ll tape around the deck hardware and roll nonskid. I’m not sure if we’ll mount the deck hardware or just rough fit and tape. It will probably be easier to roll the nonskid with a rough fit and then remove the hardware than to roll around it.
I made a quick walkaround video of what the boat looks like now. We’re so close to being done and I can’t wait to get there!
One bad thing is the shore powered compressor for our fridge and freezer is on the fritz. I’ll try and work on it this weekend if we’re not rolling primer, paint or nonskid. Our priority is the paint so the fridge will just have to wait until later.