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.
There’s been a lot of boat work going on Astraea’s decks and not a lot of blogging. Here’s the latest scoop:
All the wood is off and the decks have been faired smooth!
At the end of the project I’ll tell more about the whole process, but removing your own decks is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.
This is a repost of a previous article because Sully’s stateroom was featured in Decorating Aboard on the Cruising World website!
Since Sully was born, he’s been sleeping in our cabin in a Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper that we borrowed from our friends Trent and Brittany. It fit perfectly by our bed, so when he woke up in the middle of the night it was easy to scoop him up and nurse him, or just reach over and rock him back to sleep.
He slept in that fine for a while, but in the back of my mind I was always thinking about what to do when he outgrew it. He’s really strong, and at about 2 months, he started arching his back and kicking his legs in a way that made me scared he would wiggle out. So we started to buckle him in at night. That was annoying. I’d get him to sleep and put him in and then I’d have to dig under his butt searching for the straps. When he was around 4 months he would go to sleep in it fine, but after some feedings in the middle of the night he wouldn’t go back to sleep in it. He ended up in our bed a lot. Then a few weeks ago, I put him in it, went to brush my teeth and when I came back he was sitting up!
So after that Sully was in our bed every night. It was kind of nice because I didn’t have to get out of bed anymore to nurse him, but I was uncomfortable, and so was Nate who slept pressed against the wall because he was afraid of squishing him. Our bed is the length of a queen, but about as wide as a full. Too small to co-sleep!
The plan was to make the lower bunk in the v-berth Sully’s new bed. All I had to do was sew a lee cloth that would make it like a giant Pack n Play crib. I got a lot of ideas from Charlotte’s blog postabout making her daughter Cora’s first berth on s/v Rebel Heart. I liked the idea to use the Phifertex mesh because it’s really strong and you can see through it.
The first thing we did was install a post in the center of the v-berth for the lee cloth to attach to. Then I needed to choose fabric. I went to the local upholstery shop, UFO, to get the Phifertex mesh, but they didn’t have the color I wanted so I had to place an order through Sailrite. While waiting for the mesh to arrive I picked out striped fabric for the edges from Joann Fabrics. Once I had all the fabric I headed up to the boaters lounge to cut and start sewing. I cut and ironed the fabric to create a pocket binding so that the Phifertex would go all the way to the edge. I wanted the edges to be really strong for the grommets that would go along the edges. I’m so proud of my little $80 Shark sewing machine for making it through four layers of fabric and the Phifertex!
After the sewing was done it was time to add the grommets along the sides and bottom.
We bought bronze pad eyes and cleats from the marine hardware store. It was time to start the installation!
Then he screwed the pad eyes and cleats into the wall and post. The final result is below. We used thin line to secure the the grommets to the pad eyes and then tightened the line with the cleat.
Once we had it installed, I decided that it wasn’t going to work the way I had planned in my head. I thought that when I needed to get Sully out I’d undo the cleat outside the room and push the lee cloth down and out of the way. But when he’s crying, unwrapping the line from the cleat can take a little too long, and the line is not quite long enough so there was a tangled mess that made it difficult to get him out.
To make it easier to get Sully in and out now while he still can’t sit up on his own, we only strung the line through the bottom two grommets and let the top half of the lee cloth hang in front. Now it’s the perfect height to get him in and out easily. We can make it higher when he starts to sit up on his own and starts pulling himself to standing.
It’s been about a week since we’ve had the bed set up and it’s working for now. As Sully grows and changes we can fix the lee cloth to meet our needs.
My next sewing project is making a fitted mattress protector and sheets for his bed. After that I’ll make another lee cloth for the top bunk so Sully can’t climb up there and escape! Stay tuned…
Mother’s Day we had some pictures taken around the marina by Ashley Duquette Photography. Enjoy.
All work and no play makes Nate a dull boy. Lots of work has been completed on the teak deck removal, but not fun. Today after work I filled some more screw holes with epoxy, completely finishing all the areas we’d removed teak from! The weather was hot so Natalie and I took Sully up to the pool for a swim call.
First we put him in his life jacked and let him float. Now I know if he were to ever fall in the water that I’d immediately want to jump in after him because in the pool his face kept going in the water. We’ll let him practice with the life jacket more to see how he gets better at swimming with it.
Last week Natalie and I began the daunting task of removing our teak decks. So far we’ve had lots of assistance from our friends Eric and Jaime and our dock neighbor, Jay. We’ve learned some things about how to make the process easier too.
#1: Just pry the old stuff out and don’t try to save it
The teak had a sticky tar-like bedding compound on the back so the wood is destined for the garbage can. Just use a pry bar and mallet to get it up and don’t try to save whole boards or unscrew every screw that holds it in.
#2: Use power tools
The Fein Multimaster is great for scraping the leftover teak bedding compound off the decks, an electric screwdriver makes it quicker and easier to remove screws without worrying about prying the old screws out of the deck and possibly delaminating the deck. Use a shop vacuum to suck up all the debris from the deck and screw holes
#3: Use a paint scraper to remove the extra teak bedding compound
I first tried only using the Fein Multimaster with a scraper blade to remove the excess bedding compound and dirt. It didn’t remove enough to go straight to the acetone cleanup stage. I tried cleaning up with acetone and Scotch Brite scrubbing pads, but that was a whole lot of work. Next I tried using a paint stripping wheel, but that scraped the teak bedding compound in to the deck gelcoat. The winning combination is using a manual paint scraper and occasionally a putty knife to get down to the deck. Then the acetone bath is easy.