We are off on our adventure! We left Thursday from Philly and now we are tied to a mooring in Georgetown, MD. However, we never got to blog about what we did in the boat yard in Riverside, NJ for three whole weeks, because we were too busy binge watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and that’s what we chose to do with the free wifi there.
Lucky you, now you get to find out (the highlights of) what we did… and I will post more about our first week at sea the next time we get a good signal!
We started by going to Riverside from Philly, and packing a shop vac, two bikes, a bike trailer, a ladder, and several other tools in the V-berth. It was kind of like a clown car.
Then we were hauled out of the water and put on jacks next to her big sister Merry, a Bristol Channel Cutter.
Shortly we realized that our ladder was too small, so we had to make a ladder. The bike trailer was the only option for hauling those 10-foot 2×4’s from Lowe’s. That’s an experience I don’t need to have again.
After checking her out to find any unanticipated problems to be solved, we got to work scrubbing all of the grey wood on deck to prepare it for painting. This hadn’t been done in three years, so I will just say that we killed a lot of spiders doing it, and any good luck you want to send our way would be welcome.
Then we set to work peeling and scraping off all the old varnish, paint, and adhesive on the wood.
Then we sanded all the wood and taped off all the nooks and crannies…THEN we finally put on a coat of primer! And started to paint!
The paint went much slower than anticipated, in part because it kept raining. One day between coats, the rain created water bubbles in the tape and also cemented the tape to the boat in some places, so we had to remove all of that ugly stuff and re-tape the whole thing.
We also painted the whale stripe black. This had its share of difficulties too, because paint is incredibly frustrating. But Kasy taught me a cool skill–the technique of roll and tip, where one person rolls on the paint to get it in an even layer, and the other person immediately follows by brushing out the paint with a wide brush. If done right, it should look like one long, even brushstroke.
Fine, I will give you a break from paint. There were a lot of interesting problems with the rudder that needed to be solved. One problem included reattaching the auxiliary rudder for the self-steering gear. If you’ve read our earlier posts, this smaller rudder was cracked off by ice in January, and in August Kasy scuba dived to the bottom of the marina and miraculously found it.
So after drying it out and epoxying the cracks, the rudder was bolted back into place and Kasy wrapped it with fiberglass to secure it.
Another rudder issue was that the bearings on the rudder and the auxiliary rudder for the self-steering gear were worn and ovalized, so when you tried to rotate either of them, there was a lot of play.
The coolest thing about fixing this is that you can MAKE A BEARING using epoxy and graphite powder. What you have to do is mix up a bunch of epoxy with graphite, squeeze it in and around where the bearing needs to go, and then put a coating of wax on whatever needs to turn inside the bearing (to keep the epoxy from sticking to it). Then, you squish the waxed thing inside the hole with the epoxy and let it set overnight. Since graphite is a natural lubricant, the epoxy will cure to make a tight seal, but the graphite lubricates the bearing and allows movement.
Not sure if any of that made sense, but it’s so useful I had to explain. Hopefully the pictures below will give you more context.
The one issue with this method is that sometimes there are gaps in the epoxy when it cures, so those have to be refilled and you have to wait another day until the bearing is complete. But it’s worth it because it’s so cheap and easy!
Back to paint real quick: We painted the rudder cheeks, that white part on the upper part of the rudder. I included this mostly because I like the phrase “rudder cheeks.”
That puts us late in the Riverside Marina journey, and the last thing we did was complete the bottom paint. We evened out our old water line and taped it off, and then spent a whole day sanding the hull and the rudder and putting a coat of thick viscous black bottom paint on.
Then we were really tired of working in the boatyard so we got some cheap Jersey water ice…. making Kasy a happy camper.
The transformation is sort of complete… even though it’s never complete… as they say… So then she was ready for water! We were launched and then headed back to Philly for two days to say our byes and head south.
Ah, Philly… land where the Phillies mascot attends neighborhood barbecues and rides bike share bikes. We will miss you.
Those are real pictures taken by me, by the way.
Last Philly sunset. There will be much more soon, as we will be marooned in Georgetown for a few days waiting for hurricane Joaquin to blow over.