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Posts Tagged ‘boat maintenance’

I’ve been drawing a lot of attention on the dock in Anacortes, Wash., lately. Who wouldn’t while they’re stripping down to bareness in preparation for a healthy dousing of oil? Whoa! What?

You heard me right. Sundown’s varnish, especially on the cap rails, bulwarks and bowsprit, needs some serious attention to keep her close to bristol. We began sanding those areas readying to add more layers of shiny finish, but have changed our minds. We don’t want to be brightwork slaves, constantly taking time away from sailing and other adventures to keep up with varnishing, nor can we afford to hire anyone to do it for us. So, we’ve decided to strip off all the varnish and go with an oil finish”—Penofin Marine Exterior Oil Wood Finish, to be exact. It will need to be applied often for the first few months and then annually after that, but there’s no sanding between coats and the application process isn’t picky like varnish. Also, if we change our minds again and just can’t live without gleaming teak, we can always reapply layers upon layers of glossy glaze.

 

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Protecting the ocean

However, I must admit, after stripping Sundown bare while in the Colorado prairie dog field, I was lulled into believing that it was a one-and-done job. Never did I imagine I’d be stripping on the dock. But after trying to keep up with varnish for almost three years, an oil finish seems to make sense. We hope this switch pays off in more sailing time in the long run.

Stripping the underside of the rail

Fall 2011 – Stripping Sundown in the prairie dog field

How does all this fit into our summer cruising plans? Well, I’ll be cruising the streets of town on two wheels more than sailing. (By the way, I have a new-to-me Specialized Dolce named Sug—short for Sugar. My Diamond Back Ascent, Alice, was functional, but Sug allows me to travel farther faster and more efficiently.) Clay will be sailing or rowing Lil’ John, the new 9′ nesting punt he built. When we do go out on Sundown for short jaunts, we’ll be sticking to the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and maybe up to Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia (B.C.). Our scaled-back cruising plans for this summer aren’t all due to Sundown needing attention, however.

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When the wind dies, stroke…stroke.

My job duties are changing a bit (expanding) which will require me to travel back and forth to Fort Collins, Colo., once a month. I can’t be deep in the remote B.C. wilderness during this transition phase. And the company Clay works for, Anacortes Marine Group, just landed a huge (really huge, like the biggest!) job all reliant on his expert woodworking skills. He’ll be transforming a 65-foot Nordland to look and feel like a classic wooden yacht. He’s really excited about this project and feels it will be a signature piece of work.

So, while we won’t be traveling thousands of miles this summer, we’ll still be enjoying life afloat.

 

 

 

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The last five weeks or so have been non-stop action! First, we sailed (or motored when there wasn’t much wind) from northern British Columbia to Bellingham, Wash., in nine days—two of those days we sat out weather on the hook. So in seven travel days we did about 375 miles. When you go five to six knots an hour, that’s 50-60 miles a day, and 10- to 12-hour days. Whew!

After securing Sundown on Squalicum Harbor’s dock, we took a shuttle to Seattle, flew to Denver and then drove to Fort Collins with one of our sons. We’ll take the traffic in San Juan Channel in July over that on Interstate 25 any day!

The next three weeks was filled with lots of family, friends and fun. We cuddled with our dog; paddled, biked, ran and swam; cooked for dozens of people multiple times; celebrated birthdays; ate at our favorite restaurant, Los Tarascos; worked (yes, that “W” word); and more! While we went home rather emergently, everything/everyone ended up being fine.

Now we’re back in Washington. The first few days here I was on deadline and cranked out several magazine articles and columns. While being home afforded me time for face-to-face meetings and working at Unite for Literacy‘s office with my colleagues, all of which are very valuable, I didn’t get much time to write. So once we arrived in Bham, my keyboard almost ignited I was typing so fast!
On Monday, we had Sundown hauled out, pressure washed and blocked at Seaview North. She sat on the hard in the boatyard for a couple of days while we performed some routine maintenance, such as:
  • Replacing the cutlass bearing on the propellor
  • Making sure the engine was aligned properly (it was)
  • Replacing a couple zincs
  • Re-painting her hull and boot stripe
  • Buffing her topsides
  • Polishing all of her stainless steel rigging, and finally
  • Cleaning the deck and windows.
The pressure wash peeled up the “N” on one side of Sundown’s transom. Clay called  Graphic Partners in Loveland, the company who made our port of hail lettering, and they are shipping another set of letters to us ASAP and free of charge! Thank you, Shavon!
And while we were in Fort Collins, Dave from UK Sailmakers made small adjustments to our mainsail and genoa. He’s also serving as our postbox here in Bellingham. We appreciate him very much!
So, Sundown’s shiny, ready to sail and we’re off to Anacortes, Wash., to meet up with our friends Bob and Sandy. They just bought a new boat and want Clay to do some work on it. We like that town and love “Sob and Bandy,” so it will be a good time. We’re hoping Clay can get more work while there to help pay off the extra expense of our trip home and the boatyard bill. Time will tell.

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CAUTION: This blog post sounds a bit like an advertisement, but I mean every word of it!

Can something be clean and still green? Absolutely! As long as the green isn’t mold. (more…)

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alaskaorbust

What we hope to see in Alaska!

After returning from the Seattle area where we sold and shipped some unused sailing gear that came with Sundown but we decided not to use, we hung out in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for over a week. While there, we accomplished a lot. (more…)

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Fancy fabric

One of the first things we did when we arrived in Bellingham in September was to seek out a sailmaker. We wanted to have the sails which came with Sundown (her original ones!) inspected. Right in Squalicum Harbor Marina, UK Sails has a shop and a very knowledgeable and experienced sailmaker, David O’Connor. (more…)

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Practical Sailor (PS) is a great publication that “takes the guesswork out of boat & gear buying with its bold, independent, product-test reports just for serious sailors.” Clay contacted PS to tell them about our experience getting our Webasto heater registered for warranty. They ran our story in December. It’s a tale of woe and how great customer service turned that around. Enjoy!

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So, it has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. To say the least, Kim and I have been busy…still.

While Kim went to Colorado to take care of business and go to Molly and Matt’s wedding (which I am so sorry I missed, Molly and Matt!)cockpit I kept making forward progress on Sundown. The paint job on the mast and booms was finished and all the hardware needed to be put back on. We replaced all the wiring, lights and halyards. We also inspected and replaced all the standing rigging. New radar, anometer and antennae were installed.

The morning Kim came home from Colorado, the boatyard guys and I stepped the mast. It was a pretty emotional morning for me. I was so anxious! Not only was this the second time I was Sundown’s helm, but Kim wasn’t to help or witness this moment. The whole thing went smooth as silk, however. Seaview North Boatyard and its crew don’t step masts like Mark Grindle and I did in the mid 80s, but their process worked.

It was great to have Kim back after being gone for so long! She and I put the sails on and hoisted them one at a time to work out the bugs in attachment and sheeting. We then did a pre-sail check, pulled the dock lines and left.

It’s hard to describe how you feel after four years of working on a project like Sundown in a prairie dog field in Randy and Andrea’s storage yard in Fort Collins (A Unique Storage…it certainly was while Sundown was there), to motoring out of port with no schedule or exact place to be. We knew where we were going, however, because we had been there before–Sucia Island. Setting off to Sucia gave us confidence and we felt a little more secure because we had sailed there twice before. It was familiar and an easy first stop. We picked up a mooring and enjoyed our amazing boat. Rather than getting the outboard out and attached to Lightfoot (our dinghy), we chose to row it to go and pay our state park fee on the island.

There were two boats in the harbor near us, both from Utah! One of them was a Tayana 37, a very nice blue water boat like ours with very common roots (thanks Bob Perry!).

So the journey has begun. We are roughing it every day. Heater, propane stove, teak furniture, marble counter tops and beautiful ports of call.

The other night as we were anchored in Friday Harbor and snuggled up in bed watching a DVD–The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock–we determined that the wind and the way it was blowing Sundown required us to move our anchorage. Hmmm, never had to do this with the land house, but you gotta do what you gotta do. At 11pm we hoisted anchor and moved a tad farther from shore in the rain and wind. The task taught us some lessons and we are already using the information at our current anchorage in Deer Harbor where we’re still roughing it.

Kim is making chile rellanos and Spanish rice for dinner. We’re listening to Alison Krauss (thanks for the introduction to her, Daryl and Karen Lawyer). Tomorrow we go sailing!

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