Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spray Painting Our Deck

Finally getting the smooth sections of our deck (those without non-skid on them) spray painted with gelcoat. The gelcoat on the entire boat is still the original from when the boat as built 20 years ago, and we had a lot of sections on the deck where the gelcoat had worn off so badly that the fiberglass was exposed.

With all the repairs that Alex completed such as the jib sail track, the steps, the bow and the forestay chain plate area in the last few months, it made sense to finally get the deck spray painted with a fresh coat of gelcoat.

We'd normally do the job ourselves, but because we don't own a spray gun, Alex hired a local guy to do the job. We also considered other means of applying the gelcoat (paintbrush or roller), but previous experiences suggest that it never looks very good when brushed or rolled on... unless you're prepared to do LOTS of sanding afterwards.

Since I'm not on the ground, I'm handing this post over to Alex


Would love to do the entire deck (including the non-skid areas which actually constitute most of the deck anyway), but have yet to find a way of properly preparing a non-skid surface for re-spray ... as far as I'm aware its pretty much impossible without completely removing the old non-skid completely and starting from scratch - something I'm definitely not looking at doing! So for the time being we put up with chalky gelcoat that leaves your feet white when you walk on it.

The preparation:

The original area of gelcoat (where it had simply worn off) were sanded with 80grit, then 120grit sandpaper. Lots of small (pinhole sized) cavities & voids in the fiberglass were filled with a polyester based filler & also sanded. Finally the areas not to be painted were masked off with plastic & masking tape.

The areas (such as the step, the jib track, the forestay chainplate area & the front of the boat) that I had repaired with epoxy (I do all my repairs in epoxy as I don't like polyester), were challenging as there's a lot of controversy as to whether gelcoat will adhere properly (long term) to epoxy. In the end I decided not to risk applying the gelcoat directly to the epoxy repairs, but to spray on a gelcoat primer 1st. Only time will tell if this was the right move?

After spraying the white primer, small holes/voids became more apparent & these too were filled (with the same polyester filler paste) & sanded carefully (so as not to sand the primer off), before the final gelcoat application.

We used Duratec (also referred to as High-Gloss) in the final layer of gelcoat - it was pushed heavily on us to use, but in hindsight, I would not use it again unless I was re-spraying the whole boat. It does make the gelcoat come out glossier, and has other benefits ... but for small repair areas it does not make sense - especially when the rest of the surrounding gelcoat is 20 yrs old. Besides, its costs almost 4 times what the gelcoat costs!

The deck covered in plastic to protect the areas that are not supposed to be painted
You can see the areas that need to be repainted

The job:
Spraying the jib sail track with primer
Spraying the forestay chainplate area with primer
Spraying the step with primer
Spraying the front of the boat with primer
After spraying the primer & filling the now-visible holes/voids, the surface had to be sanded down before applying the gelcoat
The step gets gelcoat
The forestay chainplate area with gelcoat
The front gets sprayed with gelcoat

The outcome:

What we used: Locally available Gelcoat, Duratec, Hot Shot polyester filler, lots of Acetone, lots of 1" & 1.5" masking tape, plastic, 80, 120, 220 grit dry sandpaper, 220 & 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper, rags, MEKP & Tack Free (to ensure the gelcoat dries hard & does not remain "sticky". [Duratec does this also, so you either use one or the other - not both]

Time taken: 7 working days - with most of the time taken up by preparation (of course). Actual spraying of all areas took less than a full day.

Lessons Learnt: Agree on EVERYTHING up front with the local tradespeople. Seems everyone (no matter how bad their work) will come recommended by someone. Don't believe what you hear! Definitely don't believe what the trades-person tells you ... they all claim to be experts & know exactly what they are doing - in reality, this is almost never the case. Supervise everything that they do as they will cut corners you didn't even imagine existed. 😀

Now what to do about our non-skid deck? It definitely needs a good scrub!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW

Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

  • I'm still playing catch up with our posts! {two months behind} 😀. It's kinda hard to write a blog with a full time job. The last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is.. sit in front of the computer again. So I try to work on it on weekends but it's funny how weekends fly by so quickly.. four weekends go by and {poof} it's a month!
  • February, was a month of festivities. Chinese New Year fell on the 16th this year, just 2 days after Valentine's day! We bid farewell to the year of the Rooster, and welcomed the year of the Dog! With so much to prepare for the New Year (cooking & cleaning), we almost forgot about Valentine's day, not that we really celebrate it much anyway.
  • Grateful to be home this year. One of the things I enjoy most about Chinese New Year is the cooking and eating of Chai, a vegetarian dish made with napa cabbage, beancurd, ginko nuts, black fungus, different types of mushrooms, etc. We make this every year! My grandma's recipe is the BEST! It's really delicious and very healthy too! 
  • On the other side of the world, Alex has been busy with more boat projects.  
  • He re-sealed the hatches in the saloon, sanded and grinded more of the bow, repaired the section where the trampoline meets the deck and worked on the hawse pipe. Scroll down to see photos below.
  • It's been 5 month's since I've been back and I was trying to think of some of the pros and cons of living back in the city. Here are some that came to mind. Pros - close proximity to family & friends, hot showers, hardly any mosquito bites. Cons - not eating as healthy, had food poisoning and caught a cough that lasted for weeks! 
  • If I had to come up with some pros and cons for Alex being alone in Trinidad. I'd say.. Pros - lots of freedom, no slave driver to nag at him or argue with. Cons - no 😇 to hand him tools, cook & clean, and do the laundry! :-)
  • On the entertainment front, while Alex was watching The X-Files (Season 1-5), I was busy watching 3rd Rock from the Sun (Season 4-6), The Heirs (Korean TV series) and Doctors (another Korean TV series). I figured, now that I'm back in Asia, I might as well jump onto the Korean drama bandwagon! 😄 

Check out our posts this month:

Re-sealing the Saloon Hatches

Re-sealed the hatches in the saloon
After sanding the 2 access holes, Alex applied epoxy bog - read our January post
Sanded, grinded and repaired the section where the trampoline meets the deck
Repairs on the hawse pipe
Mum's famous mouth-watering crispy crackling pork belly
Yee Sang/Yusheng - only available during Chinese New Year, another favourite of mine
And of course here are the ingredients for the Chai dish I love 😋

Till next month. Thank you for reading!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Re-sealing the Saloon Hatches

Here are some photos when Alex re-sealed the hatches in the saloon. 

The hatch removed (view from inside)
The hatch removed (view from outside)
Balsa core
About a centimeter of balse core removed all around
Plastic container taped to the ceiling to catch the balsa core
Sanded and filled the cavity with epoxy bog - to prevent water from leaking into the balsa core
He also epoxied a 3mm PVC board so that the hatch is raised and thus less likely for water to seep in
A close up of epoxy bog fill & PVC board
All sanded and ready for sikaflex
Old sikaflex cleaned from the hatch
The hatch is sikaflexed in
All done!

Note: Alex re-sealed the hatch on the port side in February and the one on the starboard side in May! Bit by bit.. we'll get there! 😎

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW

Here's a quick summary on what we were up to this month.

  • Happy New Year! Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and wonderful 2018! 🎉 {in reality this post is a couple of months late}
  • It's been a busy month for us. While I have been busy juggling between my new job and sorting out some personal stuff; Alex has been busy working on the long list of boat projects and has made a lot more progress than he did last month! {yay}
  • He finally replaced the cracked mixing elbow on the engine. Unfortunately, the one we got from US was not the right one, even though we checked with the salesperson prior to purchasing it. Nothing new, as a result, we purchased a couple of new hoses because the inlet on the mixing elbow did not align to the outlet on the heat exchange. Things we do to make it work. 
  • Several months ago, after we re-bedded the shroud chain plates & re-attached the shrouds, we noticed, as we were tightening the shrouds, that the middle port shroud would not tension whatsoever above the spreader. For some reason, it seemed to have slipped up through the spreader clamp on the end of the spreader when we loosened the shrouds, but then got jammed & refused to slip back into place. Check out our 'Spreader Maintenance' post to see more photos!  
  • Last September, Alex started the Fuel Tank Project. The one where we had to remove an entire wall in the main port cabin to gain access to it and added an inspection port to clean the sludge out. The project was put on hold for a while as he needed parts for his fuel polishing system which he finally picked up in the US last December. Take a look at some of the connectors below. Apparently it's not as easy as it looks!
  • He also sanded the bow, where we made two access holes to get access to the forestay chain plate area we had to repair & reinforce in Richard's Bay, South Africa 5 years ago. The access holes were sealed up of course, but left visible... just in case we had to open them up & revisit the repair done on the wood supporting the chain plate. Many years later, the repair still looks very strong 🙏, so he finally decided it was time to seal the whole area permanently. More updates on this later.
  • It's good to see the progress on Raptor. Although still far from being ready to launch.
  • As for me, getting back into the the rat race after two years is rather challenging. I am trying my very best to keep my head above the water and doing my best to stay positive. If you see me frown, turn me upside down! 😆 
  • Oh, and on 23rd January, after almost 3 years on the hard in PowerBoats, we had all the stands for the boat replaced (in 2 hours). The blocks of wood we were on had too much moisture (beginning to rot a little) and had lots of ants. So we got them replaced to be safe! Scroll down below to see our new stands.

Check out our posts this month:

A much longer hose needed as the inlet on the mixing elbow did not align to the outlet on the heat exchanger
2 ladders attached
The cause of many sleepless nights
Sanded - the two access holes we made in Richard's Bay, South Africa
Raptor is raised by the trailer to replace the stands
Our new stands!

Thanks for reading. Till next month!

Photo credits: Alex

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Spreader Maintenance

If you read our previous posts, you might be aware that after we resealed our shroud chain plates & replaced all the bolts securing them, the middle shroud on the port side was no longer taut above the spreader. It appeared to be stuck in the the spreader clamp on the end of the spreader. Alex goes up to investigate and do some maintenance work.

Alex up on the mast
His idea to attach 2 ladders together to reach the spreader
Does not look very secure to me
Look at the base! What do you think?
A rope tied around the shrouds to keep them from slipping off the end of the spreader
Spreader clamp
A close up of the spreader clamp which was removed for cleaning
The top spreader (before cleaning)
I feel slightly nauseous just looking at the photo. It's a good thing Alex has no fear of heights
Spreader clamp
Before and After photos of the spreader end
The top spreader (after cleaning)

Good work! Which do you think is scarier, working at this height over land or water?

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