Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Boat Locker Lids

Our boat locker lids. Probably the least of our worries, but since we had a bit of gelcoat left. Alex decided to fix em' up!

We have 4 large and 2 small ones on the front deck, 3 in the cockpit and another 2 on the lazarettes.

Larger ones on the deck. Before - this one actually doesn't look too bad
Removing the foam strip - leaves a very stubborn sticky residue
After cleaning the sticky stuff off
After sanding
The two smaller deck locker lids
Fiberglass cut out
Polyester resin applied (Alex hates using polyester resin normally, but if he uses epoxy, the Gelcoat may have adherence issues unless he uses an expensive primer)
After 1st coat of gelcoat
Fiberglass on, Gelcoat on
Drying under the boat
The battery compartment lid
The 2 cockpit locker lids

All done and ready to be returned to active duty... once he buys & applies some more foam for the lip seal {that is} - not an easy task here in Trinidad!

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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 (and of course, we weren't).

Since I'm not there to witness what went down, 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? Probably a good scrub!

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Monday, April 30, 2018

April 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW

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

  • Alex was busy with more boat projects as usual. It doesn't seem to end, does it? But he found some time to make me a surprise gift! 💗
  • This month he attached a wooden strip onto the saloon roof, where he plans to attach the new bimini windscreen. The old screen was made of soft vinyl, but always had problems with the zips, or the snaps where it connected to the roof ... or the vinyl itself getting hard in the sun & becoming less & less transparent. The plan is to make the new windscreen out of clear 5mm acrylic (perspex) ... but this will be a challenge as the windscreen needs to be able to be opened & closed (depending on the weather), and its a curved screen - trickier to do with perspex than with vinyl ... lets see how it turns out?
  • Also, we're finally getting the smooth section of our deck spray painted with gelcoat. You might've noticed in some of our photos where the gelcoat had worn off so badly that the fiberglass was exposed. Check out our 'Spray Painting Our Deck' post.
  • Back in Asia, I surprised my mum with tickets to Seoul for her 68th birthday! ;) It was our second mother & daughter trip, and her first time in Korea. We had 4 wonderful days - 2 of which were warm and sunny, while the other 2 were cold and rainy. Check the blog later for a short post of our trip.
  • On the 29th, I attended my first Rugby Sevens in Singapore! Thank you Ennie for the invite! :) The final game between Fiji & Australia was exhilarating. 21-22 (Fiji-Aus) with less than 0:34 secs remaining, it all happened so quickly, tackle here, tackle there, run, run, run.. Fiji scores a try and wins the game! Sensational! Nothing is impossible... Nothing is over until the final whistle. 👏
  • On the entertainment front, I completed two korean tv series Goblin and Flower Boy Ramen Shop, while Alex watched The Gifted (Season 1), Star Trek Discovery (Season 1), Lost in Space (Season 1), Humans (Season 1-2) and Lore (Season 1).

Check out our posts this month:

>> Check it out! <<
Here's the wooden strip on the saloon roof
Getting spray painted
Changdeokgung Palace
Final game between Fiji & Australia

Till next month. Thank you for reading! :)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Side Project: A Present For Me!

Sometime in April, I received a text.
A surprise he said, that left me perplexed.
Oh my, oh my, a present for me!
Can you guess, what it could be?

It folds and holds, and never grows old.
But if you leave it alone, it may grow mold.
How lovely it is, and made of teak.
So strong and sturdy, it is not weak.

Useful indoors and outdoors as well.
Can you believe, my name it does spell!
Rain or shine, it will never feel blue.
What could this be, do you have a clue?

Thank you so much for making this surprise gift for me! 💗 ;)

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW

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

  • 3 years ago, on March 2nd, Raptor was hauled out in Power Boats, a boatyard in Trinidad of Trinidad & Tobago. She's been sitting at that very same spot since then. Click here to see us on google maps!
  • Of course a lot has happened in the last 1,095 days (read our past posts); loads of boat projects (repairs/maintenance/upgrades) completed and some still underway. 
  • The light at the end of the tunnel does seem a little closer and maybe even slightly brighter, but of course we were very hopeful to get her ship-shape several Caribbean seasons ago..
  • Our blog has, as a result, been more about boat repairs than travel. Guess it's all part of our journey.. How many more months to go?
  • Well, at least four more till my contract ends in August, and there's no chance of launching before that! Unless Alex finishes all the boat projects and finds some friendly neighbours in the boatyard or crew to launch? :)
  • This month, Alex worked on the step at the front deck. It turned out to be the cause of a mysterious leak in the port cabins. He removed it and re-enforced it with wooden ribs and fiberglass and properly re-sealed the edges. Let's hope there'll be no more leaks.
  • He also attended Donald Stollmeyer's farewell dinner. After 37 years of being the Managing Director at Power Boats, Don is finally going to set off on his own sailing adventure (later this year we're told). Very happy for him. Read his story here.
  • On the entertainment front, I continued my k-drama fever with Emergency Couple and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, while Alex watched 6 seasons of X-Files (Season 6-11)!

Step removed by carefully cutting around the edge with an oscillating cutter (which operates a little like hair clippers, but with just 1 vibrating blade)
Added ribs to re-enforce the step
The sides properly sealed with more foam & epoxy, and several layers of fiberglass on the wood at the back also
The old & fragile step - not 100% sure, but suspect the water was leaking right through the step itself, via cracks in the gelcoat (the whole step flexed a lot when it was stepped on)
Re-enforced with plywood & a layer of fiberglass on either side of it
The new and very strong step ... the rib was added after laminating on the plywood to help keep its shape, as we found the step's wall was a little bowed inwards at the centre of the step - possibly due to the laminating he did, or just because it had bowed when it was thin & fragile &  adding fiberglass just fixed it in that bowed position. Either way, the rib helped to force-straighten it back up.
Re-sealed the step with epoxy bog & another 2 layers of fiberglass all around
Held down with lots of C-clamps till it set ... Alex was hoping its weight alone would hold it down, but he was wrong!
Close up of the C-clamps over long strips of wood both top & bottom
All sanded and ready to be painted

Thank you for reading! :-)

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