Boat Maintenance Living Aboard a Boat

Sum It Up Sunday: Making Progress . . . Sort Of

Sunday, March 17, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Removing old varnish with the heat gun.

At the end of last season, David put together a lengthy to-do list for the boat.  Some of the jobs, like replacing the windlass which died last season, are important.  Others, like re-gluing the trash cabinet in the galley, not so much.  But we’d like to complete them all . . . eventually. 

Since returning to Poulsbo last month, we’ve been busy cleaning the boat and attacking as much of the list as the weather – which continues to be wet, windy and cold – will allow.  Progress is slow.  But we are progressing, which is always good news.

Our first priority turned out to be the frig, which refused to run after we got back from Kansas.  It took several days, but it turned out well and continues to function properly (more on that in a later blog), so we were able to focus our energies on other projects.  For me, that meant finally unpacking.  And for David, that meant cleaning the decks.

With a bit of elbow grease, oxalic acid and a couple of days’ work, our teak decks are no longer green and have been prepped to be oiled.  Of course, the gallon of oil we had on hand wasn’t the right stuff (long story short, the company went out of business, was sold off, and the new product line isn’t the same as the old), so that job’s on hold until we can source another product we like just as much.  In the meantime, I attacked the bright work and removed the old varnish with a heat gun while David lightly sanded down the wood and added a couple of coats of varnish to protect the teak until we can get the decks resealed.

The bimini and dodger canvas needed attention, so David removed them from their frames and cleaned the inside to get rid of all the mold and mildew.  They were custom made for the boat down in New Zealand in a much warmer climate, so the fit is quite tight here.  When David was putting the bimini back together, the stitching ripped and has to be re-sewn.  We don’t have a sewing machine aboard, so we’ll just add that to the list for later as well.

On to the windlass.  Over the course of the past several days, David removed the old windlass, removed the teak mounting block (breaking it in the process), sourced a new piece of one inch of hardwood (which, due to a shortage of teak, is now mahogany), plugged holes in the deck, and is reconfiguring the layout for the new windlass.  In a perfect world, it would be a simple matter of removing one (without a sawzall . . . again, more on that in another blog) and installing the other.  But we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live on a boat and it’s turning out to be another one of those jobs. 

They say misery loves company, and there’s plenty of it to go around along the docks.  Funnily enough, we’re not the only ones installing a new windlass this year – two other boats are currently under taking the task.  The biggest issue for all of us seems to be tools.  Even though we have a very good selection aboard, David’s been struggling to find the right equipment for the job – a sawzall, a disk sander and a drill press.  Every time he seems close to sourcing what he needs, the rug is pulled out from underneath him and he’s back to square one. 

But we’re getting there, slowly but surely.  And I’m optimistic that everything will get done before we drop our lines some time next month.  The challenge is to not lose our minds in the process!

Getting ready to install the new windlass.

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