Damp Weekend

The Weekend. Groan.

The most recent coat of primer is still sort of gummy when I try to sand it.  Too much humidity in the air and rain on the way tomorrow.  It’s possible to smooth but painfully slow and requires a lot of sandpaper.  I have abandoned the idea that I will get to paint the name on while on dry land and will have to wait till I’m in the Berkeley Marina slip I’m temporarily renting for June.

I have focused instead on the underwater portion of the boat.  Cree gave me his blessing that I’ve sanded enough now down there.  I have glassed up the old shaft hole, where the speedometer whirlygig (that was broken) used to be, and 25 opened up weeping blisters from the size of a fingertip to 3″ in diameter.  I’m told 25 is nothing for a blister count.

Blisters, for non-boaties, are places where the layers of fiberglass have been contaminated with water, mud, or even critters who move in and set up house.  As the water spreads through the fibers and they become mushy the layers separate or de-laminate.  That worm that Richard found in the bottom of the keel the first day was trying to start some kind of intentional community down there.

I thought blisters would look like, well, blisters on a person.  But mine were not bubbles.  As I sanded during the archeological findings portion of the haul out, some areas became white faster than others and left polka dots.  When poked with a sharp object the dots wept icky black fluid or rudely squirted juice with surprising force. I dug them out till the water was gone and used a tiny steel brush dremel attachment to make the hole ready for epoxy resin fill.  So Saturday was all about dentistry and filling cavities.  This won’t hurt a bit…

Sunday morning, today, was just cruelly cold.  I wore a dust mask so my breathing would warm my face and I took dance breaks to the Buggles and Yes tapes on my Walkman.  Yup, I grew up in the 80’s, ok?

I was addressing the cranky boot stripe problem.  Ultimately I have only myself to please and if I think the boot strip is nice, that’s all that matters.  But it’s tiresome to have people point out “wrongness” even if it’s just “differentness.” And it’s only eye level while in the air.  Half of this thing will be in the water after all.

Cree sketched the best practice measurement method on a piece of scratch paper and away I went to get myself a level tool with a sliding ruler attachment.  I had, as per instruction, protected the original boot stripe bottom line (there were three that got successively higher) with blue painting tape.  I knew how much higher I wanted it from the algae line that existed before I sanded the hull clean.  I was conscious that I was giving the original stripe painter the benefit of the doubt that he made it straight and level.  A new straight line drawn 2.5 inches above the original became my new bottom line.

By holding a second ruler perpendicular to the vertical ruler and centering the level bubble, I could mark up from the new bottom line to get a correct new boot stripe.  Imagine making an L with your fingers and placing thumb and pointer against a curved object.  The boot strip has to be higher because the boat is a good deal heavier than when it came from Lyndsey Plastics in 1967 – and she’s only sitting lower in the water with every jar of peanut butter I put on board.

Normally it would take two people to hold the tools and mark the lines but I found I could accurately measure by using a second thin metal ruler, and pressing the top corner of the sharp ruler into the soft primer.  Then it was a game of follow the dots.  The line gets wider at the bow and stern as the curve gets more extreme.

Just to give me nightmares on Saturday I got a subtotal of my bill in which I owed $1400.  I later realized that they thought I’ve been here for 37 days instead of 12 because I came in early to fill out paperwork and that date was over a month ago.  My real final bill will be more like $900 if I can get launched this week.  I brought all of my supplies and will be returning some of it that I didn’t use.

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