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2013-06-07

Cleaning the fleet

Astute readers will notice a new photo on the "title box" of this blog. Instead of the rather dated photo of Alchemy's blotchy bottom paint hovering over the parking lot that was her home for too many seasons, a more positive view of a hosed-down and very nearly sparkling vessel tied to her dock has replaced it. This is a more positive and representative (and recent) shot that makes a nice change.


Rail, rail against the dying of the light-coloured Cetol.
Now, I am clearly not obsessed with appearances; I am more function over form. Nonetheless, this spring has revealed the necessity to apply spit and polish in the form of Cetol, sealant and power washing to the fleet.

Very little external teak...just the way I like to varnish, which is to say "not much and not often"

The interior of Valiente got a lot of teak oiling and general tidying, plus the varnishing of what external teak exists. I appreciate teak in boats, but I actually prefer little or none on the outside. Steel and plastic are frankly better to keep the elements on the outside than is wood, and teak has become problematic from the point of view of sustainability and black marketeering.

Clearly, I'm not willing to do more than a cursory job. I just don't care enough to do more than make it more weather- and UV-proof
Nonetheless, the boat owner faces a stark choice: Either get used to masking tape and foam brushes (on perhaps an annual basis in the brutally sunny tropics), or "let it go gray" with the application of precisely nothing. The trouble is in the transition: External teak, unless stripped, oiled and left alone, looks pretty crappy even to an indifferent skipper such as myself during the time of transition to "attractively weathered".

Err...grubby.
Alchemy has very little wood on the outside, and I would like to see none at all in time.  What it had was several types of grime of the sort that collects in the corners when you are on the hard next to a busy airport. Again, mea culpa on the exterior junk and grime on deck: my interests are in movement and electrons and plumbing, oh, my. Being 12 feet above the earth, I have simply pushed off the snow and hoped it took the filth with it. This not being an option on a dock, out came ye olde pressure washer, soap, brushes and allied tools and products of sailorly virtue.

After: The dirt and goo sluiced gratifyingly from the scuppers, revealing a couple of rust spots not associated with grinder waste. IGNORE THE BADLY COILED HOSE

The inside of the pilothouse roof has a couple of leaks, and all its insulation and stylish cherrywood battens are currently out for wire run routing and because having the roof rapidly removable facilitates getting engines, tankage and batteries down in the boat. So tarps kept the water out, the light lower and some of the heat off. But I heard through official channels that the sight of my tarps gave offence, so we did some fixes along with the vajazzling of the deck and topsides.

Before: Apparently, the sight of tarps annoys the crackers-and-white-wine subset of boat club members. 
 At some point, I will renew the anti-skid (see some spilled paint) and will paint out some rust flecks left from various grinding jobs. There are some actual areas of rust on the deck that need attention, and suggest that the otherwise durable paintjob on deck is reaching the end of its life. So the "function" side of my nature may yet make Alchemy prettier than I require before we leave.
Still to come: a new "dome shaped" cover for the fluxgate compass currently under a bucket. The rubber snake keeps the duck poop down. Note the resealed top hatches. I still need to get some new rubber gasketing.
A reasonably thorough clean-up took Mrs. Alchemy and myself only a couple of hours of labour to make a visible difference. I guess this periodic activity will be the case going forward, as I no longer find myself in the splendid isolation of being at the far end of the parking lot and must consider my hermit-like labours at an end. At least the hermit part, certainly not the labour part. The upside is that little failures of the coatings are far more visible, and while a mirror finish ain't gonna happen, I accept that the care of a steel boat means a regular process of touching up to avoid that which never sleeps.

Yep, that's a brace of top-end Polyform fenders scored on sale over the winter. Much more "expedition-boaty" than the usual recycled Taylors.
Yikes...the saloon hatches are sitting on teak frames! NOOOOOOO!!!!

2 comments:

The Ceol Mors said...

I am with you on your opinion of exterior teak. Love to see it on other boats, hate to have to deal with it on mine!

Rhys said...

I know when I see a lovely varnish job that I've met a wealthy retiree with OCD.