Thursday, July 26, 2018


We've been waiting and waiting and waiting for the saildrives.  Long story....

We were tracking them on the United Airlines cargo website.  They got stuck at Washington-Dulles airport for a couple of days for no apparent reason.

Then they arrived Tuesday to RDU, but didn't get positioned where we could pick them up.

Finally on Wednesday they were at the cargo terminal and we thought we could go pick them up with a visit to US Customs for paperwork and to pay our duty tax.  So off to RDU we drove.

The US Customs visit didn't go well - although I was extremely polite, the officers were rude and curt.  It appears that any items over $2500 being imported require a certified broker to clear customs.  No one had told me that.....

So, after a million phone calls sitting in the pickup at RDU, I finally found a broker in NY that could handle the paperwork for me (it's just ONE piece of paper that Customs stamps!!).   We drove home and emailed the broker the paperwork he needed along with a "Power of Attorney" so that he could act in our place.   $500 and a couple of hours later, he sent us the ONE piece of paper from Customs that we needed to be able to pick up the saildrives.

Yay!!  We drove back to the air cargo location....

And a few minutes later we have the long awaited boat parts!

Getting late, we'll paint these babies with special epoxy paint tomorrow!

And just so you'll remember what our old ones look like, haha....

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New industrial sewing machine

I need to replace the clear vinyl in our boat "enclosure".  If you remember, we had these made in Texas before we left for the Bahamas.  But I have been very displeased with the visibility thru the clear vinyl.  The upholsterer used poor quality vinyl - but we didn't have time to argue with him. 

So, I am going to attempt to take them apart and simply copy and replace the vinyl.    The panels are made of Sunbrella material and are very tough.

Kindof hard to see, but I've used a seam ripper to carefully remove the clear panel.

Here I'm using the old panel to cut a pattern for the new vinyl.  

And here is the vinyl ready to be cut.   It's 30 gauge Regalite O'Sea brand if you're wondering.  A very clear and heavy duty vinyl made for marine applications..

And here's my new machine!   Love it so far. 

The key is the "walking foot".  The feed mechanism "walks" and grabs the heavy fabric and "pulls" it thru with each stitch.  This allows you to sew much heavy fabrics and with multiple layers.

But the story pauses for now because there was an imperfection in the clear vinyl.  They are sending me a new roll, so I'll get back to this in a few days.....

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bottom paint finished!

I know it doesn't look much different than the last photo, but now both hulls and rudders are finished!

Now it's a trip to RDU to pick up our saildrives and clear them thru customs tomorrow.   They arrive on a United Airlines flight from London-Heathrow this afternoon, but won't be available for pickup until in the morning. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Vacuum sander

I meant to show you how Duane rigged our vacuum sander, so I'll back up and do that now that we're finished!

I've said before, the bottom paint is nasty stuff.  It's toxic (to keep the growth off the boat) and it sands off in a extremely fine dust.  The boat yard requires that you contain the dust - nobody wants YOUR dust to land on THEIR boat!!

You can buy a rather expensive vacuum sander outfit, but we opted to use the items we already have.

Duane took some old Shop Vac hose that we had laying around in the hangar, maybe left over from a vacuum cleaner we had in the 1980's.....  he took a piece of pvc pipe and ground a "slot" in it to fit on our little orbital sander.   A little hard to see in the fuzzy photo, but he tightened a tie wrap around the pipe to keep in in place.

The fitting mates up with the tabs on the sander "output" port.

And to capture all the fine dust, we bought new filters and high efficiency shop vac collection bags.

And the setup worked amazingly well! 

In the end, we sanded for 8 days - I'd say the sander was running 5-6 hours a day.

We used:

Countless 60 and 80 grit sanding discs
100 rubber gloves
6 vacuum cleaner bags
3 vacuum cleaner filters
3 - yes 3 -  Black and Decker orbital sanders
2 Shop Vacuum cleaners

Thursday, July 19, 2018

One hull getting close to finished bottom paint

We've gotten pretty close to finishing the starboard hull.

The "before" shot.  All the loose and damaged bottom paint removed.

Duane sanding....with goggles, gloves and respirator  of course!  (sander is hooked to the vacuum to reduce any nasty, toxic dust).

 After washing and wiping with denatured alcohol,  first coat of marine epoxy primer to fill any large voids left by the sanding.

Second coat of epoxy primer.

First coat of bottom paint - just a few hundred dollars for that first gallon!! 

And the second gallon makes it almost done!  Just a few areas that we need to "touch up" and this hull will be finished.   Now on to hull number 2!!

Replacing some striping

Strangely, a section of the pin-striping on Sojourn is peeling.  It's just on the starboard side and just the striping behind the chainplate.  We have no idea why it's doing this.  The rest of the striping is fine.

You can see the difference between one side and the other here.

So I got the heat gun out and started the removal process.  Only burned my finger once, haha.

All removed.  I had to use denatured alcohol and scrubby pad to remove the residue.

With Duane's help holding the tape straight, it was pretty easy to put back in place.

Every day, we ride the ferry from/to the boat.

Last night we were in front so it was more fun.

And sometimes the wind is just right - these seagulls just spread their wings and hovered over the boat, dipping and diving for the whole 20 minutes.  They never seemed to flap their wings.  Neat. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

More bottom sanding/scraping

Just more tedious bottom sanding/scraping.  We're down to the original "barrier coat" paint in some areas now.  We'll get this smoothed and then paint with a epoxy barrier coat first before adding the normal blue bottom paint that will help keep things from "growing" on the bottom.

Duane has completely stripped the rudders.

Of course, all the little imperfections need to be addressed.  So an epoxy is spread to fill any of the imperfections (the white areas).   After sanding a barrier coat will be applied, then the normal blue bottom paint.  What fun!!!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cleaning up

Duane took the saildrives out.....they're pretty sad looking!

It was hot....and to add insult, a huge thunderstorm boiled up and stuck around for hours.  So we had to have the hatches closed....

I spent most of the day cleaning/degreasing the engine compartments.  It's an ugly job.  But perfect timing since you can't reach most of this area when it's filled with the diesel engine and transmission.

A before shot.

And an after shot.  I know, it still looks messy.  But trust me, a huge amount of grime was removed!  This area is hidden under the berths, so it doesn't have to be pretty.  But non-greasy is a plus!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Engines removed!

The mechanics came to the boat this morning and got busy right away.

First, they taped down cardboard on the floors so they wouldn't make a mess as they were coming/going.

One of the engines ready for removal.

The mechanics determined that the engine would fit thru the large hatch above the berths. 

So they removed the hatch cover and prepped the hole with protective material.

The fork lift in place to hoist the engine.

Engine  1 out!   Repeat on the other side.

We'll clean up the engine compartments and await the arrival of our new saildrives from England.   We'll have to drive to RDU cargo terminal and pick them up as soon as they clear customs.  (You can see the saildrive transmission still mounted in this photo.  Duane will remove them and prep for reinstallation of the new ones.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Boat yard blues

And not the paint kind of blues....although there's that too, of course!

For those of you not familiar, here's the setup of our engine/propeller...  The "green part" is the Volvo engine that is being replaced for the emissions recall.  The grey  part to the left of the engine is the transmission.   The green and grey parts are all "inside the boat".   Below the black rubber seal is the "saildrive" and propeller.  These are obviously in the water outside the boat hull.   

We saw some corrosion on the edges of the saildrives when we had the boat out of the water last year, but we didn't have a lot of time to investigate.   It seemed minor at the time and we replaced the sacrificial zincs that are supposed to corrode away before the precious saildrives.  (We think the hard paint was hiding alot of the damage last year).

But now we've been scraping and sanding and it's obvious that the salt water has done a huge amount of damage, so they need to be replaced.

I didn't take a good "before" photo, but here's one of our saildrives just out of the water a couple of days ago.   There is some corrosion, but we still thought we'd be able to treat it and repaint with special paint.

But that's not going to happen.....after we started really trying to get down to bare metal, it was obvious that the corrosion was just too much.  (propeller removed).

So, we're getting new saildrives - this will likely delay us for several weeks if not more.  Plenty of time to do all those other chores we're planning!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bottom paint

We've been working hard on the boat for the past couple of days.....lots and lots and lots of sanding.....

Since the bottom gets painted every couple of years, a buildup of paint is inevitable.  So, we're trying to remove some of it...unfortunately there are areas that are "flaking" because of the buildup.  So, we're having to sand these areas as smooth as we can. 

It's a messy, tedious process....2 full sanding days and we're about 1/2 way done. 

But every night, we time our exit so that we can catch the ferry to Minnesott!  So  we always have little relaxing sojourn at the end of the day!