Sunday, December 9, 2012

Progress on other projects

Finishing the frame and panel, the fairing, sanding and painting inside was a huge milestone for us, but we've completed other projects along the way.

One end of our $320-a-pair 0000 battery cables.
One of the biggest projects on the boat is replacing all the wiring. Columbias of this era were known for the quality and strength of their hulls. The wiring and plumbing... not so much. Jason, the previous owner, stripped out all of the old plumbing and wiring. Luckily, we have a son-in-law who is not only an electrician, but his day-time job is wiring multi-million-dollar yachts for a boat builder in Washington. He recently came down for the third time to work on the boat. He pulled new tinned, marine-grade wires throughout the boat. He followed the American Boat & Yacht Council Standards on wring type, size and installation, which he gleefully quotes to me as we work together.

All of the 110-volt wiring is new and the outlets installed. He ran the battery cables ($320 for a black and a red) and pulled wires for the 12-volt lights. Still a lot to do, but real progress. Having all the new outlets within easy reach is sure handy as well.

On Deck
While the weather was nice I borrowed a friend's pressure washer and washed the deck and topsides of the boat. It made a big difference in her appearance and I like to think it helped forestall some cosmetic problems as well.

My wife and I then worked hard restoring and refinishing the teak. I replaced several missing teak plugs and sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more. We used Cetol as the finish and it looks pretty good. We got on the minimum number of recommended coats a day or two before the rains descended.

I rebuilt the main hatch replacing the soggy plywood panel with a poly-acrylic one to let more light in. It makes a difference and is lighter in weight too. I also refinished the storm hood the hatch slides into.

Below decks I finished installing hatch covers for storage lockers and put finger holes in the ones Jason made.

Jason's remodel features excellent engine access.
One fuel tank in the background
Jason removed the original fuel and water tanks. He made two 50-gallon water tanks in place, which is the best and most space-efficient option. He also bought two 55-gallon fuel tanks, but hadn't gotten around to installing them. I'm part of the way through that process. It is tricky work in very tight quarters but in the end it will be a good installation.

My wife and I spent several evenings watching Netflix and polishing seven very-corroded brass cabin lights. It looked like they hadn't been polished for 41 years. After trying every commercial preparation we could get our hands on, we found that white vinegar, salt and lots of elbow grease worked the best. We plan on retrofitting them with LED lights and new switches.

The stove was in a sorry state. It looked so bad we didn't know whether to keep it or look for a replacement. We decided to clean it before making the final decision. It cleaned up pretty good. I think we'll keep it -- so long as it cooks as good as it looks.

Our $49 microwave.
OK, so "installing" the microwave entailed nothing more than screwing it under the cabinet in the galley using plastic pipe-hanging straps. Oh, ya, I also had to plug it in and set the clock. The thing is, it looks good, is out of the way, and we now can eat hot meals on the boat and stay out of fast-food joints on the days we work on the boat.

There are a lot of little jobs that I can't even remember, like installing a door or cleaning and painting the chain locker, but what do you expect from a couple of kids with no adult supervision.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Very white indeed

Virginia finishes painting the stateroom.
A few weeks ago my wife and I reached a major milestone: the inside of the boat is painted. (Well, mostly: we still need to do the head and a few other odds and ends.) Seems like it shouldn't be such a big deal, I mean, it's only a 43-foot boat. As anyone knows who does any kind of painting, it's all in the preparation. In Oceanus's case, lots of preparation.

Before we could paint we had to finish the faux frame and panel (I guess that's what you would call it). All of the bulkheads needed the treatment and it looks terrific, even if I say so myself. Jason, the previous owner, did a great job on some of the bulkheads. We tried our best to match his high standards.


...after. This is the hanging locker in the master stateroom.

After applying the frame and panel, I had to sand and fill and sand and fill ad nauseum. I thought I would never get done. I used marine epoxy with a sanding filler. It was the best stuff for the job, but the mixing and application was tedious at best, down right frustrating on some days. The overhead was the toughest to get right. There were places where bulkheads were removed and fairing that was a chore. There were also a lot of holes that needed patching. Fairing in the new bulkheads was the toughest part by far.

Then I had to sand. Sand until my arms felt like they would fall off. Sand until it was all I could see when I closed my eyes at night. The good news is I have a tool-triggered vacuum attached to my random-orbit sander so I didn't have to eat my own dust. I would never do a job like this without that vacuum. Never!

As I would finish preping one section, my wife would paint it. First with an undercoat and then with two, three or sometimes as many as four coats of enamel. The high-gloss enamel showed every defect, which meant more filling and sanding, but, oh, does it look good! The shine tricks your eyes into thinking the space is larger than it is. And the bright white paint makes the inside cheery, even on overcast days. (We get a lot of those in the Northwet.) I've never heard someone complain that the inside of a boat was too bright. Have you?

Now the painting is done, we are on to more fun things, like woodworking. Stay tuned.