Monday, September 29, 2014

We finally get to see her beautiful bare bottom

The cast-iron keel of our Columbia 43 needed to be sandblasted, so I had Roberto do the whole hull.
As week three of the haulout comes to a close we are finally ready to do some painting. The cast-iron keel of our Columbia was in bad shape and really need to be sandblasted to clean out the corrosion before we faired and sealed it with epoxy filler. Since we were setting up for sandblasting anyway, we decided to have the yard's painter, Roberto, sandblast the entire bottom.

There was about five layers of old bottom paint on the boat. Another one would not be a good thing. Furthermore, the current bottom paint was ablative and I wanted a hard (non-ablative) bottom paint. You can put ablative over hard, but not the other way around. After struggling to remove all those bottom paint layers from just the boot stripe, I was not going to sand the whole bottom. The whole sandblasting operation was almost a thousand bucks, but worth it. There's nothing like a beautiful bare bottom.

For the last several days my wife and I have been sanding and filling, sanding and filling, rinse and repeat. We finally finished with the keel and the bottom and she looks great. Yesterday we gave the boat a good scrub to get rid of the last black dust from the sandblasting. Today was rainy so all we did was clean some more and tape off for the barrier coats. If the weather improves tomorrow we will paint!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hauled out!

Yes, the boat is that big and my wife is that cute.
Friday, Sept. 5, was a historic day for Oceanus. It was the first time she left the dock under her own power since 2005. That was the year she was trucked up from California. Jason and I took her up river to the Yaquina River Boatyard for a long overdue haulout.

The engine and new prop performed well and we motored into the slipway with no drama. It was a great comfort having Jason along. He knows the engine well and was constantly checking on things. He's also great company and a very competent hand.

There were no big surprises when the boat came out of the water -- another blessing. She looks good for a middle-aged beauty. No blisters, although her iron keel needs a lot of work.
Sanding bottom paint off the bootstripe. I know barnacles sometimes attach themselves to the boot, but bottom paint should remain on a boat's bottom. Use a scrub brush now an then.  
Here's what we've done so far:

  • Pressure washed the bottom,
  • Sanded the entire topsides with 80 and 150 grit,
  • Removed three unused plastic through hulls and a vent in the transom area,
  • Filled and fiberglassed the remaining holes,
  • Pulled her 60-foot mast,
  • Sanded and epoxied the spreaders,
  • Filled about a dozen small (less than dime sized) dings. 
Unless you've hauled out a boat this size you might think we haven't done much. If you think that you are WRONG! This big boat is kicking our butts big time. We come home so tired we can't even talk. We shower the dust off our sore bodies and fall into bed. The next morning we do it again. But we are happy with the progress and excited for the big payoff next week when she gets painted with Awlgrip paint.
We sanded down to the original gelcoat cove and bootstripes. The cheap plastic throughhulls in the stern are history too.
One exciting thing for me is sanding off all the stupid stripes someone painted on most likely in the 1990s. Once we got rid of them and sanded the bottom paint off the bootstripe, the beauty of the hull came alive. We plan on painting her like she was originally, but with black boot and cove stripes, instead of navy blue.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's been a tough few weeks for the Oceanus crew

We've had a tough month and a half. We completely moved out of our house, which meant giving away, selling or throwing away a lifetime's worth of junk. That was harder than we anticipated. We also moved (mostly) on to Oceanus, which my wife made look easy. Amazingly she found places for our pared down belongings and about three months of food and still had space left over. The sale of our house has been a real roller coaster. The closing date has changed so many times I lost track. In the middle of all this Virginia needed a root canal.
Oceanus's new prop.
Consequently, Virginia and I felt like throwing up most of the time.

Of course a lot of good things happened during those weeks as well. We could not have survived without a lot of help from friends, family and neighbors. Our real estate agent, Carl, provided much support and guidance through, what he admits, is one of the worst transactions he's ever handled in his long career. Our neighbors were great help, especially my woodworking buddy Ray. Our kids came with a moving van and filled it with furniture and other housewares we no longer wanted, but they did. Neighbor Salanda kept us in delicious fresh tomato sandwiches after Virginia cleaned out the kitchen. My Turkish friend, Senar, stripped a teak door for the head in Oceanus. He also reminded me that all Abrahamic religions teach the virtue of patience. Thanks, Senar, I needed that.

Dave and Joi Hess once again came through for us in a pinch. They allowed us to live in their little guest house while Oceanus is torn apart during moving and hauled out. The boatyard doesn't allow people to live aboard their boats while their boats are hauled out.

We also received a huge amount of help on the boat. First and foremost was Oceanus's previous owner Jason. He helped me get the engine running and pulled me out of more tight spots than I can name in the past few weeks. He rebuilt the engine when he owned it, but there were still some issues with the raw water pump and the propeller, among other things. He helped me sort through those and was jolly on the spot when I ran into trouble. I can't express how amazing he has been. We couldn't have done it without you Jason! Having cute Ellie around was a bonus.

Lance, the diver, and John of West Coast Propeller deserve special mention too. Lance came back three different times to get the old prop off Oceanus and install the new one. He was a trooper and way more patient than we had a right to expect. We finally found the perfect prop at West Coast Propeller for Oceanus and her Perkins 4.108 diesel engine. It was used, but after John, the owner, trued it up it looked and sounded new. Each of her three blades rang like a bell with the same pitch.

When we look back at this time it is the many kind and helpful people we will remember, not the sore backs and frustration.