Tuesday, December 18, 2007

sail logo design

I think everyone who buys a sailboat wants to personalize it in some way, besides just changing the boats' name. I guess I'm no different. The design that was on the original mainsail of the Laguna Windrose 18 looked like this:

I have the original mainsail that came with my boat, and it has this design on it. Or did have this design on it. All it has now is a brown, sticky 'leftover adhesive' outline of the design above. At first, the plan was to simply paint the old logo back onto the mainsail. But after putting in all this work I've decided to go ahead and get new (or at least refurbished) sails for Wahoo. So then the question is do I leave it blank, paint the same old lame and dated Windrose design that was on the original sail, or redesign it and make it look cool? I like the idea of it looking cool and personal.

So taking the original logo and the windrose name and an actual windrose, I combined them to make this:

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The 'N' needs to be bigger. Still have some minor tweaking to do, but I like it much better than the original. I also like the idea of getting it as a tattoo. But I shall refrain, for now. :D

Monday, December 10, 2007

The keelson that wouldn't die

Okay, so that keelson didn't want to come out. All of the rotten part came out easily, but about half of the aft keelson is still in tact, and it's not cooperating. And because of it's location (between two berth supports) there is no way to get close enough to it to use heavy tools like a grinder to remove it. So I spent about half an hour with a hammer and chisel trying to chisel it out. Very slow going and it really twinged my back. Mom came up with the best idea so far for getting it out - cutting it up into small squares with the dremel to make the chiseling go quicker. Ugh. So I can just scrap that part about having the keelson out in one day. Ha!

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Also, I spoke prematurely when I said there was still one piece of good wood in the boat. When we removed the berth tops, revealing the bottoms of the main bulkhead, we poked with an icepick and found good wood there. I guess we never checked the other side, though. Well, we checked it yesterday. And there is a big spot along the bottom that is rotten. So it will have to be replaced. It had to come out anyway in order to replace the transverse support underneath it. The main bulkhead in Wahoo is actually two pieces, so I guess technically, one piece of wood in the boat is still good. :D

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Actually, that's not completely true. The berth supports appear to be okay as well. So that's three pieces of good wood. And I lost count on how many bad peices of wood. Who could count that high? :D

Also, while working on the keelson I noticed the missing cockpit support. When I got the boat there was nothing supporting the cockpit - the main bulkhead had been removed and I noticed no evidence of any support at all. I just didn't see it. Because it's not there.

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So for now, we're using some plywood pieces to support the cockpit.

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More later.

Monday, December 3, 2007

the funky keelson is just that

ffff funky, yo!

Got a lot of work done on Saturday (officially known as "boat work day"). Got almost all the sanding done for the forward section of the berth supports.

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Next up for the berth supports is a good cleaning with acetone and then one more go with some sandpaper, a final cleaning with acetone, and then our first big fiberglass project as we reinforce the bottom of the berths with new glass on both sides of each berth. We were going to glass in the new keel winch support first, but since that will have to be glassed in underneath the cockpit floor and therefore will have gravity affecting it the whole time, we decided it would be best to keep the first ever fiberglass project a simple one. And this one should be pretty simple. I'm stoked. I can't wait to start doing some real fiberglass repair. I mean, I have so much to do, someday I'm sure to be an expert on the subject. :D

While Mom finished up sanding on the berth supports, I began removal of the funky keelson with the dremel. After about 45 minutes and 5 heavy duty dremel cutting wheels, I had about 1/4 of it out.

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Still have to figure out how to remove the cockpit drain through-hull before I can remove the entire keelson as the cockpit drain runs right through the end of the keelson. It is plastic and isn't budging. I'm not sure if we are going to try and salvage it or just get a new one. It looks like you can just put a large plumbing wrench on it to take it off. I hope it's that simple. If it comes off easily, meaning without destroying it in the process, then we plan to reuse it. Either way, it must come out in order to remove and replace the keelson. I suspect the cockpit drain leaking is one factor in the poor condition of the keelson. The worst rot is where the cockpit drain is. So many places in my boat were stuffed with silicone and painted over when something leaked, that it will be very satisfying to reseal the cockpit drain myself. To know it's been done right. (I love when 'been' and 'done' are next to each other in a sentence "Man, we been done had Puff Daddy." is an especially fine example of this.

Removing the keelson itself was enlightening. The wood was black and actually wet to the touch in some places. Hmmm, we obviously needed to do this job. :D

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For those who don't know the keelson is a piece of wood that is fiberglassed into the bottom of the hull (on the inside) to provide structural support. After removing a bad section it became apparent that Wahoo's aft keelson (and most likely the one up front as well - more on that in a minute) had deteriorated to the point that it was basically nothing more than a hollow channel with some rotten wood inside. Not providing much structure there. :/ I'm now very happy just to have discovered the problem in the first place. I could have easily listened to what some people said and just fixed the few obvious problems and gone on about sailing it. Instead anytime I had any question at all I just picked up an icepick and soon the problem was revealed. And finally, I'm running out of places to poke. :)

Another interesting thing about the funky keelson is the thing that gave it the 'funky' name in the first place, the smell. The black pieces (in the pic above) smell almost like gasoline. I'm guessing the smell is whatever they treated the wood with (maybe gasoline?). And now that it's decomposing it's releasing the smell in a serious way. I had actually thought that maybe at some point a significant amount of gasoline was spilled in the boat. No, it's just the funky keelson. Can't wait to get that mofo out of my boat, man! Get some new, fresh wood and fiberglass in there. Yes, new and fresh sounds good!

Another interesting thing about that smell: In the V-berth there is a cutout in the top. You can lift the piece out, revealing the space underneath the v-berth. It's full of foam (for flotation) but has a strange, gasoline-like smell. As soon as I removed that piece from the aft keelson and smelled the petrol smell, I knew it was the same thing in the front. So now don't even have to remove the V-berth tops to know there is rotten wood there. Hell, I can smell it! And seriously, almost every piece of wood in the boat is rotten, so it's not like this is unexpected. And it's nice to know it's something I can remove and repair.

At some post in the not-too-distant future I hope to have finally revealed all that is in need of repair on Wahoo. Until then, I'll look like the Michelin man. Wahooooo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

the view that started it all

I stayed in a lovely house in St. John, USVI for a week in May of '06. Great view, eh?

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I have always loved boats and being on the water, but the thought of cruising on a sailboat never even crossed my mind. I mean, that's something rich people do and not something the middle class can afford, right? 2 years ago I would have thought my only options for a sailing future would be playing on the weekends in a Hobie Cat or Laser. But after a little research I realized it wasn't really an unobtainable goal at all. Plenty of people with less than me are out there doing it right now.

So, here I am a year and a half later, with my own little boat to learn on (which I haven't sailed yet but am fixing up to do just that) and a major plan in the works that will have me slowly getting rid of material things that I don't need, paying off my debt and building savings while slowly acquiring the skills necessary to live and cruise on a boat long-term.

Several seasoned sailors have told me recently that I'm on the right track. I must say, it's truly great to hear that from people you respect and who are living your dream right now. So, here's to being on the right track! :D

As for boat work, had a complete wash-out of a weekend last week. Upper 30's and lower 40's and non-stop rain all weekend...and trapped inside with puppies all wound up with too much nervous energy! This weekend the forecast looks good. The plan is to finish up on prep work for the berth supports and to remove the funky keelson. Am still not quite ready for the gallon or so of epoxy I'll need for all the interior stuff. That stuff is expensive. I wish they had after-Christmas sales on epoxy! :D

I also have a plan to go shoot some this weekend. I just got some much-needed cleaning accessories for my Nikon (well, actually they should arrive tomorrow). My D70s has dust on the sensor and I should be able to clean it safely now. It's a very nice camera (a major investment for me)and it makes me nervous to even think of touching that sensor, but it must be done. And I must learn to do it myself.

Cheers, world! See you on the flip side, yo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a gift from Wahoo

Spent a good portion of Saturday working on the boat. Mostly sanding and grinding. Had to wear the Michelin Man suits.

One thing is certain, this kind of work is much easier and more comfortable in cooler temperatures. Can you tell who is who? :)

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After much monotonous sanding, we finally got up the nerve (when almost everything you inspect needs replacing, you tend to want to put off the inspecting) to closely inspect the berth supports. They are the longest pieces of wood in the boat, running from the front of the berths to just shy of the transom. Well, close inspection revealed some surprises. For one, most of the wood itself is okay, just one bad spot several inches long at the bottom of the port side berth support where a weep hole was clogged and water collected. Along many spots the epoxy has deteriorated to some degree as there are places where the fillet at the bottom has become brittle. The wood itself sits above the hull a bit (I think they install pieces like this on top of a strip of foam to protect the hull, thus lifting it up a little) and when we sanded through the several coats of glass and epoxy the wood exposed was still good. So it looks like we just need to remove the few bad spots and repair, then sand and clean good and just reglass the berth supports.

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So this a huge gift that Wahoo has given us. The two longest pieces in the boat are still good! This obviously saves us money on wood and a lot of time that we would have had to spend removing and replacing the berth supports. So that's two major structural pieces of wood that are okay. That gives us hope for the front of the boat. Maybe it's just the v-berth top that needs replacing and not everything underneath it. Not sure though as the clogged drainhole (weephole) kept water trapped up by the transverse support (the piece the main bulkhead sits on top of). We know the transverse support is rotten, but hopefully everything else from there up is okay.

Thanks for the good wood, Wahoo! :D

i love my garage

While cleaning/organizing the garage, I noticed that the few bikes I still have in there work great for hanging things. :)

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Also found a nice area for my laptop (so we can rock out or watch tv), high up enough that I can't spill things (beer) on it, and also protected from any darts that might get deflected during a game of cricket. A dart into my laptop screen would be a bad thing.

I love having a place to work and throw darts. Just need to find that portable heater! It's going to get really cold this weekend, like 40's cold. And us small boat chicks lack insulation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

motors and lonely bicycles

Wahoo came with a nice outboard motor - a Mercury 5hp Four-stroke, long shaft. Besides the rigging that was replaced right before I purchased her, the outboard is the newest thing on the boat.

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Like most things pertaining to the boat, the previous owner didn't take very good care of the motor. Fuel was left in it for an extended period. So it will need to be serviced, but should be in good condition still as it is only a few years old. Yay!

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Not much else to report on the boat at this point. Just in the midst of deconstruction. Still have the berth supports to remove and then it will just be many hours of cutting, grinding and sanding to remove the old glass from the around the berths and the aft bulkhead. Once that is all done it's on to ordering wood and epoxy for the rebuild of the aft bulkhead, quarter berths and aft keelson. Then, it's on to the front of the boat, and all of that needs to be taken out and rebuilt as well.

Last weekend much time was spent cleaning and organizing the garage. Thankfully, a good bit of work on the boat can be done out of the boat. It's only 18 feet long and there is no standing headroom. You have to remove the hatch and slide the top back to stand up in the cabin, and right now the mast is resting above the hatch. So, there is no standing room while working in Wahoo. Having access to a nice work area over the winter will be key in getting a lot done. It was odd watching my 'bicycle shop' garage get converted into a regular workshop again. I still have a few bikes and bike stuff in there but not much. Poor, lonely bikes. No one rides them anymore. I miss them! Cycling was very good to me - riding gave me self-confidence and a healthy body. Cycling is really such a simple pleasure - just turning the pedals and watching the scenery whiz by was as much fun as anything! And I met some of my best friends and had some of the most fun times of my life on a bike. Once I heal up good I'll ride them again, but will probably never race again. I'll race Wahoo, though! :D And I have good reason to believe she is fast, like me. :)

Cheers world! Hope to see more of you soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wahoo's keel winch

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It's not original to the boat, and one of the few things the previous owner changed that is better than the original. Most of the "upgrades" the previous owner made were anything but upgrades. But this one rocks!

It's a worm-drive winch.

The pros:

There's only 2 moving parts, no clutches to wear out or slip, and like a braking winch, you just turn the handle and it moves in the proper direction, let go of the handle and it stops right there. It cannot freewheel or run-away and it doesn't take much force to turn the handle.

The cons - They are not fast, it takes a lot of cranks to raise or lower the keel.

But the best part of all is that it works! It doesn't need replacing! :D (high five)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

pieces and parts......and TOOLS!

Here's a shot of the port quarter berth and rear bulkhead after removal (snort, obviously!):

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And the starboard quarter berth, which was in much worse shape: (ha!)

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And all of this came out of the boat thanks to the new tools:

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The belle of the ball...

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I love this jigsaw! It's small....for small hands! :D

Monday, November 5, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007

2 hours in....


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and after 2 hours...

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Removed both quarter berth tops and the rear bulkhead. Next up are the berth supports.

I'm about to grab some lunch and a cold beer and I'm back at it. It's going much quicker than I anticipated. Hell yeah!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

This is what boat work makes you do

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Or this is what hours of caulking will make you do! :D

Don't mess with the High Life.

the boatyard

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Don't laugh! At least it's covered!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Resealing the hull-to-deck joint.

Got my epoxy and 3M 5200 in. Before I was ready to start repairs we had to remove the last bits of silicone from the joint and clean with acetone. There were two spots on the joint where the PO (previous owner) actually used the proper product. Two beads of 3M 5200 were in the joint mid-point on both sides. There is a reason you use 5200 - it works and lasts a long time. This makes it hard to remove though. Thanks to the Laguna newsgroup, I knew just what to use....a hairdryer. Heat it up for a minute and that stuff comes right out. Cool.

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Next, we sanded and grinded the bad spots on the deck joint where the paint has been chipped exposing fiberglass. The Dremel made quick work of this. The Dremel rocks!

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All that protective gear doesn't make things cooler.

After that was all done we were ready to get to actual repairs and seal the hull-to-deck joint. Unfortunately, the ideal temperature for my materials is approx. 70 degrees. Yeah, it's like NEVER 70 degrees here. Today it's 106. So, it's much too hot to epoxy, and my boat's deck is not attached to the hull right now, just gravity and some nails keeping things together. The nails are working great though (thanks Ronnie).

While we wait for it to cool a bit we got a lot of cleaning done. Finally, you can't smell the boat before you get to it. Actually, you can barely smell that old neglected boat smell at all. :)

Mom does some cleaning work.

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What a difference it makes! It's like a completely different boat.

It was a productive Saturday, but we weren't EVEN done yet. My man Dan, the master of all things electrical, came by to check out Wahoo's electrical system. He brought a spare battery by and hooked everything up. Nothing. Check the polarity......and...

Little Wahoo has power!

Isn't she a pretty sight with her nav lights on? :) She looks like she's smiling.

Thanks Dan! And look, the rear nav light works too!

All the electrical stuff works (bilge pump, anchor light, nav lights, fans) except for the cassette deck, which only needs a fuse. This is so great. I was certain all the electrical stuff was shot - you have to lower all your expectations when working on something this old, as you constantly find more stuff that needs fixing. So it was a very nice surprise to find something worked without us having to work.

Sunday was a lot more cleaning - and we removed the old foam flotation. Goodbye forever nasty old styrofoam.

Despite the heat, it was a productive weekend. :)


This should speed things up a bit.

Rubrail Removed!

Mom and I spent 7 hours removing the rubrail. First we removed the rubber guard that inserts into the rail. This was the easiest part - simply pry one end and then pull it out from the grooves all the way around the boat. If only it would go back in with the same ease. I have a feeling it will be extremely difficult working it back in. After the rubber piece was removed the screws that attach the rubrail and also secure the hull to the deck were exposed. From there mom was on the outside with a screwdriver while I performed like a contortionist and made it in to the nooks and crannies in the bow and stern with a wrench while mom removed the screws. The sides were easy, but the bow and stern were really uncomfortable - it was hot and downright claustrophobic at times, but we got them all out in one day. After that the rail just kind of peeled off. There are four separate pieces. This exposed all the old silicone that was inserted from underneath the rub rail.

Next up is purchasing large quatities of 3M 5200 adhesive/sealant and removing all that old silicone.

Jibe ho!

Silicone is not your friend

Okay, so after we put in 6 man hours trying to pull old silicone from the hull-to-deck joint and only getting probably 15% of it out, I decided to research this whole hull-to-deck repair procedure. Am I ever glad I did that. For one, silicone is for the windows, not the hull-to-deck joint. Second, the stuff we are supposed to use (3M 5200) won't bond to the old silicone, which means it will all have to be removed. So this just went from "pull as much out as possible and insert more of the same" to "removing the entire aluminum rail, removing old silicone and cleaning thoroughly, replacing any corroded screws, sealing the joint with 5200 and epoxy if necessary (inside and out), reattaching the rub rail, and then completely sealing with more 5200." Whew! It's a bigger job than I was thinking, but it will be nice to know it's done right this time, as simply applying more silicone will not solve the issue.

Can you say restoration! :)

Here's what the hull-to-deck joint with rubrail intact looks like.

Motor Mount Removed

Wahoo was purchased in July of 2007 but I didn't start this blog until October. We have already completed some of the projects on our To-Do list. I'll try to get all the projects we've already completed posted first, before I start blogging in real time.

First thing we did was remove the motor mount. It is in need of repair and my Paw Paw offered to build me a new one or repair the existing one if possible. All I had to do was remove the old one from the boat and bring it to him. Sounded simple enough. Just get a ratchet set and pull that baby right off, right? Heh! It was a battle. Those bolts have been on there a looooooong time. There were moments of doubt....moments of great struggle, but in the end, I won! The motor mount came OFF!

PawPaw is currently repairing the old motor mount. It will be nice to have him add something to the boat. He also gave us a compass (I hope to use often) and a really nice fire extinguisher (I hope to never use).

Here's what the old motor mount looked like before we battled it out in the driveway.

Projects To-Do List

Note: not all must be done before she's in the water.

remove rubber piece
remove rubrail and fasteners
remove old sealant
clean with acetone
reinstall rail with new SS fasteners (and washers)
seal with 3M 5200
reattach rubber piece

grind and remove old fiberglass
sand with proper grit for epoxy to bond to
clean with acetone
measure and cut wood for winch support
paint with epoxy and let cure
prep surface with acetone
glass in the wood support and let cure
attach hose from top of cockpit floor into volcano
glass volcano to bottom of winch support and let cure
sand and paint
attach winch to cockpit floor using larger bolts and backing plate or oversized washers
and seal with 3M4200 and let cure

remove old paint
sand with proper grit for epoxy to bond to
clean with acetone
measure and make template
cut bulkhead from template
cut holes in bulkhead for electrical panel and cd player
clean bulkhead and surface with acetone
glass in bulkhead and let cure
sand and paint

reinstall old rubber rail piece if possible, or purchase new

buy new large pieces for stern bilge area
cut up old pieces for installation in new quarter berths

remove old berths
inspect bulkheads
grind and remove old fiberglass
sand with proper grit for epoxy to bond to
clean with acetone
measure and make templates for both berths and berth supports
cut wood from templates
prep surface with acetone
glass in the wood berth supports
let cure
add foam pieces
sand supports and clean with acetone
glass in top of berths and let cure
sand and clean with acetone
paint berths

Sand floor and sides of keel trunk
clean with acetone
glass in tape for support
let cure
sand, clean and paint

remove chainplate
clean and polish
purchase additional screws and backing plate
re-install chainplates using backing plate
seal with 3M 4200

remove all deck hardware
inspect and clean with acetone
replace rusted hardware
grind out holes
sand with proper grit for epoxy to bond to
clean with acetone
apply epoxy with filler to holes
let cure
drill new holes in epoxy
install hardware using 3M 4200
do not tighten until 4200 is almost cured

remove old paint
sand and clean with acetone
1-2 coats of Kilz
2 coats of high-gloss paint

wet sand hull
paint if necessary, if not wax and buff
sand deck and repaint if necessary

re-install using 3M 4200
do not tighten until 4200 almost cured

install motor mount
replace rusted screws
remove backing plate and filling holes with epoxy
drill new holes
install motor mount using 3M 4200 or 5200

remove old berths
inspect bulkheads
grind and remove old fiberglass
sand with proper grit for epoxy to bond to
clean with acetone
measure and make templates for both sides of v-berth
cut wood from templates
prep surface with acetone
glass in berth pieces
let cure
glass in berth tops
let cure
sand and clean with acetone

clean sails
remove old adhesive
put logo on mainsail

mast and rigging

have motor serviced

secure wiring
new battery and battery box

bearing buddies
sand and paint trailer
have inspected

license for boat and trailer
insurance (liability only)

Paint on Name and Logo, Cover
Perform De Naming ceremony
Uncover New Name
Perform Naming ceremony
Apply liberal amounts of alcohol of your choice to sv and sailors alike.

Swim ladder $29.00 at Bass Pro
Throwable PFDs I think one is required but really need 2 for sitting in cockpit.
Air Horn is this required by the CG?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

And so it begins...

Purchased in Austin, TX July '07.