10 August 2015
Six weeks ago today we were hauled out at Australia’s greatest boatyard Boat Works on the Gold Coast - once again – to repair Argos after the damage sustained by what had seemed like a small incident with a trawler while we were travelling to Canberra to celebrate my son Andrew’s 21 st birthday in June.
Six weeks might seem like a long time and some of our friends regularly came to check if we had been bolted to the ground here but the good news is that we are finally back afloat!
So much has happened over the last six weeks – and one of the highlights is definitely the friends we have made. The staff that work at the Boat works have become our friends – from the fellas that do the hauling out and return-to-water stuff, to the team that come twice a day to keep the bathrooms clean, to the lovely people who make our daily coffees and the girls in the office who hand us over the keys for the much-appreciated courtesy cars.
Coomera has become familiar territory to us and we have even gone to other stores – not just Woolies and Bunnings! Though some of the staff at Bunnings have become so familiar with us that they actually greet us with questions about what we are doing on the boat today when we come in!
I have mentioned before that while we were waiting for the parts that were needed for the repairs we decided to use our time wisely.
I repaired and resurfaced the shower area and then painted the walls and ceiling in the bathroom while no one would be needing to use it. I am so happy with that work.
Erina got right into the woodwork on deck and has done the most awesome job with window frames, plaques, blocks, belay pins, belay pin racks – you name it – Argos got the kind of treatment she thrives on.
And Liam of course got right into working on rope shackles – and earned himself a few dollars in the process!
Over the first couple of weeks I watched a couple of guys painting their boats – with fascination I must say, as what they did was so unlike the way Argos has always been painted since we got her! No slapping on a coat of paint over what was already there – no cheap house paint either! These guys spent days preparing, they painted using good paint and had amazing skills like rolling and tipping! They used thinners and got a good consistency to their paint and used good quality brushes, and rollers. One of the fellas had just finished painting when a sudden and un-forecast shower dropped enough rain to ruin the work he had done – and he patiently sanded it back and started again – determined to get a great result. All things that were just unheard of on Argos!
And so I was inspired! We had been on the hard stand for over two weeks when I decided to take the plunge and have another go at painting the top sides of the hull. There were a lot of chips and dents and scratches in the paint job I had done when we were here before, because of the wretched tinny that we so happily got rid of and replaced with a gentler and kinder RIB – and so I planned to begin bright and early the next day. And then it rained for an entire week. It was incredibly frustrating.
Eventually it stopped and we could resume outdoor work and I got started – on our fourth week on the hard stand.
I put in long days of sanding and cleaning and preparing. I couldn’t believe that I could get the hull so smooth. I even was complemented one day when someone was chatting to me and asked what the hull was made of. When I said it was ferro-cement he was surprised and said ferros were not usually that smooth! Yes! I was happy!
After sanding, I spot primed the worst areas, then sanded again and primed the whole hull above the water line. I sanded again and then filled some nicks and chips that remained, and then – you guessed it – I spot primed and sanded again. Seven days in all and not a spot of top-coat had gone on!
Then it was the day I put on the first coat. It was awesome to see Argos shine – and then with the second coat it got even better. And it is such a hard finish – it will be much more resilient than the finish I got last time – I am so happy. So for those that are interested – I used Pilot 2. With an all-surface alkalid primer. And the result is there – she looks awesome.
Many thanks to John whose painting of Vixen inspired me to have another go, and to Murray whose painting of Electric Blue gave me more understanding of the specifics of how I might go about increasing my painting skills – new friends I am so thankful for. And hanks too to John at the on-site trade shop who is my go-to man for just about everything materials wise and who never tired of answering my questions, calling companies and asking about suitable products and who never once laughed at my lack of knowledge even when it was the most basic thing I didn’t know!
We returned to the water on Friday. Youi, our insurance company, were superb at making the whole process of the repairs easy for us – they were quick, professional and courteous at every point – it was overall an excellent experience – and really gave us the capacity to focus our attention on all those other little things we did while out of the water.
After the electrician, Daniel from TechMarine, had done the electrical work, he installed our fantastic new 300W solar panel and Jeff from Choice Stainless made us a frame to support it – so now we have sufficient solar power to run the boat without having to use the generator much – what a bonus!
Right now we are still at the Boatworks marina, while our newest friend Peter Leonard of BBA Marine repairs damage to our running boards which happened when we came out of the water. We expect to be here just a few more days until this is completed and then the next chapter of our sailing life will begin – we will be in preparation mode to begin our little journey north back up towards the Whitsundays.
We have come to not only love the Gold Coast area but to feel that this has become our home base. We have made so many friends over the winter so far – and know that when we return here later in the year it will really be like coming home.
I would not have wished in any way for the drama that unfolded after the trawler came too close, but there is always a silver lining if you look for it and for us there is so much silver in the cloud! The work was done with so little stress, we had the opportunity to paint and do some quality maintenance, and of course, we made so many new friends while doing it all. It was an unexpected diversion from what we thought we would be doing, but most definitely blessings in disguise!