Work Weekend June 2011
19 June 2011 | Whortonsville, NC
My first mate had been invited to the mountains for a girl’s weekend. Needless to say, I was not invited. It was not a major disappointment for me. Mountains are nice but there is always a severe shortage of saltwater. There were at least a weekend’s worth of minor to medium tasks on Southern Star’s spring punch list so I took Friday off and headed down for a work weekend.
Thursday June 16, 2011
I left home immediately after work. I had at least one stop to make. First was at Lowe’s in Asheboro where I found some fine sandpaper for my Black & Decker Mouse sander. I stopped again in Ramseur for a 12” Subway sandwich that would server for Friday’s dinner and Saturday’s lunch. Thursday night traffic is typically lighter than Friday night traffic so I made really good time. I picked up a gallon of antifreeze (for the boat) at the service station in Kinston where I stopped for gas and ice. The weather at the docks was very nice and a lot cooler than I expected. I turned in without the benefit of the portable air conditioner. Last time we were down, Judy had taped some paper towels under the newly sealed port light so that we could tell if it was leaking. The good news is that there was no evidence that the port light is leaking. The bad news is that the sail track near the port is leaking. This is not a surprise but resealing the sail track will require assistance from the mate and could not be accomplished this weekend.
Friday June 17, 2011
I did not rise especially early, but I slept well. The first and most important task was to work on the bright work (wood trim). I applied a special epoxy varnish several years ago. It has lasted amazingly well and it looks terrific, but there were more than a few bad places. Dropping something hard or sharp on the finish, so that it is actually “injured” in some way causes most of these. Regular readers are familiar with the blue canvas cover that we keep on the coach roof whenever we are not on board. This cover keeps the sun off the bright work and is the reason the finish has lasted so long. My plan was to sand the injured areas and remove finish where it had separated from the wood, then apply as many fresh coats of varnish as possible in one weekend. Most of the work was on the bridge deck (threshold) at the bottom of the companionway. I used the mouse sander, which is pointed at the front. It worked very well and I was able to get into the close places much better than a regular jitterbug sander.
Of course I chose a day when the weather was sure not to cooperate. Just before I was ready to start sanding, a series of little squalls started marching across the sky. When the first one approached I quickly replaced the canvas covers. I took my laptop computer to the Ensign Harbor Cockpit to wait out the rain. On the weather radar the storm was small and it passed quickly. I saw second tiny cell west of New Bern but it looked harmless so as soon as the first storm passed, I went back and removed the covers, which had kept the bright work nice and dry. It took about 2 hours to sand the dings and apply a nice thick coat of Bristol Finish. It looked really great. I got a nice finish. While I was admiring the work I heard a rumble of thunder. The tiny cell I had noticed earlier had grown into a not so harmless storm. There was nothing I could do. Covering the wet varnish would surely make a mess. I sat and watched my fresh varnish get pounded by the heavy rain. When it slacked up I went back to the cockpit to watch the storm on radar and wait for it to pass.
What a mess! I was thinking that the new varnish had had a short amount of time to cure but it certainly was not ready for a rainstorm. The new varnish was pitted and ugly on the bridge deck. I could only hope it would be cured enough to sand on Saturday morning. I spend the rest of the day on other chores. I added some antifreeze to the reservoir then I attached some dock pads or “bumpers” to both the upper and lower finger piers. This is something I have been meaning to do for years. With the wind tide in the creek the dock and boat get together sometime no matter how careful I tie her up. Hopefully the new bumpers will help. I also installed some wooden hooks for the water hose and electrical cable so they don’t have to be wound around the dock pilings.
Chuck was down replacing the bearing seals on his Boston Whaler’s trailer. Since neither of us had dinner plans, we went to the Broad Street Grill in Oriental. I had pizza and it was good. The boat was fairly cool when I returned and to it. I slept well after a long day.
Saturday June 18, 2011
I was up fairly early. The varnish looked surprisingly good despite the rainstorm. It was not smooth but appeared to have cured enough that I was hoping to try sanding later in the morning. A nautical flea market was scheduled in Oriental from 8 until noon. Sometimes they are a good place to pick up some nice stuff for a small price. This one was not too hot. There were few vendors and prices seemed high. I didn’t find anything I couldn’t do without. I got back and found the varnish was indeed cured enough to sand. This was actually more difficult than the first sanding. I had not planned to sand between coats but it actually went better than I expected. After sanding and cleaning up, I applied a nice heavy coat of varnish. By now it was getting hot which meant it would not take long for the two-part varnish to set.
Our mainsail cover had several seams that needed to be re-stitched. The sun is really hard on canvas and especially thread. I used the varnish drying time to set up the sewing machine in the Ensign Harbor Cockpit and repair the sail cover. By that time, the first coat of varnish looked good and was set enough to take another coat. I mixed and applied two more coats before I quit for the day. After checking the water level in all three batteries, my last task was to pack the tools and supplies into the car so I could make a fast getaway on Sunday morning. Chuck and I did a repeat visit to the Broad Street Grill. I had grilled scallops and I have to say they are doing a good job. Both food and service was good.
Sunday June 19, 2011
I was up really early on Sunday. I had completed all my planned tasks so I was ready to get home. I purposely left all the bright work uncovered for two reasons. First, the newly varnished wood is considerably darker than the surrounding wood. I hope a few weeks in the sun will blend the colors and second; the coach roof cover desperately needs to be cleaned. I left shortly after 7am and made really good time in the light Sunday morning traffic.