Wilparina - Go With the Wind

Sailing the Salish Sea

08 July 2014 | Orcas Island, Washington
21 June 2014 | On Dry Land
14 June 2014 | West Sound, Orcas Island
13 June 2014 | West Sound, Orcas Island, Washington
08 June 2014 | Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, Washington
06 June 2014 | Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
03 June 2014 | Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, Washington
22 May 2014 | St. Helen's, Oregon
17 May 2014 | St. Helens, Oregon
28 April 2014 | St. Helen's, Oregon
09 March 2014 | St. Helen's, Oregon
04 April 2012 | In the Marina
08 March 2012 | Same ol' Marina
12 February 2012 | Tomahawk Bay Marina
05 February 2012 | Same ol' Marina
17 January 2012 | Tomahawk Bay Marina
08 January 2012 | Tomahawk Bay Marina
02 January 2012 | Same ol' Marina
30 November 2011 | Slip 40
29 November 2011 | Slip 40

My Life as a - UPDATE

08 July 2014 | Orcas Island, Washington
I've returned to Orcas Island after being away for nearly two weeks. My wife Kathleen and I drove back to Portland for a few days, and then went south to Central California for my 40th Class Reunion. Now, it's back on Wilparina and back to work. My number one task: redo the varnish on the exterior brightwork.

"Brightwork" is the name of varnished wood trim that often adorns boats and yachts of all types. While it may look classy, exterior wood trim requires regular maintenance in order to retain that shiny look. The initial stripping and then multiple coats of varnish takes several days. And that's if the weather is nice. But once it's applied, you're not close to done; you're never done. Every several months, it will need to be sanded and another coat or two applied. If you fail to keep up with the many hours of sanding and varnishing - many coats are necessary year after year - then the varnish will fail as well. It will bubble, crack and discolor. And the only way to remedy the situation is to strip the section down to bare wood and start again.

I'm very familiar with stripping - stripping varnish that is. When I moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1984, I didn't have much of an idea what I was going to do. But I saw an ad in the local paper: Varnishers - $5 an hour. I answered the ad and got a job with VIP Yacht Charters in St. Thomas. I ended up becoming the operations manager for the charter company. But for the first couple of months, I worked with a West Indian guy, Joe Piper, who taught me the in's and out's of varnishing boats. Joe was a master of varnish work. He would not let me cut any corners. The most important part of the process is prepping, the stripping, sanding and thorough cleaning of the wood. Once the wood is ready, coat after coat of varnish is applied. It has to dry between each coat and then be lightly sanded before the next coat is applied. When laying on the varnish, you have to be careful not to apply too much which can run or make a blob. The West Indians always gave me a hard time because I was making "alligators." Alligators are blobs of varnish that dry up and look like rough alligator skin. It's like a fly in the punch bowl; it's ugly and amateurish.

One of the most beautiful things about Wilparina is the traditional design, and generous brightwork is a major part of this look. But the prospect of keeping up on all of this varnish is low at best. Fortunately, there are some new products out there that last longer and take much less time. Cetol, a once oft-maligned product is now testing better than all the other products out there. I'll probably be going with this solution. What I won't be going with is good old fashioned varnish. I wonder what Joe Piper would say?

UPDATE - 16 July 2014

On Wednesday morning, as soon as the dew dried off the boat in the warm morning sun, I applied that final (3rd) of Cetol - a synthetic varnish product. So far, I am very happy with the results. (The picture doesn't do it any justice.) While they recommend three coats, I'll add a fourth for good measure, and then one or two coats a season for many years. I hope NOT to have to strip the boat again in the time of my ownership. (There are a few more pictures in the Library; but please forgive the sideways photos. I'm having difficulties using Windows 8.1 with the blog. It wants to post photos 90 degrees counter-clockwise; and even if I turn the originals 90 the other direction, it still posts them the same way. I'm not happy about it, and "Sailblogs" support hasn't been able to give me a solution.)
Vessel Name: Wilparina
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana 37 Cutter
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon
Crew: Doug and Kathleen Verigin
Kathleen and Doug bought Wilparina in April of 2011 with a vision of accomplishing some long-distance cruising. It's taken over three years, and the project was almost abandoned, but at last, the boat is sailing again. Here's a journal of our adventures. [...]

Wilparina Sailing Again

Who: Doug and Kathleen Verigin
Port: Portland, Oregon