This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Boating Season...Finally!

It would seem that winter has taken her sweet time coming to an end and indeed she continues to rear her now unwelcome head even as spring makes its appearance in fits and starts. 

Still, I can't resist forays into my favorite local marine supply shops, Redden, LFS and West Marine, looking for the parts and materials I need to gather before starting those projects I can do without the help of professionals. I dare not, for example, attempt anything in the engine room with the exception of checking the oil and water levels, the battery water level or cleaning out the raw water cooling filters, all of which must be done in duplicate on the Key of Sea since she has twin diesel engines below. Beyond that, she is best left to the able hands of my marine mechanic and electrician. 

But there are places aboard where I do feel a certain amount of comfort where maintenance is concerned. 

For an example, I recently began what will no doubt be a summer long project. The refinishing of the brightwork. For the non-boater, the brightwork generally refers to the shiny metal and wood parts of the boat requiring regular maintenance. On recreational yachts it refers more specifically to the woodwork aboard. Most new boats today are built sans woodwork or with only accent pieces at most. But for those with a love for the look of wood on a boat, and who don't care if they have to maintain it, a boat just doesn't look complete without that trim. Some go to the extreme of the hull even being wood. Every bit of wood on a boat means that much more time and expense to maintain it properly.

1987 32' Grand Banks
When we were looking for our boat, I really had my heart set on a Grand Banks. We found one. It was in our price range and very tempting. A wee bit more research though and I found one very good reason NOT to buy her. Her hull was made of wood. The cost and time involved in maintaining that hull would have had me selling it in no time. Not that it wasn't a great boat and in good shape and in the right hands she would make someone very happy but, that's where I drew the line.

So what did I come up with as an alternative? Well, she's no Grand Banks, but she is yar! We fell in love immediately. "She" is a 1986 Bayliner 3218. All fiberglass hull and far less wood to maintain. Still, that wooden look I would expect on my boat is quite present and after 5 years of ownership, her brightwork is
1986 32' Bayliner 3218
beginning to fade in places. Add to that the fact that the previous owners insisted on varnishing her with Sikkins Cetol and the overall look just isn't pleasing to me anyway. Cetol, especially the stuff the previous owners would have had to choose from, left the wood a glossy orange color. It gave amazing, long life protection to the wood, but the color was really off putting.

Fast forward to today, 2013. Sikkens makes Cetol in a variety of colors now including a couple that really come much closer to bringing out the real color of the teak without losing the longevity Cetol is famous for. Rather than having to re-varnish your brightwork every year or two, Cetol allows you to get away with 4-5.

And so the project begins. I purchased a can of the Sikkens Cetol Natural hoping it will come out without the current fluorescent orange color. I started with the flagstaff on the stern of the boat. I bought it 2 seasons ago and proudly attached it off the deck above the cockpit. You can just see the flag hanging from it in the photo above. Sadly, I had finished it using what I had left of an old can of Sikkens Cetol that matched what was on the boat already. Mistake number one. I only applied a couple of coats. Mistake number two. 
The mysterious formula 216!

The flagstaff, after two seasons, looked tired and weather beaten. The varnish was coming off in strips and the knob on top was a dull gray.  I took some very fine grit sandpaper to it with my small orbital sander and the original beautiful wood began to emerge pretty quickly. The knob on top took a little more work but
soon came around as well.

Hope this is the right color!
Next, I wiped it down with Interlux Solvent 216 which is supposed to clean the wood thoroughly getting rid of any residual dust and treats the wood to better accept the new varnish.

I painted one coat of Cetol on the flagstaff at a time, letting it thoroughly dry for 24 hours before the next coat. The can recommends 3 coats. I have heard folks apply as many as ten coats. I was told by the "paint guy" at LFS to apply 5. Hmmmm...

I suppose I will split the difference and go with 7-8. It only takes a couple of minutes to apply a coat to the flagstaff. Then wait 24 hours and apply the next and so on. If all goes well. The flagstaff will be ready for reattachment to the stern and to hang my brand new Old Glory in about a week. 

Follow my blog throughout the summer for entries about my "projects" and our cruises around Washington state's San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.