This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life. I love it all!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Key of Sea Projects 2013

I've spent most of this summer here at home in Bellingham, my home by the sea and my second home, the Key of Sea, actually on the sea.

This proximity to home has allowed me to spend more time on the boat, if not actually out exploring the islands of the San Juans. I discovered upon inspection and a strategic comment made by my wife, that our boat was looking worse than when we bought it, that the Key of Sea was indeed suffering from a lack of basic cosmetic maintenance. I don't mean the electrical or mechanical systems aboard. We've maintained those carefully. I'm talking about the wood work, known as the bright work on a boat, and other places where paint was peeling a bit here and there. 

So I embarked on a series of little projects, some of which I have already talked about in this blog over the last few months. Taken together the projects have turned into one very fun summer of projects. The most recent of these projects is nearing completion, that of refinishing or finishing (I'm not sure it ever was finished) the windlass out on the bow of the boat.

I have noticed for a long time that the wooden base the windlass is bolted down to was weather-beaten beyond belief. I wasn't even sure the wood was worth bothering with. Boy was I wrong.

After taping off the areas I wanted to avoid sanding or varnishing, I started sanding off first the layer that was mostly covered in mold and finally uncovered what appeared to be a nice grain. After carefully sanding using progressively lighter grits of sandpaper, I was ready to apply the 8 coats of varnish. Each coat was followed by a light sanding using 320 grit, then another coat of varnish. Well, the look turned out beautifully.

While this was going on I had also contacted Squalicum Marine Canvas here in the Squalicum harbor
A view of the new command bridge canvas cover.
The bimini roof canvas was already part
of the boat canvas.
area and had them come to the boat to give me a bid on some new canvas. The windshield canvas we had blew away in a wind storm during the first winter we owned the boat. Our command bridge canvas was shot. No longer water-proof, patched in several places and burned in a couple after I had inadvertently covered the spotlight with the cover and then left the light on, not once but twice. And the windlass cover never fit the current set up. Add to this the fact that these old pieces of canvas are all a light blue when all the newer canvas was dark blue and well, it was time. Fortunately, I had additional money from subbing during the school year, all money earmarked for the boat anyway. So, after some negotiating an agreement was reached and the three new custom pieces were created.

New windshield cover

A new 80% mesh windshield cover is installed. It allows us to see out but makes it difficult for folks to see in. 80% of sun light is reflected away keeping the interior cooler. 

The new command bridge cover fits tightly over all the vinyl seats and the helm controls. It is even lined in places with an ultra soft material that avoids chafing where the canvas touches the vinyl seats. Two poles keep the canvas in a position to slough-off rain water and snow.

Windlass canvas
Finally, the new windlass cover is a perfect fit that will protect the newly varnished and repainted windlass parts. It even has leather reinforced holes that allow the anchor chain to pass through.    

The refinished windlass.
I became side-tracked from the next refinishing project, that of the rail caps in the aft cockpit, when I noticed the condition of the windlass motor. Horribly painted originally, now with the refinished wood base and new canvas, I couldn't ignore the motor. So, the electric motor housing (that roundish part on the left in the photo) came off, was wire brushed and sanded. A coat of primer went on before the white Rustoleum-style engine paint was applied. Parts of the windlass (the wheel on the right and the gypsy, as it is known in the UK or wildcat in the US which is the part with teeth that catches the anchor chain) are actually copper. Why those beautifully verdigris parts were painted at all is beyond me. I cleaned those off and let that blue-green patina shine through. This is so much fun!