Boatyard Week 1

Getting dirty. Getting it done.

We’ve been at Bock Marine in Beaufort for a week now and are feeling pretty settled. Life in the yard at the top of a 12 ft ladder is not as enjoyable as life at sea — but its still fun and very satisfying to see progress on many different projects.

The yard provides a nice clean lounge with showers and laundry facilities.

Lounge area with TV and lots of books.
Laundry machine works well even though the water is powerfully stinky.

Outside the lounge everything is dirty. The ground in the yard is not gravel or crushed stone. It is a mixture of sand and mud and the detritus of years of sanding fiberglass and wood and paint. Also, coastal North Carolina is pretty low and flat. Drainage is not really a thing here. The ground stays soft and squishy for days after a big rain.

My front door is not nearly as appealing after a heavy rain. Mud and grit get stuck in your shoes and tracked pretty much everywhere.
I got a good floor mat to catch some of the grit that would otherwise be tracked into the cabin. And I found a couple of cheap solar lights to make nighttime ladder climbing a little safer.

In the last few days I’ve cleaned and repitched the prop, end-for-ended and repainted the anchor chain, repaired some hull dings gifted by the previous owner, sealed the deck and stripped varnish from the toe rail, handrails and eyebrow.

The grease packed inside the prop is very sticky and resistant to being washed out. Which is good – but makes it really fun to remove.
The anchor chain is probably on its last year as the galvanizing is wearing pretty thin. I cut off some particularly rusty sections on both ends, swapped the working end, and measured and repainted marks at 25 ft intervals. Our 250 ft of 3/8″ BBB chain weighs 400 lbs.

The biggest job so far has been removing as much of the old crusty bottom paint as time and budget allows. Two young men from the yard spent yesterday sanding and chipping.

40 grit sandpaper removes material (including fiberglass) very quickly. The Bock guys did a good job removing the worst of the paint buildup without damaging the hull.
Not her best look.

I applied the first of 2-3 coats of Petitt Hydrocoat antifouling bottom paint earlier today. The stuff is water based so cleanup is easy and it doesn’t smell (or melt your brain) like most solvent-based paints. And it sticks to everything so there is no need to remove all of the underlying paint.

First coat of new paint. The bottom is definitely smoother than before and I’m less concerned about big chunks of paint flaking off. Maybe one day she’ll have a perfectly fair racing finish. Not today.

The weather looks great this week so expecting to do more painting tomorrow and Thursday. Then on to seacock maintenance, more varnish stripping and sanding and some preliminary work under the cockpit to prepare for running new steering and engine control cables. Good fun.

Up and Out

On dry land. Under a bridge.


Early this afternoon the Bock Marine team plucked Andante from the water, gave her a quick bath, and plopped her down in a dusty field under a highway bridge. Quite the change in environment from just a few days ago but exactly where we need to be to get some work done.

Always a little nervous to see the boat lifted out of its natural element. Also, I watch too many boat fail videos on YouTube. Fortunately these guys are really skilled and everything went smoothly.
The hull was not nearly as fouled as I anticipated. Most of the slimy growth came off quickly with the pressure washer. A few small barnacles were easy to scrape off.
I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t clear the bridge this time. Fortunately we parked just off the road before reaching the span.
All blocked up. First job tomorrow will likely be an acid wash of the hull to get rid of the nasty brown ICW tannin stains. Later I’ll give the hull a good compounding and waxing that should help prevent future stains.

After careful examination of the bottom condition there is no overwhelming reason to remove all of the existing bottom paint. No blisters were found and there is only minimal chipping where the old paint is very thick.

So instead of sandblasting and then barrier coating and then painting, I’ve asked the yard to have two guys spend one day sanding with the goal of smoothing out the existing substrate rather than removing all traces of paint. The water-based antifouling I will apply (Pettit Hydrocoat) sticks to just about anything so there are no worries with compatibility. And in keeping with our speed expectations (moderately slow) a perfectly burnished racing finish is just not worth the time and expense.

The big question now is what color? The sanding will cut through the existing green and several older layers of black and blue. Am trying to decide between green, red, or black for the new bottom paint. They all work the same – strictly a cosmetic choice. Anybody have a preference?

My front door for the next month or so. Wipe your feet please.