Oh My!! I am getting behind on my blogging. April 1st snuck up on me and Pounced with a Vengeance! All of a sudden crews arrived and “stuff started happenin!”
So I decided that just this one time we would do a quick n’ dirty, once-over-lightly, git-her-done refit. You know, after all my Covid losses it was ok to cut as many corners as possible . . . .
No, no, no. Really! You are hurting my feelings if you believed that last paragraph . . . have you learned Nothing from the last decade of boring maintenance minutiae?? No, I had 7 crew, logging over 600 hours on payroll, just to make sure my very, very, very fastidious guests (both returning and new) would find our humble ship worthy of their journey . . .
And a quick drum-roll/ gallop through some photos…
On the first morning I usually walk around the ship with the crew and we look at different aspects of the ship and what we think needs regular attention and what needs the “next level” treatment. Generally, some part of the ship’s wood-work needs to be stripped to bare wood and refinished starting from scratch. If certain parts of the exterior of the ship are getting chipped or tired, we put that area to the top of the list. This year we choose to strip the salon windows and the aft 1/2 of the ship’s high profile handrails to bare wood, and also sand the aft deck coating off.. See next . . . And we usually sand and paint the main deck house/wheel house every two years and this was the year…
We had an unusual misadventure with the finish on the aft deck last season. I am not quite sure how I managed to trick a dark brown deck finish to go white when it got wet or cold (honestly!) but it needed to be stripped off with aggressive sanding . . . I’m so good with Aggggressive!
And Nadya seemed to be getting aggressive too, so she tried her hand on the decks as well.
While I worked on the aft deck, the crews began sanding . . .
and the hull of course.
The port holes on the hull have bronze “beauty rings” that we remove each year for painting. But the screw holes were getting stripped so I glued dowels into each existing screw hole and then sanded the area flush. Then we started as from scratch to re-attach the rings.
For some unknown and perhaps unknowable reason, the green paint on the forward port bulwarks seemed marred by old blisters while the rest of the bulwarks seemed fine. So we cheated here by stripping just the troubled section hoping the ship’s name would cover the less than perfect transition from new paint to the existing paint.
And of course, my grand daughter, Maeve, had to do her pre-season salon sofa trampoline check . . . the test went pretty well until grandpa called an end to the session!
Here the aft hand rails get stripped to bare wood and sanded to perfection.
Here’s a “project” for you. The salon has 3 large windows on each side of the vessel and I have been struggling for 17 years to have the exterior finish look as good as I want it to be. I have tried several different types of marine varnish and none have stood up to the UV exposure these windows seem to attract. The feature transom on the ship suffered the same fate and I found that Cetol Marine Gloss finish solved the problem . . .So this spring three crew spent a lot of time carefully hand-stripping the old finish off, resanding the bare wood and then refinishing the windows with 3 new coats of Cetol. These are custom ordered, tempered glass, thermal-paned windows and I made it really, really really really, really clear I wanted the old finish removed and NONE OF THE GLASS scratched or broken from the heat guns stress fracturing the glass . .
My line was, “I am paying you to go slow!”
At some point Robin cheerily reassured me that, “Each window is going to cost you about $1000.00 just to strip the old varnish off!”
“Ya, ya, Robin. Just get back to work . . .”
After all the dusty sanding the whole ship is washed, from the masts down to the water line.
And finally the paint starts to go back on.
and the clear finishes on the bright work.
We usually paint in teams of 2 or 3. 1 rolling the larger areas and one “tipping” or smoothing out the roller marks for a gleaming final gloss look.
We go through a lot of paint, paint brushes, foam brushes, rags and yogurt containers saved from last season with the guests. Here ace guide and chef, Robin Humphreys, readies her tools. But perhaps with the exception of the skipper/owner guy, all the Mothership crews are “Ace”.
And the salon windows get their new Cetol finish applied.
and the handrails start to shine.
and the sundry bits that were removed get a refinish.
. . . shower grate renewal.
Somehow or other, Leah and Nadya were able to paint and dance at the same time.
One of the final steps is applying finish to the decks. Hopefully this one doesn’t go white when it gets cold or wet!
As this was a “post Covid” spring . . . meaning I was watching my cash flow and being a bit chintzy . . I didn’t embark on too many new projects, but the ship’s under-water hydrophone, (that allows us to listen to whale vocaliztions!) needed replacement.
And Tavish suggested we create “windows” on the main-engine belt-guard so we could monitor v-belt wear when the engine was running. So Luke removed the guard and added grilled inspection ports.
And what marine blog would be complete without some “potty talk”? I bought 3 new toilets and installed them just to make sure everything worked smoothly in that department.
And you know computers of all makes and sizes save us all time and money . . . Here is 1 of 2 ship-board GPS’s that I upgraded. The old ones worked just fine, except that in case of an emergency, my emergency radios (which derive location from these devices) would proclaim to the world that I was in really desperate difficulty in 1978! It was an irreparable software glitch. Oh well. At least the new GPSs were only $1300 each.
So when the Skipper was starting to lose his composure, Nadya led us in group equanimity exercises.
A finishing touch to the spare anchor hawshole.
The life raft returns after its bi-annual recertification . . . darn this is super heavy and just so much fun to wrestle into and out of a truck and skiff on a beach . . .
Leah relashing the kayak paddle racks that were removed for refinishing the stanchions.
Supplies for the ship . . . two new custom mattresses for the aft staterooms, part of our routine upgrading process . . .
The ship’s tender gets cleaned, painted and waxed.
and finally the ship’s inside supplies are moved down from my cabin .
Lunch time at my place.
It’s a lot of dusty, chemically smelly, tiring, repetitive, boring, and personally uplifting and inspriational work getting the ship ready. . . .
and a few motivational shots for the season ahead . . .
Paddling the Great Bear Rainforest.
calm and secluded anchorages
cool mid summer evenings
Yup! I want to be there again! I suppose I really do love sanding and painting.