April 1st, 2023
Sand and Strip and Wash and Paint and Cetol and Varnish and Repair and Replace and Clean and Tidy and Bake and . . . ..
The calm before the storm . . . 5 crew show up today to start my annual Sand-and-Paint-athon. But before they arrive I’ve been organizing the shed, the supplies, the ship and the lists!
Three new different small palm sanders to test drive . . .
And I pre-washed the PPE . . .
And then the team of heritage vessel maintenance specialists arrived and with little ceremony began working . . . and it also started snowing!
If one ever needed to remind me of the glorious wonders of having the ship inside a covered shed just mention this conjunction of events: April1st, 5 crew arrive to begin spring S&P (on payroll and time clocks ticking!) and snow.
Snow? The scene was perfect for a Christmas card for my illustrious guests but not for varnishing.
Even the daffodils at the head of my dock were not impressed.
But nothing holds back the crack team of specialists. . . mmm, How about “Heretics”? Heritage vessel maintenance maniacs ???? . . .
Stripping another set of windows to bare wood as I transition away from traditional varnish to Cetol Marine Gloss . . .
A lot gets done with 5 hard workers fully engaged in the task at hand!
and after the sanding comes the washing to get the white and grey paint dust removed before starting in on the bright work. . .
and pieces from the roof and the lazarette were removed and painted in the shop . . .
a break in the weather let Steve and Frieda paint the new lazarette shelves I created…
and later installed . . .
and all the grey roof trim was S&P’d
and the aft mast was S&P’d
and, well A LOT of stuff was S&P’d . . . you’d get bored with the list . . .
The weather remained vexing for April . . . and boat-shed hallelujah-ish. But 2 solid days of SE 30-40 knots had us creatively trying to cut down the wind blowing thru the shed.
I installed the boat shed about 10 years ago with 14 separate 4000# concrete blocks sunk to windward, 2 separate lines to the head of the bay attached to 1 1/2″ pins drilled into the bedrock, plus one all-chain line also pinned to bedrock plus 2 galvanized steel 12″ diameter stiff legs pinned to the shore. All connected with 2″ and 3″ diameter lines connected to 2″ diameter shackles and 1″ diameter chain . . . . I need to be able to sleep at night . ..
But rust never sleeps.
During the two day blow one chain failed under strain. Despite the gale, Luke donned his dive gear and retrieved the dropped line. I had to cut the shackle (down to 1/2 its original 2″ diameter) and you can see the 1″ chain corroded to extinction. The remaining chains connecting the anchors to the shed were sistered with 1″ nylon rope in case any more failed and . . . I know what I will be doing soon . . . .replacing the chain components of the mooring system.
Free moorage in front of my home sounds so easy!
But wind or not, work progressed . .
And the hull, which many by-standers think is fiberglass, gets special treatment.
The main galley exterior door which is made of very solid and heavy teak, is over 60 years old and the most trafficked door on the vessel. After withstanding 3.8 million door slams, a small strip of teak cracked off around the latch mechanism. The door was repaired but had to be refinished after the new wood was sanded to shape . . .
Sanded . . .
refinished with 3 coats for this year ( a minimum on bare wood)
The inset piece
And three coats of varnish on the binocular holders . . .
I am told that it is hard to find and retain good employees: well-trained crews that work long and hard with high standards and don’t require supervision . . . so it only seemed prudent for me to have ready coffee and tea and preheated mugs and chairs and sometimes . . . .
fresh oatmeal raisin cookies warm from the oven . . .
Or cheesy, hot biscuits with lunch . . .
or spinach, feta, philo pies for dinner . . . ( A skipper’s tasks are never done.)
or heart-shaped waffles for dinner (?) . . . (I was too lazy to make them for breakfast . . . The crews got up too early for me). But you get the idea. I pander to the crew’s every whim.
And you guessed!! More cetoling and varnishing and painting!
And interior projects proceeded. The custom-faced under-counter galley refrigerator had very light duty plastic shelves on the door that had failed. So we designed, and Luke fabricated, welded and installed a new shelf system.
And the aft companion-way storage drawers progressed . . .
Now there is designated storage for spare parts for the gensets, ship’s furnace, galley range and a miscellaneous parts drawer too.
and it really is pretty excessive but I wire brush the engine roof floor plates until they shine! It is a really noisy, arm numbing job I loath to delegate . . . or as the crew might say . . .“But Ross, those floor plates look FINE as they are!”
and s&p&c& clean tidy and trim . . .
and a final wash before we did the decks . . .
Then the big day arrives and the weather cooperated. The shed doors were unlashed and opened
It takes a bit of organizing to get the the masts up . . .
and the shed always seems cavernous when the ship is out.
but finally there she sits at my dock! What a gall-darn gigantic bunch of work!!!!!!!!!
But the good weather couldn’t go to waste so some of the crew took on the tender’s refit that after
So after two weeks the crews have thinned out and finally left. My house is quiet and I almost had a well deserved day off (but that’s a different tale).
The COLUMBIA III now sits out my window, gorgeous and waiting for next steps. Lead Guide Sarah Hauser will arrive to prep kayaks and paddling gear (we have two new kayaks this year and all new Werner paddles) and I will knuckle down once again into my alternate reality of substantiating paper work for multiple levels of bureaucracy that envelope this small business. (Now that would be a tedious blog post!!). I have inspections to pass and supplies to load and somehow turn the ship into a welcoming home-away-from-home for my soon-to-arrive guests.
For our 2023 upcoming season, my benediction; Safe, fun, and viable. For everyone.