Boat jobs in The Boatworks (week 1)

Thursday afternoon (22 April) we both felt a bit better after our Covid jabs so started preparing the boat for varnishing (although most of the rail didn’t actually look too bad). We washed Morphie down; ran all the lines forward; took the spare fuel cans off the rail; removed the dodgers and taped up the eyebrow. We then relaxed and took it easy with a quiet night on board.

Friday we were up early and I sanded the eyebrows whilst Richard started working on the stanchions. We had two of them where the stainless steel screws had severely corroded (with some heads sheared off) so it was obvious there had been water ingress. So he started removing the screws….

Once he had a couple out he headed to the specialist marine screw and bolt store at the neighbouring marina and purchased some new ones. I continued sanding the eyebrows while Richard, on his return, continued to remove the stanchions (with some of the broken screws needing a bit of encouragement) and then I helped him re-bed them. Phew, job done, we were happy with the end result. By now it was getting late so we called it a day at that.

Saturday and we were up early and had to dry the boat as there had been a heavy dew overnight. We wanted to sand the edges of the capping rail (both inside and outside) as this is where we get the most wear and will be the initial varnish coat. But we had to wait a while until the sun had heated up enough to dry them out completely. We then started sanding and got them finished, cleaned up the dust and wiped down. We then varnished the edges and the eyebrows and was finished by 4pm. Phew! Had been a busy day but we were pleased with progress so far. We then had a quiet Netflix night down below wrapped up warm as it is quite chilly now at night when the sun goes down – so much so that the duvet has been reinstated on the bed LOL.

Sunday morning we woke up to another heavy dew and were really upset that our varnishing had gone chalky. Damn! And to top it off the forecast had turned against us and we were looking at rain towards the end of the week so the timetable was looking a bit tight to get many layers of varnish completed successfully. We decided that, instead, we would rub down the whole rail this time rather than do another ‘edges only’ layer. But again the sun was needed to dry everything out properly before we could start and, as the cupboards were bare, we decided to go food shopping instead. We had run down our fridge and freezer in preparation for coming out of the water when the fridge and freezer will not be operational as they are keel cooled. So we took ourselves off to the Westfield Mall to find it closed! We then realised that the shops were closed because it was Anzac Day. Oops. We returned to Morphie and, by now, it was dry enough to start sanding.

We finished sanding and decided that the best way to play this, due to the very heavy dews we had been experiencing overnight, was to leave it ready for varnishing first thing in the morning which would then give it a day of sun to dry. So job done we then got ourselves cleaned up and headed out to the local tavern for some dinner.

Monday we were up very early and dried the boat off. We also had to deal with some large bird deposits as they seem to have been sitting on top of our mast pooping blueberries onto our deck! We varnished both the rail and the eyebrows and had the whole job finished by 11am so felt pretty pleased with ourselves. We then went shopping and picked up some essentials to tide us over for the week. On our return we filled up the car with diesel and made the most of a completely empty car park (as it was a Bank Holiday) and hand washed and polished the car. We then headed to do the laundry and some Netflix downloads before returning to Morphie for dinner and a movie night. This week’s film was the Trial of the Chicago 7 – based on a true story and definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday morning the weather changed on us completely, with rain forecast, so we abandoned the varnishing. The rail actually looked quite good considering so we thought we’d leave it at that for now although I did manage to sand and varnish the eyebrows once again.

Richard was trying to remove the genoa track cars as the wood around them had been heavily damaged by UV and he wanted to find out what was causing the problem.

He struggled, and struggled, and many of the screw heads were gnarly and difficult to get any hold on. Eventually he managed (with some borrowed tools) to remove them and we were really unhappy to find them completely corroded as they had clearly never been sealed properly to the rail in the first place with a total lack of any galvanic corrosion tape.

So he went off to source new ones and luckily there is a Ronstan dealer on site. I kept busy sanding down the boards that hold the fuel cans and gave them a quick coat of varnish whilst we had the materials out before then removing all the masking tape from the boat apart from the area near the genoa tracks.

As we are now purchasing new tracks we have to rub down the rail in preparation for the new installation. This is a big job as we need to get the actual track area back to the wood so that we can seal it first too. I worked sanding on the port side while Richard set to on the starboard side. As I was now finished I headed to the chandlery to pick up varnish, antifoul and wax supplies in preparation for being on the hard in the working yard as the forthcoming weekend is another Bank Holiday and the chandlery will be shut so we need to think ahead.

What a day! We were both pretty shattered by the time we settled down for the evening.

Wednesday morning I started cleaning the stainless steel while Richard reassembled the fuel can boards now that the varnish was dry; he then reinstated the anchor chain protectors; and we were able to get our dock lines put back properly onto the cleats. Richard then chopped out the soggy wood on the rail which had been under the track before replacing the hinge in the main saloon hatch which had broken a few weeks ago. Whilst we were busy we watched the clouds build as rain was scheduled for one o’clock and it actually arrived at 10 past – must be the first time the forecast was actually so accurate LOL. We had, in the meantime, covered up the affected parts of the rails in plastic to avoid any water ingress whilst this work was going on. We then got ourselves cleaned up and headed out to the doctors for our post-Covid vaccination check up. Whilst we were there he used us as guinea pigs for a GP peer review (which they do every six months in Australia apparently) so we both got a free medical thrown in LOL. We were then scheduled for our flu jabs and our second Covid jabs so feel relieved about that. On our way back from the doctors we came across a shop selling bedding at half price in a sale so was very happy to get some new 1000 thread count cotton sheets.

Back on board we had a quiet night in.

This morning, Thursday, Richard headed back to the mall to get his bloods taken. Only a precautionary test to ensure that his platelet levels hadn’t dropped too far as a result of the Covid vaccination. I carried on stainless steel cleaning. On his return he turned into a mixologist to make a epoxy mixture to fill the wood area that he had chopped away.

While we were both working I heard a squeal of brakes and a crash so sent Richard to check that Steve and Jo’s car was OK in the car park. There had been an accident between a lorry and a truck near the car park but their car was unscathed. Relieved or what?!? Anyway, Richard needed another tool from Bunnings so took himself off and I was now cutting the gelcoat on the port topsides in preparation for waxing. So here is a photo of the pre-wax finish – pretty happy with that!

I heard a bit of a commotion and realised that a motorboat had hit the bow of the boat next door and was coming backwards towards us. And yes he did glance us on the starboard edge of the transom. Damn!!! I quickly climbed over the stern and checked out the gelcoat and, of course, there was some minor damage despite the guy on the dock shouting that he didn’t see the boat actually hit us! He changed his mind when I shouted back at him LOL. Luckily the sales guy driving the boat was more honourable and, once he had finally managed to get into the berth safely, he came over to see me. He checked the (slight) damage and took our contact details. Richard came back and I told him what had happened and very soon after the owner of the company was with us inspecting the damage and he agreed to fix it for us whilst we are on the hard next week. He was very apologetic. That edge of the stern is definitely fated as this is exactly the same spot that was damaged in the Panama Canal back in 2017….

At around 3pm the heavens opened and rain stopped play. So I’m blogging while Richard is putting away all our tools and materials. He has also done an engine check in preparation for moving into the travel lift tomorrow morning for our trip to the works yard – so we will be living up the ladder for the next week continuing with our maintenance schedule.

Still watching the news at home and glad that things are going well with the fight against Covid although with the terrible news from India and the recent outbreak in Fiji it would seem that there is some way to go yet until the world can return to some sort of normality. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love and hugs wherever you may be.

Bye for now, Jan