Wax on, wax off, oh bother!

I say all the time we only make each mistake once.
Of course, with a sailboat, there are unlimited mistakes that can be made, so by my calculations (and I'm probably mistaken) we will never run out of things to screw up.
We were deciding whether to polish after compounding the topsides. Now for a little explanation, compound is a grit that is put on the sides of the hull, then using a power buffer, it is taken off, leaving a nice shine. There is no wax involved here, just a buff to get the shine.
We had done this and the sides were looking good. We were told by yardguy to just wax, so we did a small section (4ftX4ft) to make up our minds. We couldn't see a bit of difference after buffing off the polish, so we got to thinking we might just do better to do as yardguy said and start waxing.
I grabbed the wax, thinking we should do the transom and see what it looked like.
Al buffed it off with a new pad on the polisher.
It looked GOOD.
"let's keep going"
Now I can't say which one of us said that, I don't remember. I know we both got caught up in the spur of the moment "Gee, this looks fantastic - can't wait to see it ALL nice and shiny" thing that we had going on right then. We were equally guilty of the "run with scissors" syndrome right about then. Don't think- just do.
After about twelve feet of oohs and aaahhs we had to stop and move the scaffold. That's when the stupid of what we had just done hit me.
Looking up at the area we had just applied wax to: the area that was now a source of pride cause it was soooo shiny and wonderful; looking at the area where we had to apply our vinyl name graphic.
This area HAD to be clean and free of dirt, oil, and wax.
So know, dear readers, you will know why the extra step of using the de-waxer will be added to our work day tomorrow when we place, mark DE-WAX, then apply our name to our boat sides.

Al has a Holey Adventure Too!

We have a big hole in the bottom of the boat.
Al did it.
The new depth sounder has arrived and part of installing it
requires removing the old transducer that fits through the bottom of the boat.
Hence the hole.
First Al was concerned he wasn’t going to be able to get the
old transducer out.  The factory
installed it with 5200. That’s the super-duper PERMANENT adhesive everyone is
warned about. 
 ”Don’t use this if you
EVER want to remove it.”
Of course if he hadn’t been able to remove it, we would have
needed another hole in the bottom of the boat.
Now the idea with sail boaters is that one should keep the
number of holes under the waterline to a bare minimum. Some people have been
known to wash dishes in a bucket and forgo a real toilet so they could have NO
holes under the waterline. We aren’t going to go that far.
Besides, it’s too late for that. We already have 15 holes
under Journey’s waterline. That’s right, 15 separate places where water can
someday come rushing in to sink our boat. Why? Why not? I guess for those guys
building the boat, it’s an easy matter to grab a hole saw and pop out another
plug of fiberglass.
Then when the PO put in the dual air conditioners and genset
and refrigeration, well more holes.
I really didn’t want another hole.
So Al tried to remove the
dead transducer.
He pulled, he pushed, he twisted, he banged.
He managed to
tear the plastic housing to pieces.
He worked on it the daytime,
he worked on it when he woke in
the middle of the night.
He worked from the inside,
he worked from the outside.
He finally proclaimed, “It’s out!”
Then he proceeded to try and remove all the 5200 residue that
was left.
A couple days later, and he is busy making epoxy-covered
wood doughnuts for the new transducer to rest on, he is routing messenger lines
for the wire paths through the guts of the ship.
 I asked him what adhesive he
was going to use to bed it with and he replied 5200.
He figures if it took him four days to blast this thing out,
he will never have an issue with leaks.

Now I can rest easy, knowing I only have 14 holes that I
need to worry about.

The Thousand Dollar Hole (or How I saved Journey from drowning in a sea of debt)

Make an OK sign with your hand.
Look at the hole. We had a hole roughly that size on the
bow, just under the anchor. It was, well, look at your thumb, nail forward. It
was about as deep as your thumb is wide. Unless of course, your thumb is unusually wide. In which case, grab
someone else’s thumb and give it a look-see.
I wanted this hole fixed. And by fixed, I mean, I wanted the
fiberglass to not look chopped up, and I wanted it to be watertight. Nothing
fancy, just repaired.  I wanted the hole
I talked with two fiberglass guys here at the yard.
The first one gives me a bonified, written estimate, figures
it will take around 22 hours of work. I’m listening to his spiel, thinking
WTF?? 22 hours for this???
Make an OK sign.  22
hrs for that.  Right.
Then he hands me the estimate.
Are you sitting down?
Make an OK sign.
I told him I wasn’t sure it was a thousand dollar hole, and
he started explaining how he would first have to grind it all out and make it
rounder. Ahhhhh, now I understood. He was going to make it a bigger hole.
That’s how he can charge close to $1000.00.
The second guy I told up front that I didn’t see a thousand
dollar hole, so he gave me a verbal estimate of $750.00. He really wanted to
fix a bigger hole too. I was paying these guys for a destruction phase that I
didn’t really want.
Make an OK sign. That was a big enough hole for me.
I told Al off the top of my head, that I thought I was
looking at about a $45.00 hole. I told Al I was going to tackle the hole
He gave me the OK sign.
I picked up some formula 27 stuff on sale at the WM (that’s boat
speak for West Marine store).  I mixed
the stuff up like epoxy and climbed up to the hole. I toweled it in. I smoothed
it as best I could. The epoxy kicked, and I thought” whoops, too much hardener,
that was not five minutes.” But it was all good, as I gave the area a look-see.
No more hole.
The next day I started the sanding and smoothing process. I
was attempting to recreate the sharp compound curves at the very front of the
ship. It’s not that hard. Soon I had a reasonable facsimile of the original
lines of the bow.
At this point, I had $20.90 and thirty minutes into the job.
I then attacked (alright, maybe not the best choice of
words) it with the Dremel sanding drum. Now I was really getting somewhere, the
thing was starting to look a lot how normal looks.
I wasn’t done yet though. No siree Bob. I only had about an
hour of real work here, and a lot of that had been almost too fun to classify
as work.
Whole (nearly there)
I broke out the Marine Tex. I keep a little kit of this
handy epoxy stuff around and have used it to plug up any number of holes on old
Journey. The best part is that it’s white. The boat is white. My repair was
still rather grey, so I troweled some on and smoothed it out with a sandwich

The next morning, I gently sanded some more with the Dremel
sander, and Voila! She is done! (throw the French hand kissy thing here)
Of course, all of this was fraught with real danger for
me.  I had to work the entire time
suspended over the “anchor of death.” (See picture)

 Al was concerned about my
safety so he covered the anchor of death with the “bucket of salvation.” (See


I’m sure the yardguys are thinking they could have done a
better job. Heck, I’m thinking the yardguys could have done a better job.
But two hours and about thirty bucks in materials…. No
contest. I love when I end up being cheaper than even I think I am.
And I got the best compliment ever; Al took one look and
flashed me the OK sign.  
100% fixed whole No-hole!