Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Photos from July

Peponi spent early July out on the water, including a nice stint on the mooring buoy at The Boat Yard.

Here is photographic evidence.

Cruising upwind toward Port Ludlow at 5 knots
Fog streaming off the aptly named Foulweather Bluff

On the mooring in Hood Canal

On the mooring on a calm morning.

Wing and wing into Hood Canal

Becalmed under the Hood Canal Bridge. Thank goodness for the flood current.
Motoring into the bay.

Dad's boat workshop.

The girl pretending to be crew.
Fishing and crabbing gear taking over the cockpit.


More dinner.
Cap'n Ron joined me for the sail back to Edmonds. Hard to beat Seattle in the summer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fun With Toxic Chemicals: Deck Paint Edition

When we prioritized projects prior to Peponi's launch last fall, cosmetic concerns got pushed way down the list. We had to get the hull buttoned up, the power train finalized, and the rig put together first. And because we launched in the fall, that meant that repairing and repainting the deck ended up having to wait almost 8 months for the somewhat reliable sunshine to return to the Northwest.

We've had an incredible stretch of late spring and summer weather here this year, and that let me get to the deck project. It also has the Admiral in a good mood. She's a Southern California girl, and anything less than constant sunshine is a cause for complaint.

Like everything else on the boat, the deck had not been cared for well. Or at all. The gelcoat was dull and scratched. The non-skid wasn't very "non" anymore. The beige had faded to an ugly brown shade that had permanent stains on it (as well as some actual stain, dripped from the previous owner's attempt to reseal the teak on deck).

In short, it was a mess. Here are some shots of the day we boat the boat, many moons ago. Granted, the winter light makes anything gloomy, but we have to have some sort of baseline, right?

You can click on any of the photos on this page to see a large detailed image.

An overall look at the deck as we found it 3 years ago.

Side deck detail
Side deck detail

Foredeck detail
We made a first pass at the on deck teak while the boat was hauled out at at The Boat Yard, but this was mostly an attempt to just feel good about ourselves. It will need to be redone soon, as our cursory job didn't really end up look all that good. But for now, it was the deck that needed to be done to make Peponi look like she had actually been refit.

One thing I quickly learned while attempting this project is that everyone who has ever painted anything has a lot of opinions about paint selection, application, brand, prep, and cleanup. The downside of doing this job while the boat was in the water (aside from having to paint the side decks from on the boat itself rather than from a ladder) is that everyone who walked down the pier found the time to stop and offer his opinion. And even before I started, I was told what paint to buy, where to buy it, what to thin it with, what roller or brush to use. Even at Fisheries Supply, after I had selected the paint, the cashier took the time to ask me what I was using it for and then proceeded to give me a look that said, "That's not the paint I would have chosen."

So here's the deal: I chose to use a one-part paint. Interlux Brightside, to be exact. In White and Bristol Beige. Why not two-part epoxy paint, you ask? Because it's a pain in the ass. That's why. And because in a "test spot" I was able to get really good results with the one-part Interlux.

I started with the white areas of the deck with the logic that the darker color would cover any runs or mistakes in taping. Most of the white deck is smooth gelcoat, and to get the paint to run out smooth (no brush marks) it needed to be thinned down. Interlux makes a brushing liquid called 333 that I used at about half of the maximum ratio, a bit more as the day heated up.

Also, I know it is an unforgivable sin, but I left the deck hardware on the boat. I just taped everything off really well. Removing and rebedding the stanchions and other hardware will have to wait. I can only tackle so many frustrating projects at once.

I learned a long time ago with home painting projects that prep is everything. A good masking job, a clean surface, and the proper tools makes any project much easier. That said, I hate prep. Because I was applying multiple coats, I ended up taping, un-taping, and re-taping the boat several times to keep the adhesive from setting or the tape from lifting up in the rain or dew. It takes over an hour to mask off the deck, in case you are calculating your own work time. Buy expensive tape and apply it carefully, in pieces as long as you can manage.

The deck has a few big spaces to cover, the most obvious of which is the front of the cabin. This is what everyone sees, so naturally it is the area that was the hardest to get right. The paint either sagged on me or it didn't run out and left brush marks. I ended up painting, sanding, painting, sanding, and then painting it. Finally I have a serviceable job there. The other spot that ends up being looked at a lot is the mast step, and it needed a few tries, too. The rest of the white paint turned out pretty nicely. After two coats:

Two coats of Interlux Brightside. Waiting for non-skid.
It took a couple of weeks to find the time and weather to get all the way around the boat three times with the white paint. For the non-skid areas I laid down one coat of untextured paint and then one to two coats of paint with Interlux non-skid additive mixed in. Then a thin coat of untextured to seal it up. More about the non-skid in when I get to the beige areas. The final result was a nice grippy surface that didn't look too bad.
Non-skid section detail.

The beige, non-skid areas of the deck got a similar treatment. After some careful taping I applied a thinned coat of paint with a small mohair roller (spend money on roller covers and brushes; the cheap ones give you cheap results). This went down really well and was one of those jobs that gives you more or less instant gratification as you see the results, much like waxing a dull, chalky hull). By the time I worked around the boat once, it was dry enough to start again with a round of textured paint.

A note on the texture situation. If you paint the existing non-skid with a smooth paint, hoping that the existing non-skid pattern will be enough to provide traction, you will be disappointed. It's slippery as hell.

I added texture using the recommended Interlux product and following their ratios pretty closely. Here is what I learned there:

You have to trust the manufacturer. It doesn't seem like it is putting down any non-skid and the tendency is to add extra grit to the mixture as you go. Don't. Be patient, apply the well-mixed paint, and let it dry. You'll be surprised at the results. If it isn't enough after one coat, simply add another following the same ratios.

Also, go with the pre-mix method. You can, theoretically, paint a section and then broadcast the non-skid on the top with a salt shaker or flour sifter. Two problems here. One, the shit gets everywhere if there is even a hint of a whisper of a ghost of a wind. Two, it is so fine that there is no way to see the results as you go. Mix the paint, wait 10 minutes, stir like crazy, only pour what you need for a small section into the roller tray, stir like crazy, repeat. Don't let the grit settle to the bottom of the paint (it is so small and light that it won't happen as fast as you think, but still, the bottom of the roller tray has more grit in it than you expect.)

The most important thing I learned was to trust it. You can see it well, but there is a fair amount of non-skid being laid down.
Foredeck taped and ready for non-skid.
I did the foredeck as its own project to ease moving around the boat. Then I came back two days later and did the side decks and cockpit.

Port side deck taped and painted.

Starboard side deck taped and painted.

Port side deck detail. Taped and painted.
Port side deck detail final.

Waiting for paint to dry.
In the end the decks look clean and crisp (though not "factory" new.) From a few feet away the one-part paint and the contrast between the beige and the white make Peponi look as good as any boat on the dock. No doubt there is still touch up to be done, and the cockpit still isn't done (it has the most complicated corners and is the hardest to paint while at the dock), but I am pretty happy to have this much done, anyway.

I hope to get a good stretch of weather while on the mooring up at The Boat Yard over the week of July 4th to get the teak redone so that it sets off the new paint even more.

Now back to sailing.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Tack

Spring Sunset at the Marina
As you can tell, I stopped posting here once Peponi was in the water and we were sailing her. But as you also probably know, the projects didn't stop.

So rather than just neglecting this space I put it back on my to-do list because I am positive there are two or three people out there who care, or at least who get bored enough to search "Cape Dory" in Google and get sent here.

Since we last spoke:

Cap'n Ron, Elton the Mechanical Genius, and I took part in a long, cold, wet delivery slog from Port Townsend to Everett, where Peponi's new slip was waiting. This would be the first test of the new mechanical systems on board, and it didn't take much convincing to get Elton to go with us, tool kit in hand, in case things went wrong.

With the new Beta 14 and prop, Peponi cruises easily at 5.5 knots and will do over 6 if pressed above 3,000 rpm. Not bad for a short, heavy boat.

Motoring Through Puget Sound
We had one of those typical Puget Sound cruises where there was wind the whole time, but at every turn it was right on the nose, leaving us little choice but to just power into it. It was a wet ride.

It took about 6 hours to get from marina to marina, and it was a good chance to work out a few things, mostly ergonomic. The important take away from that shakedown was that the boat is awesome.

I am comparing her to our previous boat, an O'Day 302 that was typical of boats from the late 1980s: roomy inside and full of ideas and features that almost worked. By comparison I already loved Peponi more than the O'Day. Her motion is kinder, she tracks better, and remarkably, she is faster. The O'Day, with its wing keel and barn door rudder wasn't really very good at anything except sitting at the dock.

After a long cold day, we pulled Peponi into the Everett Marina. It was October. Just in time for winter to hit. Great timing. We did get a few great days over the winter, and any time the sun came out, we tried to take advantage of the dry weather to sail or just work on some of the ongoing projects onboard.

Mostly, though, Peponi sat and floated while we waited for calendar pages to turn. In the Northwest we can sail year round since nothing ever freezes over, but the days are painfully short and the weather is cold and heavy. I ended up tarping up the boat to keep her as dry as I could while I did some final wiring, electronic, and plumbing tasks. By the time spring hit, pretty much everything was working as planned. The new Standard Horizon chartplotter was displaying the AIS information from the VHF radio. The cockpit repeater was wired. The stereo was streaming tunes from my iPhone. The hot and cold running water was, well, running. Also the drink holders were installed in the cockpit. Important.

It didn't take long before the experience of being in Everett started to get me down. This is the marina where we kept our last boat, and it is a little cheaper than other local boat basins. You can read about me finally losing my patience and moving the boat to her current home at my other blog.

Today Peponi lives in Edmonds. And it's now officially sailing season.

I have spent the last two months getting used to how she handles, setting up the rigging, and working on remaining projects. But mostly it has just been pure happiness after 3 years of work to have her on the water.

Coming soon, updates on:
  • New deck paint
  • New sails
  • Other upgrades
Until then, some photos:

Quick Sail to Kingston for Lunch

The 9 Year Old Sailing Like a Pro


The Junior Crew

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Before and After Gallery #1

As I sort through photos of the restoration I will post a few of these little galleries showing some of the more interesting Before and After shots. Here is the first!

Arrival at The Boat Yard

Departure. 3 years later.

The battery "situation." Before.

The battery solution after. Should be noted that I have since moved these batteries again.

The hoses and thru hulls for the holding tank. Before.

Holding tank plumbing. After.

Bow before

Bow after

Aft locker before

Aft locker converted to propane storage

Engine bed before

Engine bed after

Transom before

Transom after

Monday, October 22, 2012


In the water and ready to go
It has been three years since Peponi was hauled out, put on a truck, and blocked in the driveway at The Boat Yard. Now The Boat Yard is an empty driveway again and Peponi is a sailboat, in her slip at the Everett Marina, with an icebox full of beer and a locker full of foul weather gear.

I started getting impatient a few weeks ago when the good weather was threatening to disappear and we looked like we were close to being done.

But as close as we felt to being in the water, the list of remaining tasks was long.

First came the rig, where the previous owner's pattern of neglect really cost us a lot of time and money.

On the haulout we struggled to even get the mast off the boat because corrosion at the mast step had virtually welded things together. The spreaders were similarly fused together. Every piece of hardware was corroded to whatever it was attached to. This meant drilling, grinding, cutting, and replacing just about everything. Luckily, RigRite.com still has all of the original rig parts for the CD 27. The only drawback is that you have to deal with the customer "service" at RigRite.

Detail of new spreaders
New spreaders, spreader sockets, tangs, masthead truck, sheaves, and halyards added a few boat bucks to the ledger. We ran the halyards internally, so add exit plates and rope clutches. This doesn't include the pending deck hardware needed to run the halyards aft to the cockpit. Add turning blocks, deck organizers, more rope clutches, and winches. Dollar signs.

Aside from the topping lift (which was lost along the way) all of the standing rigging went right back in place. And unlike everything else on the boat, the wire and turnbuckles were in great shape when we bought the boat. I had already run the wires and installed the masthead before the boat was trucked to Sea Marine, but everything else still had to be done.

Elton Schweitzer at Sea Marine was excellent at getting us rigged and ready. A big piece of the work was simply cleaning up all of the fittings, which had years of corrosion to deal with. We wire brushed everything down to clean metal and greased it all up to avoid it seizing up on us again. Instead of screws on most of the fittings, we went with the more proper rivets.

Elton solved a few issues with the running rigging as well (namely setting up a workable outhaul arrangement and an adjustable topping lift) and we were ready to go. Hayden and I made the trek to the yard on what turned out to be one of the last beautiful fall days in Puget Sound, and we worked on getting the mast up.

In keeping with the East African theme of Peponi, the coin under the mast is 20 Kenya shillings, a coin my world traveling partner just happened to have in her purse. I usually only carry US currency.
Kenya shillings under the mast
The short rig of the CD27 let us set the mast with a manlift instead of a full size crane, which was nice on the wallet. How it worked out that the lift, at full extension, was perfectly positioned to drop the mast onto the step is nothing more than good luck.

Setting the mast

The rig went up without incident, aside from one scary moment when I almost stepped off the ladder while walking it up to the deck. Once my heart settled down, we set the mast and installed new pins all around.

Peponi with the rig in place

It was such a shock to see the boat with the rig up after sitting in the driveway for so long. At this point we really started to feel close. Let's go sailing!

In the yard with the rig up!

Another view of the rig

The remaining details to figure out were all related to the engine and drive train. With the engine in place, we still needed to figure out the exhaust set up, the fuel system, and raw water. The details here are too tedious to list, but it was a few days of getting the right fittings, hoses, and other parts to get it all together. We came across a LOT of issues with the specs on the Beta Marine drawings and the actual specs of the engine. I should have verified every measurement on the actual engine when planning and purchasing. I already had to convert from metric to SAE on everything, and even then, the stated metric dimensions were usually wrong. Beta says the raw water intake is 7/8" (which is a dimension almost never found anywhere, and which made finding hose and fittings a real treat. Turns out the raw water intake is 3/4". Similarly, the fuel fittings are different from the line drawings. Worse, the fuel pick up on the Moehler tank is a different size than the fuel return. Awesome. We switched out some fittings and changed the hose ($$$) and everything worked out great.

Detail of engine mount
The engine system is made up of:
  • Beta Marine 14 hp Diesel
  • 75 amp alternator
  • PSS Dripless Shaft Seal
  • Mohler 13 gallon plastic fuel tank
  • Racor 500 primary filter/water separator
  • Groco water strainer 
  • Vetus waterlock muffler

In the end, and after not just a little head scratching, sketching, and consulting other mechanics, we came up with an exhaust plan that used a low profile Vetus waterlock and bellowed exhaust hose in order to maneuver around the various corners and through the maze that is the aft end of the boat.

After so long with tools strewn all over the place and things dirty and ripped up, I was really looking forward to returning the interior of the boat to something more than just a workspace. Cleaning it up was the first step. Power tools, hand tools, paint, spare parts, dirt, dust...she was a mess. Just getting all of the material and tools offloaded was a huge step. We finished up some painting and varnishing before the boat was splashed. Then, on the day of the sea trial, the new upholstery was added.
Sunbrella fabric on the interior upholstery

The v-berth with the new one-piece mattress. I think the fabric is named after some sort of wheat.
The launch went without incident. No leaks. No surprises. No problems.

Sea Trial
Hayden and I met Elton for an afternoon sea trial the day after the launch. I won't even try to describe the feeling of being out on the water for the very first time on a boat we have been rebuilding for 3 years.
Elton enjoying a little shakedown cruise.

The scene of the launch. Point Hudson Marina, Port Townsend WA.