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Refit:  Winter 2008-2009


Winter 2008-2009 Refit | Saturday, October 11, 2008

I accomplished a few small jobs today.  I began with the forward hatch surround, and scraped away the old silicone sealant.  Afterwards, I sanded the top of the wooden surround with 80 grit, then sanded the entire varnished piece with 120 and 220 grits to prepare for additional varnish.


    


For a few years, the bracket securing the propane regulator to the boat (located, in my case, on the leading edge of the doghouse, adjacent to the propane tank storage) had been rusting, and had become extraordinary ugly.  So today I removed it, and removed the bracket from the regulator itself so that I could clean it up and paint it before reinstallation.  I'd also have to remove the ugly rust stains from the doghouse.

(The first photo dates to April 2008, but shows the rusted bracket in place.)


         


One of the projects slated for this refit was to repaint the nonskid.  While in general the coating was in good shape--I renewed it in 2003 after completing some deck repairs--there were a few areas where the adhesion had failed, most notably on the cockpit seats (where we leave cockpit cushions in place all summer long) and on the foredeck.  For future reference, I thought I'd highlight these areas so you can see the condition that led me to the decision to repaint this year.


    


A few years ago, in a move borne of frustration, I installed a round aluminum deck plate above my house battery bank in the starboard cockpit locker.  This hatch allowed me access to an otherwise very tight space (owing largely to the over-deep molded gutters on the cockpit locker lids) and made installing and connecting these batteries much easier.

At the time, I didn't deem it necessary to install a similar hatch on the port side, above the engine battery bank.  But a couple more seasons' worth of hookup frustration came to a head at the beginning of the 2008 season, when for whatever reason I just couldn't get the top of the battery box in place and properly strapped down.  The battery wasn't going anywhere, so I lived with this for the season, but enough was enough:  I wanted a hatch here as well.  I hate those deep gutters.

To that end, today I took a somewhat smaller version of the starboard deck plate and marked out the location for the cutout on the port side.  I cut the opening with a jigsaw, and then drilled the holes for the mounting screws, using a VIX bit to self-center the holes in the flange openings.  I wouldn't permanently install the new deck plate till after I repainted the nonskid, but I did seal the exposed plywood stiffeners inside the opening with epoxy.


         


I removed the lifelines and stanchions for storage, and then turned to the toerail varnish process.  For the first time since I installed my rubrail and brass rubstrip back in 2003,  I decided it was time to varnish the entire rubrail, not just the top edge.  It was starting to get ratty, and this was the perfect opportunity.  So, I spent an hour or so removing the brass rubstrip, a delicate operation since the slim strip was quite susceptible to bending at the screw countersinks and had to be handled carefully.

The little brass screws I'd used to secure the rail weren't in great shape, so it was probably good that I decided to remove the rail anyway.  On the starboard side, for whatever reason, 5 or 6 of the screws broke off as I removed them--the material was just wasted.  This didn't happen on the port side, however--but then the starboard side seems to always have more wear on things than port, probably because the prevailing wind direction leaves that side exposed to the stronger UV rays of the sun during the season (south and west).  Or something.

In the event, I successfully removed the rubstrip, marking the locations with broken screw studs with some masking tape for future reference so I could drill them out.  Since I installed it originally, I'd located a source for bronze, rather than brass, screws of appropriate size, so I planned to use bronze screws for the re-installation.


    

Total time today:  3.25 hours

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