Refit:  Winter 2008-2009

Winter 2008-2009 Refit | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 (and days preceding)

Over the weekend, I carried piles of general boat gear down from its winter storage area in the attic and loaded it on the boat.  As always, I was stunned at the sheer quantity of stuff.  Good grief.

Soon, I planned to move the boat outdoors, to make engine test-running easier and to prepare for final washdown, mast-loading, and general preparations for transport and launch.  Before that, however, it was time to get the new graphics for the name and hailing port completed.

Earlier, during the winter, I'd done some work online and found several fonts that I liked, and dabbled around with a photo of the boat's transom and some Photoshopping to superimpose the various choices on the "boat".  Eventually, we narrowed down to one final choice. 

Several months went by while I just couldn't manage to find the time to get to a local shop to have the new vinyl made up.  Eventually, the pending launch date dictated that I get this done.  Armed with my printed mockups of the boat's transom and the font I'd chosen (for which I didn't know the name), I visited Clark Signs and Graphics, which was about as nearby as anything, and ordered the new graphics.  It took a couple emailed proofs and minor manipulations to get the proposed look the way I wanted it, after which the new vinyl was made up in short order by the friendly folks at Clark's. 

Once again, I chose gold leaf vinyl with a white outline--a classic choice.  I chose a different look than the original graphics, which over time I had found I liked less and less, and which I had generally always found to be too large--my own fault for choosing the size in the first place.  I'd been threatening to make some changes to the look of the name for years, but it never had happened, as I kept thinking that "next year" I'd paint the boat, etc.  Plus, for two years I'd had the wrong hailport on the stern.

Well, this year I finally painted the boat, and the time to change the graphics had arrived. This time I wanted the name to be better proportioned to the size of the transom.  Additionally, I scaled down the size of the hailing port, with no intentions (nor possibility) of documenting the boat and therefore no need to use huge 3" lettering for the port.

Even though I'd spec'd the overall length of the new name (about 30", which I determined after mocking things up on the transom), when I picked up the vinyl it seemed tiny on the table at the graphics shop.  I worried briefly that I'd made a mistake.  Fortunately, when I got back to the boat I could see that it was what I wanted and I shouldn't have doubted myself.

I spent a few hours installing the vinyl.  I'd simply ordered the vinyl cut straight, without an arc, but to install on a curved transom I'd need to do some layout to ensure that the name didn't form a smile shape, which flat vinyl will do on a curved surface.

So I spent a bit of time determining an appropriate location for the base of the letters, and then marked out a baseline on the transom that followed the slight curve of the deck camber above.  This gave the name a subtle arc when installed.  To make the letters follow the line I'd laid out, I cut the vinyl mask between the letters as needed before installing.  I applied some tape to hold the letters in their general arc, which was nice for taking  a photo to show how much a flat name needs to be curved to appear more or less straight (or with a subtle arc) on the transom, but the tape proved to be an annoyance during installation, as I needed to manipulate the letters individually, and ended up cutting the tape as I went.

Finally, I installed the name and squeegeed it out.


Next, I marked a similar line further down the transom for the hailport.  This time, however, I marked the baseline so that it was level from side to side.  After mocking up and cutting the mask as needed, I installed the hailport as well.


I went back and forth for some time on whether to include an apostrophe in Buck's Harbor.  Observation over time had indicated that it was common to see it both with and without the punctuation on other boats' transoms, in cruising guides and other writings, and in other sundry locations.  Complicating the inconsistency further was the fact that the NOAA chart for the area indicated that it should be Bucks Harbor, without the apostrophe.  In the end, I chose to use an apostrophe because all correspondence from the town and specifically the harbormaster used it--if it's good enough for the harbormaster, then I decided it would be how I should spell it. 

Such are the important issues with which I wrestle.

Here is a comparison of my Photoshop mockup with the actual lettering.  I will get better pictures of the name once the boat is outdoors in natural light.


Total time today: 4 hours

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Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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