Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've been working on a sailboat...

A full blown case of the deer-in-headlights condition

by Maggie

If you've read T's last post you'll notice he mentioned my deer in headlights look every time I come aboard Me Voy. Its true, right now Me Voy's interior is in a total state of chaos that I find unnerving. From little pieces of wood, to stainless screws, to pluming bits, to brushes, thinnners, and now engine degreasers, there is stuff crammed, jammed and strewn all over the place. You see T is a wonderful wonderful worker, who gets into the job whole heartedly and does great work. He's very meticulous, detailed, and dare I say a bit anal about everything he does. This combination works great, as most boat projects are very challenging both in terms of the contortions required and the mental energy that goes into figuring out how to do something. So its no wonder that the guy pays little attention to the tornado like zone that he leaves in his wake. He's usually exhausted, mentally and physically, and he's getting right back to it anyway. Right. Ok. I get it.

I've tried different methods of coping with this, the latest being just avoiding going over to Me Voy until we drop the engine in. That is the magical star date, after which we will do a major clean up with acetone, respirators, you know the works. So I've been patient. I've resisted the urge to go over and pick up and arrange the various tools, and materials, for although such behavior cures my own deer-in-head-lights condition, it only aggravates the same condition in T, who stands in the newly organized work space, staring blankly wondering where the vise grips are. So, I haven't interfered in T's progress as he put the engine mounts in, and began the engine clean up...until today.

Engine mounts awaiting bilge paint and of course the engine

Today was the first day, since bringing her down to Baltimore three months ago, that I worked on Me Voy. It was a simple job of painting the engine mounts, which really meant: sanding the epoxied mounts, filling previously drilled holes with epoxy and wood flour, and giving everything a nice coat of Bilgekote, while being crammed into a space the size of a chest freezer.

Mounts ready for the engine, with all insulation and lead sheeting in place

The deadly sweet smell of the bilge paint took me back to the time when we were only beginning dealing with the bilge rot. That was two years and fifty- three, five gallon buckets of rot ago. I'm not kidding either. I counted. As the rot-removing-machine- I kept good track of just how much rot there was.

Buckets of rot being removed from the engine hold, with the help of my trusty fein too. Perhaps we should have thrown in some tomato seeds and grew a garden instead? Hmmm.

You see Me Voy is a cold molded boat, which means she was built out of wood, then fiberglassed on the outside, and epoxied on the inside, making her more like a glass boat with a wooden core. The hull itself is a 1" thick wooden hull made of 3/8" fir strips on the outside, then a 3/16" mahagony layer , then another 3/16 mahogany layer then a final 3/8" mahogany strip layer on the inside. Then the fiberglass on the outside and epoxy on the inside. Mr. Holman and Mr. Pye, her designers, now known for their Oyster boats, designed her for circumnavigation at the request of a Mrs. E. Hatchett the owner of a boatyard in Spain. Everything about this boat is hard core, including her hull construction, which we are now intimately familiar with. She was glassed years later at a yard in Tilghman Md. where she was a charter vessel for a short period. But that was years ago, 13 years, and since then she was bought by Dusty, a boat carpenter (for a dollar) who took very fine care of her mast along with some keel work, but never saw the project thru. Enter us, three years ago, starry eyed, love at first sight, and so ignorant of the work that lay ahead.

This is the above engine hold with new wood and epoxy. The new wood is the orange colored strips. You can see where the rot stopped by the dark color of the planks on the right hand side. On the left hand side the new planks extended well up into the bilge. There was a leak that caused much rot on that side.

We did know that replacing the rot that disintegrated the first three layers of mahogany along the length of the bilge, was going to be a huge job, but even then we didn't think it was going to take two years - weekend warrior style. Looking back on those days, I'm amazed that we stuck to it. Hauling tools and wood up and down the ladder, driving to Oxford every weekend, man, we were determined. Still are, but now the light in that tunnel seems a bit closer. Once the engine plops in and purrs, we can start working on the interior, and who knows maybe we'll be moving in this summer. Maybe even sailing to FLA. this winter. Who cares really. I feel like we made it already just having her here.


Travis and Maggie said...

A correction
Travis pointed out that those are engine beds not engine mounts. Engine mounts are the little feet the engine is attached to, and they are coming this week and cost 400. OH.

jomamma said...

This is the exact reason I stay out of the garage when Hubby is building a mandolin. But Tornado season is coming (tomorrow night) and I will fit that new car in the garage if it's the last thing I do.

Chris said...

Nice, we know the deer in the headlight look pretty well. Great job on the engine area, looks good!

s/v Skylark said...

When it's all said and done, you will be a very happy person with a very good looking boat. Your role as Rot Removal Machine will be all but a distant memory as you anchor out behind some no-name island in the Bahamas...Very nice.

Travis and Maggie said...

Thanks Chris, I'd be surprised if you weren't familiar with the condition!

You know Skylark I think you're right, it's already a distant memory. We sometimes sit back and think, man, I can't believe we did that. Then we get back to work, uhum.

Jomama, all I got for you is.. best of luck. Tornados are tough.