Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The First Day of Christmas


We are in the last few days before Christmas, and the city is nearly impassable due to all of the people madly rushing to another store to get another gift for another person on their list. This has got me thinking about the true meaning of the season. So I have been taking it easy today, trying to avoid any place that sells anything, and thinking about the old story I learned as a small boy in Sunday School. We all know it. A virgin is with child, there is no room at the inn, the King of Kings born in a lowly stable below a shining star in the East. So, what does this have to do with shopping? It has set me on a day long Google search that has left me tired and confused. I feel like I have to share.

First I found out that Jesus was not the only son of God that was born of a virgin on Dec. 25. Around 3000BC Horus was born of the virgin, Isis, below a star in the East, and was visited by 3 kings. He later had 12 disciples, was baptized at age 30, walked on water, was crucified and raised from the dead three days later. But this is Christmas, not Easter so I will try to stay with the point. Next was Attis of Greece born Dec 25 around 1200 BC of a virgin, again crucified and raised from the dead three days later. Lord Krishna was born in northern India around 900 BC. His mother was also a virgin, he was born under an eastern star and resurrected. Dyonysus, also was born of a virgin on Dec 25 around 500 BC. He was also resurrected. There was also a persian god named Mithra who was born Dec 25 around 1200 BC who had 12 disciples, and was dead for three days before resurrecting.

This got my head spinning a bit so I dug a bit further. What is up with Dec 25? It seems to be astrological. As we all know, this time of year the sun is sinking to our south, and the days are painfully short. If we were to observe carefully, we would notice the sun would appear to remain stationary for three days around the winter solstice. Dec 22, 23 and 24 the sun is at its lowest point, and on the 25th it begins to visibly rise. To the ancients this signified the new birth or the raising from the dead. The star in the east is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. On Dec 24 it aligns with the three stars of the constellation Orion's belt. These three stars have been known since the Egyptians as the three Kings. If you were to draw a line through the four stars as they align on the 24th the line would intersect perfectly with the place of the rising of the sun the morning of the 25th, thus pointing to the birthplace of God's Sun, or son as we have come to spell it. This story is ancient and repetitious because of the constant fascination with astrology throughout the ages. The lord Jesus ushered us into the age of Pisces and promised to be with us until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). At that time, around 2050, will begin the new age of Aquarius. Perhaps then there will be created a new holiday to celebrate the start of this new age.

So why all of the presents, and tree decorating and lights? This began as a roman Pagan holiday called Saturnalia, which was celebrated every year from Dec 17-25. This was a week of lawlessness and outrageous behavior, that included rape and murder. Not unlike what happens in department stores the week before Christmas. They decorated themselves and gave each other gifts of cakes shaped like people. (much like Gingerbread men) The early church wanted an end to all of this paganism so they decided to let people think they could still celebrate the same way if they converted to Christianity. Likewise the Christmas tree is a leftover from pagan worship of the Asheira cult. This group worshipped trees in the forest and often brought them into their homes and decorated them. They were converted by the church and their tradition lives on to this day.

The ancient season of Yule was a time of both reflection and celebration, a time to connect in a relational way with one's own inner wisdom and with the people that surrounded them. Many different cultures from the Nordic Vikings to the Celtic Druids, Egyptians to the Hopi ritualized this sacred time to promote spiritual unity and attunement. It was believed that the veil between this world and the next was thin at this time, and the ancestors were invited to partake in the celebrations. The Nordics believed this was the time that Thor would ride his chariot in the night skies, pulled by two Reindeer, named Donner and Blitzen. (History of yule taken from www.bellaonline.com)

I could go on, but I won't bore you any further. I just thought it would be fun for us all to be reminded of the spirit of this season. So, I am going to look at this Christmas in a new way. It is a time to reflect on the year that has passed, share good cheer and gifts with the people I love the most, but never see enough, and look foreword to the coming year as a gift of new life, with limitless possibilities. Maybe this is how I should have been looking at it all along. Anyway, have a great holiday season! Pour yourself an extra stout glass of eggnog from me. I'll be keeping mine virgin, just like Isis, the mother of Horus.

P.S. This is not meant to discredit anyones religious beliefs of spiritual truths in any way. If anything is should cement the realization of the amazing power of the one who sustains us all, to unify people throughout the ages and around the world to an unshakable truth of hope and salvation. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let there be Lights

Tara during our first winter aboard 2009
Our Christmas light display aboard Tara has waned in enthusiasm over the last three years. We started out with gusto, hanging bright icicle lights and colorful rail lights the first year, followed by a weak display of a single strand of colorful lights on the back deck last year, to zero effort this year. Why? Although we (I more then Travis) love Christmas lights, both of us equally despise taking them down. So to get my fill of beautiful lights on the water, I went exploring and photographing other peoples light displays. Lazy? Perhaps. I, however, choose to think of it as working smarter, not harder, a mantra I will be applying when considering future projects.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Its getting to be winter around here, and I'm back below in our berth editing videos from the summer. Back in August we shoved Billy into his basket, threw him in the car and took off for some wilderness camping in neighboring West Virginia. If anyone is unfamiliar with US camping regulations heres the nitty. Camping is free in any of the National Forests. Find a site and you can stay there for up to 14 days. State Parks and National Parks all  charge fees for camping, in addition to entrance fees.

 Dog On Boat on Vimeo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Bidding!

We're so excited! Finally in honor of slimming down our belongings, our ebay store is up. Whoooo hoooo! Travis has been working very hard to make it all come together, and now it is done! I'm super stoked to be selling my bumper stickers there, and some other art stuff. There is so much more that we are excited about posting, but for now, you will see by the variety of categories, there's something for every boater, hippy, mystic, and art fan out there!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Me Voy's new hood

Giddy with success as we take Me Voy to her new marina. It feels momentous, coz it signals that the hard core restoration work is over! No more tornado like clouds of dust  and 5 gal buckets of epoxy for this girl. At least we hope! The buzz around the marina is that we are moving, but just to put those rumors to bed, we are staying put aboard Tara for the winter, and will move aboard Me Voy in the Spring. For now there is still upholstery to finish and other fun things like cushions and curtains to make.

Chopper enjoyed the new cockpit very much, as he was able to smell and therefore long after the yummies that are that much closer. For the most part though, he wasn't much impressed as we motored for about an hour to our new destination. We, however, were giddy, feeling again like we have just stolen someone else's very nice yacht. The only thing that tempers that feeling, bringing it down to reality, is the fact that both of us have touched every inch of that boat, sometimes in very uncomfortable positions.

We docked like pros, pulling into the slip with ease and confidence. It may have had something to do with the fact that the water looked liked this, you know almost dead calm. But whatever, it was still a classy entrance. Did you notice the spiffy main sail cover? Yup that old Singer and I went for another round of dancing and that old girl hung in there and then some, until we both came out saying did we just do that? Anyway its not completely finished, needs some different straps at the head and some zipper ends, but that will get fine tuned over the winter. But that's in the future, for now we are enjoying the next step of our ever evolving plan.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is what is staring at me right now. Chopper. He's always reminding me of the importance of play time. We've been listening, trying to keep a balance between work and play, but there has been much to do. We were tossing around the idea of a table for the salon in Me Voy. To have one or not to have one. We decided that it would be great to have one, even if it did cut into the yoga space on the floor. We also thought it would be fun if it was somewhat funky and interesting, tying the colors of the interior together like a good rug. So this is what we came up with...

 The center is a yellow submarine puzzle, that we worked on last winter. Its epoxied onto mahogany with some stenciling around it, and varnished.  It was the first puzzle we ever did together, and it may be last.  I knew Travis was a freak but until that morning, when I saw him hunched over the half finished puzzle, eyes spinning, hands shaking as he compulsively searched for a piece of the Blue Meanie, I never realized the full scope of his madness. "It can't just sit here, we must finish it" was his mantra, while I said "Lets just work on it little by little". Needless to say it was Travis who finished the puzzle in about 34 hours and collapsed from exhaustion.

The table also converts to make a bed, by removing the locked in legs and substituting them with shorter pieces. The table top lays in small ledgers around the satee and has a cushion that makes the entire satee into a nice big bed. We rarely sleep there, but it has happened, and Chopper for one loves it coz he can easily jump and hog the bed. He has BTW been staring at me the entire time it took me to write this blog and just now went to stare at Travis. However I feel another pair of eyes digging into my back and turn around to see this ...

... I am one lucky person

Monday, November 14, 2011

we've been busy

 We've been four and a half years in the making of this dream called Me Voy. Neither of us has ever stuck with a project this long! We're at the tail end of our work and are down to making some fun stuff.  Here is a cockpit table Travis made over the last couple of weeks. Just for shock value the last two pics are of us in the  cockpit, when it was called the "hellpit". Back then it was nothing more then a big hole at the stern of the boat covered by, you guessed it, a tarp. So you see things are really possible if you work hard, persevere, keep the big picture in mind, and smoke a little pot every now and then.

in the beginning there was only the hellpit
Travis in the hellpit doing some hell work

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

B&S Boat Trick #1

One thing you just can't get on a boat, or at least on most boats is a long hot shower. Ironically during the summer, when our water hose is bypassing the water tanks, and laying on the deck absorbing the sun's heat, this is not an issue, but who wants long hot showers in the summer? In the winter, however, our shower practice looks something like this: turn on water til warm, get all necessary parts wet, turn off water, lather all necessary parts, turn on water and rinse til water begins to get cool. This takes all of about seven minutes. But somehow, thru some sheer luck I have stumbled upon the remedy for this, and I am calling it my Beer and Skittles Boat Trick #1. Ready? The answer lies in turning down the water pressure! If I seem a little excited about this its coz I am! With the water pressure turned down to an acceptable stream,  I am taken back to the steamy showers of land life, where I have time to lather, rinse and stand and stand under that lovely stream and relax. Ahhhh.

 Does anyone out there have any boat tricks they discovered? Do tell.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How do you remember?

Do you like the holidays? Are you one who dreams of Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving plumage and Christmas lights in September? Do you dream up creative costumes in June and wear Santa Hats as soon as they appear on store shelves?  If so, that's great, really is, we need people like you, I'm sure of it. It's just that I never got it. I never understood the holidays, and the equations I was observing were so unsatisfactory to me :
ghosts+candy = Halloween,
turkey+ family+ gratitude = Thanksgiving
Jesus+presents= Christmas
Champagne+high heels=New Year
bunny+ eggs+basket=Easter

I'm sure this is some lack in me that doesn't allow the magic of all these Holidays to penetrate, but, so it is. Until now.

This year, having dome some searching and re-discoviering the power of ritual, I wanted in on the magic.  After all, that is what these Holy Days are, celebrations honoring our mystical humanity expressed in ritual magic. How did I not see this before?

So, with the Holidaze coming, I set out to reclaim the ancient meanings behind these popularized Holidays. It was almost Halloween and that felt like a good place to start.

Halloween or Samhain  as it was known in the Gaelic tradition, celebrated the end of summer and the beginning of the dark season. Because darkness is often associated with death, it was also called the Day of the Dead, and was known as the  night when the veil between the worlds (light/dark, life/death/ real/imaginary) was very thin. Candles were lit in the night to guide the passing spirits, and turnips or pumpkins were carved to scare the more unsavory characters.

In ancient Egypt the time was celebrated as the Festival of Isia, and celebrated  the return of the God Osiris who was magically resurrected from the dead by his wife Isis, becoming the King of the Dead.

The Greeks celebrated a festival called Thesmophoria,  which related to the myth of Persephony, who was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld, becoming the Goddess of Death.

In Mexico the day is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead) and the Hindu tradition celebrates Divali or a festival of related to Rebirth or New Year.

In the early Christian church the day was known as All Souls Day, and honored those who have passed.

 So what does it all mean?  How to put it all together and honor that which desires to be remembered at this time? The answer, I think, lies in the symbolic language of ritual. The symbolism of Halloween, Death, Rebirth, Change, Harvest, Spirit Connection/Communication can all translate into meaningful actions (ritual) that can help us to reconnect ourselves to that part of us which desires ritual in the first place. Tricky? Not really. I found that keeping in mind the symbolism of Halloween, allowed me to deeply appreciate actions such as lighting a candle or carving an owl in a pumpkin (in honor of inner sight).  Even though I passed on the Ouija board, grave cleaning, and costumes,  I feel my Halloween experience to have been richer then ever before. Next on the horizon... Thanksgiving, or maybe even Veterans Day?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glancing at the last post you'll have noticed that we have been working like mad. Me- to fund this venture of ours and Travis to knock out some of those items of the previously posted list. And you know what, we are getting close! In the last few weeks, new water tanks have been installed on TARA, Me Voy's V berth and state room have been refinished, TARA's roof has been painted, bright work on both boats has been done and a few other projects that are not yet finished are well on their way to completion. What does this all mean? It means that we are seriously getting ready to transition from our 55' Chris Craft to our 46' yacht . When? Everyone wants to when, everyone, including us.

For me, a hurdle to being ready to move onto Me Voy, is my attachment to TARA. She is such a wonderful boat, huge in comparison to the sailboat and filled with luxuries like a washing machine and dishwasher.  I have begun mentally saying goodbye to all these things and daydreaming about life aboard Me Voy. In my experience everything begins with a dream and although TARA is not on the market yet  and saying a real goodbye to her will be very hard, visualizing life aboard Me Voy has made me ready to scale down, simplify further, get down to one boat and focus on other work.  And so, in honor of small space living, I thought the above video might put to rest  worries some people (my parents)  have about living in tight quarters.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

40 degrees

I never think it's going to happen. But it always does. And the hats and boots and coats loitering in my closet, once again saunter out, and whisper, "I told you so..." And the months of darkness and waiting are forgotten, as my knits and wools and polyester blends rejoice in the cold light of a changing season. How forgiving, how utterly accepting and loving and warm, my winter clothes are.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Non-Labor Labor Day

Here it is, the final list. This one is the one that will bring us home on both boats. I'm sure stuff will be added but this is as complete as we are right now, and the good news is that it all fits on one page!

-paint roof
-paint topsides
-fix fiberglass on port side
-fix rot on port window
-apply final coat of Sani-Tred to non-skid portions of deck
-make new lazarette hatch
-fill and varnish sampson post
-get navigation lights
-make anchor light base
-repair and paint section of roof overhang
-install water tank
-replace rubber seals on ports
-haulout 2012

-replace bungs on deck
-re-bed stantions
-level cockpit seats
-seal cockpit
-caulk cockpit
-paint storage bins in cockpit
-make cockpit cover
-design/fabricate radar arch/solar panel mount/gate
-clean teak on deck
-rot repair forward port side sheer
-wax mast
-make main sail cover
-make head sail bags
-make sheet bags
-get shroud rollers
-make cockpit table
-make tool box drawers
-organize carpentry box
-finish varnish on drawers and doors in galley
-get and install hinge for cabinet door
-make/re-upholster cushions for salon
-make cushions for cockpit
-refinish stateroom
-make and install starboard handle/shelf
-make salon table
-plumb washdown to aft head
-figure out galley/berth/reading lights
-varnish companionway ladder
-install water filter
-install soap holder for galley
-finish chopping block for sink insert
-install cruise air???
--get/ install auto pilot

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Passed

Just a brief note to say that Irene passed us late Saturday night with gusty winds from the north. It didn't rain very much and the wind was pushing the water out of our little wharf, so instead of the flooding everyone was expecting, we were almost sitting on the bottom. The wind wasn't too crazy either, maybe gusts of 60mph? Definately felt like we had worst storms before. We got super lucky also, and didn't loose power at all. All is well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Ominous clouds began appearing early this afternoon with bringing rain and moderate winds

Preparing for Hurrican Irene. We're taking Me Voy to a neighboring marina with floating piers. That seems the safest way to go, since our first option of hauling way unavailable due to lack of space in the yards. That leaves us with only one boat to take care of , Tara, which will have long lines extending to the neighboring trees. We're really protected here in our spot, both in terms of our boat and the location of our marina.Its surounded on all sides by trees and buildings, on all sides that is except the South. Like an old timer here said, it will be a battle between Northeasterly winds and rain, and the Southwestern surge pushing water up the river from the Bay. Several people have been here for the last hurricane in the late 90's, Isabelle, and talk of a very strong surge that kept coming in from the Chesapeake. Coming and coming. Last time they had no power for 13 days, but that turns ou tot be only because no one reported the outage. Anyway we're stocking up on some food, fuel, getting extra dock lines, replacing our haylards with messangers, and generally taking action as if this is going be a bad one. The good thing is there is a great community of people here, of all ages and experience levels that makes it a good place to be. In general Baltimore seems like a safe place tucked up into the mainland and like I mentioned already our marina is very well situated especially against Northerly winds.

Due to unrelated issues we have no internet, so here we are at Dunkin Donuts, squeezing in some online time. Yesterday was a flurry of activity. A long 13 hour day of preparing. We took Me Voy to a very swanky marina and tied her to floating piers.We're staying aboard Tara and waiting to see how this develops.  We are hoping that we have over prepared, and judging from the latest forecast it that seems probable. As of now the rain is pouring and we are expecting winds between 35-40 with gusts of up to 65. Thanks to one of our neighbors I am obsessively humming "come on Irene...", you know the song right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Zen of Boats (again)

Buddhist practice often uses the image of a rainbow to illustrate both the illusory nature of  all things and to demonstrate their impermanence. Now I'm not a Buddhist (nor am I a non-Buddhist) but I suppose this image is used because all of us, at one time, have chased a rainbow only to discover that its end can never be reached, that there is no end. This brings me right back to boat work. Although our lists have gotten considerably shorter over the years,  that proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow continues to, at times, lure our minds and cause all kinds of conflict. What exactly am I talking about?

I have a confession to make. I'm not perfect. Sometimes I push and push and push to get a project done because I think that when it is finished I will be happy. I fall into the 'if only' mentality, you know... 'if only we get the haul out over with', or 'if only we got the solar panels installed', or 'if only we had one boat', or a million other 'if onlies' that sneak into my consciousness when I'm too busy to pay attention to the important things like my breath or they way Chopper runs down the dock balancing on only three legs.

And this is where the boats have truly been my guru. It is said that a guru is like a spotless mirror where we can see both the beauty and the ugliness of our inner life. Our weaknesses, virtues, doubts and strengths are revealed thru both joyful and painful experiences. (Excerpt taken from "The Journey Home" by Radhanath Swami) This is how the boats feel to me. In their steady presence the face of my  weaknesses, joys, and doubts is revealed.

Poets, dreamers, romantics and seekers of all types go out to sea to experience the solitude of the ocean and the oneness with Life. Sailing, and the sea is used in many spiritual metaphors. We have yet to go to sea, but if these boats can teach us such lessons tied to the dock, I can only imagine what awaits us out there in the deep.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Had some engine issues in the morning of our planned cruise, but they have been solved, again.
Now we are wondering, if it is wise to go out during a small craft advisory. Seems like we a forcing this whole trip to happen and need to lessen the tension by accepting that it will not happen this weekend. Stupid nature.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Sailing

Mr Perkins with head removed and gasket scraped.

 It's fun to dream about the future. It seems like only yesterday when Maggie and I were living in an old Airstream camper in the Mohave desert, dreaming of someday having a boat that we could live aboard. Of course in that dream the weather was always perfect, and nothing ever needed repair or maintenance. Over time this dream of boating grew and was refined to the reality that we now enjoy. But, along with all of the good, there is an equal amount of trial and difficulties that could easily pull us both into regret and despair. We had imagined ourselves spending limitless amounts of time learning to sail Me Voy together this Summer, finding all of the local anchorages, and having loads of fun on the Chesapeake. But, I have found, the future rarely lives up to our expectations. In reality, there is never an end of work to do, and just when you get close, something breaks and it is time for another costly repair.
The scope of the project fully engulfs Me Voy's interior
 We managed to get two days of sailing in before the blown head gasket was discovered. On our last trip, I was alarmed by difficult starting, and devastated by rising oil level. I knew what it meant. I would need to replace the head gasket. I immediately consulted Nigel Calder's book "Marine Diesel Engines" to see if this might be something I could tackle. Nigel was very encouraging and wrote concise, easy reading instructions for me to follow. Now I just needed to get parts.
Neatness is essential to be sure no parts are lost
 I usually order Perkins parts from Torrensen Marine. They have a great selection for the 4.108 and they ship quickly. They also have a terrific web site. Their price for the head gasket was $274. Kind of pricey but you've got to do what you've got to do, so I placed the order. They let me know immediately, that this gasket was on back order and they didn't expect it for 4 to 6 weeks. Not good. So, I went web surfing. After searching all of the marine suppliers, and getting the same answer, I tried a tractor supply site. I was shocked to find the same gasket in stock, for $25. I went ahead and got a top gasket set $40, a bottom gasket set $40, a new thermostat $15, and a single head gasket. All for less than half the price of just the head gasket from the marine suppliers. I had the parts in a couple of days. I have discovered that parts for the 4.108 are not hard to get, they are just hard to get from marine suppliers. Everything is still made by Perkins and is readily available from any tractor supplier that supports Perkins.

While disassembling the engine, I discovered the cause of the blown head gasket. It seems a failed Vetus Waterlock was letting raw water drain back into the engine filling the combustion chambers with sea water. Water doesn't compress so the head gasket gave out when the engine turned over. The oil level was more than a gallon high, almost fifty percent sea water. Why did the muffler fail? I forgot to drain it when winterizing. It's a real bummer to realize that my own mistake was the cause of a major problem. Live and learn I guess. I promptly ordered a new waterlock I found on ebay and decided to never again forget to drain the muffler when winterizing. It is important, evidently.

First try plumbing the new fuel system, leaked from every connection

 Since the fuel system had to be disconnected to repair the engine, I decided to add a second Racor filter, so that we could switch from one to the other without stopping the engine, in the event that the filter clogs while we are under way. For my first attempt at this, I used flexible copper tubing and mechanical connectors. This took almost all day to create, and leaked at every connection. I now know that mechanical connections only work on rigid copper pipe and should not be used on the flexible type. Too bad I had to waste so much time and money to find that out.

Final fuel system installed and not leaking.

After another day of gathering fittings, cutting tubing, and soldering all connections, the system is finished and leak free. This time I added an additional line off of the delivery pipe so that I can add a little fuel pump that will circulate our fuel through the filter and back into the tank to polish the fuel. This way, if we ever make it to the islands, we will be able to clean the dirty fuel before using it. This system was explained to me, years ago, by the genius, Peter Lawford, of Annapolis. He is also the architect of our charging system, currently under construction. He eagerly avoided work one day to explain the tricks of clean fuel and fully charged batteries to me. Thanks again Peter.

Two absolutely essential books for a wannabe Perkins mechani
Even more thanks to Nigel Calder, who wrote the book on marine diesel. There is not much I would not feel comfortable doing with Nigel's book as my guide. If you have a diesel and think you may ever want/need to work on it, get this book! The factory service manual is also very handy, but if it is not available, Nigel's book will still get you through. He is also the author of "The Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual" which gives an in depth explanation of every system aboard your boat.

Mr Perkins reassembled and ready for action
Another long standing problem was the saildrive. It knocked in higher gears. We have pretty much decided it would need to be replaced. However after looking into the problem, it turned out the knocking was not being caused by a worn gear, but was rather a transmission cable that was not adjusted properly. After tightening up the cable, it hums along with no knock at all. So, now it seems we may indeed be ready for some Summer sailing. Maggie's birthday is Sunday and we are planning a cruise. It looks like it might actually happen, unless something else breaks down.

I guess that's just the way life works. Good times and bad times are just the two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. I am slowly learning to enjoy the good times without getting too attached to them, and accept the bad times as part of the process of living and growing. I know we can't always have fair winds and following seas, and that it is often the struggles that define us. So the only thing we can do is try and be thankful for whatever comes, knowing there are greater forces at work, pushing and pulling each of us along our individual evolutionary path. That way, maybe we can become free to enjoy the good times without fear of bad times coming, and appreciate the bad times as the great life teachers that they are. Then everything that comes can bring happiness. It sounds pretty impossible to be happy in all circumstances. But so did living aboard a boat while we were baking in the hot desert sun just a few years ago. It all starts as a dream, and then ...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tara's Booty

We have been taking it easier this  this summer, much more so then any summer since the boats came into our lives. Part of it is that we just cannot keep the kind of pace we had going, where we would drive two hours to spend the weekend working on Me Voy, then come back to Tara and do something stupid like install a new plywood deck. Cheesh, who are these people in our archives?

We do, however,  recognize the danger of slacking off too much. Its very easy to loose momentum, and get behind on maintenance or loose focus and never finish what we started.  As history would have it, we have both started ambitious projects in the past, only to never see them through to completion. That is not an option for us with these boats, but it is something we are both aware of.

One of my recent  projects was the transom on Tara. There was nothing wrong with it in terms of rot or damage, it was just ugly. And the reason it was ugly was entirely my fault.

It began with temporarily painting the name on the transom. By temporarily I mean I thought I was going to be able to sand it off without going thru the varnish. I would then slap a coat or two of varnish and everything would be beautiful. Ooops. What I didn't take into account was the small detail of our transom being stained. That meant when I sanded the letters off, I inevitably went through to the wood below, and left two giant spots of unstained wood where the letters were. Oooops. Ok my options were to sand everything, re-stain and re-varnish, or try to match the stain and move on with life. I chose the latter, but long story short, it was impossible to match exactly the shade of red mahogany. Can you see the darker spots on the transom in the picture? Well they just kept getting worse,  and  I just couldn't live with that. So I decided I was going to start from scratch and do it right. Btw, if you are thinking of temporary letters on your boat, for God's sake use masking tape, or stickers, don't paint it on!

I've already written about Citrus Strip and how much I like it, but this was going to be a real good test for  this miracle striper. I was about to take off six layers of Epifanes varnish.

I wasn't real impressed after the first application. Only some sections of the transom began to bubble up. I scraped those off, and applied more Citrus Strip.

The second application worked much better. Almost all of the varnish was bubbling up. I applied Citrus Strip to the stubborn areas and waited. This stuff works really fast.After ten minutes I was ready to scrape off the stripper.

Here again I have to say, I love this stuff. Notice the orange gloves that I'm not using? Don't need them! Other then a rather itchy smell, this stuff doesn't burn the skin like most other strippers. 

After a few hours I was done with the stripping and sanding. There is no way I would be finished so quickly if it wasn't for the Citrus Strip. 

Travis helped me stain and brush the first coat of very Epifanes. We thinned this first coat liberally to let it really soak into the wood.

I'm spraying the remaining coats, one every morning, or every other morning. The beauty of Epifanes is that it requires no sanding in between coats if reapplied within 72 hrs. This saves a lot of time, and energy, as does spraying. Previously it took me about 3 hrs to brush a coat  on the transom, as opposed to fifteen minutes of spraying, and fifteen minutes of cleaning the gun. That's a huge difference!  Plus, the compressor makes a lot of noise and creates a very festive atmosphere. I really do like using loud tools. Must be a girl thing.