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2012 May

2012/05/20 - Another long gap between bouts of productive work on our fair sloop. Although we had a mild winter, there always seemed to be something going on and the early sunsets didn't provide much motivation to even work out in the garage. Once the weather did warm up and the days got sufficiently long, a busy travel schedule intervened as I traveled both for work and for family reasons.

As the travel began to settle down in early May, I tore a ligament in my lower back which further sidelined any work on Tomfoolery for several more weeks. Fortunately, several of my crew came over this weekend to help with some of the lifting and twisting that I wasn't quite capable of and we managed to get about half of the deck fittings and stanchions bolted back into place. Thank you Rebecca, Jon and Jim!

2012/05/28 - After another week of doing things that weren't too strenuous, my back is feeling much better and stronger. The long weekend also afforded some fantastic weather with temperatures in the 80's and mostly sunny skies. Great weather for just about any boat work.

Among the things accomplished this weekend were the installation of a true through-hull fitting for the coaxial line running up the mast to the VHF antenna. The existing hole, just large enough to accommodate some RG-58 coax, was enlarged to accommodate the bulkhead fitting and then some washers were used to better clamp it in place. The placement of the fitting will require some slight modification to some joinery in the head, but that will be a minor inconvenience.

Far more time consuming than the VHF fitting was sanding down the brightwork around the companionway and the cockpit. Decades of sun-baked varnish had to be removed and proved to be challenging even with 60 grit sandpaper. After two days of sanding, however, all but the portions near the timbers supporting the mast were completed. Even though my back is feeling better, I'll wait to get some crew members around to help me lift it and reposition the supports so that I don't re-injure anything.

The primary winches and remaining cockpit fittings were removed so that the deck could also be sanded down and prepared for painting. Hatches to the cockpit lockers were also removed and sanded down in the garage before being painted. These hatches will be used to test out the non-skid formulation for the Rustoleum deck paint. The bulkhead to the cabin was also painted so that the instrument panel can be reinstalled soon.

Between sessions of sanding the cockpit, the spreaders were painted and varnished. Since the top side of the spreaders are exposed to continuous sunlight, the varnish there never tended to last more than a few seasons before the wood was completely raw and turning grey. I had to find a way to better protect the wood. Since the varnish on the bottom of the spreaders tends to stay intact for many years, I decided to leave the bottom as natural wood as I like the looks of it better than paint.

My original intent had been to paint the tops of the spreaders white, but all of my white paint solidified over the winter. However, I did have some red and green lying around, so... why not paint the spreaders so it would be unambiguous as to which one went where?

New LED spreader lights were ordered last week and should arrive some time this week. Once the lights are on, then the spreaders can be reinstalled. The only other thing missing is an electric horn which I'll also mount on the spreaders, but unfortunately I've managed to put this in a "safe" place where it is evading me.


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