While in the yard these past 12 days I was generally useless, worked slowly, consulted my iphone on a regular basis, got distracted by shiny objects and humongous spiders, didn't know a crescent wrench from a vice grips, and I even lost Brian's favorite screwdriver he'd had since he was like 2 (so he says). Thankfully, I did not grow scruffy facial hair, but I would (and I'm sure Brian concurs) now call myself a yardbird. Brian on the other hand was highly productive, despite working outside 9 hours a day in record high temps in San Diego.
We hauled the boat on Wednesday Sept 10. Our main goals were to raise the water line, bottom paint, install wind indicator, redo the standing rigging, spot paint the mast and replace chain plates, as well as some other minor items like greasing/painting the prop, welding a spinnaker loop to the masthead and lots of stainless steel polishing… a tall order for one week. We did it, albeit in 12 days as opposed to 8, but who’s counting.
We paid the Oceanside Marine Center to raise the water line. Indigo is now so heavily laden with “stuff” that water is lapping well above the bottom paint, causing green growth and critters to cling onto the red topside paint. We sadly watched as they sanded over our beautiful red boot stripe leaving only about an inch amidships. We had debated whether to remove the red line altogether to allow more leeway. But vanity outweighed logic…we just could not envision the boat without a stripe, and we didn’t want to pay the extra money to paint an entirely new boot stripe. Even worse, we would never have matched the top automotive paint red hue. We may regret this decision eventually.
The chain plates and the rigging attached to those plates hold the mast up, so we’d rather keep it that way. While we purchased all new chain plates we decided for time sake, to only replace the 3 main plates instead of all 7. I assumed we’d be in for a huge mess with chipped paint and/or cracked wood as a result of trying to pry 20-yr old plates from the hull, but remarkably, this was not the case. However, after we removed the backstay, we determined the 4 holes in the new plate did not line up with the old ones. By about ¼”. Whhaattt??! No way on earth we are drilling new holes into the outside of the boat. So we polished it up to look like new (fortunately no cracking or corrosion) and re-bedded the old one. We did remove & replace the 2 uppers which take the brunt of the load. While all the holes lined up this time, the new plates were about 1/8” too wide. Brian had to file down the inside of the wood rubrail so the plates could slide through. Nothing is ever simple.
Next was to replace the 20-yr old standing rigging. Brian purchased all the components from riggingonly.com and did all the Sta-Lok fittings himself, saving probably 1/2 to 3/4 the cost of a rigging contractor. It took 2 full days to lay all the rigging out, cut and splice the fittings together for 7 stays (jib & staysail were already done with the roller furling 2 years ago). Brian up-sized the line to 9/32” for more strength. The most difficult part was in tightening the fitting. The edges of the strands must be spaced out evenly and can get pushed down if tightened too hard, resulting in an unsafe joint. While there was a learning curve, Brian got the tension down pat and we fortunately only had to recut one long stay. This was probably the most nerve-wracking project Brian has done thus far but he is glad to have gone through the difficult process.
Other items on the plate pertained to the mast. We ran the wind indicator wire; got a loop welded to the front of the top of the mast for the light air sail block; installed a mast track for the storm sail; polished lots of stainless steel parts; and painted portions of the mast that had corroded. This was the most time-consuming of the projects and required us to re-launch the boat mastless while we continued to work on the mast in the yard with Indigo lonely back in her slip.
Painting took more days than we thought and we were stymied at every turn. After grinding away the corroded areas we had to do 4 primer coats to cover the now bare aluminum. Then we got the wrong cream paint color and had to drive all the way to San Diego to get a $100 quart, yes I said quart, of the right color (and only needed about 4 ounces). Then we were delayed due to potential rain. The last day after sanding and taping and painting the 8th time we put on the final coat. It was like that final coat was a magnet for chaos: Twice as many people seemed to drive into the yard that day kicking up constant dust. I had to ask one employee not to park next to the mast who thus gave me the stinkeye. Then another guy bent down to help Brian pick up something and was a pencil thickness way from touching his hair to the paint before Brian pushed his head away just before he caused a gooey mess. I, in turn, averted a customer who sauntered over to inspect our work and reached out to touch the mast while asking “Hey is this wet?”. I literally slapped his hand away before he accidentally started fingerpainting. Seriously? So while it didn’t turn out perfect, it’s a good enough 10ft paint job and most importantly, WE ARE DONE.
Now to tune the rigging (properly tension everything), put all the sails and lines (ropes) back on and then off to Mission Bay and hopefully our first overnight sail. 5 weeks to go!