During the month before I flew back to buy Lorilee, I was in debate on what projects needed to be done immediately. I was originally going to just have a bottom job done, restep the mast, and be on my merry way. After seeing the bottom during the survey and the intensive process of taking down the mast, I knew I’d need more time in a yard. After the purchase and my return to Texas, I did some calling around to find a different yard (see my last post, “Yardbirds“). This bought me some time to accomplish three major projects while on the hard: take care of the bottom, repair the termite damage, and paint & refit the mast.
The first weekend she was on the hard, I focused on stripping the mast. Because of galvanic corrosion and the obscene use of flathead screws everywhere, stripping the mast of all its hardware became an arduous task, but I’m glad I did it. Many of the fittings were badly corroded and needed replacing. Thanks to the help of a couple of yard neighbors, we removed the masthead sheaves, tabernacle pin, and all remaining hardware. The sheaves were in such bad condition, we actually had to drill through one of them to break it half just to get it out! I ordered some new sheaves from Lefiell, along with some other odds and ends.
The tabernacle pin was almost an all-day affair. For nonsailors, a tabernacle stepped mast basically has a hinge at the bottom so you can lower the mast for repairs or low bridge clearances. The pin is 1″ solid stainless steel that runs through an aluminum tube. Again, because of galvanic corrosion, the pin was pretty much welded inside of the tube. My neighbor and I pounded on it for about four hours. We could have cut the pin from the inside, but that would’ve probably taken just as long. After pounding with a 3lb sledge and much WD-40, we had success!!!
That same weekend, I decided to open all of Lorilee’s hull blisters. I’ve been told by many people not to worry about the blisters, including Bud. He said it is not structural and won’t affect the structural integrity of the hull, but they need to be addressed at some point during my ownership of the boat. Well, I’m kind of crazy about that kind of thing, so I opened them all up. I’ve read about people using angle grinders and other tools to do the job, but by a neighbor’s suggestion, I just cut out all the rotten material with a sharp knife. It seemed to be pretty effective. My intent is to let them dry until the end of March or so (maybe longer), then fill them with either fiberglass & resin or use a good epoxy filler. I haven’t decided which route to go yet. Then I’ll slap on a new barrier coat (like four to six coats), then bottom paint.
I won’t get too granular with all of my projects, so I’ll just list the things I’ve accomplished the last four weekends:
- Stripped the mast and boom of all hardware
- Replaced all mast lights, sheaves, stay tang bolts, and tabernacle pin.
- Open all blisters on hull and rudder to allow drying
- Sanded hull below the waterline down to the gelcoat.
- Serviced all seacocks
- Replaced a leaky burner on the kerosene stove
- Replaced fire extinguishers (the kerosene stove scared the sh*t out of me at first)
- Inspected under bowsprit nose cap for bowsprit wood rot, checked boomkin stay tangs for corrosion. Both looked good. I’ll be checking the whisker stay tangs soon.
- Removed the deckbeams to repair termite damage (this project deserves its own blog post)
- Serviced all halyard winches
Alex has mentioned this before, but I’d like to mention it here. I am amazed at the camaraderie shared by sailors. Everyone I have met here has been more than willing to lend a hand, a tool, or a valuable piece of advice. I have met some really incredible people. One guy claimed to have found the Lost Dutchman Mine in the mountains of Arizona. I looked him up, and he seems pretty legit. Another guy just left on his third circumnavigation. Another friend is a retired doctor here working on his boat for a few months. And last weekend, I met Charl DeVilliers, the first deaf person to solo circumnavigate the world. He has a book called Silent Voyage, which I will read soon. He is giving his boat to his son, so they’re outside working on the hull right now.
It is just incredible that I’ve found myself in the sailing community, surrounded by amazing people, all with a book full of stories to tell. When I’m down here, I feel like a part of something exclusive; like part of a special club. People drive by, slow down, and look at our hard work in the yard. Sometimes I feel like I’ve already left my previous life behind; but then Sunday evening rolls around and I have to leave, returning to work on Monday morning. It is pretty surreal.