Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Boat project time!

Kristen here - Today is Wednesday the 14th. I'm feeling much better after a full nights sleep. Yesterday, after pulling night watches, we had to move the boat to Charleston Boat Works. It's up the Cooper River, which is a 1 hour boat ride from where we were anchored. We decided to take a shortcut to get here, only to be faced with a bridge whose height wasn't marked on the charts, and didn't look high enough for us to fit under. We *might* have made it, but that just isn't something you want to play around with. We turned around and took the longer route under the Arundel bridge. After about 5 phone calls to the Charleston Boat Works office (a huge thanks to the amazingly nice lady who talked to us from there) we found where we were supposed to dock our boat. The CBW was going to be installing a new life raft (the thing you throw overboard and live in if your boat sinks) for us on Wednesday.

We docked the boat with no problem. It's very interesting here. The air has the distinct smell of sulfur. We're surrounded by huge container ships and tugboats. Aside from the smell, it's actually kind of neat seeing all the shipping activity. Right next to us, a huge container ship has its folding hatch doors open. These six sets of doors which fold accordion style are each about the size of 12 garage doors. They've been either loading it, or working on it for the past 2 days at all hours of the night and day. In fact right now (10:30pm) 2 tugboats just pulled up with a barge with a crane on top of it. The crane is lifting a dredging scoop up and down. It seems like they're either teaching someone how to use the crane, or someone has their kid up there and is showing off. Either way, it's fun to watch.

After we docked the boat, Chris was eager to hit the hay, but the guys here said they needed to have the life raft right away. So, Chris went out to buy the raft. I attempted to school the kids at 11:00 AM and promptly fell asleep while reading science to Casey. "Mom", he said "It's really hard to learn when you keep falling asleep". Looks like the sandman got the best of me.

I hopped into bed around noon, and didn't wake up 'till 5 PM last night. We ate dinner and went off to sleep again.

Today we got up early because the workers were coming to install the raft. I cooked some yummy sausage and french toast for breakfast and then the kids and I headed off to the CBW office conference room to do school. We got to meet the lady who talked to us on the radio when we docked here. I thanked her profusely for being so nice. Both kids got through a whole chapter of math (that's about 10 daily lessons) and some reading. We finished up with school just as the workers were done on the boat. They cut four holes in our deck and filled them with epoxy. Tomorrow they will re-drill the holes and attach the life raft. There are several materials between the top of the deck and the roof inside the boat. By using the epoxy and then re-drilling the holes, it gives us a better chance that no water will seep between those layers.

Now it was noon and we were starving. I made roast beef sandwiches and chicken noodle soup for lunch. Once we were fueled up again, it was on to boat projects. We had three major ones to tackle, all of which I have been dreading to start.

First on the list was the new boat cushions. We have been wedging ourselves past the two 50"x70" pieces of foam stored between the couch and our table for the past two days, and it's getting old fast. I figured it was now or never, because they had to be cut on a large flat surface and tomorrow we were away from the dock and back at anchorage. I pulled the foam onto the dock and proceeded to carefully mark all of my measurements. We only had one shot at this. The foam, when cut in half, fit our space exactly, with no margin for error. And, you already heard about the hassle of getting it in the first place!

I measured everything three times, and cautiously sawed through the foam with a hand held saw. Once cut, all 14 pieces measured perfectly. Then we brought all of them down and fit them onto the couches. Once again everything fit sung as a bug in a rug. Only all of the bottom cushions were turned the opposite direction from how they were originally measured. Well, as long as everything fits, who cares! The next step was to create the pattern for the cloth covers.

By this time it was about an hour from getting dark, so I decided to tackle some other projects. The second on the list was attaching a metal piece I created the other day. You see, a while ago when the boat was on Lake Champlain I decided to handle raising the mainsail by myself, just to see if I could do it. Well, I did, but in the process the halyard (line that pulls the sail up) got caught on a piece of trim and ripped it off. This piece of trim happens to hold down the bottom of our front windshield. We didn't loose the whole trim, just about 5 inches of it. In Annapolis, MD we found the same metal piece that had ripped off, and Poppi made the wood part of it. The straight metal part had to be notched and curved to fit the curve of the boat, and the wood could just be bent naturally. Oh, and then there was the epoxy.

The holes that the trim was screwed into were worn and had to be epoxied and re-drilled. I'm beginning to see the value of epoxy on a boat. I actually started this project a while ago. I mixed the 2 part epoxy with a ratio of 5-1 and spread it into the holes. After letting it cure for the required 24 hours, it was still sticky. Oops...turns out it was a 1-1 mixture. Today, 5 days later it was hard enough to drill. Well, at least it hardened at all! Boat projects are never quick or easy. To make a long story short, the trim piece finally got attached today.

After the trim came the dreaded dinghy. Drumroll please! It was time to see if yet another 2-part epoxy applied with questionable mixing ratios in the dark had held. We pumped up the dinghy, applied soapy water to the patch and so far so good. No bubbles appeared. YAY! The true test comes tomorrow morning. If it is still in good standing at that time, then it's OK. I will utter a huge sigh of relief when that's over!

It was quite a day of accomplishments. We celebrated with a yummy whole chicken dinner, rice and roasted green beans. While eating we watched the movie 10,000 BC. It was heaven. As my tush falls asleep on these rock hard old cushions, my eyes are soon following. I will dream of finishing up the new soft foam cushions quickly, maybe even without incident, and having nice soft couches to sit on.

No comments: