No posts for so long – my progress was all incremental and boring. I sanded several hours per day for numerous non-consecutive days. Then yesterday arrived, and I was finished. So here are a few photos of a completely sanded hull.
More work prior to antifouling paint and launch:
– Blisters: I have some to repair. Actually, there are many blisters. Hundreds, really. No panic here. The alarmists would have you believe that all blisters must be dealt with. This is NOT TRUE. However, boat yards and paint manufacturers would like to have a lot of your money, so they capitalize on the blistered condition of many hulls. Consider this: My boat is 31 years old (1981 model). It has had blisters most of its life. Some of the larger ones have been repaired (by me). The hull is not compromised. The hull laminate is not in a state of “mush” anywhere (never has been). There is a bit of water (or other chemicals) between the gelcoat and laminate in many places. Most of the blisters can be left alone. They will be there next time I haul out.
What blisters will I repair? Any whose surface has been compromised through sanding. For some of these, I have ground out the void down to the laminate. I will fill those with thickened epoxy. For others, the tops have been made porous through sanding. These I will simply seal with several coats of epoxy resin. Will the hull be perfectly fair? No, but it will be close enough.
– Rudder Attachment: I repaired this area two years ago because the fasteners holding the 3/8″ stainless steel strap which captures the rudder had failed. I had a new strap fabricated, ground out the area beyond the water damage, glassed, drilled, bolted and filled. Some of the filling will have to be redone this year because water migrates from within the bilge down into this area. This is an area that will have to be maintained periodically until I can stop the migration. That means sealing the bilge with epoxy, which I will get to eventually.
– Keel Blisters and Weeps: Here the gelcoat has perforated and allowed water to both enter and exit the keel cavity. I’m going to seal it up for now. At some point I may drill holes in the bottom of the keel cavity and let it drain and dry for months. Not this year. Again, this isn’t an emergency. If truth were told, most sailboats have some amount of water in their keel cavity that migrates down from the bilge.
After repairs are complete, I will paint the hull with two coats of Hydrocoat, repaint the bootstripe, recommission the engine, reinstall the garboard drain, and launch – hopefully by the end of March.