Friday, June 04, 2010

We've sanded the bottom....uh, now what!?!?!

If you haven't noticed, Scott and I are of the "lets cross that bridge when we come to it" variety.  We don't plan too much.  Partly because we like to keep things flexible, and partly (okay, mostly) because we don't know enough about what the heck we are doing to actually plan the next step.  Ah, the beauty of naivete.

Take the bottom of our boat, for instance.  We scraped and sanded the HECK out of it this past weekend.  We felt great; we accomplished a lot and I am pretty sure I developed some serious tone in my upper arms (I have asked more than one person to "feel my muscles").  We've been 'high' on all the work we did this past weekend that finally, yesterday, we just kind of looked at each other and said, "So, now what do we do?"

Well, the obvious answer is "paint the bottom".  Psh.  As IF anything is that cut and dry on a boat.  A quick "Google" search (can you tell that I *love* Google?) gives us about 8 million options to go through.  I just do not have that kind of time (or attention span for that matter).  So we ask around.  Of course everyone suggests something different.  The main problem we have is:  we're not exactly sure what we scraped and sanded off...(wince).

The bottom of a sailboat is a shockingly complicated thing.  Boats are submerged in water, and the tricky little H2O molecule is wily and nimble.  As such, you have to be VERY diligent to make sure those little molecules don't penetrate certain layers.  If it does, your boat gets blisters (or worse).  Yep.  A boat can get blisters....and they look just like, well, blisters.  Luckily, our boat has none (Bullet: dodged).  Typically, the bottom of the boat has MORE than a few layers paint....there is a gelcote (the ultimate H2O barrier, over the fiberglass), then some sort of primer, then a "barrier coat" and then a few coats of some type of anti-fouling bottom paint (the "offensive line" if you will).  We *think* we might have sanded down to the primer, or maybe we just took off a few years of anti-fouling?  We aren't really sure.  Ooopsie.  In addition - I just read how toxic paint dust is and how you should thoroughly protect yourself from it and not let it get on your skin. Check out my sister here:

Guess we should have been wearing protective suits.  Whoops.
When we were stripping the hull, one of the guys at the yard came over, took a look and asked "You gonna put an epoxy coat on her?"  I just looked at him, paint chips all over me, my hair a total mess, sweat dripping down my face and fogging up my goggles and shrugged.  That was my first clue that we were in for it.  The next clue came loud and clear when the yard's owner walked over and said "You guys stripping the bottom?!.... Oh man, you're reeeaaaally opening up a can of worms there!".  Awesome.  He was right.  Do you know the cost of bottom paint for a boat?  It runs (on average) $200-$300 a GALLON!  To make matters worse, you need a ridiculous amount of the stuff for multiple coats.  Covering our hull in dollar bills would be cheaper! The cost of all things "boat" just never ceases to amaze me...

But we'll figure it out.  And we'll continue to have fun doing it - learning and laughing at ourselves every step of the way.  Scott ruminated about how it's unfortunate you only become an "expert" at doing something AFTER you've done it (and messed it up, no doubt).  But I guess that's just life, isn't it?

Here's to clean bottoms!

Brittany & Scott


leetle monkey said...

you're lucky you're my sister otherwise you'd get my future medical bills on top of all those boat costs :)

but i can't type right now....i need my fingers to scratch my itchy skin.

Last Paradise said...

Be sure to research- talk to rep's from the companies... techs if you can get them on the phone! Working where I did I was able to get a few gallons of the 'pro only' Interlux paint (Micron 66?)- FREE. however after putting it on Jeff talked to the techs and found out that they had had 'adverse reactions' with the paint in brackish (or fresh) water... oops. ALL of the paint FELL OFF! By the time we made it to the Galapagos it was time to re-paint... Free was good at the time- oh well. Live and Learn right?!

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Yes - to clean bottoms! We're "cleaning our bottom" and as you know had blisters on ours. It has truly been a learning experience and a lot of hard work, but all sailors must have a clean bottom. Best of luck cleaning your own bottom!

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