This blog began in late 2006 with the planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in my 39-foot sail boat Pachuca. It then covered a successful 5-year circumnavigation that ended in April 2013. The blog now covers life with Pachuca back home in Australia.


Pachuca in Port Angeles, WA USA

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hull Maintenance

Annual hull maintenance has seemed a waste because I kept finding the antifouling and anodes in reasonably good shape, so this time I decided to forego the springtime hull maintenance and see what an 18 month span would be like.

I decided to take the club's wintertime offer of the first 5 days at the hardstand for free and booked the boat for haulout on Monday with splashdown in Friday.  This may appear to look like 5 days but it yields closer to 4 working days.  It was going to be a tight schedule and given the vagaries of the wintertime rains it was likely that I would have to extend the hardstand time.

The hull was in remarkably good shape, given that the boat had been in the water for 19 months.  I asked the yard worker who had pressure cleaned the hull if it had been a particularly difficult job and he said No, the marine growth had not been unusually bad.  He also commented on how good the anodes looked.  The propeller had also been in good condition.  Two days earlier I had put the engine into forward and reverse in the pen to ensure that the propeller was not too fuzzed up with growth to provide drive and found it to be OK. 

The schedule was tight.

On Monday afternoon I took the propeller and shaft back to bare metal using a wire brush attachment on my angle grinder then had a good look at the anodes.  They looked remarkably good after 19 months.  The yard man who had pressure washed the hull had commented on how good they looked and this was confirmed by a fellow sailor who commented on the generous number of anodes protecting the propeller and shaft.  I removed the large circular anodes protecting the metal part of the skeg, wire brushed it, and found that they had plenty of weight and heft - at least 80% of the original material, by my reckoning.  On that basis I decided to wire brush the other anodes and put the boat back into the water with the same anodes.  This saved me about $140 and perhaps 2 precious hours of work, largely in drilling the center holes for the big skeg anodes.  I finished the day by beginning the unpleasant and dirty job of scraping down the hull.
Large anodes being inspected

All anodes retained (notice anode at rear of shaft)

Primer on propeller and shaft.  Dynaplate ground shoe for HF radio above

Ready for splashdown

I spent most of Tuesday scraping down the hull.  The water pressure cleaning does a marvelous job of removing most of the self-ablating antifouling, but there is no substitute for scraping down every square inch of the lower part of the hull to remove lose flakes of old antifouling and tiny surviving barnacles.  I used a respirator and finished the day with blue hair and a blue face.  I also managed to put the primer coat on the propeller and shaft.  It was important that I do it on this day so that I could lay down the top coats on Wednesday and Thursday.  And I masked out upper part of the hull using two types of tape.  I had been lucky with the rain but I knew that showers were expected overnight and was concerned that the tape would deteriorate in the moisture.  (Fortunately it didn't.)

On Wednesday I rolled on the first coat of antifouling using a 10 liter can that I had purchased at Yacht Grot for $450.  That job took 6 hours because the hull has hungry, the antifouling was thick, and the rolling had to be done very slowly.  I also put the first topcoat on the propeller and shaft.
(The metal primer and Velux Plus topcoat are by Marlin Yacht Products out of Trieste.  It is very expensive but goes a long way, four years so far and enough for another two.  I highly recommend it.)

On Thursday I rolled on the second coat of antifouling, with two new 4-liter cans at hand (at $200 per can).  The second coat always requires less material and rolls faster, so I managed to finish that job in about 4 hours.  I also put the second (and final) topcoat on the propeller and shaft.

Friday morning was a very busy time for me.  The boat was scheduled to be hoisted on the slings at 12 noon and be held there for 30 minutes while the crew had lunch and I worked frantically to put 2 coats of antifouling on  the parts of the hull that had been covered by the props holding the boat up.  I arrived early and used what time remove the masking tape around the hull, replace the DOT boat registration sticker on the side of the hull (I had not displayed a current DOT license in about 3 years, risking a $500 fine.), polish the stainless steel bowplate, and remove the marks left on the upper part of the hull by the lifter straps when the boat had been hauled out.  Cleaning those strap marks is not easy with an old paint job but in a timely visit by Kim from Mandalay, next to my pen, to see how I was doing, he introduced me to "Scuff Off", a liquid cleaner that its works like magic.

At about 11 AM when I knew that I was about ready I visited the office to confirm my splashdown.  The yard manager had no idea that I was going back into the water.  I told him that I had made the booking over a month earlier and that I my boat was supposed to be hung on the slings over lunch time. He did some creative scrambling and managed to get me into the water as planned. 

I had not had time to visit my pen to make sure that the ropes were in correct position and telephoned Brenda who on short notice came to the boat to pick up a short boat hook in order to pick up ropes out of the water and when I arrived at the pen there she was ready to pass over the bow ropes, fended off the bow which was about to touch the jetty, the stood by while I attached the springers and stern lines that she had set up. 

For the record, I used about 16 liters of antifouling.

I got home tired but very satisfied that everything had gone to schedule.  I had been unbelievably fortunate with the rain, which seemed to happen at night then magically stay away during the day.

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