Friday, July 29, 2016

Westerbeke Exploded

It looks like a Westerbeke engine exploded inside our boat. However, it must have been a very tidy explosion. The starboard quarter berth is covered with clean, freshly painted parts just waiting for the block to come home from the machine shop.

There's been a little snag there though. (Isn't there always?!) The pistons, rings, gaskets, and bearings we ordered from Westerbeke, even though the website indicated they were in stock, apparently weren't. So we wait.
Malcolm has been cleaning and painting all the little parts. He made a cardboard spray booth in the cockpit. The paint will have plenty of time to cure because the parts won't arrive for maybe two more weeks.

It hasn't been all work though. The other day the Captain went on a day sail with our buddy boat Epilogue. Epilogue sailed by, hailed us, and Malcolm jumped in the dinghy and hopped on board for a guided tour up the St. Lucie River.
We met Epilogue back at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club and again at Lake Sylvia, and ended up sailing to Stuart with them. They suggested we stay at Sunset Bay Marina, which has turned out good for us, so, "Thank you, Epilogue."

While the Captain has been cleaning and painting parts, I've been trying to build up some varnish on all the exterior wood. The handrails have five coats now and are looking pretty good.

But these Dorade boxes are vexing me. The teak they are made of is flat grain and it's just very difficult to get that filled. They have six coats and are starting to look pretty good, but there are still low spots.
The secret to nice varnish work isn't really how many coats you put on, but how well you prepare the wood initially, and how well you sand it between coats. We start out using Scotch Brite pads instead of sandpaper for the first three coats. Then we switch to 150 sandpaper and the Scotch Brite pads. The final sanding should look like frosted glass with no shiny spots. Shiny spots indicate a low spot which needs more varnish to fill it.

It takes at least an hour and a half to sand one of these boxes, and ten minutes to put on the varnish. Just like all paint work, the final result is entirely dependant on the prep work.
By the time you flow on the seventh coat of varnish, you are SICK of sanding and so glad it's finally done. The only perk I've discovered from all this sanding is that I have no more Bingo Wings.

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