One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I wish this post was coming to you with the good news that the new ports have been placed in the port side of the boat, but unfortunately we are back to square one.  Minus the silicone and gunk removal that is.  Or filling all the bolt holes.  But we are back to square one as far as priming and painting goes.

Everything had gone according to plan for the first few days. Directly around the now open ports we placed a coat of Petit Aluma Protect, a 2 part strontium chromate epoxy primer. This is to give a proper barrier coat over bare aluminum, and comes in an awesome almost neon yellow color.  Although we started by coating only the area surrounding the ports that we had ground down to expose and fill the extra bolt holes, as soon as that was on and protecting that bare aluminum, Matt moved on to grind off all the remaining paint from that side of the pilot house and coachroof before the entire side was coated in the Aluma Protect. So far, so good.

The next stage was to place a barrier coat on, and what we had chosen to use was Petit Protect Epoxy Primer.  The first thing that went wrong with this barrier coat is that we had meant to get it in white, but when it came in the mail we had found that we’d accidentally ordered gray.  Turns out when we placed the order button online we had been paying more attention to the sale price instead of the color. Even though the next primer coat and final coat would be white, we weren’t sure how well it would cover the darker color underneath.  Not one to throw away a good deal though, we thought we’d give it a shot. What we hadn’t expected, but found out once we’d applied the two necessary coats, is that this is a high build primer and did not want to sand well for us.

If it was a barrier coat to the bottom, no big deal.  We’d just be apply the top coat after and not worry about any bumps or ripples caused by the roller.  The topside though…yeah, a smooth surface is pretty important to us.  As soon as we’d take any kind of sandpaper to it, trying out both 100 and 220 grit, it would automatically clump the paper and we’d be left with either a bare spot where it all came off or a still semi rough surface. Thinking that maybe the primer would hide some of these mistakes and we could then smooth that down to a dimple free surface we added the next step of Petit one part white primer, the same as what we used in the head.

As you’ve probably guessed by the title of this post, it hasn’t worked out for us.  After a bit of discussion and deliberation, we talked about continuing with the products we had, doing multiple rounds of priming and sanding until we had the smooth surface we desired.  Or, we could start fresh with different products.  So that is what we have decided to do.  All of our hard work over the past 5 days is now getting washed down the drain as we grind the side back down to bare metal and start from scratch.

We’ll be keeping the Petit Aluma Protect as our barrier for the aluminum, although after that point we’re switching to Interlux InterProtect for the barrier and primer coats. A little more time and money out the window, but what can you do? Being such a major focus of the boat we can’t do a slapdash job on the paint and hope no one we’ll notice.  We certainly would.

We’re sad the line of Petit products didn’t work out for us although we’re still using them for the top coat), and it’s possible the fault could have been all our own. Maybe I just have terrible ratio and mixing skills.  We’ll never know. The new products should be arriving any day though,  and we hope this time around everything goes much smoother.  Both literally and figuratively.

removing paint around ports

zinc chromate primer

Jessica mixing primer

ghost ship Daze Off

zinc primer around ports

barrier coat around ports


6 thoughts on “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

  1. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again…you are a SAINT. You’re literally living my worst nightmares. It’s amazing to read about all the work you’re doing (and redoing) and realizing you’re still maintaining high spirits through it all. I’m pretty sure I would have drilled holes in Ryan by now. You two have the strength of an army. xx
    Tasha | Turf to Surf recently posted…Cheeky Monkey is Seeking Adventurous Crew!My Profile

  2. These kinds of things happen to the best of us, no matter the project. It’s Murphy’s Law that whatever can go wrong, will. We all know that projects end up costing twice as much and taking double the time than expected. But, it is even more frustrating for you because you don’t have time or money to spare.

    I agree with Tasha’s comment —- you two are saints for keeping things in perspective. When something goes haywire, you move on to Plan B and don’t let it defeat you. I’m sure you’ve considered setting the boat on fire more than a few times, but onward you go.

    It’s agony to sit home reading about setbacks you are encountering. I wish I had the money to hire a crew to come in and finish the boat for you. In a perfect world, you’d be resting with your feet up while a dozen people hustled around, getting her ready for sailing. Instead, I know you are working harder than if you were back in your previous lives.

    You two are amazing, and you are accomplishing wondrous things. I hope your next attempt works and you can move on to something else. Sending you much love and positive thoughts. Hang in there!

  3. Tasha, it’s funny that you say that because last night I was complaining to Matt that we currently have a tarp as our door and I’m constantly stepping over tools on the ground and so he thought it would be funny to mock me and go “Wahhh, I’m Jessica, I have such a rough life”. I was like “I DO have a rough life, have you seen our living conditions?!!”. Apparently that joke was only funny when we were floating around the BVIs. I wish we could take you up on that offer to stay on Cheeky Monkey for a visit, but all our extra $ is tied up in paint and other stupid boat things. 🙁 We’ll meet on the water again one day though!

  4. Rebuilding my 47ft cutter in Mexico. I went down for a month with all the gear and supplies I thought I needed. I came short on paint, as I was re-doing the ENTIRE deck and topsides. I actually had to grind down all of the gelcoat off, but that is a story for another time. But I went ahead with paint anyway. Turns out I should have waited. Now I get to paint everything again, because I didn’t get my topcoat just right, as I had some burn through with color (I mean, it’s completely serviceable, but I want perfection!). Another gallon of Awlgrip? It’s just another $700! Doh.

  5. And on the bright side.
    You are becoming overqualified to help out people who are doing something similar. Someday, people will pay you for this expertise.
    I’m funning a bit here.
    Someone who knows epoxies “learned” me some time ago that if you want to smooth the surface, you hit it by hand while still HOT, just after it is not tacky, BEFORE it’s hard. Yes, sometimes you take off too much, but you will pay hell getting it right after it hardens. This goes for pretty much any composite you want to “smooth”.
    Oh, and MEK-P will self-ignite if left open to a cooling atmosphere. Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone-PEROXIDE.
    As to “Poor Jessica”; Keep bearing the load, there are countless others carrying more than you can imagine.

  6. Oh, BTW, What a beautiful boat you have there! I think it’s the first time I remember seeing so much of it. On land or in water, there are few more beautiful sights than a sailboat in profile.

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