Now that we’ve finished putting 10 of the 15 new plexi windows on Daze Off, it’s time for the next big project. Not only to we have to prep the companionway wall in the cockpit and the front of the pilothouse for the last 5 windows by going through all the steps to get the high gloss paint on them, but at the same time we’re also going to tackle grinding and priming the top of the cabin top and pilot house.
Matt had, as always, the very non fun job of grinding all the existing paint off until we got down to bare aluminum, which ate up a few days where I spent my time below working on a sewing project (to come in a future post). I was hoping there would be very little hand sanding and we’d be able to get right on with the first layer of Aluma Protect, but this was so far from being the case.
Even though we had taken off all the hardware (including winches, blocks, and other items), there were still a number of nooks and crannies that our sander could not make it into. The areas that were becoming hardest to reach were the spots under the grab rail on the cabin top as it butts up with a rail at the edge. With only being able to get to it from one side, and having about three inches of head room, it was my little hands that had to squeeze in there and work vigorously to remove the multiple layers of paint.
From there, the hard to reach areas only got harder. Since everything is attached to our boat through welds, and let’s just say they’re not all clean lines, we were also left to manually remove paint from all the divots and holes in all the weld lines for the grab rails, granny bars, and cleats. It was after I spent a full day agonizing over these areas with my measly sheet of sandpaper when I had the bright idea to bring in other tools. Our 1/4″ chisel did a great job, with it’s tiny and sharp corner, of getting in those hard to reach areas. Plus since I was able to put a decent amount of force on the handle, instead of slowly scraping I was usually able to just pop out the remaining chunks of paint.
The hardest area by far though, and the one left to me because of my tiny hands (yay me!!) was getting under the area where the winches sit on top of the pilot house. An area that is raised up about 1.5″, and fully painted on top as well as underneath. For the longest time I had tried to get in there with just my hand and a sheet of sandpaper alone, working it from each side, and I hate to admit that it took me so long to figure out the best way to really get in there and apply the kind of pressure necessary to actually remove the paint (I kept bumping my knuckles against the top any time I’d try to add speed in as well), was to attach the sandpaper to a long thin stick, to reach the areas I couldn’t. This in no way made the job a piece of cake, but it did make it manageable. In 6 hours I think I actually removed all the paint from in there.
So you can see why we’ve probably been exhausted, robotic, and a little quiet lately. I literally have to drink a coffee at the end of each work day now just to stay awake past dinner. Yes, we are kind of killing ourselves and are in desperate need of a break. There may not be any extended vacations coming up in our future for awhile, but the good news is that we do get two days off coming up for a trip to Miami. A little bit of fun, a little bit of work, and the opportunity to do something we’ve never done before. Curious? Stay tuned for the next post where we go from our dirty and laborious days in the boat yard to getting 5 star treatment in the Magic City.