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The boat is finished…kinda.  OK…it’s not finished.  But, let’s say finished enough to where the end is at least in sight…finally.  It’s been a long four or five months.

All of the interior wood that was removed has been finished.  Virtually all of the interior that had to be fabricated has been built and also finished.  Last weekend we cleaned everything in the boat out and I started sanding the interior woodwork.  Much of the sanding had to be done by hand and flat wore me out.  Yesterday, I finished the sanding, and vacuumed up most of the dust.  Today, as soon as it warms up a bit, I will complete all of the interior sanding, give the entire boat another vacuum, and then wipe down everything first with 409 and then, on the wood, mineral spirits.  If everything goes well, the first two (of five) coats of polyurethane will go on tomorrow.  It’s sunny this morning and should be perfect for finishing for the next few days.

There has been one high point and that has been the sole in the forward berth.  The cabin sole was the real governing factor in remodeling the boat.  The existing sole was teak and holly and was twenty five years old.  In the salon area the sole was well on its way to failing.  It was delaminating in places and was quite beyond refinishing.  Simply put, it needed to be replaced and the only way to replace it was to remove all of the seating and cabinets that rested on top of it.  Because the entire boat would essentially have to be dismantled in order to replace the sole, That simply gave us an excuse to remodel the entire boat itself…something we had planned to do eventually anyway.

In the forward berth, however, the teak and holly sole appeared to be still solid and viable.  Sunday, I sanded the finish off of the teak and holly flooring and tested the integrity of the sole and found it to be quite intact.  This is a fairly small area of flooring but it was very difficult to sand.  The original finish was about as hard a surface as I’ve ever encountered.  Sixty grit sandpaper could barely scratch it.  It took me about two hours to sand the finish off of a roughly nine square foot of surface area.  It was, and is, quite common to finish sailboat sole with the same product that is used to coat gymnasium floors…this is done in lieu of using penetrating epoxy as a base coat to seal against moisture.  The forward bilge of any boat is much drier underneath than it is in the salon area where all of the bilges drain to the sump.  The result is that the sole of the forward berth will not have to be replaced.  As well, though neither me nor my husband care for the traditional teak and holly sole, that almost every boat of the planet has, the small bit of teak and holly in that area, which can be closed off to the main salon, will contrast splendidly with the solid teak we will have on the salon and galley sole.  It should look great…and not having to replace anything (only refinish) is a good thing, even if it’s just a small piece.

This past weekend we installed the new hot water heater, but there is still a fair amount of mechanical and joinery work that needs to be done even after the woodwork is complete.  The natural gas stove and oven needs to be mounted as well as the air conditioning plumbed and installed.  The electrical panel that we are moving needs to have the new switches mounted and the circuits terminated.  The new stainless steel sink needs to be mounted and the hardware mounted.  And, the entire counter is to get a new Formica job…all done by my husband, thankfully.

But, priority wise, the critical path is to get the interior woodwork I’ve been sanding on for four days finished.  When that is done, we can put the boat back together and then have the upholstery people come in and measure for the new cushions.  Whatever finish work that might be required after that will be minuscule and, because we will be under no real time constraint, enjoyable.  Then the boat goes to the boatyard to have a bottom job done on it and sacrificial Zink placed on the shaft.  At the same time, the mast will come down for some work that needs to be done there…weather instruments, light and fixture replacement, new antenna wire, new name painted on, etc.  My guy and I are heading back out to Santa Rosa in late February for our annual visit to his mother and to get in a few days of skiing at Lake Tahoe; we hope to have the boatyard work done and complete while we are away and by the time we get back.

Sometime around the middle of March we hope to have the boat completely finished.  That will be just in time for the very best sailing we have here on the Gulf coast…cool weather and plenty of wind.  In spite of all of work and we have both enjoyed the project, though neither one of us is up for taking on something like this any time soon.  The up side is that we will have an absolutely gorgeous sailboat when we are through.

Anyway, it’ll be a long day for me today but I can’t wait to get started.  I’m kind of like a horse that sees the barn at the end of a long day riding…if any of you know what that means.


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