Maybe I’ll join the circus in my next life.

Columbus Day weekend was a three-day weekend for us, so we hoped to finish rebedding the cleats and the pulpits by the end of Monday.  Eventually we will be rebedding everything on the boat, but the rest will wait for another offseason.

We were treated to spectacular weather for all three days, and I’ll admit that on more than a few occasions we found ourselves gazing longingly out on Fishers Island Sound, watching the sailboats and wishing we were among them.  Our friends Tom and Arlene had invited us for a ride on their motor boat a few weekends ago, and being on the water again really made us miss it.  Oh well.  We’ll have plenty of adventures next season.  In the meantime, we needed to focus.

Each day we made a bit more progress, but it was clear by Monday morning that our hope of finishing wasn’t going to happen.  It seemed simple enough on paper.  Remove the hardware; clean the sealant from the deck; countersink the hole; use the drill to oversize the existing hole; use the dremel to rout out the core; vacuum the hole; tape the underside of the hole; fill the hole with epoxy; cut a new backing plate, sand the edges, and drill the holes in it; after the epoxy cures, drill the hole again; clean the hardware (including removing the sealant); wrap butyl around the bolt heads; insert the bolt into the hardware; wrap butyl around the underside of the bolt; put butyl on the hardware; insert the hardware into the deck; install the backing plate; put on the nut and washer.  Voila.  Finished.

The reality is a bit different, in that the tape never wants to stick to the underside of the hole, so the epoxy drains out before it can cure; after struggling with installing the backing plate we discover that one hole out of four is off by a fraction of an inch so it needs to be redrilled; and of course the glitches usually happen in a barely accessible area that takes awhile to shimmy in and out of:

The choice is for Jeff to reach in with his long arms, but have to do it blind because he can't see the area we're working in, or for me to squeeze in and out of the rear lazarette.
The choice is for Jeff to reach in with his long arms, but have to do it blind because he can’t see the area we’re working in, or for me to squeeze in and out of the rear lazarette.
Good times in the rear lazarette.
Good times in the rear lazarette.
At least this area didn't involve folding myself in half to get in there.
At least this area didn’t involve folding myself in half to get in there – just sliding on my back along the countertop.

Given all of this, it should come as no surprise that we weren’t finished by the end of Monday.  We’re close, though.  We would have had all of the cleats finished except that the bolts were too short for the last one, so we need to get some more.  As for the pulpits, the backing plates have been cut and the holes potted with epoxy, so we only need to drill them out, wrap everything with butyl and install the pulpits.  So we’re getting there, and it will be worth it when we’re done.  There’s simply no comparison in the strength of the original backing plate for the cleat vs. what we’re installing:

In case it isn’t obvious, the old one is on the left.
We decided to go with 1/2″ thick G-10 for the cleats and the stern pulpit (the stanchion bases and the bow pulpit are 1/4″). It’s probably twice as thick as the old backing plate.

In addition to working on rebedding, we also tightened the screws for all ten ports (almost all of which needed tightening by anywhere from 1/4 to a full turn) and we tightened the screws for the hatches.  Hopefully this will help with some of our leaks.  Jeff also cleaned the underside of the companionway sliding hatch, which we realized we had missed since it’s hidden when we’re on the boat (because the hatch is always open).

It wasn’t all work, however.  On Monday we spent some time talking to our boatyard neighbors – a very nice couple with excellent tips on varnishing – and we had a great conversation with another club member who had circumnavigated with his family over the course of several years on his trawler.  Honestly, we could have finished the cleat on Monday if we hadn’t spent so much time chatting, but we were so glad that we did.  The guy who had circumnavigated had amazing stories, and it was very inspiring.  Meeting people like this was one of the reasons why we decided to join Shenny, and we’re so glad we did.

Finally, we also had a good laugh on Monday morning.  We were 30 minutes into our one hour drive to the marina when Jeff asked if we had put the drill in the car.  Much swearing ensued on my part.  So we did what any normal couple would do in that situation.  We decided to stop at Harbor Freight and buy another one.  Shortly after we arrived at the marina Jeff was unloading the car.  What did he find?  The original drill.  We never took it out the car on Sunday.  Peals of laughter followed.  Yep, we do manage to have a good time.

6 thoughts on “Maybe I’ll join the circus in my next life.

    1. I’m so glad it’s helpful! That was one of the things I’ve been hoping to do, because we’re always looking for information ourselves. 🙂 Thanks for posting.


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