Well-rested from our dreamy getaway to Anguilla, it was time to get serious about some boat projects. As seas raged outside, we negotiated some annoying bridges to cozy up inside lagoon of Sint Maarten (the Dutch side of the island), which happens to be the place for all things boating in the Caribbean.

The time has come to address a project that we’ve been avoiding since we bought the boat in April 2015. At that time, our surveyor noted that we’d need to strip away the layers of bottom paint that have accumulated over the years, and repaint from the gelcoat base. Since there are a billion things we’d rather be doing than standing in the hot sun all day in a hazmat suit and mask, we decided that the price was right here in Sint Maarten to pay the professionals at Bobby’s Megayard to do it for us.

My husband, Mr. Optimistic, guesses we’ll be here one week (last time he guessed that, one week turned into five), I’m putting my money on two this time around.

As the yard dudes work on the hull, we’ve got quite the list of our own to knock out.  I’ll be restoring all of the brightwork (varnished teak) in the cockpit, while Brian tackles other maintenance projects all over the boat.

Don’t feel too bad for us though. We’ve got good friends out in the harbor, ready to pull us away from the boat every now and then. It’s a good thing, because this yard is filled with fancy boats and is completely deserted – we’re the only people living aboard. At night it’s just us, and a security guard. Welcome to life on the hard!

Sint Maarten project list:

Sand/paint bottom – yard team*
Strip old varnish from cockpit combing/compainionways/windlass pedestal – Lauren
Clean/remove mildew from teak cockpit combing/compainionways/windlass pedestal- Lauren
Sand cockpit combing/compainionways/windlass pedestal – Lauren
7 coats of varnish – cockpit combing/compainionways/windlass pedestal – Lauren
Reverse anchor chain ends – Brian
Re-mark anchor chain – Brian
wire turnbuckles for standing rigging (post rig tuning) – Brian
Reorganize storage cabinets for more food/wine storage – Lauren
Reorganize tool storage – Brian
Sew cover for deck wash down hose – Brian
Re-bed hardware on transom (to prevent rust staining) – Brian
Reinforce davits – Brian
Install new battery isolator – Brian
Boat deep clean – wash rugs, litter box, composing head – Lauren
De-mildew cockpit cushions – Lauren
Sew down flaps on flexible solar panels on bimini/dodger – Lauren
Install plastic washer in main mast gooseneck – Both
Clean bilge – Brian
Wash out anchor chain locker – Brian
De-mildew and spray paint life rings – Lauren

 

This yard builds custom cradles for boats, whereas most others just use adjustable supports. The hauling and blocking process took an entire day, where in the past this part only took about an hour. You can see in this photo that they sanded a test spot to make sure that the fiberglass hull is in good shape (it is!)

Brian and our project wall

My brightwork project begins with melting and scraping off the old varnish. I managed to burn my leg pretty badly within the first ten minutes – yeeeeeow!

Brian reversed the anchor chain (so the part that was attached to the boat now attaches to the anchor and vica versa. We do this so the chain will wear evenly. He also marked the chain with spray paint every 25 feet as a backup to our anchor marking system.

We tested a few of these homemade tags made from webbing and liked them (we’d previously been using dacron, which ripped too easily). Brian embroiders numbers on them and then sews them to the chain.