Spelunking boat repairs

Spelunking?

Because I have to exhale to get under the logs on which the boat is resting so as to insert myself under the hull to get at the hole in the hull.  And it’s dark under there. Even doing that, I am like toothpaste squeezed out of a tube as I wriggle and wrestle to get into position.

The position?  Face to face with the bottom of a boat at way too intimate a distance for my personal preference.  Then I grind off the under-crap and try to get at the clean f’glass underneath.  There is not enough room to turn the grinder except one way and it is just enough to get at the spot. Lots of crap-in-the-face doing this kind of fine finishing work.

But the ugliest part of the prepping got done a few days ago.  Then we waited for a dry day to put on the patch. Today.  I went under and cleaned the area with acetone and cleaned inside the hole, too. Everything dry and clean, we proceeded.  Sal mixed the resin and hardener and passed it under to me with some f’glass cloth and I covered and smoothed and let resin fall on my face.  It was a lovely thing to see the hole get covered and the patch take form – from the eye without resin in it.

Beautiful.

A drip formed on the downside end of the patch.  I wiped it away.  Cursed the dripping resin.  A few seconds later another drip.  I wiped it away.  And again. Hmmmmmm…..these drips don’t seem like resin…?  They were not!  They were water drips!!

Where the hell did the water come from?

The boat has been high and dry for a few days…..I checked the hole…..I cleaned the hole….I acetoned the hole…..nada…no water when I checked and cleaned…not then…..?

But there is water now, now that that the patch is in place.  Water is leaking from the trailing end of the patch that is intended to keep the water out.  This is NOT beautiful.  Worse, the stream of water seems to be increasing….?  How is that possible?  Murphy?  You there?

Outcome: I formed the patch anyway.  I’ll let it harden up to cover the majority of the hole. Let the channel that the drip formed drip away.  Guess what?  The hole left by the dripping water will be the size of a cocktail straw.  Where have I heard that before?

Tomorrow, after the patch has set up, I’ll grind the straw-sized channel out leaving a small cocktail-straw-sized hole that will get plugged with Sikaflex and then, when NOT dripping, glassed over again.

“Dave!  Isn’t glasswork supposed to be done when the old surface is dry?”

Yes.  Yes it is.  That would be a good thing, that would.  But, in this case some magic water appeared and so I have had to adjust.  It must be holy water….it came from a hole….

Fortunately, I was using cold cure.  Cold cure is an epoxy that will set up under water.  This is NOT under water but there is magic water appearing where no water was supposed to be and so I am glad I used cold cure.  Blessed holy cold cure. The patch I put on today will be good for the bulk of the problem.  If there is a God in heaven!

The straw-hole will be a patch-on-a-patch and done tomorrow.

Nothing is simple.  Not even a patch on a hole.

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Job is done!  Patches holding.  Wasabi is afloat and dry inside.  We caught the trailing edge of the ebbing tide and hauled it off the beach logs back into the water.  It was touch and go…literally…the makeshift ramp was disintegrating as we winched it back into the almost-too-shallow water (boat and motor just touching the bottom), spun it on the last of the log and floated it back to it’s rightful place in our lives.  Happy is the man whose boat gets floated.  Happier is the woman freed up for quilting.

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About JDC

Late sixties. Short, thick, brutish, mildly amusing when not angry or depressed. Married. Two kids - both great! Twelve years in social work. Ten years in real estate development. Last 15 as a chartered arbitrator, chartered mediator, roving trouble-shooter (Have problem? Will travel), China volunteer, traveler and amateur handy-guy living remote and experiencing regular emergency medical care as a result. Fiscal conservative, cultural liberal, institutional anarchist and social pariah. Not to be left alone with the vulnerable, the stupid, the greedy or any member of any government bureaucracy.

5 thoughts on “Spelunking boat repairs

  1. Is the boat keel up or is it back on its hull. Have you found the source of the slow leak while trying to fibreglass?

    • It’s upright. Because we were in an emergency situation (boat sinking), we hauled it out on two 30 foot logs running parallel that we had on the beach – slanted about 15 degrees out of the water and up to dry land. Like rails. Like a ramp. But that meant that the keel was basically as low as the logs and they were hard against the ground. No room for me. Fortunately, we lay the logs over a rocky section that left a gap and so I crawled in the gap and was left face-to face with the keel just a bit from where the first patch was needed. Hardly any room to move, I could just get ‘er done. BUT when the first hole seemed to be coming along just nicely, I noticed two more…each a foot from the first. One was just a bad crack but I had to patch it. The last one turned out to be a series of weeping holes long a chine line – as if the boat had been bashed there on the rocks or something. That one was difficult. Very.
      But they are done now. They weep a smidge…like a fat-guy sweat. So – not perfect. The lumber comes by barge today or maybe tomorrow. Then we will build a haul-out deck and bring the ‘replacement’ boat over from the other island. THAT one will be turned upside down on the new deck for the bit of hull work it requires.

  2. For a few days your site had a message ‘out of band width unable to contact.’ It seemed fitting that with all the mud surfing during boat repairs that the ‘band width’ had been exceeded. Exhausted comes to mind but exceeded band width conveys the a similar message.

    • I was hacked with a porn-referral site earlier this month. They were more popular and used up my usually adequate bandwidth. I ran out. But only one day. Good to be back. Too bad about the porn; for a week or so my numbers were up. Back to the six of you again.

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