Stress levels have been rising rapidly since Jenny broke her wrist and the date to ship our Mystery looms ever closer, there are so many ‘five minute’ jobs to do that somehow take at least an hour. That is apart from a sprayhood, which I have only just started to sew, a suncover to finish (started that one in Feb!), bimini to design, bend frames, fit them, pattern make and then sew it all together, and I almost forgot the simple task of applying the final coat of epoxy including the waterline to sort, then only a couple of coats of antifouling plus a final polish of the topsides.
It was looking bad first thing last Friday morning, I had managed three coats of Awlgrip Hullgard on the hull area whilst Hindsight had been sitting in her build cradle some years ago however I did have what I thought would be a very long and time consuming job of removing eight months of 'underwater growth'. You may ask why one launches a yacht without any A/F protection to prevent fouling? It's a long story, but slightly unhappy with the fore and aft trim of the last boat of this design that I had sailed with the owner I took it into my head that by moving a fuel tank forward etc etc we could overcome this little niggle. This we did, so I launched her without a waterline in place and lacking epoxy where she had sat in the cradle. Once we had a waterline, ie a scum line round the hull, easy peasy lift her out and there is your answer! Circumstances however meant that she never came out of the water for just over half a year, issues with the supply of fuel from the new tanks to the engine, Jenny’s ill health etc
Hindsight was lifted two weeks ago and it was a relatively easy job to dry sand the untreated gelcoat and apply the Awlgrip. However, when the dust had settled and the epoxy dried on the two 'cradle areas' I then had the task of removing this growth and prepare the complete underwater surfaces for a final coat followed by two coats of Blakes Ocean Performer. Pressure washing made no impression but mechanical sanding did work, sort of, however I was removing epoxy which was bad news and there were still traces of contamination on the surface (see second image, contamination on keel). Andy, my old partner and now MD of marinechandlery.com, proved once again that at times he is a little genius, as he told one of his staff (who was working on a powerboat in the marina yard) to give me a spray bottle of Starbrite Boat Bottom Cleaner, they use it for cleaning prop shafts and propellers! A squirt of this applied to the encrusted surface and within seconds small encrustations start to fizz and within a very very short time a square metre of hull was clean and yes the boss certainly saved my bacon as I managed, with a lot of help from Mackem Jack, a friend and fellow sailor from Sunderland to get the hull clean rubbed down and epoxied before the freezing East Coast weather kicked in again last weekend!