Wednesday, April 27, 2005

St. Vincent and the Grenadines...

sunset in salt whistle bay, island of mayreau

Deborah and I just returned from a weeklong sailing adventure in the Caribbean’s Windward Islands with old friends Hillary and Layne Ballard and four members of the Marina Sailing Club out of southern California. Eight days and nights with eight people on a forty-five foot catamaran might seem like tight quarters to some, but with a comfortable main salon, large cockpit, and separate cabins and heads for each couple, it was luxurious.

This is the place to be if you enjoy soaking up the sun, dependable warmth, snorkeling and diving in warm waters, exploring reefs, and predictable trade-wind sailing, not to mention fascinating people, lots of local color, and rum drinks galore.

We sailed about 120 nautical miles, anchored or moored at eight islands, and enjoyed lots of great sunsets. And at the Firefly in Mustique, I found a piano to play for two nights and an appreciative audience of locals and other visitors. If you want more, I’ve logged our trip with the Spindrift's general log.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Away from it all...

Off and on, over the past couple of weeks, I've been giving attention to the worn varnish on Dog Days' teak handrails and "eybrows," long strips of decorative teak above the portlights (sometimes mistakenly called portholes). Working with wood is gratifying. The handrails just needed a good, even sanding, which took off some two coats of old varnish, but the eyebrow varnish, yellowing and cracking, need to be stripped, which was easily done with a heat gun. Sanding the teak with 220 and then 320 paper gives it a velvety smooth finish, which I sealed with penetrol.

A bit of rain, out of town visitors, and a weekend cruise on Spindrift interferred with the process, but the last two days I got back to it. Yesterday I taped (to keep varnish spills off the gelcoat), did another light sanding with 320, and put a coat of 50% varnish and 50% penetrol on the eyebrows and deeply sanded spots on the handrails. Today another light sanding, and then the flowing of very lightly thinned varnish over the teak.

Of course, all this is done with time-outs to chat with fellow sailors, wander over to the nearby deli for some lunch, enjoy a cerveza, and all the while listen to some good jazz. And, by day's end the handrails looked like glass. Another coat for them and three or four more on the eyebrows, and I'll have to rejoin the world of the living. Meantime, what a treat to get away from it all for a while.

rails and eyebrow sanded and ready to varnish

new varnish applied