Sunday, February 03, 2013

A week for maintenance ...

I spent almost a week from Sunday to Friday on Alizee in order to put two coats of varnish on the cockpit coaming, hatch covers and stern-pulpit seats.  Arriving too late to start work on Sunday, I spent Monday taping and sanding, after which I washed her down and made a trip to West Marine to buy a new can of Epifanes Wood Finish and some brushes.  That evening I was spared cooking dinner, as neighbor Jeff Grant and his wife Susan held an impromptu party on the dock and he cooked up food along with another couple.

Tuesday at 08:00, I used a shammy to wipe away the morning's dew, and starting an hour or so later  applied the first coat of varnish, on the pulpit seats and hatch covers applying to only one side.  I spent the afternoon and evening reading, then wandered around the docks a bit and took some photos of the top'sl clipper schooner Lynx, an interpretation of the privateer that was commissioned a month after America's declaration of war against Great Britain on 14 July 1812.  She was visiting the Harborage Marina from 25 January through 4 February, and all this year is celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.  Lynx is a weatherly, fast and armed 78-foot schooner with a sparred length of 122 feet.  Her beam is 25 feet, the main mast measures 94 feet, she draws just under 9 feet and she displaces 98.6 tons.  There is a great video of her sailing and of aspects of her construction as well as lots of excellent historical information on the Lynx web site.  Although I didn't take the offered two-hour afternoon cruise on her, lots of folks did, and they all seemed to have a great time.  I was impressed watching the crew furling the top'sl at the end of the daily cruise. 

Wednesday morning the second coat of varnish went on the cockpit coaming and on the bottoms of the pulpit seats and interior sides of the hatch covers.  I drove over to the little Marine Outlet store nearby and bought two anchor shackles, and when I finally got back to the boat at 13:30, stopping for breakfast on the way, to my horror, I discovered that David on the trawler tied stern-in across from Alizee's bow had been sanding his teak while I was gone.  To my horror, because a southeast wind of 15 knots had come up as I finished varnishing that morning, and it easily could carry all his dust on to my still tacky varnish.  I appeared it had a bit, but all I could do was ask David to stop.  He felt pretty badly, and explained that he thought I'd finished the day before.  Oh well, I just had to wait and see. 

Thursday, between 03:00 and 05:00 it rained pretty steadily.  At 0530, I got up and used the shammy to pull the rain water off the newly varnished teak, then went back to bed.  At 08:00, I got up and discovered that the water had not hurt the varnish and, indeed, the dust from David's sanding seemed to have washed away.  At 08:30, Jeff Grant came over with his very-heavy-duty bolt cutters, and we cut off the two frozen anchor shackles holding Alizee's primary and secondary anchors.  I stowed the secondary Delta anchor in the dock box, made the CQR the new secondary anchor and put the Spade anchor we'd purchased after the Annapolis Boat Show on as our primary.  Got them all secured, and then applied the second coat of varnish to the hatch cover's weather side and to the top side of the pulpit seats.  Later that afternoon, I pulled all the tape, replaced hardware I'd had to remove and got the dodger re-secured.  Varnish looks good.

Meanwhile, my power steering had been going in and out on Wednesday, so I found a shop called Auto Tech about ten miles away in St. Petersburg and, after calling, drove over (without power steering) to have owner/mechanic Chico check it out.  Turns out that the power steering was not functioning because the air conditioner compressor was not working properly and when engaged to the drive belt was causing the belt to slow and slip, which in turn meant the power-steering pulley was not being driven sufficiently.  Turning off the air conditioner resolved the power-steering problem, but I'll have to get the air conditioner repaired - can't be without that in Florida.

Friday morning, I cleaned up the boat, packed up and drove home.  All in all a good week.  Met Cecil and Joetta Newman on Viajera, cruisers from Pensacola who are in the marina for a month on their way, eventually, to the Bahamas.  There boat is a classic 1964 center-cockpit sloop.  We had sundowners on Wednesday on Alizee and Thursday on Viajera, which was a very nice interlude to the joy of watching varnish dry. I'm only sorry Penelope wasn't there to share it.  We'll have to get over before they leave for other ports.