Back to the Refit:
After 3 weeks of being away visiting family in California and a very crazy flight schedule we made it back to Prism. We left Fresno in the morning knowing this airport was the first of 5 we would be in for the day. Fresno to LAX, LAX to Nashville, Nashville to Charlotte, and Charlotte to New Bern. There were times we were running across the entire airport to make our connection, but we made it. We were happy that we had already made the arrangements with our family friends to drop off our car at the airport so we could get ourselves home at the late hour, however our bags didn’t make it. There was nothing we could do about the bags, as there were no more flights coming in that night. The airport told us that when the bags did get there they would deliver them to us, okay. It was 1 AM when we finally got to hit the hay for our first real nights sleep aboard Prism in a long time. Jon and I were asleep within seconds knowing that there was no time to waste as we needed to get right back into refit mode in a few hours.
“Where do we start?” I said as I looked around at all the projects and stuff we had covering every inch of the tent. Yes the topside paint was done and the varnish on the inside was almost done, but there was still so much more.
The Marine Range Debacle of 2019
While we were gone, our new stove was delivered, so that was exciting. That was till we opened the package and the range was broken. The shelves on the inside were free floating around and the range its self was scratch beyond belief. While on the phone with Dickenson, expressing our concerns the glass shattered, while it was just sitting there on its pallet. Um, now we have an ever bigger problem.
The box it was shipped in had zero damage, so we assumed all the damage had to of occurred before it was packaged.
Dickinson reaction was “Well that doesn’t sound like us, send us pictures and we will get back to you.”
They never got back to us. After many unanswered phone calls and emails, we gave up on them.
So I called Fisheries Supply, which is who we bought the stove from anyways (the range was dropped ship from Dickinson). I was directed to Barry who right away got on the case, he asked us to send pictures and bla bla bla.
A few days went by with no word, so now I was getting really worried. Barry called me back finally with some news, first off Dickinson was not returning his calls (and Fisheries is one of their major distributors!) and second, that from the pictures he agreed that the stove looked like it was damaged prior to being shipped. Barry had gone right ahead and ordered a replacement stove for us as that model was still on back order.
Barry at Fisheries went up and beyond to help us out, but he even got to the point with Dickinson where he also gave up on them and advised us to go with something different. So after all the huff and puff of Dickinson VS Force10, we ordered a new Force10 and were given a full refund for the Dickinson. Fisheries handled all the shipping costs and logistics, Thank you Barry and Fisheries Supply for all your help!!
A few weeks later our new Force10 showed up. We are both very happy to say that the Force10 right off the bat seems to be a better stove in build quality and has a much nicer finish.
The Interior Varnish
Back at it, after a short crew meeting we decided that I would jump right back into the varnish and Jon would switch his attention to the decks. So for the next few days, I would prep and apply new coats of varnish while Jon ground into the decks above me. Lets just say that the noise was horrible inside when Jon was working right above my head with a router and grinder.
At this point we still have not touched the varnish in the aft cabin and only have one coat on in the head, but we figured we needed to focus on the areas needed in order to move back aboard. When on the hard the head is not used and the aft cabin is acting as a storage space. Once the main living space had 7 coats, we called it good and started to move back aboard.
We had finished installing our new single sink before we left, but now we have started to install the faucets and other living amenities. We are ready to move back aboard!! Yes it is still rough, and we do not have a working fridge, or a real stove, or a toilet, or windows, but we have a nice new bed and we are going to make this work! Cause we have to.
Laminating the Decks
The decks are what started this entire refit in the first place. On our way back to the states back in 2017, Jon decided that the teak decks had to go. So once we pulled into NC and with wonderful help from Jet, we removed the teak and filled the holes before we headed back to California for weddings and work.
Prism’s decks are solid glass, which means we do not have a balsa core or any core material for that matter. We thought this was our saving grace as most people who remove their teak decks also have to cut into the decks, remove the rotten core and replace. So when Jon started grinding into our decks and noticed moisture, we were a little less than excited. After digging into the moisture we found delaminated glass pretty much throughout the entire deck. Great, just great.
Jon started to remove the bad glass with the a 7″ grinder with a p36 pad. Once the entire boat and tent were covered in white fiberglass dust he switched to the router. Using the router, Jon attached a 3/8″ carbide bit to route out the areas with the worst delamination.
It is a good thing Jon is damn good with a grinder cause he was able to keep the decks level which would help with the next steps. Remember the deeper sections I mentioned where Jon used the router to remove the bad glass, well now we had to build those sections back up and make them level before we could run the 2 layers of 1708 along the entire decks.
We bought our supplies for this project from US Composites, which included 3 gallons of laminating epoxy resin and 100 yards of 1708. The catalyst we ordered was a mix between a fast and slow cure to allow us to work in the colder temperatures and also have a longer working pot life. 1708 is a fiberglass material with 17oz biaxel and 8oz mat stitched together.
We would trace out the shapes of the deep sections with pencil and paper then transfer them to the 1708. Some sections required 3 to 5 layers of material to bring that section back to the level of the rest of the decks. After we cleaned the areas and wiped down with acetone we applied a thin later of thickened epoxy to fill any tiny imperfections and really create a level surface for the first layer of saturated 1708, then the second, and third and so on. Once all the small(ish) repairs were filled and level it was time to lay down the 2 new layers of glass along the entire decks.
Jon spent some time on the phone with US Composites to really get an idea of actual pot life and working time with their products. Jon nor I have ever attempted a laminating job as big as this before. Yes we have done I don’t even know how many repairs and fills, but nothing like this. The guys at US composites are a dream to work with and don’t mind spending some time on the phone to answer your questions and give advice.
Before we could start, we had to build a bubble once again, this time above Prism. We were in the middle of winter and the temps were in the 40’s and dropping to the 20’s at night. So a bubble with a heater needed to be set up so the epoxy could cure.
We also needed to come up with spacer plates for our windless bracket. Now that the teak was no longer there, we needed to make up the difference in height so our bracket and windless would fit. Our solution was to use G10. Jon had cut out pieces of the extremely hard and durable material to match the foot prints of our windless, and the dive compressor box as well.
With all the advice from US Composites fresh in our minds and the decks prepped and clean, we were ready. We knew this was going to have to be a tag team job, with Jon working the glass on the decks and me prepping the next batches of epoxy and lending extra hands. At first we thought we could lay the decks in one 21 foot long piece of 1708 but, there is just too much of a curve to make that possible. So we cut the layers of glass in sections making sure to cut different lengths for the second layer so the seams would over lap each other is different spots.
First we applied a thin layer of epoxy on the decks, then laid down the first layer of 1708. Then we saturated the 1708 with an epoxy roller, then the second layer, then topped it off with some peelply. We rolled the sections flat and pressed out all air bubbles. Working together it took us about 6 hours to lay down the new glass on the decks working well past sundown, but it was DONE, that step at least. Jon now has the pleasure of sanding it flat”er” and adding any fairing to areas that might need it.
Only 2 days later, with the entire tent covered in epoxy sanding dust, (even with using our vacuum sander) the decks were flat, smooth and ready for paint.
Spraying Interior Varnish
Back to varnish. Yep, you read that right, we are still not even close to being done with the stinking varnish jobs. I keep reminding myself, “IT’S WORTH IT.”
This time around we are spraying the ACE Spar varnish on all the teak that can be removed and brought down to our newly built spray booth. AKA another bubble.
While we are applying the varnish in the bubble, we have to keep in mind that the temperatures are very low, so we had to use all the tricks in the book in order for it to dry happily. And because of the temps, the varnish took a little longer than normal to dry, so we would stay busy with installing hardware back inside the boat like hinges and what not.
We also took the time before moving all the stuff back on board to line all the cabinets with foam. We did not glue the foam to the floors we just cut them to size so they fit nice and tight. We wanted to line our cabinets with foam not only to help the paint last longer, but also to stop any potential rattling of tools and stuff.
Jon also added another project that has been on the list for along time, the top step. The top step aboard Prism is also our engine cover and a storage shelf. It was weak and falling apart and needed more support to accept the weight that grown adults put on it. So he completely redesigned the structure and brought the old battered teak back to life.
We had quite a bit of teak to still varnish and the bubble was not large enough to do it all at once. Over the next few weeks we will be finishing up the varnish in the bubble tent and installing the finished products back inside the boat. NEW VARNISH LOOKS SO GOOD!
Jon goes to New Zealand and Australia
Jon heads off to shoot the first episode for the new season of Outside Beyond the Lens. He will be gone for 12 days exploring places we have dreamed about visiting.
Watch the Australia Episode: Outside Beyond the Lens: Australia
Watch the New Zealand Episode: Outside Beyond the Lens: New Zealand
Heart Breaking News
While Jon was gone I received not only 1, but 2 phone calls that no one ever wants to receive. First, I got the call from my Aunt, her brother, my uncle had passed. After a large open heart surgery and battling cancer his heart gave up the final fight. xoxo RIP Uncle Bill.
Then just a few days later I answered a call from my brother, this time our cousin, who is my age, had a fatal crash while riding his motor cycle. RIP Tak XOXO.
Beyond heartbroken and alone, I debated whether or not to fly home to be with family. Jon would not be back for another 10 days.
I spent hours looking at flights and kept going back and forth if I should stay or go. My family let me know that the memorials were not going to be till June, as our family throws huge celebration of life memorials rather than funerals. I simply could not afford in time nor money to stay away from Prism starting in March till June, or fly back and forth twice. So I kept busy on projects and tried not to focus on the fact that I was alone and desperately needed a hug.
Being as distracted as I was, I kept to the projects that did not require all my attention. I prepped the teak on the bulwarks, caught up on blog posts and continued the never ending battle with the teak louvers.
Dive Boat #1 / "Black Tie"
Dive Boat # 1 was in the yard when we got there.From 1941 to 1945 she served as a mine sweeper for the US Navy in San Diego Bay. In her hay day she must have been a beautiful ship and it was heart breaking to see her last days. Jon and I took some time to check her out and were lucky enough to inherit some of her bounty as she was cut down for salvage.
We were given one of the bronze anchor strike plates and any of the teak we wanted as long as we removed it ourselves. Jon went over with a skill saw and a drill to remove what we were allowed to take. The rails were 2×4″ of solid teak and the bronze was 1/8″ thick. We used the bronze to make our own strike plate, and made a chain guard on our caprail. The teak we used in many different places including to fill in the bulkhead near the engine panel and to fix the captains seat. The left over teak was cut and planed down to make 3″X 2″ X 3′ pieces and are now stored on board for possible future projects.
Photos of M/V Black Tie aka USN DIVE BOAT #1
Painting the Decks and Cabin Top
Once Jon was back from Australia, we both jumped into full work days. We REALLY want to be out of the yard before hurricane season aka July. That meant we had 2 months to get the rest of this shit done. We got this, right?
First up, figuring out the game plan of how we were going to paint the decks and cabin top without stepping on, in or around the previous coat. We knew we were going to have to do it in 2 stages and decided to use the eyebrow as the connection point between the cabin top and the deck. With this new game plan set in motion, we jumped right into getting the decks prepped and ready for barrier coat as we wanted to have that done before moving onto the cabin top.
Why did we want the barrier coat down on the decks first? Well, we did not want to walk over the fresh laminated glass causing dirt and what not to be pushed into the surface. With the barrier coat down, it would protect the new laminate and we would not have to worry about dirt or contaminates as we were going to have to sand it down anyway.
But before we could start on the paint, we needed to finish the port light holes. Yes, we did 99% of all work needed to the holes before we painted the inside, but we had not yet dry fitted them back into the new holes, nor had we cleaned them up. We also dry fitted the windlass bracket and dive compressor box and removed the teak eyebrow.
Once we were happy with how everything fit and had everything filled and fared to make the surfaces smooth and beautiful, we set up to roll on the Tuff Stuff barrier coat on our decks. By doing the decks and cabin top in 2 steps we were able to sit on the cabin top with our feet on the cap rail to paint the decks, bulwarks and cabin top up to the eyebrow with out any hiccups. Because the forepeak is too large for that kind of reach, we placed a piece of wood across from the head hatch to the cap rail to gain access to this area. Working together and into the wee hours of the night we rolled on 2 coats of barrier coat sealing off our decks from any water in the future.
Onto the cabin top:
While we were removing the remaining hardware Jon found some delamination under our mast step and we cannot have that. Another project added to the list.
We were able to remove all the other hardware with almost no problems. However, our teak handrails were looking like they were almost beyond repair. Jon and I started to talk about other options, like brass rails with teak holders but nothing wood look as good at the old fashion teak rails. After a few hours of talking we came up with a plan to bring the rails back to life. The staysail winch cleats needed to be addressed as the STBD side did not even have nuts to hold the bolts in place. This we found out once we cut into the newly painted headliner to find 2 bolts bent in a “J” shape so they could not be pulled out.
We filled in these holes and installed Keep Nuts.
Once all the hardware was off and the mast step was repaired we set our hands to filling and fairing any cracks in the gel coat or any holes we were no longer using. This seemed to take forever, every time we thought we had it all, we would do a final look over and find 5 more things that needed to be filled or fared. Finally the cabin top was ready for the first coat of barrier coat.
Many people have asked us why we are applying barrier coat to surfaces that are not underwater. Our answer is “Why not apply it?” Clearly water getting into the glass and causing osmosis is a problem for all surfaces on a boat, not just those underwater. Jon always says” the paint is only as strong as the primer underneath it”.
Cabin top AWLGRIP TIME
LOOK AT THAT SEXY OYSTER WHITE CABIN TOP!
Jon takes a week away to film another episode of Outside Beyond the Lens
This time he is off to the center of the country to hunt down, get this, tornados. Yep Jon flew into Denver, met with the crew (who also happen to be great friends) and headed out to film these powerful twisters during the height of the season.
Click >> Outside Beyond the Lens: Storm Chasers << to watch the episode.
The downside of filming during the height of tornado season is that it can affect the flying schedule. Jon was bounced from flight to flight and just barely made it out of Denver. Once he landed in Charlotte, all flights out were canceled due to tornado warnings and lightning except for one. Jon ran as fast as he could to the gate where the one flight out was boarding. This was not his booked flight, but was going to the same destination. He was able to sweet talk his way into the last spot on the plane. (Isn’t this is how most plane crash movies start?…) The plane waited on the tarmac for over an hour due to a lightning hold. The pilot saw his one and only chance in the weather, got cleared from flight control and went for it. This flight was the last one out for the rest of the day, Charlotte closed down all incoming and out going flights after take off. Jon says that the flight was one of the more turbulent ones he had ever been on, but they made it safe and sound to New Bern, NC.
The Oriental, NC Boat Show
We took an afternoon off to check out the Oriental Boat Show. I mean Jon and are boat nerds at our core and can never miss out on a swap meet, or the chance to get on and check out other boats.
Plus we were in the market for a used whisker pole. While we were there we were given some free shirts in exchange for our names and boat info. With the shirts we were asked if we wanted to be put in the drawing for a new grill. (not a boat rail grill, a full size home grill) We told them NOT to put our names in the drawing as we have zero need for a grill and no where to put one. In the swap meet section we found a used whisker pole in our price range, score! But how to get it back to the yard with our little car is the question. We made it work.
A few days later while working on Prism we kept getting a call from a number we did not recognize. Finally I answered and got a very enthusiastic man stating we won the grill! I responded with ” We don’t want it, pull another name or give it away” He then told us ” Nope, no can do. We already announced it and the show is over, you need to come get it, now.” Great. Off we went to pick up the giant grill we never wanted and yet still somehow won. While we were there we tried to give it away to fellow boaters, but for some reason no one wanted it. We called every person we knew in the area to see if they wanted it. Luckily our friends the Pickards were in the market for a new grill as theirs was damaged in Florance. PERFECT!
Spraying the Decks
Before we could move onto the next step, we needed to start prepping the cockpit first.
This was going to require us to remove the scuppers, which seam to have evolved and become one with the cockpit sole. Not to mention that at some point in Prism’s history someone threaded a steel elbow into one of the bronze scuppers. With the help of a lot of heat, we were able to separate the 2 pieces and saved ourselves over $350 for buying new scuppers.
After we removed the scuppers we noticed that the holes they lived in where in desperate need of some TLC. Using the same method we used to mold the portlights and hauser cleats, we molded the holes to fit the scuppers perfectly.
Another item on the list in cockpit upgrades was to remove the pedestal, and also install the new manual bilge pump. The new Whale pump had a different hole pattern and a larger diaphragm than our old Whale pump. We filled the old hole, fitted the new and did a dry fit to make sure it would work and would have room to function. You can see how much we needed to move it around to fit.
Moving on to the decks, next up is to sand the Tuff Stuff. We love how tough the Tuff Stuff is, but it sure is a pain in the ass to sand. We noticed a few areas where the 1708 was showing through, so we added some fairing compound till the surface was smooth and ready for the next layer of primer.
NOW the decks are ready. We are ready! So whats next? Yep, Taping and masking!
Okay, so this taping and masking job was not the most labor intensive or anything, but it was completely misleading to the eyes. We covered all the gaping holes on the cabin top and cockpit which caused its own set of problems. Jon and I both put our feet through the hole where the pedestal goes, and I walked right into the forward hatch hole. Yea, that one hurt.
For real this time, we are now ready to spray the 545 Primer on the decks. Ready set go…… Decks done, moving on to the cockpit, Shit. Ran out of 545 Primer.
That’s okay, we will just use the Tuff Stuff primer in the cockpit, we do not HAVE to use the 545. Everything will be okay. We sanded the primers the next morning, wiped down the surfaces using the lessons learned from previous wipe downs and set off to spay the deck and cockpit with Awlgrip Oyster White.
Unfortunately like all our other AwlDrip, I mean Awlgrip applications, this time around we still had some boo boos. Mostly because a big wind gust came through taring our masking off the top sides and onto the wet paint!!!!!!!! Lots and lots of cuss words once again. So we sanded it down the next day and went for it again. We are clearly by no means professional spray painters. It’s not 3rd times a charm for us, but the 2nd time is what works for us. Our perseverance and thank goodness, our account with fisheries allowed us to finally get it right and finish up the paint on Prism’s decks. There was one bug who wanted to be apart of us forever and made his final resting place on our decks. We hoped that the non-skid would cover that spot when we get to that project.
HOLY COW, we did it! Prism is officially all one color and all painted. Well if you don’t count the bottom, the bowsprit, sampson post, cowls, and other odd and ends.
WE ARE DONE! Kinda, not really. Okay well we are done with THIS part of this project. Onto the next.
Now that it is the middle of May, it is getting hot. Not just “oh spring time air is so nice when it warms up”, no. More like ” WHERE THE F DID THIS HEAT COME FROM, I AM GOING TO DIE” hot.
Even though we said we were going to be launched and be enjoying the heat in the height of summer somewhere north and we’re not going to need an AC unit, we bought one anyway. Turns out, this would be a saving grace aboard Prism in the upcoming weeks and months.
Jon and I love animals……… Insects, not so much.
Once the temps started to rise, all the bugs started to come out. The carpenter bees, mud dobbers and paper wasps were a constant nuisance. Jon, who is allergic, got stung by a very large female red paper wasp on his eyebrow/ eye lid. This sting sent him into a server allergic reaction. His entire body broke out in hives, his face, mouth and tongue swelled up and his heart started to have palpitations. As soon as the sting happened he took benadryl and we put ice on the sting. This happened inside the boat, and if you know about wasps, they do no die after they sting. So we hunted her down and Jon felt the sweet pay off of revenge when he crushed her with a paper towel.
We did however love the lizards, birds, birds of prey, snakes, and snapping turtles we were able to see on a daily basis. Here are some pictures of the different creatures we were able to get a shot of.
the Boatyard Cat
Oliver was a stray kitty that adopted HBY as his home. He was the main distraction for Jon and I at the yard and the perfect fury companion we needed to keep sane. He was a never ending source of entertainment and has a HUGE personality. I so badly wanted to make him ours, but had to remember he is an outdoor kitty and is loved by those who adopted him in the first place.
Shannon's trip back to California
The time has come, after many debates Jon and I decided that we could not afford for both of us to fly back to California for my Uncles and Cousins memorials. They were scheduled 2 weeks apart from each other and I felt like I could not miss either. So I loaded up and flew home for 3 weeks while Jon stayed and worked like a busy bee on Prism, with the plan that we would be ready to launch when I got back.
Once again, even though it was for a very somber reason, I was so happy I was able to spend this time with my family. My brother Will and his wife picked me up at the airport in San Jose, then he let me barrow his 4Runner to get around while I was there.
Both Celebration of Life memorials were beautiful and filled with so much love, exactly what Takoma and Bill would have wanted. Located at San Simeon Cove, friends and family came together to cry, laugh and remember those who we had lost.
I spent my time home visiting with family and also squeezing in time with friends. I ran up to SF to see my best friend Katie as she had just bought a house and it was her birthday. Plus I got to see baby Xander again.<3
Tess and Christine came out to Cambria for a girls weekend filled with laughs and wine tasting.
It was so great to spend time with my family, and to enjoy the perfect California weather before heading back to the North Carolina heat.
The bane of our existence. Prism’s rudder has been a high maintenance component ever sense we have owned her. Back in 2014 we thought we gave the rudder a full over haul. We had the rudder removed while we were on the hard, we drained what we thought was all the water out of it. Popped every blister, removed all the bad glass, laid up new laminate, cut out a cracked section along the bottom and replaced with new. We thought we were golden.
That was till we hauled out in Guaymas, MX a year later and we noticed the rudder was again, filled with water. Shit. Before we left, Jon drilled holes thought-out the rudder so that over the summer, while sitting in the hot Sonoran Dessert the rudder would dry out. Which it did. Fill, prime, paint, go.
Fast forward to June 2017. Yep once again, the rudder filled with water. So we repeated the process. Jon drilled many many holes in the rudder this time and we hoped that the rain fall would flush out the salt and then the heat would dry her right up while she sat in North Carolina while we were home making money. Which we thought it did.
When we came back to Prism in Oct 2018 we thought the rudder was very dry. There were a few new blisters and quite a bit of delamination along the bottom. With busy hands we set to work fixing all these things. The major repair was to the bottom. The rudder extended slightly below the rest of the keel and had quite a bit of dings sand cracks. While Jon was looking at it he decided to cut off the damaged section. This in turn made our rudder the same length as the rest of the keel and gives us good glass to seal up.
After a few months plus very cold, then very hot weather, we noticed moisture under our brand new repairs. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!
Clearly the next step was to set up a vacuum system to suck all the moisture out. With some help with our new boatyard friend, Jean, we sealed the rudder with a fabric which would absorb the moisture and thick plastic, taped it shut, connected the vacuum and let it do its thing. A few days later, the fabric was still dry and it seemed like no moisture made its way out. hum…?
Jon and I then set up heaters to bake the moisture out, that didn’t work either. Okay well we have tired everything and building a new rudder is NOT getting added to the project list.
That will have to wait till next time. We sealed it all up, filled and fared and called it good as there was nothing else we could come up with to solve our problem. This will work for now.
We clearly did not make our summer time dead line
Well it is July, officially well into hurricane season and we are still in the yard. You would think that we would have learned our lesson by now about dead lines and launch dates. The tent is a total mess, and trying to figure out what projects are more important than the other is proving to be very difficult. Will we ever learn?
Nope, we now have another dead line. This time we HAVE to be where we say because people are flying to the east coats for Jon’s 30th’s Birthday. The plan is to finish up the projects and be in the Chesapeake Bay ASAP and to stay there through October. Friends and family are flying in starting Oct 8th with Jons mom, then Oct 17th with Jons brother and wife, Chris and Marissa of SV AVOCET, Oct 18th with Jon’s best friend Clarke and his sister Tess. They are all flying into Annapolis, as we will already be there for the US Boat Show. Duh. That gives us 3 months.
WE GOT THIS!
While I was in California, Jon got a wild hair up his bum to completely take the lazarette apart. Not just a little, he took everything out and ground down years and years of paint till he reached glass.
At this point he also realized how much space we could gain if we removed the old propane locker and added an access door in the aft cabin through the bulkhead. So that’s what he did, another project added to the list. He thought this project would add maybe a week worth of work, but it turned out to be way more than that.
The lazarette was not in perfect shape, but it was good enough. (well after looking at the before photos, it was pretty sad looking) We had added a new coat of paint to the main section back in 2014. But Jon really wanted the extra space and access, plus once again the statement “while we are at it” and ” it’s never going t be as easy to do as it is right now” always found its way into our reasoning to start another project.
After the paint was sanded down, we took the time to beef up the fiberglass around the aft chainplate and the rudder tube. These items definitely needed to be addressed and we never would have noticed them without removing all the old paint. This project was a blessing in the end as it might have saved us from potential leaks or worse.
While everything was out we also took the time to service all our thru-hulls. Aboard Prism we have all tapered seacocks, which we love. If you take care of these, service them and at the same time not over service them, they will last as long as your boat will.
The access door Jon made in the aft cabin is perfect for accessing the thru-hulls we were never able to reach quickly before. With the extra room we gained from cutting out the old propane locker, we can store 7 of our 11 sails there now!
She is ready for paint! Normally we would use our go to paint Rust-oleum but this time we wanted to use something more robust. Never having any luck with the bilge coats or marine grade products we decided to try something new. Tile-Clad HC made by Sherwin-Williams. This is a 2 part epoxy paint that is hard as nails, it is what they paint the inside of nuclear reactors with! It is for interior use only as it has zero UV inhibitors but it was super easy to use, had a quick re-coat time ( well anything would considering it is 107 degrees) and dries with a super glossy finish. I had to paint in 3 sections. Applying 3 coats each day to the new section.
With the paint dry we started to put the plumbing back together and started to install the wiring. It literally looks like an operation room in the lazorette now. So fresh and so clean, clean!
The Captain Seat
Here is another project that was not on the list. But while we were moving everything we noticed the bottom plywood piece of the seat was rotting away. Jon blew apart the seat, took all the teak pieces off, only cracking one of them and built a new base for the seat. The teak piece he broke was already cracked to begin with, so it needed to be replaced no matter what. Because we had so much teak from Diveboat #1, he simply made a new one. Count this project done.
North Carolina skies
It really is time to hustle
Jon and I are working as much as we can. It gets so hot that we do have to stop around 2 pm and hide inside with the AC before we can head back out around 4pm. We both tried to push through the heat and keep working, but we found ourselves getting dizzy and weak from the heat. We would take quick “cool off” showers and were drinking a lot of water, but it was just to damn hot. So we took a few hours off during the hottest part of the day. Then got right back into it as we are getting closer and closer to our new Chesapeake Bay dead line.
Back in 2014 we installed a new Isotherm system and it has worked flawlessly. However the inside of our fridge has so many holes drilled into the side and insulation that it has been a miracle that we can keep it cool at all. Jon started with the insulation on the top lid and side door back in November, now he had moved on to the actual fridge. He cut into the bottom section to see what the damage was and how much we were going to have to replace. Luckily the foam was in better shape than we thought it was going to be.
We removed the old wet foam and installed new XPS foam, sealed it all back up, and used a spray foam to fill in the gaps then painted it.
We had ordered a new latch for the side opening door but no mater what Jon did, we could not get it to work properly. In the end we installed the one we already had.
The Bottom Job
When most boat owners think of a bottom job, its just something that is part of the normal maintenance schedule in owning a boat. Bottom jobs are normally quick and easy, in and out, sand and paint, nothing to it. That is not how our bottom job went this time around.
In the early 2000’s Prism’s bottom was peeled. For those of you who do not know what that means, well… here is a little back history:
Most boats that were built in the late 70’s and early 80’s tend to suffer from osmosise, AKA the POXs
Prism suffered from the “POX”, so she was peeled in Mexico, which means all of the old polyester resin glass was removed. Prism’s entire under body was laid up with new glass and epoxy resin, except the rudder for some reason. Anyways, because of this, Prism does not have any blister problems on her bottom.
Back in 2014 Jon, with the help from my brother Sean, sanded down the layers of old blue bottom paint till they reached the new glass that was laid up in Mexico. They applied 3 coats of Tuff Stuff Barrier coat and 2 coats of Trinidad 75 in red. That is a perfect new bottom, as we would say in boat yard lingo.
Alright, back to 2019’s bottom job, all we need to do is sand with 80 grit and put on a new coat of Trinidad 75. BUT, when we started sanding the waterline we noticed moisture. The words that came from our mouths should not be repeated.
We assumed that when Prism was peeled, they played it safe when getting close to where the bottom meets the topside gelcoat. Prism has an indented waterline clearly showing where the line is. This is a great thing in theory, but has just become a major pain in our asses. Obviously we have our new awlgrip topside paint that we do not want to mess up, but we can see that the moisture is at the indented line and there is nothing stopping it from creeping up and under all the work we had already completed. Our plan, raise the water line an inch. Jon got to work with the router, removing all the delaminated glass.
While Jon was working on the water line, I was working on the bottom of the keel. Over the years the bottom of the keel has seen many things, and apparently hit a few things as well. So like all the other surfaces that had delamination issues, we ground out the bad glass and laid up new with 1708 and epoxy resin.
After removing the bad glass from the water line, we were ready to lay up new layers of 1708 with epoxy resin. This, like the other larger laminating jobs was a 2 man job. Jon saturated the material with the resin then handed it up to me to lay down and then apply the fairing compound over it. We were going for a full chemical bond between the layers.
We also took the time to beef up the section of our bottom where the cutwater attaches. We had noticed that the original SS cutwater was kind of bent out of wack and did not sit/ mount well to the stem piece. So what did we do? We laid up some G10 with 1708 to make a very strong surface for the new bronze cutwater to attach to.
As soon as the water line was smooth and ready for paint, Jon got to sanding the rest of the bottom.
We also took the time to fiberglass in some G10 so we could mount a new clam shell cover over the raw water in thru-hull. There were a few areas in the aperture that needed some attention. Jon found yet another void in the glass and added some G10 to really beef up areas that needed it.
We still had all the stuff to spray, we thought it would be cool to spray Prism’s bottom paint. That is what we did. First up was the barrier coat, more Tuff Stuff. We applied 2 coats of barrier coat to the new water line, anywhere we did fiberglass repairs and also the rudder. I think it is safe to say that every inch of Prism has at least 2 coats of Tuff Stuff barrier coat. NO MORE OSMOSIS! Next up, spraying the Trinidad 75. Jon made quick work of this and the bottom had 2 fresh new coats of bottom paint.
AWLWOOD- The exterior bright work
Bright work on these types of vessels is never ending. The saying is ” paint it while you own it, varnish it when you sell it” BUT I REFUSE TO LIVE BY THAT SAYING! I love the bright work on this boat, its one of the main reasons we bought this boat. Keeping it up is a total pain though. After years of using Cetol, which worked great in cold weather and where there was unlimited access to water to keep it clean. In the tropics though, different story. We started off with applying a new coat about every 3 months, then that went to 2, then 1, then we were so fed up we just stopped. Jon finally convinced me to let the caprail go silver and to really go for the 2 tone look.
While sailing south in the pacific we were on the same route as our friends Bob and Irma on a Liberty 457. Their varnish always looked AMAZING and we never saw them working on it. Never. So finally we asked Bob what his secret was, he told us ” Oh, my varnish, I have not touched this in 5 years, it’s Awlwood made by Awlgrip.”
Jon and I were sold at “5 years”, that was till we looked at the price. So while we were home we thought about letting Prism go all silver ( Jons plan) and keeping with the 2 tone look using Awlwood ( my plan). We ended up saving extra in order to pay for the Awlwood.
We had to remove all the old varnish and any sliver spots and water spots. Awlwood is pretty easy to use but has a picky side as well. This time we were not going to be using it in the dead of winter, but now in the dead of summer. All the heat and humidity you could ever dream of. Like all boat projects, it’s all in the prep, and prepping the teak took much longer than we thought.
These are the items we applied Awlwood to:
– Companion way doors – boom gallows – handrails – hatches- bulwarks – turtle shell- companion way-
^ crazy how that does not seem like a lot, but we had to make sure they were perfectly prepped before we could start. We had to refurbish the handrails which took a lot of work. The handrails had lost some of their soft wood and had been filled in with years and years of varnish, which needed to be removed. Once the old varnish was removed we had to fill in the voids with epoxy, Jon also thought it would be smart to use a penetrating epoxy to give the rails extra strength and to stop future splitting.
Once those items we done and sanded smooth we were ready to apply the Awlwood. Awlwood is 2 step single part clear coat system. Just like we did the cabin sole, we applied the primer and followed the instructions till we were done.
FINALLY. This is one of the projects that just seemed to take forever!! It was one of the first projects we did, remove the portlights, but so much more needed to happen to finish this project. After the portlights were removed and used for the cabin top project, they kind-of just sat in a corner and collect dust. Every once in a while I would start to work on them, but then they would just get pushed back to the side lines. But now it was their time to shine, literally.
The portlights were completely rebuilt. We thought about replacing the glass, but they were in good enough shape that we did not worry about it.
We did reseal the glass into the portlight, installed new gaskets and cleaned the bronze up real good. The outside ring we did not clean up, as we like the green patina look.
Once they were all rebuilt and clean up we used a chemical patina to start the process in an even way for the parts on the inside of the boat. A lot of people like to keep their bronze portlights polished and looking like gold on the inside, to do this they apply a laquer or just keep polishing them. We did not do this because like I said before, we like the green patina look. To install them in place and seal them up we used bed-it tape and dolphinite.
Installing the portlights made us feel like the boat was finally coming together. BAH, they look so good against the new paint.
We already replaced the shroud chainplates back in 2015. Replacing the rest was not on this refits list, that was till we took them off and noticed some issues.
First the back stay chainplate had a slight spider crack, that is no good. Next the cuttwater was bent and tweaked, that is no good. The whisker stays were fine and already bronze. The inner forestay chainplate was in good shape as well, but we figured since we are replacing all the others with bronze, why not do this one too.
Although we have a tig welder, (and yes we carry it while we are cruising too) we simply did not have the time to weld these items. Jon ordered the metal, cut and fabricated the pieces then handed them off to a local welder to finish the job. They came out great!
Pulpit and Pushpit
Yikes, these bad boys were in need of some serious TLC. We have always had rust issues with these two items and have noticed some of the welds cracking where the life lines attach to the pulpit.
Once they were down, we propped them up to get a full stainless treatment. Jon made quick work of the flat areas with a metal sanding pad while I spent hours scrubbing the stainless with Bar Keepers Friend till they looked new.
While we had our chainplates being welded, we asked the welder Tommy, to give these guys a good look over and to address anything that looked like it needed attention. This welding is the ONLY thing we hired out for the entire refit.
The main forward hatch and the butterfly hatches were among the items that we were not going to address during this refit. However, like all the other projects that have been added on, once we removed the hatches we noticed just how bad of shape they were in. No they were not leaking but the old dark plexi-glass was showing serious signs of its age. Spending hours on whether or not we should go with plexi, acrylic or just standard laminated glass, we chose good old fashion laminated glass.
Our hatches are quite large and the wells that the glass sits into required the glass to be at least 3/8″ thick. When we called around to get quotes for new glass in all types this is what we found:
All prices are for all the 3 pieces we needed and cut to size.
You can see why we went with the standard laminated glass.
Along with replacing the glass, we also beefed up the hatch frames. Where the screws went though to hold down the top pieces of the hatch, there was a lot of cracking and splitting. The holes were just too close to the edge. These needed to be filled with epoxy then drilled again.
Here is another project added to the list, while we were trying to clean up the old bronze hinges for the butterfly hatch, the main hinge died. It cracked then crumbled into several different pieces. And get this, they do not make those hinges anymore. Jon and I spent hours looking for replacements but had zero luck. Port Townsend Foundry could cast us new ones fora pretty penny of around $400.00. Yikes. In the end we found a different type of hinge that would fit our hatch and could support the weight. We only had to do some more hole filling and make some pretty spacer plates for the arch.
The next question was which product shall we use to seal the glass in place. Our first choice was to us Bed-It tape. But we thought it would not get a good enough seal with the amount of pressure from the wood screws.
Our next option was to use a sealant like TDS or Sikaflex and also Dolphinite. We could not choose, we started off with Dolphinite but it used a lot of product. On the next one we used TDS and while we were at it, we decided to make it into a little test. So on the third we used Sikaflex. Now we will see which product last the longest.
We are a little behind schedule, whats new?
Okay, it is F*ing September and we are still in the yard. We have ONE month till people start to show up. WE GOT THIS! WE HAVE TO GET THIS.
Things we have to finish in the next 3 weeks:
- build and install hatches
- fix bowsprit
- caulk cockpit and teak pads
- finish varnish in head
- paint anchor locker
- sand blast anchor
- sand blast quadrent
- sand blast cowls
- last items to awlgrip (bowsprit, sampson posts, cowls, wind gen. bades)
- paint anchor
- fix dive compressor box
- wiring/ electrical system
- install steering systems
- new batteries
- hook up engine
- install and move everything back on board
- install chainplates
- step mast
- check systems
- have a chat with mother nature about no hurricanes this season
Um, I have no idea how we are going to get this all done in time. Plus I am sure there is more to that list.
We knew this day would come. We had just hoped we would be far enough north that we would not be affected by it. This did not happen and we were smack down in the middle of Dorian’s path. We watched and watched, keeping a close eye on what this storm was going to do. In preparation we stopped working on the projects and focused on getting all our stuff off the ground in the tent. We were not too worried about Prism in general as we were in the safest part of the yard, in a huge tent which is basically a steel cage. The major concern was surge, in 2018 Florence brought a 13 foot surge which floated a few boats off their stands and just touched the front of the tent.
We made sure to get all our stuff off the ground, made sure that in worse, worse cast scenario and the tent blew apart, all our stuff would not be damaged by rain or blown away. This process took about a week as we had stuff everywhere!
As Dorian approached we decided that we were going to stay aboard for the storm. We stocked up on food and water and had a bail out plan just in case. Plus it was crazy to watch HBY stack the yard full of as many boats as they could haul out the few days before the hurricane.
Dorian started to show its self in the late afternoon, picked up during the night and peaked around 6am the next morning. Jon and I slept through the entire night with no problem, we could hear nothing in the tent till around 6 am when Bayboro was hit with the peak of the storm. At this point it was down to a CAT 1 and we saw winds in the 40’s with maybe gusts to 60 knts. To us, it seemed pretty mellow.
If only it had been that way for all those in Dorian’s path. Our thoughts go to all those who were lost and effected by this storm.
Jon goes to Switzerland
He gets to go to all the cool places! Off he went for 8 days shooting the season finale for Outside Beyond the Lens. This place speaks for its self.
This episode has not aired yet, but the whole crew left the shoot knowing it was going to be a great show. Check out all the Outside Beyond the Lens episodes and keep an eye out for the season finale.
Fishing the Varnish in the head
While Jon was in Switzerland, I kept busy doing many different projects, but mostly i focused on finishing the head. Back in January we put on the first coat but then left it like that. So now it was up to me to finish the project as our launch date is closely approaching. So that I did not kill my self with the off gassing VOCs I set up a fan sucking out air from the main hatch and would shut the door once I finished a coat. To speed up this process I used a product called Japan Drier, which allowed me to do hot coats and get 3 coats on in a day. I would then sand the next morning, vacuum, wipe down and do more coats till I reached a finish that looked good. Because the head is subjected to more moisture I threw on a few extra coats to really seal the teak.
Polishing Stainless and Bronze
Not much to talk about here. Just that we had more stainless than I thought and I feel like this all took way longer than it should have.
Using a combination of the SS wire wheel, spotless stainless, bar keepers friend, collinite metal polish, metal compound on the buffing wheel and wax, I brought the SS back to life. And some bronze too.
Every single which aboard Prism was frozen when we got back from our year away. Luckily taking our original Barant winches apart and giving them a full service is very easy for Jon and I. We had all the winches apart, cleaned and serviced in just a few hours. Now every winch is as happy as can be. You know the saying, “A happy winch, will get you through a pinch ” nah, just kidding that’s not a saying…but it is now.
Caulking the teak pads and cockpit
The teak pads on Prism’s cabin top are one of our favorite parts of the boat. They are not screwed in so there is no leaking issues and Prism being a solid glass boat, no core issues as well. The pads however do need love from time to time. Back in 2013 Jon re-caulked the long runs on the pads but did not do the outer ring, so that is what needed to be addressed this time around. We removed the old caulk before we painted the cabin top as we wanted good paint adhesion as far into the groove as possible.
After we were done with the paint we taped off the perimeters on the 5 pads and caulked away. Well at least we tried, we ran out of TDS after the first 2 pads, so we had to order more then wait. Once we got the new shipment in we were ready to go.
The teak in the cockpit is a completely different animal. Knowing that this project would pretty much stop all foot traffic we had to choose our timing. We had to split it up into 2 sections, the cockpit well with the captain seat, then the main cockpit.