Prism's Blog

Land Life, work and being boatsick

Sunsset walk with the family in Berkeley

Written By-Jon


So we have been back in the sates for a few months now and it has been a roller coaster of emotions. I will say the first month back I was on looking at houses up in the pacific north west. Not because I was ready to stop sailing but the ease of land life was just so new and invigorating that it got me thinking. Needless to say the more time we spend here the more we miss Prism and all on the qualities, good and bad of the cruising lifestyle. The reason we both came back was mainly for a job opportunity I was offered from National Geographic to be the director of photography for a history making documentary. The official press release is here:

So I have been doing that alongside shooting for Discovery on a concept show that may be premiering this Fall. Also getting little Ad jobs here and there.

and it starts, removing the firsts of the bungs

While shooting for telivision Shannon and I have also started doing some big projects on my Mom’s Mason 43 Sailboat. The Mason is in very good shape, low hours on the engine, sails are like new. It had a major refit in 2008-2009 but there where a few things that were not done, namely the teak decks. We have been limping them along but there where areas of apparent water intrusion. So we bided out the project for Mom at a very reasonable rate and started work. We have about 18 days in total as of right now and we have taken off all of the teak, drilled out every hole, die ground every hole to dish out the hole, scraped off all the black sealant, ground down the remove 90% of all the sealant, let a few of the wet sports dry, poured in slightly thickened epoxy, re-die grinded every hole, filled with thickened epoxy, looked over every hole for sags and if there where a sag we die grinded again and filled again. After we are sure all the holes are perfectly level with the existing deck we will sand with 60 grit and use orange citrus cleaner to get all the remaining black stuff off, then we will prime with a two part epoxy primer, sand a fair. Probably primed and and a few times until we have a spotless smooth surface then we plan on shooting on Awl Grip. With the decks Awl Griped we have a haul out scheduled with the yard doing the bottom while we check the cutlass and service all of the seacocks. At that point we will look into how we want to do the non-skid. Other projects that we have already done on the mason are:

Removed old holding tank (We have the new one to replace it with)

Replaced Old water fill hose

Replaced Old raritan head with new Raritan Fresh Head that uses fresh pressurized water to flush.

Started wiring new electric windlass

Systematically replacing inadequate wiring throughout boat

starting to remove the teak
Barefoot Boat Works: coming to a yard near you
brothers working hard
we are sick of bungs, but still smiling
the black gunk they call sealant is your worst nightmare
the last few planks!
Have to leave the boat for a weekend, it looked like this to keep any rain out of the 100,000 hols in the deck

grinding out the screw holes

ready to be filled
floating lumber yard
first fill
Second fill

It is important to mention that my mom and my little brother have been helping and in some cases doing some of these smaller jobs all on their own while I am up working on the deck. I have been a good project so far and we are all looking forward to having it done and being able to use the boat again. Upon our tear down Shannon and I removed all of the chainplates one by one so we could sand around them because they come out up threw the decks. They are all suffering from crevice corrosion.

the eaten away chainplate
yea, needs to be replaced

Shannon writing:

So once we pulled the chainplates we realised that the corrosion was so bad that we needed to replace them all. To have new plates made can be expensive if you have then fabricated by a machine shop. We bought the 316 S/S from They shipped us 8 S/S flat 2″ X 3-4 feet’ X 3/8″ sheets. Our friend Jerry has a very nice machine shop and he also enjoys a good project. Jon made the trip up to Jerry’s house ( about 1.5 hours away from Berkeley) and they got to work. We did make one measurement mistake when we ordered the sheets, so they boys did have to mill down one set from 2″ wide to 1 3/4″ wide. After 2 days, a few drill bits and a lot of laughs the boys had the new chainplates installed and looking great. Its a great feeling to know that while you sail across the bay next, the mast will not come down due to half eaten away chainplates.

“What drill bit will work?”
I’m sure hes thinking…” what did I get myself into?”

milling down the chainplate that was to wide
Jerry having way to much fun
Old VS. New
making them shine
Like a glove!

Sense Jon wrote last on this draft, we have done a lot more work on the Mason. Well Jon has been working his butt off, while I try to put in as much time as I can in between driving back and forth to shaver to help with the wedding on the weekends, and also helping out at my old job at BMC ( Berkeley Marine Center). I think Jon feels like I have left him to do it all by himself… and I just tell him ” Im makin the monz!”

The Mason: So once we got all the holes filled and the deck looking as smooth as it is going to get, mom reminded us that she wanted us to fill in the gab between coach roof and deck, as there was a steep lip from where the teak used to butt up against the Coach roof. As of now, I think that this was the hardest part about the whole ” remove the teak decks” project. Jon and I started off by testing a 3 foot area by filling it with very think epoxy. After we saw how much epoxy and filler we were going to need to complete the whole lip, we quickly got to thinking of what else we could use to make this easier, faster and cheaper, but still look good and be solid. Our answer: BONDO, yep bondo like for cars. We made small batches and using a plastic paint scraper we made the perfect bevel to the annoying lip. This did take 2 trips around, and about 1.5 gallons of bondo. Once we were happy with the smooth new surface we threw epoxy on it to seal it up!  Done and done. . well that is till we put the first coat of primer on and it shows us all of the little imperfections we have missed. That is going to be fun!

the all mighty lip
we made the lip go away

OK So while I am off playing weddings and bookkeeping, Jon did the last of the sanding done and got the first coat of primer on. And to our amazement.. only a few spots the need some love! The 2 part high build primer is actually doing most of the work for him. For the now the fiberglass decks are covered from the Sun and sealed from the elements.

first coat of primer on

Not sure how it happened but it is some how the middle of September and the haul out date for the Mason was here. Mom and Chris are back into the real way of life swing of things like work and school, so Jon and I sealed up all the holes ( for hardware) left on the deck with some aluminum tape and sealed off the cainplates, just in case in our mosey on over to Richmond we took any green water or spray over the decks. We left at low tide ( I’m shocked we make it out of the marina at a minus tide) But anyways we had the flood to help push us towards the port we have never been to. Now your probably thinking.. “Shannon, you work at a boatyard why are you going to another one?” Well because a few seasons ago Mom and I were at the Strictly Sail Boat Show, and because of our brilliant minds and knowledge of boats, Mom won a free haul out at KKMI. So we figured why the hell not.

Jon and I had a motor fest over to Richmond was uneventful, that was till they asked us to back the boat into the hauling ways. Mom had made her way over to the bay to be there for the haul out, so she jumped on board to help with the difficult task they asked us to do. Now let me just say, that when we got there at 9:00 am for our haul out schedule at 9:30 am, there was no wind. Well for anyone who has ever dealt with boat yards.. just because you are on the schedule at a certain time.. well that doesn’t mean jack crap! anyways by the time they said they were ready for us, it was after noon and the wind was howling!  HA ok so well all know that the mason HATES to back up, and I means hates it. It backs up differently every time, and then add the blustery conditions into the factor.. well oh gez. I think we tried every angel, wind assist, j-turn , attempted to get the ass end of this massive full keel boat to the guys on the dock. Nope didn’t happen,.. but what did happen was we put the fenders close together on one side, and some how came in on our side, and then they man handled the ass end into the hauling ways. (* NO animals, humans or boats were injured in theses attempts) Up and away she goes,

new bottom paint

Ok so the last time the boat had a new bottom was back in 2009, and yet when she was pulled out.. OMG you would have thought it was 2 years. It looked GREAT! What is our trick you ask?….. Well if you take substance A and add substance B to it and then sprinkle a little of  C into the mix… you get good ol’ Pettit Trinidad SR. 2 coats of that bad boy and a regular diver and you get a 6 year bottom job. BOOM!… well that was all great and dandy till we were informed that Trinidad was bought out, and they did not get what ever they needed to sell that same formula of paint in California. So they changed what ever substance B was and well now, the rumor is that it is shit. Excuse my french.  Jon and I thought, ok its not the end of the world, we will just buy some of the painted we used on PRISM from our fisheries account and use it. We were SHOT DOWN right away as this yard does not allow you to bring in your own paint. you HAVE to buy from them…. well double shit! “Ok BOB.. what do you recommend?” ( this should be good, try to sell paint to someone who also sells paint) That is what I was thinking. He’s good… ok we will use that paint, but we want 2 coats. He tried to talk us out of that, then he also tried to talk us out of servicing our spartian seacocks. HA this man is nuts. Jon and I love spartin seacocks.. and if you know how to service them. they are super easy and reliable! Between Mom Jon and I we serviced all 7 seacocks in an afternoon, now they can all be opened or closed by using your pinkie finger.. its like butter!.  While we were on the hard we went exploring in Point Richmond. The day we hauled out we also picked up my brother from bart as he was just getting back form his trip the east coast to see our other brother ( i am so jealous i wanted to go with them so bad) but any ways Mom wanted to treat us to lunch as she found out that Will was on his hands and keens scrubbing the black sealant off with a very small toothbrush size s/s brush before he left on his trip. So we found this amazing pub and gill called the Up and Under. If you are ever in the area and you like good big sandwiches or burgers, draft beer and strong drinks..GO THERE! we ended up eating there i like 6 times during our haul out. ( its walking distance from the yard).

nice long over hangs

Oh and talk about a small world, one morning Mom Jon and I were wondering around this little tiny town looking for a place to have breakfast. Out of no where we hear “JON! SHANNON!” and out from their sprinter van came AL and Lindy from s/v Enchante! They were just passing through on their way back to Mexico. They filled us in on their summer as we did too. They are about 2 months ahead of us, but we cant wait to see them back in Mexico in a beautiful anchorage again. Its just crazy how small of a world, out of all the cities, the streets in the city and all the people you can still run into someone you met while sailing up in Washington 3 years ago!

Back to Mason talk: On the hard, its hard living on the hard. Cant use the head, galley, and sinks. BAH so  you find yourself eating junk or going out… I already talked about the chainplates and they did that project while we were on the hard. After the bottom was done, we asked about the 2nd coat… they told us it was be another $900! BAH! your out of our GD mind! So Jon bought a gallon of paint and did the 2nd coat and then a hot lap around the waterline and leading edges.  We took a look at our prop.. it needed to be cleaned.. they did that, then we painted it with a barnacle barrier paint. While looking at all of this, we noticed that the key way was non-existent. and the cutlass was shot. OK so we pulled the prop,  and the shaft. Great the shaft is bent and the coupler is all f*ed up too. Doesn’t this just sound like every other boat project you have ever done. You find one thing, it leads to another and so on and so on. B.O.A.T came into play as we Busted Out Another Thousand. New shaft and coupler. By the time Jon and I head back to Mexico the Mason will be good for years as we are taking care of any problems that might pop up in the near future.

new cutlass bearing
The new shaft
Everything back in and fits great

Launching time: We were told we would be launched right after lunch, so we took our cars back over to Berkeley, left one there and came back, expecting the boat to be in the straps and paint on her keel. Nope not even close! For some reason… they decided to haul another boat for a haul and hang to pitch a prop. WE WERE THE ONLY BOAT IN THE YARD THAT NEEDED TO GO IN THAT DAY! I mean why in the world would they haul a boat that takes up a lift for hours when they could have launched us first and then have no rush or need of the lift after. It boggles my mind. I think they got the hint that we were not pleased with our boat being pushed to the back of the line. We were loose day light and we have no Nav lights. or hardware on the boat, making a night passage is not safe nor legal. So they set up a huge crab boat with the big daddy lift, and then came and got us. Ha the Mason looked like a lego toy in this lift. They took us to the water, and put us in just a little so Jon could check to make sure all our serviced seacocks we doing what they are supposed to do, keep water out. All if good,, the lower us all the way down and we are out, B-lining to Berkeley. Of course the wind is blowing, and there is the annoying bay chop and we have to bash right into it. We cant even raise a sail the boat is such a project. We motor back to the slip on L dock and we nailed the landing. We were even shocked on how well we parked her. Bad Asses. Yep.

dealing with the head in the mason

Well now I am in Cambria, Jon has a shoot this morning in SLO, so he is doing that and then driving back to Fresno tonight to shoot his short film he has been working on all sumer. I feel like explaining that adventure is a whole other blog post. I am going to stay in Cambria this week, and then head to southern California with my aunts for my cousin Char’s memorial.

Oh: So when we got back in May. Jon’s mom looked at us and asked ” how are you guys getting around for the next 6 months? HA we had not thought about that. So we bought a 1993 4runner, with low miles and a clean interior. Little did we know that we were going to have to replace the following:

1) broken idler arm

2) front axles

3) clutch and fly wheel

4) 4 new tires ( after a almost blow out on the free way)

But we got the car for such a good deal, we are not complaining, only thinking that we are going to miss this car once we sell it come November.

What it looks like after changing the clutch in our 4runner
the clutch, or should I say lack of

Now don’t let us make you think that we have been all work and no play… here are some of the more “for fun” things we have done.

My bother Will and I out and about in a 1933 fire truck
Jon and his brother Chris flying drones
Camping trip to Pismo for Shannon’s 28th birthday
4th of July. (from left: Marissa, Chris, Shannon, Tess)
The Siblings at our brother Mike’s wedding (from left: Will, Paul, Terri, Mike, Karen and Shannon)

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