Prism's Blog

Yard Life Continues & Comes to an End

October 2020

After our blissful summer getaway, it was straight back to glorious sanding. We have a lot of painting to get done, and we want this boat to be in the water ASAP, but what we want and what we can do, are two completely different things.

The list of what we need to finish on DQ:

  •  fix rub rail delamination
  • topside- prep/ prime and paint
  • awlwood bulwarks
  • prep/ prime/ paint bowsprit & sampson post
  • finish peeling bttm/ grind/ sand/ prime/paint
  • sand/ fill/ fair/ prime/ paint cabin top and decks
  • cut out and install treadmaster
  • install all hardware 
  • fit and install new teak pads
  • design/ fabricate new headliner/ fit and install
  • laminate ( Formica) the insides of DQ’s doghouse and headliner
  • install new interior LED recessed lights
  • install/ upgrade to Lithium

Jon and I both dive head first into getting the boat ready for paint. I set my sites on fixing the delamination on the topside where the rub rail sits. While Jon gets happy with grinder as he fits the portlights back into the cabintop. We both take our turns finding low spots or pinholes in the decks and filling them with an epoxy filler. 

By the end of October, the decks AND topsides were ready for primer! BOOM! We felt unstoppable!  The decks were sprayed with Awlgrip’s high build primer, then their 545 epoxy primer and the topsides were sprayed with Sea Hawk’s Tuff Stuff epoxy primer. 

Jon spraying TuffStuff Primer
Decks and Cabintop sprayed with Awlgrip High Build Primer

>>>>>>>>Side Adventure: Let's Buy a Paint Shaker<<<<<<<<

After years of driving around to the various hardware stores located near HBY to have our paint shaken, we finally broke down and decided to buy one. Used of course, and no we are not storing it aboard Prism ( against Jon’s wishes). HBY does (did) not have a paint shaker, which is just crazy, so we talked them into investing with us. We bought the shaker and the bought the new clamp mechanism needed so the paint cans would stay in place rather than paint the shop in different copper paints. 
Ok, so Jon found this  shaker for sale in a town about an hour away.  For some reason, we decide to head to this persons home as the sun is going down. What could go wrong? Me, being the strong willed woman that I am, I HAD to drive. I could not tell you why, I just did. For those of you that don’t know me, I am blind, like as a bat. So, this downfall to my genetics makes it hard for me to see at night while driving. So this was difficult for me, not to mention, the deer, the manual transmission and the unknown back wood farm land we had ventured into. Long story short, I could not find this mans driveway ( google was NO help) and when I did eventually find a driveway to turn around in ( that didn’t look like the owner would shoot me) Jon was beside himself, then he took over driving.  We eventually called the man, told him we were lost. His directions to us were “See the large tractor  bearing down on you? Follow it” 
We did in fact follow the large machine and found the shop behind the corn fields. The man was very nice, helped load up the heavy, well colored shaker and we were on our way. 

November 2020

We started off November the same way we started off October, with sanding. Having learned our lesson with Prism, we got to sanding the Tuff Stuff right away, as it defiantly lives up to its name. Yea, as in, it is a complete bitch to sand once it has fully cured. Due to our perfection job on the prep work, the topsides were ready for topcoat as soon as the next weather window allowed. The high build primer on the decks,did most of the heavy lifting for Jon and I, although we still needed to fill and fair a few more places. The perfect painting weather window for the topsides would not be here for about 7 days, so we kept busy with getting the decks as faired as possible and also got the bowsprit and sampson posts ready for paint.

Topsides sprayed with TuffStuff, ready to sand

November 7, 2020- Topside paint day ( and election day… I voted, did you?) Our friend Derek and Christina were up and ready to help us spray DQ’s topsides with Awlgrip Ouster white ( just like Prism). After the hour or so that it takes to wipe down and shake the paint, we were all ready.

Christina helped keep the hose line free and clear while pushing Jon along on the scaffolding, while Derek and I mixed the paint to make sure we always had the next hopper ready. Having this many hands it was easy for Jon to keep his wet edge. It takes about 30 minutes to do one coat, with about an hour break between coats. By 10:30 am Jon was done with the first coat, 2 more to go. The second coat went on without a hitch, and when the 3rd did as well….. We were all SO excited! To celebrate this milestone in the DQ refit we decided to take Prism out sailing. Not to mention that the tent was so full of paint fumes it was better for our health that we went sailing.

Jon spraying the last coat of Oyster White on the topsides

Yes, finishing the topside paint was a HUGE milestone, but our work is far from over. The project that I was more concerned about was building the new headliner and well basically getting the inside back together so that DQ would look livable once again. 

When we were not sanding, filling and fairing the decks and cabin top, we were working on replacing the rotten plywood on the inside which needed to be measured, cut, dry fitted, covered with Formica and then installed. All this had to be done so that we could dry fit the portlights, incase any shaping or adjusted need to be done for those to fit once again. Luckily we did our laminating job really well, and well all the portlights and existing trim all fit back in place as originally installed.

November 14th, a weather window finally presented itself, as they were becoming far and in-between, we were ready to spray the Awlgrip 545 primer on the decks and cabin top. Jon wanted to paint the decks and cabin top in one go, which would be way more difficult that splitting it up like we did on Prism at the eyebrow. He said he could do it, and boy did he. After 3 coats he was smoked. 

Jon spraying Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer

I still love the color of the grey 545 epoxy primer, it is such a good looking matte grey! Jon and I could not help to hold back the huge smiles on our faces as we knew this was going to be the “last” time we would have to sand the decks and cabintop on DQ. It took us about 6 days to sand, do a few last minute fills, dry fits of hardware and to tape and mask for the final topcoat.

Dry fitting the eyebrow

November 21st, This is the day, we are ready, we should have the exact amount of paint needed to get the full 3 coats on, and then we would be done with all the paint! Now that it is the end of November, the temperature is falling quickly, we know that this is now or never. Bill arrived the night before to help with anything he could. 

The day started off in high sprits, we were all excited to get this next milestone checked off the To- Do List.  Once we had the surfaced prepped, I mixed the paint and Jon go to spraying. It was when we were about to start the 2nd coat that it dawned on me how light the paint cans actually were. I went to Jon in a panic, saying ” Jon there will not be enough paint for a 3rd coat…..

At this point it time, we had no options, the local stores would most likely not have any “Oyster White” awlgrip in stock. I would not believe how we could have miss calculated this. I was dumbfounded and angry. Jon attempted to lay down a thick wet 2nd coat to see what kind of coverage he could actually achieve. Jon threw every trick in the book into this paint job, we tried to get the paint to last for the full coat, but the last 2 feet on the port side deck, we ran out of paint on the 2nd coat. Fuck.

Tack coat of Awlgrip Oyster white
Somewhat good coverage after running out of paint during 2nd coat

I think Bill could feel the tension and disappointment that Jon and I were pulsing out of our bodies. We knew this would mean we would have to sand again, order more paint and start the topcoat process over again. So, he drove off to find a meal he thought would help lighten the mood, and he succeeded! Bill returned to the yard to a slightly tipsy Jon and I with a 3lbs brisket and all the fixings for an amazing BBQ meal. 

By botching this paint job we knew our window was shut. The cold weather was setting in, and it would take over a week for the new paint to arrive. This meant that while we stuffed our faces with BBQ, we told Bill that DQ is going to have to winter in North Carolina. We would have to pick up the paint job in the spring once the nice weather returns. For the rest of Bills visit Jon and I turned our attention to finishing the inside of DQ, while Bill continued to strip the teak of the old varnish and also started to apply the Awlwood on the bulwarks. 

Ready to spray Awlwood

After a few days, Jon and I had cut out and dry fitted the new headliner boards. The next step would be to apply penetrating epoxy to the undersides of them to help prevent rot in the future if leaks do develop. While the boards were drying, we installed the side planks inside along the doghouse. At this point now all the interior pieces were now ready to be topped with gloss white Formica.

We used contact cement and a heavy duty roller to apply the Formica to the wood. With all the pieces dry and in place, along with a dry fit of the portlights, DQ was starting to look nice inside again. Although we hit a snag for the topcoat outside, we still had plenty of stuff to do till the weather warmed back up.

The interior of DQ coming together

We interrupt this boatyard program for a special announcement

We are going home

Hauling Prism

December 2020 

Oh look… our plans have changed, again. However, this time around our break from DQ is not because of the heat or our mental health, nope we needed to help out Momma Neely with her recovery and transition back to living at home. Remember that nasty head on collision she was in back in August, well now it was Jon and I’s turn to help take care of Momma. 

After much debate of hauling Prism or not, we decided that it would be best if we winterized her and put her on the hard for the 2+ months we would be away. So a few days before we left NC we worked on getting Prism put away for the winter, and also packed up the tent and DQ.

Home for the holidays

December 2020- ROAD TRIP! Well, more like a car delivery. Jon and I hauled ass across the country in 4 days and 3 nights.  We also camped along the way and stood clear of having interactions with others as anther wave of Covid had hit the states. 

Once we arrived home, we quarantined in moms home which had not be lived in since August. After 14 days of keeping to ourselves, we got covid tests, as did every person in our family, before we all came together to spend Christmas together for the first time in years. Our family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas on the coast filled with so much love and joy. We were all so thankful that we were able to come together as so many families spent the holidays away from each other.

They Neely’s

During our time home I went to work for China Peak buying all the next seasons retail, while Jon stayed busy with a long list of home projects. Momma Neely’s home was not all put back together after the hasty evacuation during the Creek Fire back in September.

As a family we all loaded up Sea Castle and Avocet to head to Santa Cruz Island for a week. 10 people on 2 boats, we had blissful weather and pretty much all the anchorages to ourselves. We spent time on the beach, in the water, eating, drinking and celebrating Momma’s, Chris’s and Marissa’s Birthdays.

SV Avocet

The family also came together and convinced momma that she needed a hot tub at the Cambria house. So as a family team with Jason (Jon’s brother in law) at the helm to rebuild and beautify the deck for the new spa. Our friend Kaylie was also in town during this time, so she helped build the deck and her and Jon road bikes down a stretch of HWY 1.

Towards the end of our time home, I went on a week long trip up and down the state of California to meet the babies that had been born while I was away, and to see their parents.  Although I do not wish to have kids of my own, I sure do love babies! Yes I was overly, overly cautious when traveling and made sure that there was no chance I was going to bring covid into their homes.  I was over joyed to spend a few days with my brother Sean ( yes from the videos), his soon to be wife and their son! I have another nephew to add to my long list of nephews. My heart was filled and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about how much our mom would have loved to see her first born to become a father. 

It is crazy how fast 2 months can blow by. Before we knew it we were saying good bye. 

Now back to our ongoing Boatyard program


March 2021

All we have to do is paint the cabintop and decks. Then install all the hardware, install the new teak pads, cut out and install the treadmaster, finish the bottom job, and…. No, that should be it.  At least the inside is done…..or so we thought.

Just a slight setback….

It was such a disappointment when Jon and I opened up DQ after being gone for 2 months to find that the brand new headliner we installed before we left had failed on 5 of the 15 panels. When I say fail, I mean that the contact glue had let go due to the curve of the panel causing “bubbles” in the Formica.

The damn Formica bubbles

This threw such a huge curve at as, that we were to sure what to do next. Jon and I will be the first to admit, we are not carpenters. Wood working in not part of our preferred/ semi-mastered skills. With a heavy heart we contacted Bill and asked him if he would be okay hiring out the finishing touches for the headliner once the boat was back in Port A. Once again, Bill in for the win with his complete understanding, Jon and I turned our attention back to the decks. The temperatures were warming and a weather window was coming with-in a week. We got busy sanding once again, and even found a few things that needed more filling and fairing.

We sold Falkor 😥

Our beloved Walker Bay 8′ sailing dinghy we sold off to a good home. After we bought Penta, Falkor has just been hanging out in the tent, collecting dust, spiders and mud dauber nests. Falkor was gifted to us in 2013 by our dear friends the Hushaw’s. Although we loved this dinghy it was time to let him go, as the Fatty Knees is just a better sailor and well the higher freeboard is priceless. I do miss the ability to row side by side like we did in Falkor, and the fact that he was indestructible. 

Falkor was pretty hammered, so we sold him, the tubes and full sail kit for $500. It sold in less than a day, clearly we should have asked for more. But a father is going to teach his kids how to sail in it, so Falkor went to a good home. 

This is the last time spraying Awlgrip Oyster White, FOR REAL

We got to sanding the decks and cabintop. Within 12 days of being back at HBY we had the cabintop ready for paint. This time around we decided that it would be wise to split the paint jobs up like we did on Prism by breaking up the areas at the eyebrow. By doing it this way, Jon can make full use of the side decks to focus on getting a good finish on the cabintop without having to worry about where to step. We also took this time to spray the bow sprit and sampson posts. The coats went on with out a hitch! So we went out on the dinghys to enjoy sundowners with friends including the infamous Sailing Litzenburgers.

Once again we felt charged up and unstoppable when it came to the progress we were making Our goal is to have DQ back in the water and on her way north by some point in April. 

Before we move onto painting the decks, we wanted to get more of the heavy traffic done with. This way we are not dragging/working/ walking on fresh paint while still installing and working with epoxy products. The next big project on the list is installing the new TDS (Teak Deck Systems) teak pads on the cabint top. Bill had made templates for these teak pads then sent them to TDS. a few weeks later Bill received the full Teak pads, slightly oversized to make sure for the proper fit. 

Now in normal circumstances, the new teak would be install rather quickly after being recived, as the teak is still somewhat “green” so it is easier to install to the camber of the cabin top. Well that did not happen for DQ, sadly the teak had to sit on the side lines for the last year as we worked away. In this time the teak not only dried, but it started to curve, in the opposite direction we needed it to. 

When we installed them, it took an incredible amount of weight to get the teak pads to conform to the cabintop. Luckily we had the help of Derek to move a few 8D batteries, and almost a dozen lead ingots that were taken out of a boat they chopped up a few weeks prior.

April 13, 2021 

This is it, this is the day! All the dry fitting is done, the taping and masking is done, the decks are ready for paint! At this point Jon and I have a pretty good rhythm when it comes to paint day. I am the one who mixes the paint and makes sure  everything is running smoothly and the paint is always ready when his hopper runs out. The decks are the most difficult surface to paint, as the high bulwarks make for tight areas. Jon worked carefully and diligently, and by 2 pm we were done! To celebrate this paint job, well we took Penta out sailing.


Projects for Prism While on the Hard

While we were working on DQ, we also needed to get Prism ready to go back in the water. We raised the waterline at the beam while doing a bottom job. We rebuilt the engine beds to accommodate the new gearbox, (Read more about that HERE) installed the new gearbox and did another coat of Awlwood on the bulwarks. 

They say a boat project is never complete till someone bleeds, well Jon did not only bleed, but he split his head open. While he was prepping the engine beds, he put the sander on the top step in our companion way. The sander did not like this placement, so it came back down directly onto Jons head. I was working on the bulwarks with my headphones on, so when Jon finally got my attention he was very pale and light headed.

It was a pretty good gash, but nothing that a little super glue and some hair knots could not handle. 

While the engine was out, we also took the time to inspect our rear water tank. On the 33’s all the thanks are fiberglassed into the hull with SS lids. Back in 2014 we took the lid off the diesel tank to give it a clean, along with the holding. Those tanks were in great shape, we did replace the SS lid with a plastic one on the holding, and replaced the gasket for the diesel. But we have never opened the 2 water tanks. The rear water tank is located under the engine, so unless the red beauty is out of the way, then we are not getting into that tank.  Jon and I were both a bit nervous about what we were going to find inside. We for sure thought there was going to be way more growth or something. To our bewilderment, the rear tank looked good, like damn good. Well SHOOT! There are some blisters forming inside, but it was not enough to cause alarm for us. The pick up tube was broken and no longer reaching the bottom of the tank, so we replaced the old copper line with a new PVC pipe. After a little scrub with some dawn dish soap we had the lid back on and sealed up before we could even remember that it was off. 

We are going to try a new running gear paint this season, we have high hopes that it works. We have decided to try out The Guardian, made by Petitt. 🤞 Lets hope we can get a few seasons out of it.

Oh! How could I forget that we also fabricated a new helm gear shifter. (More about that here) Its sexy!

The Home Run

Okay, let’s do this! It is time to start installing all the shit again. 

The turtle shell hatch needed some love to fit properly before we could install it.

Christina helped me template out the Treadmaster (could not have done it without her!)

Jon and I installed the Treadmaster using Sikaflex 291 LOT.

We did loads of polishing.

The relationship we have developed with Sikaflex 291 LOT is something that we will forever hold dear to our hearts. I mean how does it get everywhere??!?!

Jon finished grinding the bttm after being peeled. Then we sprayed 3 coats of TuffStuff barrier coat, then 3 coats of Trinidad HD with a 4th along the leading edges and water line.


Crane Broke down… mast stepping and launch will have to wait till next week.

May 19th- The mast was stepped and then DQ LAUNCHED!

AHHH WE ARE GETTING SO CLOSE. Bill will be here on the 21st!!

Time for the DQ DEEEEEEEEP Clean. Christina helped me for 3 days clean all the remaining fiberglass dust out of every nook and cranny inside.

By the time Bill got to the boat we were still installing the Bowsprit, dodger and other things on the outside of the boat.

WE ARE DONE!!!!!!!

Saturday May 22, 2021 

WE ALL LEFT THE BOATYARD. Holy shit, it’s happening!

DQ and Prism made their way out to anchor to raft up with FIN ( Derek and Christina’s Norseman 447) For the next 2 days we worked on getting DQ ready for her trip up the ICW. We did a final rig tune, helped get the Doyle Cradle Cover installed ( made by Inner Banks Sail and Canvas.) 

Once we got Bill ready for the ICW, Prism was left in shambles. It took Jon and I 2 days to get everything put away. Jon had said ” I think we have found the theoretical limit of stuff we can fit aboard”  🤣

For the first time in a long time we felt no weight on our shoulders. We waved goodbye to Bill and DQ as he and his crew Katy motored away  up the Bay River.


Thank you Bill & Sarah for all your understanding and patience with Jon and I while we worked on DQ

A huge thank you to our very good friends Derek and Christina! There is no way we could have done it with out you both!

Spencer and B, Thank you for all your help with great company, food and weekday stories.

Hurricane Boatyard, THANK YOU for being the exact kind of yard that makes doing huge refits like this one and Prism doable. Your staff became friends and we wish you all the very best!

More Detailed Blogs to Follow

I am in the process of writing detailed blogs about how we did some of the more complicated projects.

These posts take even longer to write as I am trying to achive posts that are easy to read and follow along with pictures. Stay tuned if you want to nerd out on boat Projects.

We are cruising again, so our standard travel blog will also continue!

One thought on “Yard Life Continues & Comes to an End

  1. You guys are unbelievable!!! The hardest working couple ever. Love you both to pieces and can’t wait to hug you once again.
    Be safe on and out of the water.
    🌊 🐬 🌈 💨 ☀️ 🐋 🌴 🍹 ⛵️ 🏝 🌅 🌄

    Shannon, I know how proud your mom would be and how stoked she is watching you grow into the incredible, beautiful, talented & loving woman that you have become. I know I am ♥️

    Just as Debbie is proud of the two of you.

    You stepped into the most amazing family and they all gained an earth and sea Angel ♥️

    I love you both so very much, Elly ❤️

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