Sunday, 14 July 2013

Boat Restoration, Bilges Before Cockpit

I began this job because I thought that the cockpit was in a worse state than the rest of the boat and that if I  could bring her back to a decent condition I needn’t have any fears about the rest. At that time I hoped to launch at the beginning of this season and I was working on good sound advice from a reader who insisted that I should get the outside shell of the boat, the engine and sails sorted as first priority – the interior and the cosmetics could be done at a later date after I had enjoyed a season’s sailing.

Well the weather put paid to that idea but I’m still working on the cockpit, all the gel coat has been sanded to 125 grade, the area to be painted has been brushed and washed with acetone and most of the fittings have been removed.

Apparently, the weakest area of any paint job is the edge, so if you can remove fittings you not only get a better finish but you also cover and protect the paint edge when you replace them.

So, all is ready, the weather forecast is for settled hot dry weather and I have run out of excuses! This coming week will tell whether my preparation and painting skills are up to the job!

Before that though I have to confess to being a bit precious about bilges- I have this idea that a clean newly painted bilge is a good indicator as to the general health of a boat. If they are painted and clean at the outset and I then discover oil or water stains six months down the line, I’ll know there is something that needs fixing.

Now, the last thing I want is to mark my newly painted cockpit with ketchup coloured bilge paint – So, logic suggests the bilges get painted before the cockpit. It’s an awkward, and filthy job – not so much the painting but the cleaning – still it has to be done.