Thursday, 1 May 2014

Can You Smell The Sea?

There is a long period during the restoration of an old boat when all your efforts seem to be destructive. Taking off hatches to repair or replace, ripping out old wires and equipment, removing deck fittings and endless, endless sanding, scraping and filling. It’s a necessary part of the process. Much of the work is repetitive, mindless and frankly boring. All you can do is keep the faith and trust it will all turn out for the best. I like to think that Muddy Waters, Lightning Hopkins, Howling Wolf and Buddy Guy were all in my team at that time – certainly I need to thank them for their encouragement via the iPlayer!

But then one day last week I turned a corner. There was no gel coat left to polish and out came a pot of paint to cover the extensive anti slip surfaces, transforming them from a standard Westerly blue/grey to a lighter buttermilk colour. I chose this to complement the green hull. Initially I had thought about making these surfaces green too but an article on the internet posted by
someone who had done this made me think twice. The problem with any darkish colour is that it absorbs heat from the sunshine and it can make the cabin unbearably hot in summer. So International Paints ‘cream’ non-slip was the chosen product. It contains grit so the surface is pleasingly rough. A word of caution here – you must stir the paint well before and during the painting process to make sure the grit is evenly dispersed. The painting technique is to ‘stipple’ or use random brush strokes to make sure the grit gets everywhere. Two coats were enough for me and it was a remarkably quick job. Carful masking out was the time consuming part. I used two different tapes – one for long straight edges and another which was specially manufactured to cope with curves – a kind of crepe masking tape.

Today, I pulled off the tape and refitted my hatches and already it feels like I’m building rather than
destroying. It’s taken a long time but today I’m sure I have turned that all important corner.

There is still much to do, cockpit lockers, washboards, antifouling, mast and rigging and then the cabin needs a complete make-over - but today at least, it feels as if I can almost smell the sea!