The project inside the boat is finished. The rain has abated. Time to get some color on.
Before the rain hit we washed and scrubbed the bottom. It was clean of loose paint. I paid one of the yard companies to grind off the Aqua-Coat at the waterline and to deal with the blisters. That bill topped $2k AUS. Sadly, more blisters appeared after they finished. Like all cruisers, cruisers help each other. I borrowed a grinder from s/v Vagabond and we repaired another dozen blisters. Grind, clean, fill with epoxy mud, sand, add barrier coat for preparation to paint.
The most difficult task was adjusting the water line on the port side. Simon (our painter) thought he had it right on when we had the boat painted in NZ. I tried to tell him it was low but he said he had his numbers taken when the boat was first hauled. It wasn’t worth arguing more, the line would be close. It wasn’t close enough. It was low. Slime formed higher on the hull than we wanted. Also I couldn’t convince him to make the shear stripe at the bow wider so visually it would have been the same on the water.
Thus, we had two changes to make. I needed to move the water line on the port side to have it fall where the water actually is. And I needed to widen the top of the line on the bow; both sides, where the boat stem fitting is.
After a good deal of consternation and some eyeballing by us and other cruisers we were now in the ball park. I used the bottom growth mark to get the waterline correct on the port side before we had cleaned it off. After which we measured and attempted to get the wider sheer at the bow to flow back into the normal width midships. This process took several hours. Laying it out, checking it, moving it, laying it out again. and finally, adding the barrier coat.
Once the barrier coat was on, we added the white line under the sheer, then the brown sheer. And finally, the vinyl clear top coat. Over all, we were both happy with it.
Between all this we needed to service our AutoProp. While at our fiends home I was able to clean up the bronze and lubricate the prop. There is a special fitting for re-greasing each propellor blade. On the Autoprop each blade swings
independently. This independence allows a perfect pitch every rotation. With our new grease gun I lubricated each blade. That completed it was time to install the propeller at the boat. I don’t remember if I mentioned it – the key on the propeller had begun to wear. We needed a new one. And since we are a US boat it was an imperial key.
Luckily, Ian, the machinist that made our Groco part, could make a duplicate key. He measured, cut and trimmed a new SS key. To get the exact width he used a very cool machine to take a part of a hairs width off. It was now an exact replacement key. I put some anti-sieze on, put the key in place and slid the prop on. To finish I attached the special nut and set screw.
The final prop job; apply the PropSpeed. While PropSpeed doesn’t last forever, it is better than coating the prop with simple bottom paint. Bottom paint rarely lasts for a month of cruising. PropSpeed is designed to save on fuel (reduced friction) and keep marine growth at bay. It is a silicone based coating that is completely removed before re-coating. With the prop on and painted I bag it. The final step: we begin painting the bottom.
Slap it on. We are not a race boat. The important part is to have complete coverage and as thick as possible. We used about 21 liters of paint. Twenty of Black and one of Red. The first layer of the bottom is red. Where we had the blisters and where some of the red has worn off we recoated. In general, when we see red that tells us we are through the bottom paint and it is time to haul out. Once dried we apply the black.
Stir / pour / paint. We do this every time. We must keep the paint stirred as the Copper (the real antifouling ingredient that does all the work) will precipitate to the bottom if not stirred and not be evenly distributed. Paint would go on with zero Copper to do the work. W/ painted the lower areas while I did the waterline and mid section. Again another cruiser came by and helped loaning us a roller extension. Wow! That extension made the job easier and the application of the paint much quicker.
The only issue was the water line. Tape would not stick to the Vinyl Aqua-Coat. At the waterline we used a brush and took extra care. One coat on today, another tomorrow, launch the following day. Any extra paint was a waste in the can.We were not going to take it with us. Extra went on the waterline, the rudder, and the keel. We saved a bit for the the spots we could not get under the boat stands and the keel.
Launch day arrived. The yards travel lift ambled over to lift Elysium. They lifted the boat and let it swing for an hour. We used this time for painting the last bit where the stands had supported the boat and where the keel rested. Twenty liters of paint ($900 AUS approx) is now on the boat.
I asked the travel lift operator what Elysium weighed. This is the first travel lift with a reliable scale. 17 metric tons. To the pit (the place they slowly lower the boat into the water) we went. Max speed; about 2 km / hour. 15 minutes later we were hanging over the water. Once immersed and before she is freed from the straps, I checked all the seacocks to ensure there was no water ingress. Perfect. Even the one I disassembled and re-assembled was dry.
With the slings released, and the tow attached, we slowly made way to our slip.
One huge step is now completed.