Classic wooden boats in Essex bringing balance to work on Pandora.

It’s just great to live in an area that is so focused on the water.  After being far from the water for so many years, when we lived in NJ, it’s just so much more fun to be less than a mile from the water now.  With all of the risks of living on the water, I personally like to be “near” verses “on” the wet stuff, with our land home, that is.  For Pandora, being “on” is definitely better.  Unfortunately, she remains high and dry as I finish up projects including sanding and scraping off all of the paint on her bottom.

Working on her has been a challenge with the 90 degree heat that we have had over the last few weeks and early morning visits to the boat yard, when it is cool, is the only way for folks like me with our “delicate” constitution, to get anything done without wasting away.   Being under the Pandora with my respirator and hearing protection while sanding away with the sander and vacuum blaring away is not fun at all and especially so when the sun is higher and heat is really up.    It’s hard work but to pay the yard $98 per hour to do this, hour after hour, doesn’t seem to be sound fiscal planning, in my book.  So, sand away I will.

Here’s about 6-8 hours of progress.  Pretty depressing with only about 1/4 of the boat done.  It looks like more but don’t forget that the bottom is very narrow at the bow, and shallow.  The best is still to come. The good news is that the other side is done to the same degree.  
The reason I am taking off all of the paint is that I plan on changing bottom paints and going with a combination of hard and ablative paints.  I won’t bore you with the details but it is sufficient to report that sanding is the pits and has to be done. 

While I am at it, why not post a photo of the damage done to the front of the keel by that rock I tangled with a year ago May.  Pretty nasty.  I am impressed with the strength of the boat as I hit pretty hard and only have this “little” dent to show for it.  No damage to the hull at all.  That’s good, very good. After months of looking at this dent underwater when I was cleaning the hull or was just swimming around, it’s good to see it for real.  And, don’t forget that everything looks larger underwater. Imagine how nasty, and big, this dent looked when Pandora was in the water.  It was pretty alarming, trust me on that.   However, it’s nothing that a bit of epoxy putty won’t make right.

So, what’s a boat husband to do when it’s too hot out to sand the bottom?  Look at boats, of course!!! Yes, the perfect diversion. 

Over the weekend there was a rendezvous of classic mahogany powerboats at the CT River Museum.  It was great fun to take a look at all the varnish and perfect finishes on display.  The group putting on the event call themselves “Mahogany Memories”, a chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.  This was just one of the many events that the group puts on each year.

I always enjoy looking at beautiful woodworking and what better things to make from wood than boats?   Here are a few of the boats on display.  Amazing stuff.

It seemed that there was varnished mahogany everywhere.  This one was one of the few boats that were actually new.  Beautiful!Some were much older but look new, like this lovely Garwood.All weren’t varnished.  I understand that this one was painted black when it was built, years ago, and is the only Garwood that was ever painted this color.  I guess if Darth Vador had a nice runabout, it would look like this.  “Luke, I am your father…Want to go for a ride?…While most of the boats on display were of the “go fast” persuasion, this lovely was clearly not in a hurry. I could just imagine the captain sitting in the cockpit sporting a straw boater.  Very classy.  “I’ll take another G&T please”. Her beam is very narrow.  It doesn’t take a lot of HP to move her along, I am sure.Perhaps my favorite boat of all was this sweet Old Town Canoe with her 1 1/2 HP inboard.  The owner told me that this was a popular option way back when and some years they sold upwards of 100,000 of these power conversion kits.  Actually, the motor, a two stroke, was the same engine as the outboard from Evinrude, but turned on it’s side. Note the pull cord on the flywheel to start it.  See the resemblance to an outboard?Pretty slick. What a great little motor.  Amazing how nice plain old bronze and brass fittings look when they are polished up and shiny.Love the brass rudder and prop.   I just love, love, love it.   And, a wonderful paint job complete with a gold leaf stripe between the light and dark green on the hull. Not all of the boats were “big”.  How about this little remote controlled tug? Wouldn’t this look great on a shelf in our home?  Yes, I want one.   It would be a pretty big shelf as the model is nearly 4′ long.  So, that’s a good example of what I am up to when I am not sanding away on Pandora.  I prefer strolling around the waterfront looking at boats verses holding a buzzing sander…  Alas, everything in balance, Bob.   Think balance…  I am thinking that I still hate sanding.   It will be over soon, I hope.  Then I can go sailing.  Yes, that’s good.

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