Light at the end of the tunnel! And, closer to cruising. Yeah!!!

It’s Saturday morning and the temperature this morning is an almost chilly 68 degrees.  It’s funny how 68 seems chilly in the summer and yet warm in the winter.   How is that…

The cooler temperatures now are making the heat and humidity of a week ago seem like a distant memory.  Pandora’s bottom is all nice and white with ALL the bottom paint now gone.  Yahoo!!!  Given the glacial (to torture the temperature theme just a bit longer) progress of sanding the bottom, it’s hard to believe that it’s done.  In the heat, some days, I was only able to do an hour of sanding before I pooped out.  I felt like the job would never be done.  The one redeeming feature of all that work is that I wasn’t paying someone to do it at $100 an hour.

But now, it’s done and nearly ready to paint.   The Pettit paint rep visited Pandora yesterday to survey my work and advise me on next steps in preparing and ultimately painting the bottom.  For years I have been using Interlux products, and ablative paints in particular.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been particularly happy with the results.  Ablative paints are designed to wear away so that there isn’t a nasty buildup over the years.   In my case, I found that the paint built up on the under body of the boat and wore away on the bow and up near the waterline.  In any event, I have not been happy with the performance of the paint.

Now that the bottom of Pandora, or to put it another way, Pandora’s bottom (Get it, Pandora’s bottom, sort of like Pandora’s box?)…  Anyway, now that Pandora’s bottom is white and paint free, the question is what sort of paint to put on.   After speaking with the rep and telling him about our sailing in tropical as well as temperate waters, that’s Maine to the Bahamas, he really felt that a hard bottom paint, verses an ablative, would be the way to go.

His reasoning is that Trinidad SR, the SR stands for slime resistance, was the way to go.  Being a hard paint, I could also scrub the bottom to my hearts content and not wear it away.  He also felt that the paint would last from 18 months to two years, the time that I want to keep Pandora afloat until her next haul out.    Well, we will see how that goes.  After nearly 30 years of sailing with ablative bottom paints, this will certainly be a change.  As I think about the 30-40 hours, perhaps more, of sanding time that I put in over the last few weeks, let’s hope it’s a good decision.  Fingers crossed.

Who could ever think that a sanded boat bottom could be beautiful.  I guess that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.To me, a beautiful bottom.  Isn’t having a great looking bottom what it’s all about?Actually, I should feel pretty pathetic spending hours sweating in the heat when others were out sailing.  More importantly, I retired from a job where I was well paid so that I could do manual labor every day.  While I was in the midst of the sanding with sweat dripping off of my chin, I had to wonder what the H^$# I was thinking.  Now that it’s “done”, I am happy to be in the “manual” part of my life.   It’s certainly a whole lot less stressful.  Did I mention that on top of everything else, it takes over two hours to cut my lawn?  At least I can have more ice cream. Yes, that makes it all worth while, manual labor and ice cream, the perfect combination.

I also spent hours cutting out the three rudder bearings, the nylon sleeves that the rudder stock turns on as they had gotten a bit sloppy, making the rudder clunk in a seaway, over the years.   Getting them out was really tough and the mere thought of messing with Pandora’s steering gear made me weak in the knees.  There isn’t any system on the boat that is more important than being able to control the boat, that’s for sure.   The white plastic sleeve in this photo is the lower bearing.  It looks simple enough but it took me hours to cut it out.   Now it’s ready for the new bearing.The yard is about finished working on the engine.  With over 3,000 hours on the little Yanmar, I decided to have them go over every aspect of the engine to be sure that everything was in tip top shape.   They did plenty, based on the bills so far, but I am very pleased with their work.   Amazingly, the yard, Brewer’s Marine in Deep River, offered two months of free storage as long as I have them do work on the boat.  It seems that they love me so much that that they threw in a free haul and power wash as well. Clearly, they are not as busy in the summer as in the winter.  Another reason to spend the winters in the Bahamas, free storage and haul out too.   And, all that only three miles from home.

My plan remains to put Pandora back in the water in mid August.  After splashing her, we plan to spend a week or so sailing to Block Island and on to Newport where we will take in some of the tourist sites.  I can’t wait to be back on the water.

Perhaps I’ll close with a few shots of places that we have visited care of Pandora.   In no particular order some special spots.

A little cottage on the shores of Hadley Harbor in Nashon Island near Woods Hole MA.  Friends of ours, Toby and Martha Forbes stayed there one summer and we visited them, so many years ago in our little catboat.   Indeed, several lifetimes ago for us.Visiting gardens has been a special part of our cruising experiences aboard Pandora.  This community vegetable garden, on Fisher’s Island at the eastern end of Long Island Sound, is a special favorite.  Perhaps it will be on our itinerary later this month.
Annapolis, and a visit to the Naval Academy Chapel, will be a part of our fall travels.  We plan on spending a few weeks cruising the Chesapeake before I run Pandora to Florida.
I am particularly looking forward to special dinners aboard.
And the sunsets, the perfect end to an evening aboard…
And the never ending marshes on the ICW.
Perhaps we will walk out to the lighthouse on Block Island.  It’s a beautiful Island. We’ll be there in a few weeks.
I am so looking forward to the magnificent cloud displays of the Bahamas.
And, the turquoise crystal waters and white sandy beaches at every turn. And, who doesn’t like dolphins playing in the bow wave?  I am old enough to remember Flipper.  The theme song still plays in my head.  Better not think about that or it will plague me on a constant loop for the rest of the day.  Forgive me… I just had to include the theme song here so you too can be plagued all day with this song in a constant loop.  Sorry…

Speaking of clear water, it’s hard to believe that this starfish is actually in the water.   I can’t wait to visit 100’+ visibility waters again, and soon.
Well, this reminiscing isn’t getting anything done on Pandora so I’d better sign off for now.  

Quick, how does the Flipper theme song go again?


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