This is our hull paint job from last winter right before her first splash! We used Devoe products called Bar Rust (primer) and Pre-Prime, which were fantastic products. For our top coat we used Amershield, which is a US Navy coating. This two-part epoxy resists chemicals and is overall a super tough product. It is a little slippery for the deck, but besides that we were really satisfied with it. The red stripe paint was Interlux- I'm sure everyone is at least somewhat familiar with this product- just your average boot stripe paint, nothing fancy or too pricey. Alumicoat is what we used for our anti-fouling paint. This paint is made specifically for metal boats because it is copper-less (no dissimilar metals). We were not impressed- overpriced for the quality of paint in our opinion. We keep an automobile ding marker for touch ups onboard. Overall, we are really happy with our paint job; we would use all of these products again except for the Alumicoat.
Over the past summer we started gearing up to buy new sails. We composed a list of things we expected of our sail makers.
A company with a good reputation
Sail makers that actually sail
American made (I am a Veteran)
No phony-baloney time tables
Visitation rights to their sail loft
Company after company we started crossing out names. A distinctive one line eliminated the would-be's from the short list. We whittled away until only one was remaining. From their website we emailed them a request and to our surprise they promptly replied, not with an auto-reply, but with an email from a real person. Wow!
We have learned while refurbishing the "Hammer" that a lot of companies have great marketing departments, but that's about all they have. They may have a beautiful showroom floor and a catchy pitch; they may whine about lack of customers and how they need your business! But then when you try to give them business, they make it very hard.
Before I say who we have commissioned to supply our new sails, I want to strongly emphasize that we are not advertising for them in any way. This is our honest opinion. We are tough on all of our gear and equipment, always using the motto "If it breaks, we don't need it anyway." That is why we have a steel boat, and why we need good sails.
As of this post, the company has returned all of our phone calls within 24 hours, answered all of our questions no matter how ridiculous, and have kept in touch with us through the various stages of sail making via phone calls. They also welcomed us into their sail loft for a guided tour. The company is family owned and operated, taking a personal interest in every sail they make. All of their sails are made right in their loft with 95% American made materials and they very seriously back their product up with a great warranty.
All of this is why we have given them a deposit and the green light. The name of this company is... (stay tuned for New Sails part 3- same Gremlin time, same Gremlin channel!)
We thought the process of refitting this boat- which, let's be honest, turned out to be a total rebuild rather than a mere refit- would take a lot less time than it has. But WOW we have come a long way, and we are more in love with our boat with every little step we take closer to the final product.
I put this video together for the beginning stages of our interior rebuild. We still have a LOT to do, but we have put a big dent into our seemingly endless boat-to-do list. We plan to finish most of it in December, and then to finish the rest of the minor details along the way of our travels.
In the past couple of weeks, it seems that we have been all over the south east coast. I drove from NC down to central Florida to check on the boat between jobs, as we had been told that there was some very nasty weather while we were gone. The boat was fine- she seemed to have weathered the storm beautifully.
When I got back to NC, he had finished his job, and we headed to upstate SC (where our next job is) to drop off one vehicle, drive the other to Tennessee to pick up an RV, and back to SC to set up camp. For our final contracts of the year, we are doing something different that is much more our style- camping!
We were able to borrow an RV from family for several weeks, which will not only help us save money, but also allow us to be more environmentally responsible. Of course, the biggest advantage is not coming "home" to a stuffy four-walled climate controlled box, also known as an apartment or a hotel room. Instead we come "home" after work to a beautiful lake, lots of trees, and the outline of mountains in the distance.
The weather has overall been great- autumn is absolutely beautiful up here. We get to eat outside at our picnic table and enjoy the scenery and fresh air with our dinner and cold beer.
The dog loves it too, especially since this is his first time around mountains and fresh water. Have you ever seen a dog stick his face in the water and blow bubbles??
We still can't wait to get back to our real home- the boat- but living under these conditions makes it easier to be away at work.
We hate spending money, especially on big ticket items... but we need new sails! Our inventory from the previous owner left a lot to be desired. Seven out of the eight sails didn't even fit the boat, and the only one that came close was a very thin racing rag. We started looking at the used sail websites over the summer. I started thinking about what kind of condition these used sails were really in, and I kept telling myself that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Twice before I have bought brand new sails for an old Irwin. The first set of sails were delivered by a man with a very strong accent. He was gone before the sail bags hit the sidewalk. For the second set, I decided to go with what I thought was a proper company. I won't use any names, but I will assign them the letter "Q." On the day Q's rep came to measure the boat everything went fine. He showed up on time, had all of his own tools, and even gave me a copy of everything he put on paper that day. And then, it happened... the sound of my check being ripped one perforation at a time from the checkbook. With that sound his eyes glazed over, his hand came out like a one-armed bandit, and POOF! He was gone.
The receipt said delivery in four weeks. Four turned into six, and six into eight. Finally he called and made arrangements to deliver the goods. On the day of the hand-off, he showed up two hours late, and drunk as a skunk. SO drunk that he could hardly make it down the dock- all of this before lunch time. The sails were wadded up and dropped on the dock. I asked where the sail bags were at and I was informed that they were forgotten at the shop. We proceeded to fit the sails, and in the process butter-fingers lost two stainless shackles overboard. By this time I'd had enough of the shenanigans and offered to pay the balance and finish fitting them myself. When all was said and done he left and was still too drunk to notice that I taxed... or shall I say, gave myself a $400 discount on the final installment. As I assumed, the sail bags and replacement shackles never showed up.
The end result was that both times the sails were quality products, but the service was seriously lacking. This time I will do much more homework on who and where we buy our sails from.
There is no trick photography in this photo! During our work contracts we stay at corporate apartments. It's not home but it is a comfortable place to spend a month or so. Here we have AC, an icebox and a concrete pond to swim in. While at the boat we try our best to live as simply as possible. We try to use cloth towels instead of paper towels, canvas bags to go shopping, solar power for electricity, and natural cleaners. Our refuse deposits are usually a small sack every couple of days (due to the fact that I crush all of my Coors cans and haul them, along with any other scrap metal off to the recycling yard; plus while I'm out with a little coin in my pocket I might as well help the economy and replenish the boat's beer stock). Back to the story at hand, this morning on my way back from my all night shift at work I drove by a hopper overflowing with bags. Bags of....?
This is from one weekend here in the city, and reminds me just how much we as humans waste without any consideration of where it goes. This made me think, we try hard but how can we tryharder? We are open for suggestions.
Here is the quote of the week; it is simple, but it answers our second most frequently asked question (right after "Why would you want to live this way?").
This second most frequently asked question is "Aren't you guys scared of what could happen?"
"Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway." ~Webb Chiles
I will tell you what scares the hell out of us; getting suckered into a monotonous boring life, and surrendering our dreams to their demise for the grand prize of meeting society's expectations. Boo on that.
We’ve been back at work now since mid August, and are already “home” (boat) sick. The planning has been endless- making to-do lists, budgets, plans, purchases, schedule, provisions, gear, boat improvements, etc. In what little free time we have, we are reading every issue of Latts & Atts and Cruising World we can get our hands on, as well as every cruising/travel/adventure book we can find. We look back at pictures from our last cruise two years ago, and remind ourselves of good memories, anchorage friends, and fun stories. This is how we are surviving that four letter word that cruisers hate most... WORK. The truth is, we have it really good only having to work sometimes. But the other side of the truth is, we really hate having to be away from the boat.
WALKING DOGGIE AFTER WORK
We are about to go from one project to another, and will be finishing up around the end of November. When we get back, we have a few last modifications to the interior, which we've scheduled into a month. We'll build our head, finish our quarter berth, have our cushions for our saloon made, put the over-head up, finish our flooring, build some shelves, finish our trim work, and finish our engine work. We will also be making some big purchases right away- new sails, dinghy, outboard, and a water maker. Ouch, huh?? It will all be worth it when we are spending the new year in a new place.
We are working opposite 12 hour shifts right now, so we see each other in passing and that’s about it. Somehow we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours to spend together over the weekend. We went to the fair, and spent the evening stuffing ourselves with fair food. We caught the tail end of a demolition derby, shot the stars off paper with BB guns, checked out the crazy animals exhibit, watched some little kids in a dancing contest and checked out the rides.