We have just finished our first week working on the boat hauled out of the water at St. Augustine Marine Center. We came back at noon today, as the rain started coming on and you can’t sand boat hulls in pouring rain. I know I said I
had about 28 heart attacks during the move from Palm Coast up to St. Augustine, but they didn’t really settle down until the boat was safely lowered onto blocks and supports and the travelift and straps taken away.
We have a lot to do in a short time, but it looks like we will accomplish it. We have two or three repairs to the hull, prepping the bottom and putting anti-fouling paint on, painting the hull above the waterline, removing our old generator and putting in the new one Polaris Marine are giving us, cleaning and serviceing our propellers and shafts, getting our bowthruster operational, installing a through-hull transducer for our Raymarine sonar…ok, I had ANOTHER cardiac event just thinking about that list.
BUT with everyone highly motivated to leave on time for Haiti, it looks like we will get it done. At the end of week one, our running gear is clean, half of the hull is ready to paint, the hull repairs are about half done, and the old sonar transducer is out and ready for the new one to be installed. Nick straightaway scraped, brushed, ground and polished our propellers and shafts till they were gleaming bronze and stainless steel again. It took 2 full days for him to get all the old growth off the props, but now they look like new. It turns out they are made of some weird alloy that is really, really expensive and about the best money can buy–no wonder they look so good cleaned up. Thanks Nick!
The worst part has been the bottom paint. It is an ablative paint–that means it is supposed to wear away so things can’t grow on it, and it is also copper-based. Touch a spinning 8 inch sanding wheel to it and a dense black sooty toxic cloud immediately forms. We have to tent the boat to avoid coating all the other boats in the yard with black soot, for which we would be responsible for the cleaning bill, so with three sanders and grinders going under the tarp, it is awful under there.
Looking in the mirror after we finished, I was reminded of what I often think when patients vomit on me, or I am cleaning someone who has had an ‘accident’, or something similarly sticky and unpleasant–”Isn’t medicine glamorous?” And for those who get into it for the glamour, those moments are quite a shock.
Just got word that Andrew MacCalla from Direct Relief International (the brother of Matt MacCalla, on our advisory board, and the very first person who committed medical supplies to our non-profit) is on contract with DRI to go to Haiti with tons of supplies, I think he is leaving today so I am trying to reach him and meet up with him and his team in Haiti…first I have to sort through a huge pile of mixed gauze, dressing, bandages, etc that have been donated (we have to load the boat soon!)…then tommorow, Sunday, since we can’t work in the yard we will start packing up our house here to move everything onto the boat.
I can’t wait to paint the boat–Sinclair from Sailor’s Exchange here in St. Augustine is trying to find some paint for us really cheaply; we will have to take whatever color is available but it looks like what is available is ‘rescue red.’ So our boat may be black under the water (the bottom paint), red hull, and white superstrucure. Nice. Fingers crossed we get the red paint….