Sunday April 29, 2012
After an incredibly frustrating day on Friday of making my way all the way out to the boat to not be able to do any work because the winds were just too high, I was in for vengeance today. I checked the wind on Saturday where it showed nothing over 5 mph and then looked again this morning where it had gone up to 9-10 mph, but I’ll be damned if there was going to be anything to stop me today. After checking the shore power agian to see if it was up and running and finding out it was not I began pulling extension cords out of the car and ran one to the slips on the other side of the marina where they did have working power. Since it was a decently nice day out and it was getting closer to Memorial Day weekend which everyone hopes to have their boat in the water by, the marina was getting crowded on this Sunday and all you could see were orange extension cords running through the boat yard. After getting all my supplies underneath the boat I began to unroll the tarps and grabbed my Gorilla tape to get to work. Wind had shifted to the Northeast today where our boat has the most exposure and I stupidly started taping on the starboard side where I always do as the wind is normally coming from the northwest and hitting this side which then makes the other tarps easier to get on. I didn’t even have the first tarp fully taped when Matt realized the trouble I was about to get into and immediately released the anchor chain and started to put it on the bottom of the tarp to keep it in place. He then helped by holding the tarp up while I taped, but by this point I was now on the Port side where the wind was hitting and automatically pressing it against the boat for me and helping block it from the other side. Once I had everything taped I went to pull out the new clothes pins I had bought over the weekend, sturdier plastic ones, although whatever angle the wind was coming in at today still wanted to bust them off. That’s ok, I had a back up plan. In addition to the clothes pins I had purchased elastic (bed) sheet stays and after clipping them onto the overlapping parts of the tarp that baby was not going anywhere.
Since the tarp was blowing itself directly into the area I had been working on last time (4 weeks ago!!) I had no option but to start somewhere else. Looking at the bow it was the only area on the Port side where I didn’t think I might get sufficated so I neatly set my blue tarp that keeps dust from falling onto bare ground under that area and brought my tools over. The vaccum was a little harder to move becauser of the size. Since it was all the way at the stern and I was trying to find the best way to bring it up, over, or around the cradle and get it to the bow. I was finally able to get the large thing lugged over to the bow and then spent about another five minutes getting the hose untangled and brought over. Soon everything was connected and plugged in and I could get to work. The moment I had brought the sander up to the hull my arms had a slight ache and I freaked out thinking that I physically wouldn’t get anything accomplished this day. After 60 seconds or so that feeling went away and I was happy to keep sanding along. I’d do rows in three sections, the first where I’d stand on the ground going left to right sanding off an area about six to eight inches wide. Then when the sander would start getting to eye level I’d get on the first step of my step ladder and keep working until I was again at eye level with my sander and then I’d move up to the top step and finsih the work going up to the water line. And since 80% of the time I was holding the sander right in front of my body my arms would not get as tired and I wouldn’t have to take my long breaks to rest my arms. I did however have to stop at least once, usually when I was on the first step of the ladder to wipe off my goggles since there was so much dust I couldn’t even see what I was doing. After I had gotten up to the water line I would detach the hose from the sander and run it up and down the hull sucking up all the dust that had settled on it. It was a nice little break from sanding, but it was surprising to see how much dust was building up today. There seemed to be a lot more then the last time I worked but I just chalked it up to the extension cords taking away some of my power and therefore causing the vaccum that’s attached to the sander to lose some of it’s sucking action.
After even just one hour of working I was very pleased with my results feeling like I was getting a lot done. Once I stepped back to take a look (as far back as the tarp would let me) I did notice that the bow can be deceptive to your progress since the closer you get to it the less area there is to sand. I didn’t let it get me down though and kept working while getting closer and closer to the bow. Although winds weren’t terrible there would still be a few gusts here and there and since I was working on the same side the wind was blowing there would be times I’d be balancing on the ladder and a strong gust would blow the tarp sharply against my back and shove me right into the hull while I was working. There were a few times the sander got way too close to my face for comfort but luckily nothing was sanded off my face. It was a minor inconvienence though the last straw for working in that area came when I was trying to get the very front part of the bow but since I had the tarp taped so tight in that area where it was wrapping around to the other side that it had no give when I’d try and stand on my ladder. My nose was inches from the surface and there was no way to back up. Without getting too upset about it I just told myself I’d tape much higher in that area next time to allow myself more room.
At this point I had been working two and a half hours and felt I deserved a lunch break. Taking my Mt. Dew and what was left of my chicken onion teriayki sub from that morning I walked to the empty docks next to us and dangled my feet over the edge like a little kid while enjoying my food. There was another couple a few docks down from me that had the same idea but they were smart enough to bring beer. Those brown bottles in their hand looked better than anything I could have imagined at that moment and I’m going to have to remember to bring one out for myself next week. Once lunch was finished along with a quick sprawl on the dock to satisfy my aching back I grabbed my goggles and made my way to the bathrooms for a good cleaning. It was meant to be for the goggles alone but once I saw my reflection n the mirror I decided I needed a good cleaning too. Washing my face and arms to get them back to a normal color I wiped everything down including my now shiny goggles. On the way back to Serendip the guy two boats down from me stopped to talk a little as him and his wife were sanding parts of their bottom to get it ready for a new coat of paint as well. I have to admit that even though I usually go home feeling pretty dirty after a day of work like this I had to look on the bright side because their boat had a bright blue bottom and after working on it his wife was starting to resemble a smurf.
Making my way back under the tarp I decided that instead of working back from the bow I would work on the areas near the stern I had not been able to finish on previous attempts. First I started on the Starboard side where I had only worked the one day with my little Makita palm sander. Now with the big Porter Cable in my hands I could really do some damage to the area. Literally. I had forgotten that one of the reasons I stopped working is the angles I was coming up on and I would dig too far into the surface. Foregoing that area and leaving it to Matt (that’s one spot he actually wanted to do himself) I used the unusual strength and energy I was having this day to try and sand the underneath of the hull, something I was too exhausted to do before. On the Starboard side I didn’t have much trouble lunging one knee forward to bring myself closer to the ground while holding the sander in front of me. I did a pretty good job of getting most of it but stopped again when there were areas I’d dig to deep. When I did all I thought I could on that side I moved to Port and worked that area as well, making sure to avoid the areas I knew my Porter Cable couldn’t go. While my lunging had worked great on one side I was not having as much luck on the other. My back foot would keep sliding and sliding leaving me almost doing the splits. Instead of giving up all together I just gave up on standing and knelt on the rocky ground while trying to sand above my head. It would work for about 20 seconds at a time and then I would have to rest for a few seconds bringing the sander to chest height before trying again. This method only lasted about 10 minutes before I realized I was becoming completely exerted and wanted to use my energy where I could see a difference.
Moving all my supplies for the third time this day now I dragged the ladder, tarp, vacuum and all it’s hose back over to the bow area. Just as I was getting all the cords plugged in again Matt stopped down to do a little work of his own. A few weeks ago he had fiberglassed a new through-hole for the depth/speed sensor and he needed to sand it down. Happily handing over all my tools I sat on the cradle sipping a new Mt. Dew I just opened, letting my arms and legs recover from the lunging and raising. Unfortunately he was done in under five minutes but the good news was my energy was still still pushing on and I didn’t mind getting back to work. It was becoming late afternoon and Matt had mentioned we’d only be there for about two more hours which meant only one more hour of work for me since it takes an hour to clean up (this mess) at night. Starting to work aft I was able to complete three more six inch sections before my clock said it was time to call it a night. Now was the time for vacuuming everything. Vacuum the hull, vacuum the cradle. Vacuum the tarp and vacuum the vacuum itself. When Matt was helping me get everything put away for the night he asked if I was having any problems with suction from the hose that day. I replied there seemed to be more dust than normal and power didn’t seem as strong as I was used to but I chalked it up to using extension cords and not our shore power cord. He came back that he’d found a hole in the hose which would have been causing me to lose suction all day. Damn hose be actin up causing all kinds of problems.
After what felt like forever we had everything cleaned and put away. I ran off to the bathrooms to change into clean clothes because I looked like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown when I moved. Every inch of me was covered in dust and even though I had been wearing a mask and goggles all day my face still looked like it was covered in soot and it was very irritated. I could not wait to get home and in the shower. Walking back to the car before leaving I looked at the progress. I was excited by how much I was able to accomplish and proud because I don’t think I was working at a pace far behind Matt. It’s amazing what you can do in a day with a lot of determination. And Mountain Dew. And Adderall.