Tuesday, July 2, 2019

At least we have bacon

It's hard to find pork products in Malaysia because they are haram. Although, funny enough, you can find chicken products that mimic the taste of ham or bacon.

A local grocery store has a separate section for pork products, which Matt and Mark visited the other day. Matt was trying to sneak in some 'real world' schooling by asking Mark to figure out if there was a price savings if we bought half a kilo of bacon instead of the 200-gram package. Mark figured out that the 500-gram bacon was a slightly better deal, but then said, 'And anyway it's more bacon!' Out of the mouths of babes...

The cockpit floor on Perry after we opened it
up. Just three loose boards to shore things up.

One of the projects we are tackling while the boat is out of the water is reinforcing our cockpit floor. A few years ago, we started noticing a sponginess to it. The floor would flex slightly when walking on it, even causing the tables to rattle a bit. Perry was still as solid as a rock, but we also wanted to make sure she stayed that way.

The cockpit with new hardwood pieces.
The piece of floor that was cut out is suspended above.
We hung it from the cockpit hardtop to make it easier
to lower into place without disturbing the epoxy underneath.

The problem with fixing the issue is that we had no idea what was underneath. We didn't know whether we could shore it up by injecting epoxy resin into the floor or if we had to cut the top layer of flooring off. It would be like doing surgery on someone without really knowing how things were organized underneath.

Mixing epoxy.
We didn't even try to contact Privilege because we have never had any luck getting information about our vintage boat. At one point, Matt injected a syringe full of epoxy into a hole he drilled into the floor. When the entire contents disappeared, it was clear that we would need a lot of resin to fill any voids. Using a small camera we borrowed from our friends Dave and Booker on Tortuguita, Matt was able to get a vague notion of the layout.

He cut around the edge of the floor and we lifted it out. We were surprised to find that the only thing separating the top layer of floor (which was a sandwich of fiberglass and foam core, still in good condition) from the bottom of the hull were 3 skinny boards that were not attached to anything. Over the years, the teak boards appear to have shifted a bit and were no longer supporting the floor.

We purchased a bunch of hardwood from the local lumberyard. It is so strong and waterproof that it is the wood of choice to make local fishing boats. The pieces went underneath the areas where the cuts in the floor were made and across the center of the floor.

Working under the dangling floor. Hope those ropes hold.

Matt epoxied the pieces in and we laid the cut out floor piece on top. There were a few more steps involved (dry fitting, epoxying the bottoms first and temporarily laying the floor, yelling, etc.) but I will try not to bore you with any more detail. It was a bit of a trick to get the 100-lb floor back in correctly so that all the epoxy underneath would make contact with the floor for maximum strength.

Next, fiberglassing, filling/fairing, sanding, and painting.

We now have a solid cockpit floor. Our new favorite thing to do is to jump around on it (after spending years yelling at the kids not to walk too 'hard'). Speaking of which, when we owned our 2-flat, we used to have a tenant that Matt was sure did not bend her ankles when she walked. She would make our light fixtures rattle as she tromped around above us. Matt actually asked her to stop walking so heavily (well, he actually asked her roommates because she was not around). He started the conversation by saying, 'Do you have a T-Rex living up here that we don't know about?' All tact. Needless to say, the tenant continued to walk the way she walked and Matt stayed irritated.

With the critical part done, we can work on fiberglassing all the open areas and making it pretty again.

The next project, which has leap frogged to the front of our list, is replacing one of our rudder posts. Matt had noticed a tiny pinhole in the stainless steel when we removed the rudders after getting hauled out

We hired one of the contractors at the boatyard to fill the hole. But when the worker put acid on the shaft in preparation for putting in the epoxy, the acid revealed a whole series of voids that we couldn't see before. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell what is underneath these surface voids, but the chances are good that the underlying metal has lost structural integrity. For us, this means replacing the rudder shaft because the last thing we want is to have it break off in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Rudderly ridiculous

It is a good thing Matt spotted the initial hole and that we discovered this issue now rather than losing a rudder while sailing. But it does mean another big project in uncharted (for us) territory. It will involve trying to dig out the post from the rudder without knowing what it looks like inside (not to mention repairing/rebuilding it with a new post). Just when Matt thought he could stop itching from fiberglass dust.


  1. Sell the bloody boat to another unsuspecting idiot and fly home now.

    Advice from your father.

    1. I take offense... we weren't unsuspecting. You wanna buy a boat?


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