Sept-surgeryWith less than three weeks to our leave date, we’d hung the fishing poles and repaired the cockpit courtesy lights and flood light switches, but Dolce Vento’s blue bottom needed attention – specifically, another coat of paint.

Sept-fishingrodsThe current one was okay, but we need more protection to travel down the Intracoastal Waterway’s (ICW) tea stained waters and then into barnacle birthing coastal ocean waters.

With Cindy in the lead, we undertook this DIY project to save a bit of cash.  We still needed to pay for the new Bimini and dodger canvas (aka the new cockpit back porch complete with mosquito and vinyl weather panel protection), the wash and wax of the hull (a girl needs lipstick to look good and protect her lips doesn’t she?); and the 1000 hour diesel engine service. (Surprise! — we thought the engine was ok until we had a pesky coolant leak checked.)

I remember in 1889 when I participated in painting Mystery Woman’s bottom before we headed south (the Endeavor 40′ boat’s bottom, I mean).  Sanding off hard paint and then painting was a strong man multi-week effort.  Today, we have ablative paint, paint that washes away slowly in the water to keep gunk off the hull.  This eases the sanding effort, but does not eliminate it as you can see from the pictures.  So, the work went something like this:

  • Monday morning sipping coffee in the cockpit in our jammies, the marina crew showed up unexpectedly early to haul Dolce Vento out of the water. We scrambled like rats to gather our things, empty the frig and freezer and load the car for our week off the water where we would stay with friends.
  • Tuesday, with the boat bottom dried out, we spent the day preparing to paint.  This included my job of cleaning the water line so tape would adhere (just like taping the baseboard and window frames for painting a room). Cindy’s job was repairing several keel surface cracks (like the peel on an orange).  John’s was running back and forth to the hardware store for tools and stuff.  Then, with Cindy in the lead and me bringing up the rear quarter panel, rudder and keel,  we sanded the bottom to create a strong painting surface.  We became the Blue Women’s group.
  • Wednesday, Cindy rolled on the new green ablative paint with John cheering her on and continued his errand running.  I escaped to DC for a couple of appointments.
  • Thursday, Cindy quickly finished the painting after the jack stand pads were moved.  The wash and wax team polished the hull. The canvas guys finished their Bimini and dodger installation.  The diesel dude dismantled our engine, leaving us with boxes of parts until new ones arrive and he can put it all back together.
  • Friday, Dolce Vento with her new green bottom, returned to the water sans working diesel engine and we all breathed a big sigh of relief and enjoyed our familiar, comfy floating beds.

Now, it’s onto the little stuff like buying spare parts, review tools, cleaning and polishing the deck, and sprucing up the teak handrails and such.  A sailor’s work is never done.  If you don’t have something to work on, you start to worry…