Double Maintenance (Late September - October 2001)
Now that I've moved the J/24 down from Annapolis, I'm maintaining TWO boats!

Saturday, September 15, 2001: J/24 Work Begins

I met with Billy who runs the lot where I've stashed the J/24. I signed a contract, paid the bill, and got the access code. Billy was very friendly and helpful. As it turns out, he had moved the boat the previous Thursday to a slightly more protected spot in anticipation of the storm. The new spot was also closer to the washdown hose -- a benefit that later proved most convenient.

When I finally got aboard the J/24, I found that the exterior and deck of the boat looked OK, though the teak had weathered badly over the last two years. On opening the hatch, I found that the interior was well-packed, but COMPLETELY full of equipment. The interior also smelled of mildew, and I was certain that there must be water in the bilge, but it was impossible to see the floorboard of the cabin through all the equipment. I realized that I would have to get some of this stuff out of the way in order to do anything with the boat.

I decided to take all the sails home for storage. As it turns out, this was THREE full sets of sails, plus some other little sails that the previous owner had left with the boat, and which I still can't identify. All total, it's something like 14 sails, totalling several hundred pounds. I also took the cushions out of the boat, since they were badly mildewed and stank worse than anything else. I even took the wooden locker covers, since they were damp and mildewy too. All this completely filled the back of the Explorer, but it was a short drive home, so I quickly offloaded everything into the garage (with Theresa's help). I immediately stripped the covers off of the cushions and threw them into the washer. Theresa and I then returned to the boat and retrieved the outboard motor, which I also stored in the garage.

Once I got everything out of the boat's cabin, I could see that the interior was a complete disaster. There was water in the bilge, but not nearly as much as I had feared. It was obvious, though, that there had been quite a bit of water in the boat up until recently, as there was a thick layer of slimy scum all over the cabin floor and halfway up the locker walls. There was mildew everywhere -- on the floor, on the walls, and on the ceiling. There were patches of dreaded tape scum on the walls where wires had been taped up, and there were scuff marks on just about every face of the fiberglass. I sat there marvelling at the mess, and thinking to myself, "No wonder the boat hasn't sold!"

I dragged a hose up into the cabin and hosed out the entire interior, scrubbing just about everything with Soft Scrub and a heavy brush. This was a huge job, particularly since I had to keep pumping the water out of the bilge, but I got rid of the really thick scum, and the boat smelled a whole lot better. As the sun set, the mosquitos came out in force, so I locked up and went home.

Sunday, September 16, 2001: Heavy Cleaning

I took some of the magic blue FSR gel to the J/24 and attempted to clean all of the scuffs and stains off of the fiberglass in the cabin. The marks proved too tough even for the FSR, though, so I turned my attention to the sink area.

I discovered that the locker under the sink wasn't draining into the bilge as one might expect, so there was a pool of stagnant water under there. While working on this problem, I noticed that water wasn't draining out of the sink either, so I pulled the drain hose loose, spewing black water everywhere. As it turns out, the through-hull fitting had been fiberglassed over, so there was nowhere for the water to go! I think that in my ignorance, I must have reattached the hose sometime shortly after I bought the boat. It looks like the sink should be plumbed directly into the bilge instead.

I cleaned up the mess, and I ended up hosing out the interior again. As the sun neared the horizon, I went topside to hose out the cockpit, wary of the imminent mosquito attack. I locked up and took the J/24's little battery home with me.

Monday, September 17, 2001: Markets Reopen

The stock market reopened for the first time since the September 11 tragedy, and I was preoccupied with the market's brutal sell-off. I found it particularly crass that some of the people urging Americans to hold their positions in the face of the sell-off were the very fund managers who were selling, and sometimes even shorting into the fall! Sometimes I wonder how these people look themselves in the mirror. I, for one, felt that the markets would bounce within a day or two, so I wasn't selling anyway.

I found some time after the close to retrieve my portable battery charger from the Beneteau and hook it up to the J/24 battery. I couldn't get it to charge at all. I fear that the battery might be completely sulfated, though I didn't think this was possible with deep-cycle gel cells.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001: Final Interior Cleaning

I took some WD40 over to the J/24 and (with the help of my pocket knife) managed to get the tape scum off of the walls. I then used a rubbing compound to clean the scuff marks off of the fiberglass, finally succeeding in making the cabin to LOOK clean. I hosed the cabin out yet again to wash away the excess rubbing compound. It was unbelievably hot on the boat, thanks to a cloudless sky and not much wind, so I was literally drenched in sweat, and my stamina was failing. I locked up and climbed down, pausing only to peel the J/Boats brokerage sticker off of the transom before returning home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001: Canvas Repair

I took a load of canvas over to the local canvas-repair shop to see what they could do. The lady there said that she could get zippers for the four J/24 cushions, and she agreed to restitch the bimini for under $100. That's certainly worth my time, since there's no way our sewing machine could EVER get a needle through the thick parts, and doing it by hand was taking me forever.

Thursday, September 20, 2001: Panic Selling

Theresa was in Orlando, and I spent the entire day watching the stock market. I finally capitulated and sold out my entire portfolio, preferring to sit on cash. I guess I should have sold it all on Monday during the panick, but I honestly thought it would bounce back.

Friday, September 21, 2001: Cool-Headed Buying

Theresa was still in Orlando. The market was down again, but I decided that the selling had become completely irrational, and was probably due to rampant margin calls, so I bought a fresh set of stocks that looked grossly undervalued. This turned out to be a good call.

After the markets closed, I walked over to the Beneteau and finished cleaning the chrome rails forward of the cockpit. This "Metal Wax" stuff is awesome!

Saturday, September 22, 2001: Fender Cleaning

Changed out the pumphead on the fresh-water pump, but it still gets vapor-locked. I went topside and spent a couple of hours scrubbing the fenders with a buffing compound, but I got badly sunburned, so I spent the remainder of the weekend and most of the following week indoors.

Thursday, September 27, 2001: Pumping Sludge From the Freshwater Tanks

Used my new drill-powered water pump to pump the sludge off of the bottom of the Beneteau's freshwater tanks. In the process, I discovered pieces of silicone sealant floating in the bottom of two of the three tanks. It smelled strongly of plastic, so I suspect these pieces may have been contributing to the strong fiberglassy/plasticy taste of the water.

Friday, September 28, 2001:

Ordered a freshwater hose filter and new fender covers from BoatUS (since West Marine couldn't match our canvas color). I picked up the bimini, and it looks great. The seamstress also found a local supplier (Beacon Marine) who had the right size zippers for the J/24 cushion covers, so I stopped by to pick them up. I also stopped by Ace Hardware to buy a plastic elbow fitting that I might use to bleed the manifold on the Beneteau's freshwater pump.

Saturday, September 29, 2001: Cushion Cleaning

Hosed down two of the J/24 seat-cushions, attempting to do something about the mildew stains. The foam cushions absorbed the water like giant sponges, and (four days later) they're STILL not dry! The hose-down was also largely unsuccessful at removing the stains.

Sunday, September 30, 2001: Attempts to Bleed the Freshwater Lines

Installed the new elbow fitting onto the freshwater manifold and bled the system, but it continues to draw air in from somewhere. I don't know where the problem is, but I suspect that the simplest solution might be to simply refill the freshwater tanks. The forward tank is higher than the manifold, so it probably serves to prime the pump. (And currently, the forward tank is empty.)

Thursday, October 4, 2001:

Washed the bimini with Woolite in the bathtub, then hung it over the deck rail to dry.

Friday, October 5, 2001:

Unpacked the brand-new orbital sander that I bought when I closed out my wedding registry at Sears back in 1999, and sanded the J/24 boards smooth. Applied a decent coat of Sikkens Cetol, which the boards soaked up hungrily. While I was doing the varnishing, I noticed a guy working on the neighbor's boat, and I thought he might be the fellow who did the neighbor's fiberglass work, so I introduced myself. As it turns out, he (Bill) wasn't the fiberglass guy, but he DID work with Mark frequently, and he had one of Mark's cards. Bill offered to speak to Mark about the needed Beneteau toerail work.

Saturday, October 6, 2001:

Theresa and I went to Home Depot and bought some roach bait traps, then went to West Marine so I could return the drill pump. (I need something that I can just plug into an outlet -- the drill was way too cumbersome to use.) When we got back, I lightly sanded the J/24 boards in preparation for a second coat of Sikkens, then hosed the dust off and let them dry.

Sunday, October 7, 2001:

Distributed six bait traps under the Beneteau's floorboards, then hosed the recent bird poop off the deck. Put a second coat of Sikkens Cetol on the J/24 lazarette coverboards.

Tuesday, October 9, 2001:

Contacted Mark Koszarek of Mark's Marine Service regarding repair of the Beneteau toerail. He offered to do the work for $25/hour toward the end of this month. Called Beneteau to ask how one removes the old rail. As it turns out, it's held on by RIVETS, so they have to be drilled out and replaced with bolts. In order to get to the back of the bolts, though, I'll have to dismantle the boat's interior!

Wednesday, October 10 - Monday, October 15, 2001:

Dismantled the panelling in the starboard side of the main salon. Discovered that the starboard toerail runs behind the master shower, so there's no way to get to a 5-foot section without dismantling the master head. Called Mark, and we met to discuss alternatives. I suggested cutting away the damaged end of the rail, and replacing just that section (about 8 feet). Mark agreed that this looked like the best approach, and that he thought he could do it without damaging the hull. Called Beneteau to discuss this idea, and to find out if I could buy an 8' section of toerail. Todd at Beneteau agreed to just discount the long (22') piece of toerail I already have.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001:

Bought a center-punch and a drill bit. 13/64" seems about as close as you can get to 6mm here in the US.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001:

Put the newly-finished lazarette boards back aboard the J/24. They look so good that I've decided to do the forward boards as well. Sanded the J/24 toerail and other topsides woodwork.

Thursday, October 18, 2001:

Purchased a corded drill and some weather-proof masking tape. I also bought the drill pump back, since I can't seem to find any decent alternative that doesn't cost a fortune.

Friday, October 19, 2001:

Masked off the J/24's toerail, then applied two coats of Sikkens. I still think it looks overly dark. The mosquitos came out in force, even before the sun fell below the horizon, and despite my layers of bugspray. They're voracious.

Saturday, October 20, 2001:

Theresa's Birthday. We went to the mall so she could do some shopping, then to dinner at our favorite steak place. I had a great steak, and Theresa had the lobster. Unfortunately, though, I think I may have had a mild allergic reaction to the wine. I felt nauseaus for hours afterward, and didn't feel 100% again for days.


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Changes last made on: Sat, Nov 3, 2001
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