Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Progress In Small Increments

  I'm starting to feel like Oprah Winfrey. Didn't her "last show" last something like two years? We're about a month away from our planned departure but it feels like we've been discussing it for years. I want to keep the blog updated as much as possible, which may require some grasping at topics until we get underway. This post is one of those.
  Last weekend we made another trip out to our old stompin' grounds of Fenton, MO to see old friends and enjoy the music of a band, Liquid Gold, who we became aware of just last fall. We got to see some folks that we haven't seen in years and may never see again but we all frequently forget that anytime you say goodbye, it may be the last, don't we?
  We had gotten a call from some friends on Friday night to invite us out on their boat on Saturday but we knew we were going out boating with other friends on Sunday, so we respectfully declined. We didn't want to be driving home from the river two days in a row; this has nothing to do with traffic.
  Liquid Gold was going to be playing near our home again on Saturday afternoon at an old hippie bar called The Shanti, in the historic Soulard neighborhood, just south of downtown St. Louis.

  The Shanti is "dog friendly", and we had been wanting to take Holly there for her first saloon visit and last Saturday was probably her last chance. In the picture above, the place was just beginning to get busy, but there was already a fella in there with his dog. He saw Holly and promptly bought us a beer after introducing himself and his dog Parker. By the time the band started, the place was packed with people and pets and all in all it was a real fun afternoon even if we didn't spend it aboard Swing Set. Liquid Gold was glad to see us and Holly got plenty of mentions by band members as she sat on our tabletop in rapt attention. She especially enjoyed watching Ferd as he abused the washboard and other assorted noisemakers he always has strapped to his chest. (Only during gigs.)
  As you know, Swing Set is on the hard, still getting bottom work done. I had gotten a call last week from the new service manager, Jeff Miller at Bloch Marine, and he was concerned about a couple of screws that were poking through the hull, just barely, found by an eagle eye technician sanding the bottom in preparation for paint. When Jeff told me where the culprits were, I knew right away what the problem was and told him I'd be up to the yard as soon as possible. Basically, the problem was me, as the offending screws were in the location of the work I'd done installing the office on Swing Set a year and a half ago.
  In my meager defense, the bunks that I had removed from the second stateroom in Swing Set were installed using some aluminum angle brackets. The brackets were installed using a certain size stainless screw and my method was to use the same size screws on similar brackets when I put the desk and cabinets in for the office. The plan is sound unless you grab two screws that are just a tad longer than the others you had been using. Nothing good ever happens when you grab a bad screw. When I got there, I pulled out the screws and used adhesive on the brackets instead.
Although I didn't sink the boat, and no leaks had occurred, it is certain that over time those screws could work loose, or corrode, and cause us some annoyance at the least, or a calamity at the worst. It's lucky for us that Casey was paying attention as he was sanding away on Swing Set.
  When we went up to the river on Sunday for our boat ride on Rocinante, we stopped by our boat to pick up swim wear and sunscreen, which neither was used to full potential on Sunday. We checked on the progress of Swing Set; the few blisters that had been found were patched and sanded, and the two screw holes were ground out and filled. Swing Set was ready for her first coat of bottom paint on Monday.
  We're using Interlux Micron Extra, three coats, and this paint needs 16 hours between coats. If the weather permits, the third coat will be applied on Wednesday and I'll meet the surveyor at Bloch Marine on Wednesday afternoon.
  The Interlux rep suggested Interprotect Epoxy for the running gear for a base, with Interlux NT for the shaft, rudders and trim tabs. I want to keep the props free of paint. I've been advised by a reliable source that paint on the props may cause some noise or vibration that we don't want. I plan on keeping an eye on Swing Set's bottom with my hookah snorkel equipment, therefore, I can keep barnacles off the props if I pay attention.
  I also decided to raise the boot stripe about an inch on Swing Set, as she's setting a bit low in the water with all of our belongings and provisions weighing her down. It's true that she'll sit a bit higher in the salt water, but the one inch of white hull that showed between the bottom paint and first vinyl stripe was always dingy anyway. It may look funky, but at this point, form is following function in regard to most things aesthetic on our vessel. We want to keep a good looking home, but we gotta do what we gotta do.
  Salt water zincs and a good hull waxing will round out the work being done at Bloch Marine before Swing Set hits the travel lift for the last dip back into the Mrs. Sip, hopefully for a couple years at least. Chances for this are good if I can force myself to use a little more sense when I get into the bilges with a screw gun in my hand.


  1. Use Propspeed on your props, shafts, struts, tabs and rudders and you won't have to worry about diving for barnacles. Even small barnies will cause much more vibration and power loss than any coat of paint (or Propspeed) ever would!

    1. You are right about the barnacles, but the process we are using will prevent barnacles at a far lower cost, plus Propspeed is designed for boats that move all the time. We plan on being on the hook and setting still for a lot of the time, so the Interlux will do just fine. Keep reading and thanks for the comment.