Here a few glimpses of what I’ve done to maintain and enhance my boat:
My poor baby had a bottom rash!
Ya, after your baby sits in the water for a couple of seasons, she’ll need a little help. All it takes is a haul-out, a little powerwashing, a little sanding, a little more sanding, a *%$#! more sanding, and a few daubs of paint . . . ya, zip, zap, zowie!
For this bottom job I was at the right place and right time. The yard had already done a bunch of other boats and had a pile of nearly empty cans of bottom paint left over, and the old man who worked there offered them to me. I separated out the cans that were the same kind of paint (manufacturer and quality level) but different colors, mixed them up, and voila! Two coats of paint for no cost! (Btw, in case you don’t know, bottom paint runs about $100 per gallon, and that’s the lower end of the line.)
All my friends and everyone else walking by (if you want to meet people in a marina, just do some work – everyone loves to watch) had great fun helping me come up with names for colors of the mixes. By popular vote, the dark reddish color I put on the keel as a first coat we called “Ox-Blood”; the rest of the bottom’s first coat was “Angry Shark Gray”. Our name for the second coat, which turned out to be some shade of black, was quickly agreed upon to be “My Ex-Wife’s Heart”.
There was still quite a bit of blue paint left in a can, so I used it to put a third coat on just the rudder and the leading edge of the bow and keel. I’m a firm believer in the saying, “If you can’t entertain yourself you have no right to expect someone else to”, so I taped off this tooth-like design on the bow. Studies have shown that designs like this actually make the boat go faster, y’know.
When the eighty-some year-old owner of the marina happened to be on the grounds, he said he wanted to see my boat, check my work. When he came around the boat blocking his view and saw mine, and saw the “makes-it-go-faster” feature, he stopped, stared at me for three whole seconds, shook his head and walked away, still shaking his head and mumbling something about, “I’m gonna sell this damn marina . . . What kind a’ . . . he’s got the time to . . . I’m gonna sell this damn marina, I mean it! . . . What kind a’ . . .”
This sun shade over the bow helps a lot. One hot day I crawled into the Vee berth for a nap, and lying on my back I put my hands up to feel the underside of the deck. There was a substantial difference between the center of the deck and the edges near the topsides. There’s a guy here who likes to quantify everything, and he says his thermometer on deck has read in the 120’s on 90-some degree days with bright sunlight. Whatever the numbers, the heat gets transferred through the fiberglass, so shades help a lot.
This shade was made from some old sails (the price was right: $0), but Sunbrella or other outdoor cloth would probably work a little better. Some sailors have claimed to recognize the insignia as from Ensign dinghies, but I tell them no, that’s not an E on it’s side, it is a M, and the square, bold, solid font is because the M is for Manly Man Mik. Of course it was pointed out to me that there is only one M, so the Manly Man part of it cannot apply. Anyways, note the quick-release clips at the attachment points. They make setting it up and taking it down much faster, which removes one hurdle of inertia when the wind is calling but you don’t feel like crawling around the boat untying a bunch of knotted cords just to get out of the slip. Zip, zap, zowie.
Also, a bow shade is nice when there’s a light rain because you can keep the foredeck hatch open for air.
The way my boat and slip are situated, the morning sun comes in over the transom and through the companionway. I made this shade out of the Vega insignia from what was left of the boat’s original sails and some scrap Sunbrella and Phifertex (the yellow and white). Phifertex is pretty cool stuff. Essentially it is screening coated in colored vinyl, so it is a bit stiff, but it blocks a lot of sunshine while still allowing air to move through it. You can see through it easily, at least from the side with less light through to the side with more light. Note how you can see through to the boats and trees in the background.