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Weekly Logs 2012
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Thai Refit

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Previous

122 Launch!
121 Final Frenzy
120 Mast & Boom
119 Polish & Wax
118 Mount Cleats
117 Furnish Cockpit
116 Bimini Legs
115 Stern Jewelry
114 Start Headliners
113 Cockpit Hatches
112 Decks Washed
111 Tomcat Painted
110 Gelcoat Salon
109 Diamonds On
108 Foredeck
107 Anchor Platform
106 Prepare Mast
105 Mount Forebeam
104 Worker Walkout
103 Bimini Up!
102 Spray Bimini
101 Spray Forebeam
100 Sanding Deck
99 Spray Port Deck
98 Spray Stbd Deck
97 Cabin-top Gelcoat
96 Start Deck Gelcoat
95 More Varnishing
94 More Varnishing
93 Varnishing
92 Finish Nonskid
91 Epoxy Hulls
90 Broken Finger
89 Teak & Varnish
88 Varnishing Started
87 Start Cockpit Teak
86 Bow & Stern Molds
85 Laying Nonskid
84 Polishing Cockpit
83 Laying Nonskid
82 Cockpit Gelcoat
81 Finish Templates
80 Spraying Gelcoat
79 Rudder Tubes
78 Cut Teak Blocks
77 Start Templates
76 Teak Chain Lattice
75 Shower Controls
74 Chip Cabin Top
73 Cockpit Drains
72 Polish Bridgedeck
71 Port Aft Cabin
70 Spray Bridgedeck
69 Spray Portside
68 Rudder Bearings
67 Spray Starboard
66 Fair Starboard
65 Bad Epoxy Filler
64 Spray Foredeck
63 Spray Deck Gutters
62 Prep for Gelcoat
61 Spray Targa-Bar

100 Sanding Deck

Summary:  A very wet end of the week spoiled some varnish and prevented us from finishing the rudders, but the guys made excellent progress sanding and polishing the decks, especially with the 2 extra men.  This week's accomplishments by the team include:
  • Built up the rudders, sanded them to shape, and cut the fiberglass for their outer skins
  • Sanded all deck gelcoat (not the nonskid) with 320, 600, 800, and some finer grits in places
  • Prepared and sprayed more polyurethane on the slatted floorboards and the wineglass rack
  • Removed the delaminating hatch supports in 8 floorboards and replaced them
  • Worked on the teak trim next to the new formica kick‑board in the cabins
  • Started building the new front for the damaged curved cabinet door in the salon
  • Replaced our shore‑power connecter
  • Completed an elaborate 10‑gauge wiring harness for the computers
  • Ran 220vAC wiring to the galley and 3 of the 4 cabins
  • Decided to use OceanMaster epoxy etch primer on the mast and spars
  • Retrieved our sugar‑scoop grab‑rails from Luck Engineering for electro‑polishing
  • Convinced Customs to renew Ocelot's temporary import permit
  • Finished 6 (of 9) bookshelves and wrapped them up until we're ready to install them

The rudders - plastic is to keep filler from sagging
The rudders - plastic is to keep filler from sagging

Monday, September 30:
A slow and steady beginning to the week, with high clouds and threatening rain, but a basically dry day.

Sue's panic work of the day was to get to the Phuket Customs office to renew our 6‑monthly permission to keep the boat in Thailand.  Normally there is a hassle at the 2‑year mark, and to begin with there was.  But after explaining that we had a big slow down with the contractor stealing lots of money and not paying workers, the Customs officials decided to call Manop, the owner of Chalong Boat Yard.  They returned, smiling, offering to extend our stay another 6 months, as they had learned from Manop that we were still working on the boat because we had had a lot of money stolen by our contractor.  Whew.  So now we're good to finish without the pressure to leave prematurely.

Baw spraying more polyurethane on the 6 slatted floorboards
Baw spraying more polyurethane on the 6 slatted floorboards

After the customs visit, Sue prowled the streets of Phuket Town and came upon what appears to be the biggest, most extensive fabric store in town.  We are still looking for strong, tightly woven cotton/polyester fabric to re‑cover the bunk mattresses (once we find good foam for the mattresses) and this place had several well‑priced possibilities.  After the great fabric stores of Panama, Fiji, Australia and South Africa, it's been frustrating to not find what we want here in Thailand.

Jon got some good time in on the rudders, with Baw spreading another layer of epoxy phenolic filler on the single remaining side.  It actually kicked off fast enough that Jon got to start sanding it down later in the afternoon, but it's still too early to tell if it needs more filling.  The leading edge isn't quite the right shape but he has to finish the sanding to see if it's worth repairing.

Yando, Chambron, & Heru sanding Ocelot's new gelcoat
Yando, Chambron, & Heru sanding Ocelot's new gelcoat

Heru, Chambron, Pla and Yando spent the day downwind of our big tripod mounted fan, up on deck.  Polishing, Polishing, Polishing.  Sue had a shock in the morning when Baw told her that he was using a red permanent marker to color the gelcoat before sanding, so they could see where they had been.  HELP!  That stuff doesn't come off of things!  There had been a mini‑battle on Saturday with Baw asking for black paint to spray the gelcoat.  We had not been happy, as we didn't want black paint over‑spraying on the nonskid or the topsides, but we finally relented.  What a surprise this morning to find that they had decided to NOT use the spray paint, but instead this red/pink marker.  Sue did some tests and found that the color does seem to come off with acetone on the smooth gelcoat, but still...

The men basically worked their way around the deck, from starboard to the foredeck to port.  They are still sanding with 320 grit.  By day's end we spoke to Baw again about more workers.  He said he will try and get a couple good men to join the team. There is certainly a lot of grunt work still to do.

Replacing the frames holding up the floorboard hatches
Replacing the frames holding up the floorboard hatches

Lek continued with the one‑man sanding adventure on the grated floors.  All 6 of them now have 3 coats of epoxy, and 2‑triple coats of polyurethane. Today Baw fired up the compressor and sprayed on another 3 coats, wet‑on‑wet.  Next step is satin polyurethane on top and brushed‑on gloss polyurethane underneath where we don't see it.

Houa spent the day removing the frames from around the access hatches for the 8 cabin floorboards.  Each of the floorboards in the hulls have an easily removable piece in the middle of the floorboard, so we can get at the wiring, etc in the bilges.  But the supports for those hatches are just pieces of plywood screwed to the bottoms of the floorboards.  Over the years, the plywood has started delaminating (why did they use plywood there?)  Once the old delaminating plywood was off, Houa sanded each floor board back, and began the work of fitting new frames.  He seems to be making a bit of an assembly line out of it, removing all the supports before starting to build new ones.  With some luck and perseverance (and no power failure like we had today) he should have those finished tomorrow.

Ocelot's workspace, taken from Houa's workshop
Ocelot's workspace, taken from Houa's workshop

Sue finished the day with a massive Xylene‑wipe of the lower mast, getting off probably 90% of the remaining Nyalic.  Parts of the mast still look shiny, as though still coated, but when we wipe fresh rags and xylene over those areas and come up with limp, solvent‑soaked rags (not rags stiff with Nyalic), we figure we've got it all.  Still to do are the spreaders and the new prod.

Tuesday, October 1:
A hot day at the yard, but no rain after the 8am downpour so lots got done today.

Jon checking the rudder shape (see the pencil in his hand?)
Jon checking the rudder shape (see the pencil in his hand?)

First big news is that we have 2 new workers.  Ben, (Baw's brother, who has worked for us before but was fired by Baw for drinking all his earnings) and Akoosh.  Unfortunately Akoosh had a motorbike accident on his way to work, called Heru and Baw as he got in a tangle with a farang (foreigner) and speaks no English, so Ben, Baw, Heru and Akoosh were all late to work.  Luckily no one was seriously hurt, but it looks like Akoosh is out about $250, which is about 2 weeks wages for him.

Most of the day we had 6 workers up on deck.  Ben worked with Baw (close supervision!) using the finer grits of sandpaper to begin the polishing of the gelcoat on starboard side.  By noon they were using 800 grit, and possibly by afternoon Ben was up to 1000 (Baw had another medical appointment and left at noon).  The deck is beginning to shine!

Our spiffy new power input (not that we use it much cruising)
Our spiffy new power input (not that we use it much cruising)

On the port side deck, we had Yando and Akoosh, Heru and Chambron using the rougher grades of sandpaper to cut back the first bumps of gelcoat.  This is the harder job, but also the one where less is better.  We don't want them taking off too much gelcoat!

Jon used the morning to sand and fair the latest epoxy phenolic filler on the last rudder side.  Then in the afternoon he hijacked Heru from the sanding project to have him help with the last (we hope!) layer of epoxy and filler.  Towards the end of the day, Jon asked Heru to polish the area under where our shore‑power connector is.  We disconnected the shore‑power cable last week when we sprayed the starboard sugar‑scoop, but we've forgotten it since then (and the fridge has been running).  So we plugged Ocelot in for a few hours, just to get something into the batteries, and then Jon and Heru changed our ratty old power connector for a brand new one.  Heru is so much fun for Jon to work with because he anticipates what will be needed next and is doing it before even being asked.

Houa replacing the supports for the floorboard hatches
Houa replacing the supports for the floorboard hatches

Houa was going to bring us more takientong wood, but found it only in super long pieces, costing too much money.  So he's using a pale hard wood that is often used for the frames of big Thai fishing boats.  The name is something like soon hon lon.  Sue tried writing it down, and finally realized he was saying Holland.  So the wood is some Thai name for a Dutch soon.  Whatever that is.  Anyway, it's a fragrant bright wood and seems very tough.  It is now replacing the old delaminating plywood frames under the cabin floor boards.  Houa got all 8 floors (some with 2 hatches) framed, and tomorrow each piece will be taken off again, sealed with epoxy, then screwed back in place.

Sue used up the last of a kilo of rags taking the Nyalic off the prod.  Only a few more small items left to do.  We have gotten a quote for a good aluminum primer from Altex in New Zealand, but the shipping is 3 times the product cost, and there's customs import and the AME markup to add to it all.  The jury is still out.  We're waiting to hear if Mike can find us a cheaper shipping option.

Ocelot's decks are coming along nicely!
Ocelot's decks are coming along nicely!

Having decided that we'll put 3mm wetsuit neoprene under our floorboards on the stringers, Sue had the fun of shopping for it, and chatting to the divers at the shop.  Shopping can be such fun!  So now we've got about 2 square meters of black neoprene ready to be cut into 2 5/8in (6mm) strips to be rubber cemented to the floor stringers inside.  Should give us a nice cushiony feeling.

Before Baw left we asked if he could help polish the stainless steel chain‑plates which we want to re‑mount.  So he set himself up with Weenol (a German metal polishing compound) and Jon's drill with a rag disk.  At first it seemed that the chain‑plate was taking a nice reflective polish, but on closer examination it was still a bit scratched.  So Baw backed up and wet sanded the steel with 1000 and 2000 grit, then tried the power polisher again.  We could still see scratches, so asked if the yard's metal/machine worker could polish stainless.  It's their day off, so no luck.  We considered taking it to our metal worker off‑site, either Chai or Lop who have made us a number of small items.  But when we examined the latest job from Chai (stainless steel tangs for the mast) we could see the swirl marks from an orbital sander in the polish, so he is obviously not a picky polisher (although, in fairness, we didn't ask him to polish these pieces).  Jon gave it a whirl in the afternoon, wet sanding with 800, 1000 and 2000 before the drill with rag polisher.  They're looking better.  We may have to settle for "not quite perfect" on this one.  As long as they don't corrode.

Jon trying his hand at polishing our stainless steel chain-plates
Jon trying his hand at polishing our stainless steel chain-plates

When we took those chain‑plates off, Jon filled the mounting holes with epoxy.  His idea was to drill the holes slightly undersized and tap the epoxy.  Screw the bolts tightly into the epoxy, put on the steel backing plate, and tighten the nuts on the inside (which now act as lock‑nuts).  This configuration is very secure and, with a bit of silicone is pretty much guaranteed not to leak.  But the bolts are tightened with (of all stupid things) a small hexagonal "allen‑key" which severely limits the torque that can be applied to the bolt.  Drilling the 6 holes straight through the hull and tightening the bolts by putting a (big) wrench on the inside nuts results in a much tighter chain‑plate, and is probably the better way to go.

Ocelot is getting shinier, in organized pandemonium
Ocelot is getting shinier, in organized pandemonium

Wednesday, October 2:
Half the week gone, and it's hard to put a finger on the progress.  No wonder the weeks just pass by so quickly.  They say time flies when you're having fun but it also flies when you want to finish a boat.

Sue scootered to the yard extra early to try and stop Lek from sanding the newly epoxied bottoms of the head and galley grates.  She made it, and even managed to communicate with him (Lek speaks no English).  We declared 3 of the 6 floors finished, and 3 still need some touch ups.  Sue wrapped and carted the finished ones to the store room.  Progress, even if the flow of goods is away from the boat, rather than towards.

Ocelot's psychedelic helm, waiting to be sanded smooth
Ocelot's psychedelic helm, waiting to be sanded smooth

Baw and the Indonesians all arrived early as well, so things were hopping before 8:30.  With the new workers we had 7 men on the decks.  Poor Baw said, "So many men!"   But then he rallied and found good work for all.  The two new guys, along with Chambron, Heru and Yando all worked on sanding the first cut of gelcoat, using 320 grit sandpaper.  This is hard work, apparently.  Baw asked (once again) for black spray paint, and Sue produced 2 cans, and then offered a new alternative, white board markers.  These are less toxic and permanent than "permanent markers"  but still don't wash off with water.  The color does sand off easily, though.  So Ocelot's decks became a riot of color: some spotty sprayed black paint (they masked the nonskid, thank goodness!), some swirls of blue marker, and some water‑color black wash where they smeared the black paint or marker.

Pla worked on his own on the starboard aft deck cutting with 320.  Houa had to ask the men to not sand the inner edges of the hatches, as the water comes inside the boat (despite the silicone‑rimmed future board).  And anyway, we'll be sanding with 80 grit on the tops of the hatches and down inside the rims, in order to put the hatches in with sealant.

Heru, Yando and Ben sanding Ocelot's foredeck
Heru, Yando and Ben sanding Ocelot's foredeck

Baw and his brother Ben had the fun of working with the higher/finer numbered sandpapers, like 1500 and 2000.  What they created was shiny deck!  Woot!  Looking awesome.  Of course, now all the little dips and valleys and weird swerves of the deck show up, but Hey!  It's a boat!  It's never been this shiny since we've owned her.

Lek got the last 3 floor grates ready for polyurethane spraying, which didn't happen today.  And then he set to work once again, smoothing out the ridges in the new rounded door that Houa made a couple weeks ago.  This is sure being a long process.

Jon spent the morning on the scooter running errands in town.  He picked up our Customs permit to extend Ocelot's stay, then headed over to Luck Engineering.  He's becoming very Thai, with the ability to ride a scooter with a pair of 6' (2m) long stainless steel railings strapped alongside.

Jon and Baw discuss how to wrap fiberglass around the rudders
Jon and Baw discuss how to wrap fiberglass around the rudders

In the afternoon Jon sanded yesterday's filler on the rudder and declared it "Good to go!"  So he moved on to the fiberglass stage.  Sue set up a clean work space on the table behind Ocelot so that Jon could lay out, measure and cut the biaxial glass.  He and Baw had a big discussion about exactly how to wrap the 3 primary layers (there will be a fourth, sacrificial layer of 200g cloth as well).  Baw was in favor of wrapping the narrow trailing edge and bringing the ends up to the leading edge to overlap.  Jon likes the idea of wrapping from (blunt) front to (sharp) back, and then clamping the trailing edge of glass together with battens instead of trying to wrap it around.  Jon doesn't think we can wrap 400g biaxial cloth around the sharp trailing edge of the rudder effectively, but Baw isn't happy with the exposed "end grain" of the fiberglass, as he feels it might split open.  With 3 layers, we'll probably wrap the first one around the trailing edge and then clamp the last 2.

Houa fitting floorboards to the frame against the white formica
Houa fitting floorboards to the frame against the white formica

Sue took on the making of wooden templates that will clamp the fiberglass together at the trailing edge, so that we keep the very pointy exit line of the rudder.  This involved tracing the curve of each rudder's trailing edge, then cutting the thin wood template.  Not being a fan of power tools, Sue volunteered Heru to help her, and he probably had fun playing carpenter for 20 minutes instead of sandpaper guy.  He used the jigsaw to cut the lines, then the grinder to smooth them to just the right curve.  Then they traced that line and he cut it again, repeating for the second rudder.  To reinforce the templates, we'll superglue heftier boards to each template so that the clamping will effectively squeeze the fiberglass tight along the whole length of the rudder.  Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow, weather willing.

Houa spent many hot sweaty hours inside Ocelot, down in the airless, low‑light cabins.  He was working on the floorboards, trying to make them fit with the new border he's building to go against the new formica.  He got the starboard aft cabin all shaped and finished (except for gluing in place), and he was working in the starboard forward cabin in the afternoon.  With the floor boards re‑cut (along the outside edges) he had to make sure they aligned, one to the other, as well as fitting into the space next to the formica kick‑boards.

Everyone working while the boss (Baw) doodles with a pen...
Everyone working while the boss (Baw) doodles with a pen...

Thursday, October 3:
Wow!  A Thoroughly Wet Thursday!  Haven't had rain like this for months.  But at least the temperature was much cooler, so working conditions under Ocelot's tent were pretty good.

Sue scootered in a bit late, but only because she kept waiting for a less‑than‑deluge moment to ride in.  Never happened.  Amazingly all the men were at the yard when she got there (rain has been known to keep the guys home, sometimes).  Baw and 6 men were already up on the deck busy sanding away the blue swirly marks of the whiteboard pen.  Most were still cutting with 320 grit on the original spray surface, but also lots of surfaces were getting sanded with 600 and 800 grit by Baw and Ben.  It's so cool to see the new deck come to life all bright and shiny!

Marking where to drill to mount the 12vDC access points
Marking where to drill to mount the 12vDC access points

This was definitely NOT an epoxy day (humidity over 89%) so Jon took the opportunity to work on Ocelot's electrical systems.  The big points here are:

12vDC Power: Our computers are technically laptops, but they're really "desktop replacements" so fairly thirsty (up to 8A each).  Some of our computer power supplies are finicky about the quality of their 12v, so we're running newer, bigger (10AWG or 5.3 mm2) wire to a total of 5 new access points.  This should also power our routers, giving all computers internet access when we're in cell range.
AC Power: Ocelot has been a 110vAC boat since we bought her but now we've got a 220v washer and some 220v power tools as well.  We've already got a hybrid 110/220v system running at the electrical panel, but we need to distribute that to the galley and the port forward cabin (the washer lives in the port fo'c's'le).  If we can find suitable sockets, we'll probably also run 220v lines to both starboard cabins, just because they're relatively easy.
Instruments: We've added a second depth transducer so we're moving the original over to the port fo'c's'le and putting the new one where the old one was in the starboard fo'c's'le (because the wiring run is shorter).  Of course, the wires are different, so both cables need to be run.
Lighting: We want to add new, blue LEDs to the sugar‑scoops, which means tapping off the (newly run) cockpit lighting circuit and extending it out to both sugar‑scoops.
Pre-bent, epoxy filled, thin plywood, waiting for teak veneer
Pre-bent, epoxy filled, thin plywood, waiting for teak veneer

Lek continued the meticulous sanding of the epoxy on the rounded door.  We were pleased to see that Houa spent time last night re‑making of the second rounded door.  On this one he is making many small slits on the outside (just under the veneer) instead of the inside in the underlying plywood (which is much thinner than before), so that (hopefully) the end result will be a very smoothly curving teak veneer, and it won't have to be sanded, epoxied, sanded, epoxied, sanded over and over.

Houa worked in the port cabins, fitting the floor boards in place with their newly trimmed edges.  He also began work with a big piece of teak that had been a rubbing strake on a friend's boat, that will become more of our interior border pieces in the cabins.

Houa cutting up a big piece of teak, salvaged from a friend's boat
Houa cutting up a big piece of teak, salvaged from a friend's boat

Sue got more research done on cushions, foam (very hard to find high quality affordable stuff here), and the mast paint.  We learned that the Kiwi product we were interested in for the aluminum primer would cost too much and take too long to bring to Thailand, so we're down to a choice of an aluminum etch primer with epoxy base by OceanMaster (Singapore), or MaxCor, the Awlgrip equivalent.  Cost is about the same, given that the Awlgrip goes about 3 times as far.  Both need to be sprayed on, thinly, and then re‑coated with another primer within a set number of hours.  The Oceanmaster needs to be over‑coated the same day, whereas the MaxCor parameters are 7‑72 hours, meaning we can't do the overcoat in the same day, but will have a couple of days.  This could be good or bad, given the rapidly changing weather here.

Heru, Lek, and Baw sand the polyurethane smooth with 400 grit
Heru, Lek, and Baw sand the polyurethane smooth with 400 grit

Friday, October 4:
A busy day under the protection of Ocelot's big white tent, while the monsoon rain poured down around us.

The day actually started out a bit sunny.  Enough so that Baw decided to spray satin varnish on the bookshelves and remaining locker doors that have been sort of orphaned and left for last under the boat for several weeks now.  Amazingly, he was able to wait out one rain shower, fire up the compressor, and get the shelves sprayed before the next rain hit.  By doing this early in the day, the relative humidity was still acceptably in the mid‑70's.

The rain was a bit more threatening by mid‑morning, but Baw had a bee in his bonnet about finishing all the other teak bits and pieces as well.  They have been sitting about on top of the bimini for weeks, and we really want to get that bimini gelcoated and raised into position.  So, with help from Heru and Lek they gave the the salon rounded locker door and the grated floor boards a quick sanding and an alcohol wipe.  Once the compressor was fired up again -- it rained.  Of course.  All Baw's fault.  So they moved all the teak bits and perched them on water jugs under a neighboring catamaran, and Baw sprayed them with polyurethane there.  Apparently, polyurethane is not as picky about moisture as epoxy is.

Lek epoxy coating the plywood edges & the hatch supports
Lek epoxy coating the plywood edges & the hatch supports

That being said, Lek did mix up some epoxy resin which he brushed onto the undersides of the teak and holly floors and around their (plywood) edges.  He also coated the new frames that Houa built for each floor piece.  The whole goal here is to keep moisture from getting to the wood.  Being under the floors, the epoxy will not see any UV, so it should last a long time.

Baw joined the other men up on deck in the afternoon, to continue with the fine sanding/polishing of the gelcoat.  With Chambron absent today, we still had Akoosh, Ben, Pla, Heru, Yando and Baw.  Quite a good team.  They all seemed to enjoy taking turns applying the squiggly pencil or white board marker lines to the areas to be sanded.  Somehow, they are keeping track of what has been sanded to what grit.  We're at a bit of a loss, except that it's obvious that progress is being made, as slowly more and more of the white gutters between the nonskid are coming up shiny!

Baw sprayed polyurethane under a neighboring cat, out of the rain
Baw sprayed polyurethane under a neighboring cat, out of the rain

Houa finished the teak floor borders for the port forward cabin, then checked the floor in place.  The port aft is already cut, and just needs a final fitting tomorrow.  Then it's gluing time.

Jon is well into his wiring project now, having cut holes for the new 12v power outlets in the salon.  We hit a small domino effect with the depth transducers, in that we really want good water‑proof paint in the bilges where the new transducers go, as we get lots of salt water down there when we pull out our knotlog (water‑speed transducer) to clean it.  So the white primer (Interseal 670) that's in there now will have to be sanded a bit, cleaned, and some 2‑part enamel paint applied.  Then Jon can bed the transducers and run their wires back to the nav‑station.

Jon likes to solder as many of his wiring connections as he can
Jon likes to solder as many of his wiring connections as he can

The 12v wiring for the computers is getting fun, as Jon slowly builds up a complete wiring harness.  He was glad to find some self‑amalgamating tape, although it's not as good as the roll he had (which walked away some time ago).  The wire itself is pretty expensive, so he's trying to be as efficient as possible with it, which means some in‑line soldered splices (often in impossible to reach locations).  Jon also ran 220vAC wiring to both starboard cabins as well as the far port‑forward cabin, so all he needs now is the short and straightforward stretch to the panel above the galley.

Sue puttered about with photos and lots of little jobs, as usual.  She helped Jon pull some wiring through tricky spaces (where on a boat is NOT a tricky space?)   And she sent some quality time with the floor boards in the salon, cutting off the old rubber cement that held the rubber floor cushion in place.  She also had the satisfying job of cleaning up the port forward cabin of all the dust, plastic sheeting, hardware bits, and just junk that had accumulated from the workers.  It's now all wiped down and ready for Jon to climb in and do wiring, and eventually for the guys to sand and apply a coat of polyurethane.

Still polishing the gelcoat between the nonskid panels
Still polishing the gelcoat between the nonskid panels

Today is a southern Thailand special day (you won't find it listed in Thailand's national holidays) for going to the (Buddhist) temples and praying for ancestors.  The men know that if they don't work, they don't get paid, but they've found that holidays like these can be excuses to leave early and still get paid for a full day, so they all left at 4pm, including our Indonesian non‑Buddhists!  But this gave Jon some good alone‑time, puttering about on his boat, doing his wiring with the music turned up as loud as he wanted.

All the rain for the last few days has completely saturated the ground, so now we're into minor local flooding.  Sue waded home under the umbrella, sloshing through flooded roads, in ankle‑deep and deeper water, watching the cars and motorbikes create huge water sprays.  What a wet day!

Akoosh, Pla and Ben polish the deck while Lek sands below
Akoosh, Pla and Ben polish the deck while Lek sands below

Saturday, October 5:
Welcome to Saturday afternoon.  End of the (theoretical) 48‑hour Thai work week.  Beginning of the one‑day weekend.  Whew.  Time to re‑group and relax.

It was another awesomely rainy day in southern Phuket.  Drizzles and downpours and wind gusts to make the tent shake.  But high up on deck under Ocelot's tent things moved along smoothly.  We had 6 men up on deck all day, wielding foam sanding blocks, sponges, marking pencils, and sandpaper pieces ranging from 800‑1500 grit.  And boy is the deck getting shiny!  Working with these finer sandpapers is a pretty easy job compared to the original cutting with 320 grit on new, hard gelcoat.  The goal here is to remove the pencil lines and cut the very finest layer of gelcoat, giving the surface a smooth, glistening wet look.  Of course some of it was wet, as they use water to lubricate the sanding.  Sue spent some time inside the cabins mopping up the small puddles that appeared under the hatches.  Seems like the efforts to seal the open hatches with future board and silicone didn't entirely work.

Houa happily sanding down a piece of floorboard trim
Houa happily sanding down a piece of floorboard trim

Yesterday's varnish and polyurethane sprays had mixed results.  On inspecting the bookshelves, we found that they had a lovely fine satin finish.  One end of the shortest one, and the fiddle rail of 2 long ones need a bit more attention.  Sue was able to declare the other 6 Finished! and she wrapped them in paper ready to stow in the store room until the headliners are in place.  The 3 slatted floor boards and the new overhead wine glass rack didn't fare so well.  Two things happened: there was a bit of dust in the air as Baw and Heru had moved the project downwind of Houa's woodshop.  There's a lot of teak dust lying around in the workshop and some must have blown onto the boards.  But worse than that, the surface of the polyurethane was uniformly marked with very fine craters, probably from moisture.  The dust motes stand up, the moisture creates depressions.  Alas, it was the result of a poor choice of working conditions.  We were too anxious to finish the project, and ended up set back by a day, as all these pieces needed to be sanded flat again.  That was Lek's job today.  He's got to be having feelings of "Been there, done that."

These bookshelves were originally a woodshop project for the kids
These bookshelves were originally a woodshop project for the kids

Down in the cabins, we were checking on Houa's progress with the teak trim along the floorboards when we noticed that one of them curved noticeably against the formica.  Seems he accommodated a bulge in the formica along the inside of the hull.  But it was just a small air bubble behind the (curved) formica so Houa repaired his trim with a spliced‑in sliver of teak so that the formica is held well, and the trim no longer catches your eye.

Jon played electrician again today.  He got more of the computer power supply wiring harness put together, and ran some more 220vAC lines.  Amanda complained that her cabin wasn't getting 220v, but it's IMPOSSIBLE to get wires down to the plugs in her port aft cabin without removing the whole cabinet assembly.  Which means that Jon should be able to do it on Monday (the impossible just takes a little longer...)

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