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Weekly Logs 2012
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Thai Refit

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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

71 Port Aft Cabin

Yoong and Pla sanding difficult bits under the bridge-deck
Yoong and Pla sanding difficult bits under the bridge-deck

Summary:  Most of the guys worked under the bridge‑deck all week, wet‑sanding the new gelcoat - a difficult job as they have to work over their heads.  Baw tried a pneumatic sander for a while until it blew a bearing.  Lek worked alone, sanding the aft half of port topsides, another area that was sprayed last week.  He got most of it to 400, so we want the dots filled before they go to finer grit paper.  Team Hacking made excellent progress on the mast (despite Sue's left arm being in a cast), getting the whole thing polished, most of it sanded to 600, and the top half (above the second spreader) sanded to 1000 and coated with Nyalic!  Houa worked in the aft cabins, repairing and epoxying in the bed in port (old whale damage), adding new access hatches under the bed, sticking on new sound insulation, enlarging an access panel so we can get to the fill‑pipes for the port diesel tank, and repairing the starboard engine access hatch.  Several side‑trips were necessary: Sue had to replace her initial cast with one more permanent, and she had to get her expiring passport replaced.  Jon spent a morning helping friends remove their masts, and on Sunday those friends hosted a wonderful BBQ/pool party.

One winged Sue doing her bit on the mast
One winged Sue doing her bit on the mast

Monday, March 11:
Oh no.  Another Monday, and far too soon, as usual.  But that's because Sunday was wonderful and went by too fast.  We had brunch with one set of yachtie friends, and dinner out on the water with other yachtie friends.

We were a bit short staffed today, but it seemed to work out OK, even with Beng and Nai gone.  Lek worked alone most of the day, wet‑sanding port topsides with 320 and 360 grit to knock the tops off the re‑sprayed gelcoat.

Under the boat, Nut had the best position: shirt off, bucket of water, wet‑sanding the high inside topsides of port hull near the bow.  Yoong worked under the bridge deck on the vertical slope of the hull, so he had a bit of limbo to do.

Jon & Amanda polishing mast, Lek & hull reflection in back
Jon & Amanda polishing mast, Lek & hull reflection in back

The toughest jobs were done by Baw and Pla who gamely attacked the horizontal underside of the bridge deck.  They used power sanders to knock the very tops of the gelcoat bumps off, then by afternoon were doing neck and back breaking maneuvers to hand sand the surface over their heads.  Although they are ready to sand that area with 400 grit tomorrow we've agreed that it's best to leave it now, and get the first sanding done on the inside topsides of the sugar‑scoops.  Since the spray was done on Friday it's now been 3 days, and this gelcoat just gets harder and harder. Or, as the men say, "This gelcoat very strong!"

Sue re‑joined the crew today, getting much attention as she arrived with her arm in a soft cast (but no sling).  When she said she had to go back to the hospital on Tuesday for a more permanent cast, Baw and Houa generously offered to make her one out of fiberglass and epoxy.  The final sweet offer: Baw would spray gelcoat on it for her!  Anyway, the one‑armed‑crew was able to manipulate a sanding block with 360 grit and smooth out the mast sections that have been hit with both the big grinder and the polishing wheel.

Jon and Amanda polishing the mast - should finish this week!
Jon and Amanda polishing the mast - should finish this week!

Amanda and Jon spent the day on the grinders, throwing aluminum powder around as they continued their duet (duel?) of polishing/grinding on the mast.  Jon got a break with a dental visit mid‑afternoon, but Amanda plugged away, rocking out to her music on her phone.  They've almost finished the entire top of the mast down to the 2nd spreader.

Houa continued with his insulation project on the engine area.  He spent the day fitting, cutting and gluing those big slabs of rubber and foam.  Bet he'll be glad to return to carpentry work!.

Lek and Nai wet-sanding the port topsides
Lek and Nai wet-sanding the port topsides

Tuesday, March 12:
Slow and steady progress today, with a full contingent of workers, plus the Hacking Team of 3.

Jon and Amanda got totally aluminized on the mast, making good progress.  Jon polished much of the area below the first spreader and Amanda was working between the first and second spreaders.  Everything above the second spreader has already been polished and is ready for sanding.  Sue put in a few hours of sanding before her arm acted up, but got a few more linear feet of 360 grit sanding done, which is a satisfying step after the circular grinders.

Out on port topsides Lek and Nai worked with wet sandpaper to get those first bumps of gelcoat off the entire aft section that was re‑sprayed last week when we saw that the gelcoat hadn't been thick enough to cover all the underlying color.

The tough work - sanding over their heads under the bridge-deck
The tough work - sanding over their heads under the bridge-deck

The really nasty, tough work happened once again under the bridge deck.  Nut and Bank and Yoong were the side wall team, but did not do wet sanding as there were too many electrical wires underfoot.

Pla and Baw were once again on their backs bench pressing the orbital sanders.  They were not happy campers, but did keep at it all day.  They griped that "Mike will put this beautiful picture of Ocelot on his website and say that he sprayed it, but we're the ones making it beautiful!  Spraying is easy!"  They have a point...

We tried to learn why the guys didn't switch off, giving the arms‑up guys a break.  But whether it's a matter of pride, or pecking order, or what, we never figured it out, and everyone maintained their same work position throughout the day.

Jon and Amanda continue their polishing efforts on the mast
Jon and Amanda continue their polishing efforts on the mast

Baw told us that using an air‑powered orbital sander would make things go easier, as then they could use water.  But pneumatic sanders are $250 each here.  So we asked Cris and E‑U about renting some sanders and E‑U said he'll bring some in tomorrow.  They haven't been used in a while so he's not sure they all work, but he'll bring several and we can choose what we want for $2/day each.

Houa was cutting insulation layers and attaching/sealing them to the other stepped pieces of insulation, using contact cement and silicone.  His next job is the cockpit teak, once the rims of the hatches are gelcoated, so we're busy getting quotes and trying to figure out the most efficient way to order and buy the teak.  Amanda did a great job of laying out a schematic of the teak, to keep it as true to the original as possible: meaning the planks all line up fore and aft, all through the many hatches, dividers and even up and down on different levels.  Houa has agreed to do it this way, but hasn't seen the schematics yet.

Baw and Bank futzing with our compressor in the afternoon
Baw and Bank futzing with our compressor in the afternoon

Wednesday, March 13:
Another slow day, hot and humid, with a short burst of rain in the afternoon.  The seasons, they are a changing...

Amanda and Jon started the day on the mast, working below the second spreader to continue their polishing efforts.  Amanda had to leave for most of the morning to take Sue to the hospital to change out her cast for a more permanent one to last the next 3 weeks.  They were back in the afternoon and rejoined Jon on the mast.  By the end of the day, Sue had gotten the top third of the mast textured with 360 grit, and most of the bottom was polished.

Houa with the engine hatch that goes in the port aft bed
Houa with the engine hatch that goes in the port aft bed

Cris, the yard manager, had a bit of a crisis and needed a technician, so he stole Nai back to go work on a French boat, leaving us a bit short‑handed.  Lek continued on the outside of port topside, cutting back the tough gelcoat.  Under the bridge‑deck, Yoong and Nut hand‑ and machine‑sanded the still-shiny new gelcoat.

Baw arrived this morning with a used pneumatic sander.  It's for sale for $120 (about half the new cost) and he wants to split the cost with us, paying us $17/week out of his salary.  It would be good to have, since it is lightweight (good for working under the bridge‑deck) and can be used to wet‑sand (because it's not electric).  It even has a water‑hose attachment.  Unfortunately, it depends on our compressor in order to work, and the compressor is expensive to run.  Still, we ran it all morning, but then our compressor entered its off‑again phase.  Baw, Pla and Bank spent much of the afternoon stripping the carburetor down to its composite atoms, hauling on the starter cord, tinkering with everything, and laughing when the occasional loud "pop!" made Sue and Amanda jump.  If we're going to need that compressor (which is not yet decided) then we should probably buy it a new motor ($275).

Lek has been the only one sanding port topsides recently
Lek has been the only one sanding port topsides recently

Houa got the most visible work done of anyone.  He installed, with Hartford epoxy glue, the aft port bunk.  Yay!  Amanda's cabin is put back together!  What's not immediately visible is the layers of insulation under the bunk, lining the engine room.  The next step is to epoxy some strips of fiberglass around the bunk/hull joint to make sure the bunk stays put.

Thursday, March 14:
A noisy day at the yard, which was good as it was a compressor running!  Just not our compressor...

It's not every day you get paid to spray people with water...
It's not every day you get paid to spray people with water...

Baw and Nut worked in dripping wet clothes under the bridge‑deck all day, using E‑U's compressor and the new pneumatic sander (which takes expensive disks of Velcro‑on sandpaper).  There was much laughing and fun, as they teased us that they needed shampoo, please.  But a lot of work got done, with a lot less arm agony.

Yoong and Bank continued with the wet sanding by hand, using "sunlight" (detergent) in the water to help ease the sanding friction.  By the end of the day, the guys were asking to use spray paint to mark the areas they needed to sand.  We don't want spray paint on any kind of filler, but this would be on hardened gelcoat, so we agreed.  Our white and almost shiny under bridge‑deck reverted to black and spotty by the end of the day.  But it is all for a good cause.

Yoong sanding under the newly sprayed bridge-deck
Yoong sanding under the newly sprayed bridge-deck

Jon, Amanda, and Sue put in more hours on the mast.  Amanda used both the rough polisher disk and the fine one to touch up areas that had been missed, and to finish the whole base area.  Jon and Sue used buckets of water to wet‑sand everything above the second spreader with 400 grit. Once that was done, they moved on to sand with 600 grit.  The goal, weather and boatyard gods allowing, is to get the top of the mast ready for Nyalic on Sunday.

Houa got the port aft bunk epoxied down and then fiberglassed into place.  He has done a great job of working in the interior of the boat, especially given that it's mostly closed up and hot, hot, hot.

Wet-sanding aluminum is hard work!
Wet-sanding aluminum is hard work!

Mike from AME came by in the late afternoon in time for some consultation on the "what's next" question, and of course, to enjoy the afternoon's first cold beer.  The last areas to gelcoat are the cockpit and all of its trim around the (future) teak, and the sugar‑scoops (walls and steps).  Unfortunately, the sugar‑scoops were finished months ago, and have been walked on, climbed on, and had stuff put on them all that time.  They are far from clean or ready to be gelcoated.  We really, really don't want any of the gelcoat lifting off the substrate on the sugar‑scoops.  We've had some problems with that on the decks, from poor preparation.  Mike has suggested his team of workers come down to do the prep work.  It may cost a bit more per day than our guys at the yard, but it will put the onus of responsibility on AME, and they will probably be faster and do the job exactly the way Mike wants it done.

Friday, March 15:
Sue and Amanda had to go to the US Consular representative (who comes down from Bangkok every 3 months) to get Sue's passport replaced, as it's about to expire.  Unfortunately, they come to a hotel that's about an hour away, so Jon had to hold down the fort for the morning.

... but sanding (rock hard) gelcoat above your head is even harder!
... but sanding (rock hard) gelcoat above your head is even harder!

The days this week have become somewhat monotonous.  Lek continued to sand the port topsides with 400 grit.  He's pretty much finished but before he moves to a finer grit, we want the guys to go around and fill any small dips.  If they wait until after they've sanded to a finer smoothness, it's too smooth for the new dots of gelcoat to stick.

Houa was still working on the port aft cabin.  Our diesel tanks are just in front of our engines and we need to connect our new tanks up forward to our existing tanks.  The old access hole in the bottom of a locker is too small to really make it easy to connect new hoses, so Jon asked Houa to enlarge the access hole.

Amanda using a grinder & polishing pad to touch up the mast
Amanda using a grinder & polishing pad to touch up the mast

Baw and his team of 4: Nut, Bank, Yoong and Pla stayed wet and cool under the boat.  Although we had wanted them to sand only until 400 grit and then move to the insides of the sugar‑scoops (which are still untouched and very hard) they have said they want to finish sanding under the bridge‑deck.  They want to get that difficult job behind them, which is fair enough.  The gelcoat on the insides of the sugar‑scoops is now a week old, and probably isn't going to get any harder.

Interestingly, the compressor was silent today.  Baw's new (to him) pneumatic sander has to get oiled before and after each use, or the bearings die.  Although Baw has been oiling it, apparently one of the previous owners didn't, and it started making a horrid noise.  When they stripped it down, they found that indeed, a bearing had died.  Baw can probably replace that bearing, but we're not too wild about that sander.  It uses expensive Velcro‑on sandpaper, it requires petrol to keep the compressor working (E‑U doesn't seem to mind us using his compressor, but we feel a moral obligation to give him something for borrowing it), and our well‑based water supply has too much grit and weed in it to feed into the sander directly.  Instead, a second worker (usually Nut) has to stop sanding and spray water on the area being sanded.  So it's an expensive sander to run.

After polishing, a ripple pattern has to be sanded out of the mast
After polishing, a ripple pattern has to be sanded out of the mast

Baw doesn't have the $120 that the owner wants for the sander - that's more than 3 days wages for him (all of the yard workers live pretty much from paycheck to paycheck).  We're not sure what arrangement was made when Baw picked up the sander, but we'd be quite happy if Baw returned it to wherever he got it.  Returning defective purchases is a novel concept here, and not very common, especially at the sorts of places that the guys shop.  But we don't think very much money has changed hands yet.  We Shall See...

Team Hacking (once they reassembled after lunch) managed to finish wet‑sanding the mast with 600 grit all the way from the top of the mast down to the 2nd spreader (almost half way down).  Amanda all but finished polishing the rest of the mast - she just has some small fiddly bits left in places that are difficult to get a grinder into.   The next step is wet sanding with 1000 and biodegradable detergent, then more washing, drying, and an alcohol wipe before the Nyalic is applied.  But those steps are all best done in one fell swoop, ideally when there's no dust in the air.  To this end, Sue blew all the dust off of Ocelot's decks.  We see another Sunday (with minimal yard dust) in our boat work...

Nut and Pla doing difficult sanding under the bridge-deck
Nut and Pla doing difficult sanding under the bridge-deck

Saturday, March 16:
Everyone was suffering from a major case of TGIS (Thank God It's Saturday) today, so much so that we were minus 4 workers.

Sue arrived first, and early, to be told by Pla (the next to arrive) that Yoong, Bank, Lek and Baw were not coming to work!  Nice to know.  Apparently they all got paid by E‑U yesterday, in anticipation of not being here today.  When Houa arrived he said the same thing, and when Sue asked "Why?" he was at a loss for words, then started to hum the tune of "Here Comes the Bride..."  Apparently the child of a mutual friend is getting married.

Amanda & Jon working on the fiddly bits of the mast
Amanda & Jon working on the fiddly bits of the mast

Jon was up in Au Po Marina and hardstand all morning, a 1‑hour drive north, helping friends take their masts down.  Jon's not a rigger, but he did re‑rig our trimaran by himself in the 80s, and he's done all the rigging work on Ocelot over the years.

While he was gone, Sue and Amanda did a marathon 3 hour sanding of the mast below the second spreader.  They managed to get from the second spreader down to the first spreader (about 15' or 2.8m) in 3 hours of sweaty work.  The afternoon work went slower, as we were into more fiddly bits.  Jon worked on detailing the area around the goose‑neck and line stoppers (a very tricky and annoying job!) towards the base of the mast, while Sue and Amanda cleaned and checked the whole top 1/2 of the mast in anticipation of tomorrow's Nyalic treatment.

Nut and Pla gamely continued sanding under bridge‑deck with 400 (up from 320 and 360 grit).  They had their Thai radio show playing all day, so our ears are full of Thai DJ‑speak.

Amanda applying Nyalic - note dull section still to be done
Amanda applying Nyalic - note dull section still to be done

Houa sanded and epoxied the starboard bunk engine hatch cover.  Then he prepared all the big sheets of black rubber that will go between the insulation layers over the engine.  He also worked on the small new inspection hatches for the aft diesel tanks.

Sunday, March 17:
Working 7 days a week is not something we undertake lightly, but today we had good reason!

With bright blue skies, no clouds, a light breeze, and most important, no other workers in the yard, it was a perfect day for our sensitive Nyalic work on the mast.

Nyalic tools: fresh water, biodegradable detergent, sanding pads, 1000 grit paper, clean rags, Nyalic, ceramic bowl, kitchen gloves
Nyalic tools: fresh water, biodegradable detergent, sanding pads,
1000 grit paper, clean rags, Nyalic, ceramic bowl, kitchen gloves

Sue and Amanda scootered in at 9am and set to work.  First job was to wet‑sand the mast with bio‑degradable detergent and 1000 grit.  Sue took the first pass, followed by Amanda with less detergent.  After that they wiped the mast clean with fresh drinking water (as opposed to the stuff in the hose which exudes sand and green salad bits!)  They then had about a 20 minute wait for the aluminum to dry before they cleaned it again with clean rags and alcohol.

Sue held the ceramic bowl with about 1/4 cup (60cc) of Nyalic, while Amanda used a cloth‑covered brush (to keep the bristles from falling out) to spread the Nyalic.  After days and days of prep work, they finally got to put on the beautifully self‑leveling clear Nyalic coat.  They were done by 11am, and then joined Jon at our favorite café, Flint's One, for a delightful brunch.

The afternoon promised even more fun -- a one‑hour scooter ride (we rented a second scooter for $6) to the Au Po area in NE Phuket for a pool party and BBQ with 6 other cruising friends at a gorgeous condo overlooking Phang Nga Bay.

Thai Refit: Next | Up | 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

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