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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

72 Polish Bridgedeck

Lek cleaning out tiny dimples before filling them with gelcoat
Lek cleaning out tiny dimples before filling them with gelcoat

Summary:  Lek did a great job on the port topsides, working all by himself as he wet‑sanded with 400, 600, 800, and 1200 grit paper, repairing the inevitable small gelcoat defects along the way.  Jon started sanding the gelcoat at the waterline, fairing it into the hulls.  This turned out to be a tough job that he eventually handed off to Nut.  He also spent time polishing the mast spreaders and finger sanding the fiddly bits at the base of the mast.  Houa built up some 4‑layer sound insulation and glued it to the undersides of both engine hatches.  He reinforced the starboard aft bed and replaced all of the headliner supports in all 4 cabins, modifying them to go around our new hatches.  Then he started removing some of the damaged wood from the middle of our old cockpit table.  Baw, Nut, and Pla spent much of the week wet‑sanding under the bridge‑deck, another difficult job.  But on Friday they were able to polish the aft section, which lifted everyone's spirits.  Bank and Yoong wet‑sanded the insides of the topsides, making good progress.  Sue sanded much of the mast 1‑handed, but making great progress, and on Sunday she and Jon were able to paint Nyalic from the 2nd spreader down to the rope‑clutches.  Amanda spent much of the week chipping away at poorly adhered gelcoat on top of the cabin, a distressing discovery.  The yard buried a tire with a rope around it for us, giving us a better support for our tent.

Jon fairing the 1.5mm (.06") thick topside gelcoat into the hull
Jon fairing the 1.5mm (.06") thick topside gelcoat into the hull

Monday, March 18:
This sanding of the gelcoat (and the mast) feels a bit endless, as we don't have the next gelcoat spray scheduled, and the sanding just goes on and on.  But the good news is that yesterday's Nyalic coating looks great!

Yoong was absent all day but we had most of our workers this morning: Baw, Pla, Nut and Bank still attacking the under‑bridge‑deck with 400 grit.  Baw has apparently returned the broken pneumatic sander, and is out no money.  That's good, but it does mean everything is once again by hand.  Baw took the afternoon off, so it was just 3 guys under there, but they are almost finished.  Tomorrow we hope to see efforts going into repairing the small, inevitable gelcoat defects.

Out on port topsides, Lek was still working alone, but he managed to finish the whole aft section of the topsides that Mike had re‑sprayed.  At the end of the day he had a razor knife in hand, and was scraping out the tiny defects in the gelcoat and had filled them with dots of new gelcoat.  Then he started marking up the whole hull (again) with pencil, so he knows where he's sanded.  He'll start with 600 grit tomorrow.

Amanda chipping off non-adhering gelcoat from the cabin top
Amanda chipping off non-adhering gelcoat from the cabin top

Sue worked one‑handed on the lower mast, wet‑sanding with 360 grit to take out the polisher marks.  Amanda joined her after lunch.  We're getting there, but it's a long, hard road...

Jon found out just how hard the new ISO‑2500 gelcoat is when he sanded the port outer water line with the orbital sander.  Almost impossible with 120 grit, and even 80 grit was worn away in minutes.  The goal here is to fair the new 1.5mm (.060") gelcoat layer into the phenolic/epoxy filled hull so we don't have a step from one to the other.  It should be pretty easy but the gelcoat is rock hard.  Did we mention we should have bought shares in a sandpaper company?

Houa got a lot of thick rubber insulation cut, and the epoxy‑coated engine hatches (from the starboard cabin) sanded and ready for the gluing on of 4 layers of insulation.

Lek sponges water on his sanding of the port topsides
Lek sponges water on his sanding of the port topsides

Tuesday, March 19:
A busy, full‑staff day at the yard!  We were happy to have Yoong back.  He worked hard on the rock‑hard gelcoat on port aft inner topsides and at the end of the day had finished the whole area with 240 grit sandpaper, getting all the spray bumps flattened.

Out on port topsides Lek continued to work alone, today sanding the entire aft section with 600 grit.  Moving right along, with pencil swirls telling him (and us) just where he has been and has yet to go.

Nut & Baw cleaning out tiny holes to fill them with gelcoat
Nut & Baw cleaning out tiny holes to fill them with gelcoat

Under the bridge‑deck the neck‑breaking work continued, with Pla, Nut and Baw finishing the removal of the black spray paint with 400 grit sandpaper in the early morning.  They washed down the entire under deck area and wiped it dry then began the meticulous job of preparing each little defect, pinhole, or scrape for its new touch up of gelcoat.  They used razor blades or Jon's Ryobi battery drill to scratch out the pinholes to remove the surface wax so the new gelcoat will stick, and of course they finger sanded larger spots.  They got the whole area finished before lunch.  After lunch they wiped the whole area with acetone and applied the gelcoat, using tiny sharpened sticks to get it deep into the holes.

Bank and sometimes Pla worked on sanding the vertical inner topsides with 400 grit.  Not sure what the status is in terms of little defect repairs.

Houa got a lot done on the engine room insulation, and we hope to see that installed soon.  We also had a long talk with him about various options for laying the teak decking in the cockpit.  Seems the Thai method is not the same as the DIY method we've seen on internet searches.  More research to do, and some decisions to make.

Different sized rings to see what radius we want on the nonskid
Different sized rings to see what radius we want on the nonskid

Sue sanded the mast from the second spreader down to the first spreader with 600 grit, so that area is now ready for the Great Nyalic Event, scheduled for some Sunday when there are no cars or other dust‑making people around.  Then she finished sanding from the first spreader almost all the way to the base of the mast with 400 grit.  Tough work, and the sun kept popping out from behind the big casuarina tree which made it too hot to work there.  But 1 more day or less, and the whole bottom part of the mast should be ready for the final sanding with 1000 grit and application of the Nyalic.

Amanda moved rooms today (same building, different apartment), so she didn't get in until after lunch.  She gamely settled on the cabin top with a scraper and attacked the edges of gelcoat that are not adhering.  This is a hot, dirty job, with bits of tough gelcoat flying all about and sticking to her skin!   It's also a bit disheartening, as everything that comes up is evidence of poor surface preparation somewhere earlier in the process.  But, the goal is to find all the places that need fixing, get them all sanded back, cleaned up, super cleaned up, and re‑sprayed.  Patience.  Patience.

Burying a tire to anchor the east end of our tent
Burying a tire to anchor the east end of our tent

Jon spent the day on several projects, and many scooter errands to the local hardware store for supplies.  We discussed the size of the gutters that will rim the sugar‑scoop steps and the areas between the imbedded ladder rungs.  Jon made several rings of various sizes so we could see how differently sized corners for the nonskid will look.  He also used a nifty tool to scribe some of the lines of where we want the gutters and nonskid to go.  We still have a lot of work to do on this all over the decks and cabin top, but we need the gelcoat repairs to be done first.  At the end of the day Jon finished sanding the waterline on starboard outer hull, so that the gelcoat is now faired smoothly into the hull.

The yard owners were putting up a tent over the aluminum catamaran next to us, and buried a tire with a rope around it to tie down the east end of the tent.  The east end of our tent has been held down with long lines to 4 stakes that Jon pounded into the soft sand, but they're not as strong as a buried tire and the long lines take up more room than the yard likes.  So late in the day they buried a tire for us.  It's got 2 ropes on it which Jon tied to the 4 ropes we have coming down from the east side of our tent.  It should be stronger than our previous stakes.

The camaraderie of working together on a difficult task
The camaraderie of working together on a difficult task

Of course, now the winds are shifting around as the southwest monsoon comes in, but we're pretty well covered there.  To the south we're tied to a couple of big trees (those 3 lines also hold up the tent extension over the mast) and to the west we're tied to the top of the concrete toilet block.

Wednesday, March 20:
A hot day with cloudless skies and a cooling breeze from the ... southeast?  A new kind of monsoon?

We had our full contingent again today, although Lek left after half a day.  But in the morning he finished sanding with 600 on the aft section of port topsides, and got small dit dots of gelcoat put into small pinholes that had revealed themselves with this finer sanding.  Yes, he dug them out with a razor blade before wiping with acetone and dabbing on the gelcoat.

Amanda chipping poorly adhering gelcoat off the foredeck
Amanda chipping poorly adhering gelcoat off the foredeck

Under the bridge‑deck we had Bank working on the forward section with 600 grit paper.  On the aft section we had Nut, Pla and Baw wet sanding with 800 grit.  Things sure move faster with the finer (higher numbered) sandpaper.  They are ready to move up to the next finer papers tomorrow.  Yay!

Yoong continued with the muscle‑aching job of doing the first sand on the inner topsides on the aft starboard side.  He was working with 240 grit sandpaper because of the toughness of the well‑cured gelcoat.

Amanda spent the morning up on deck (which is hotter than down below, due to the heat trapped under the tent).  She was still wielding the rounded scraper to find all the non‑adhering gelcoat up on the foredeck.   A discouraging job, but it has to be done.  In the afternoon she joined Jon with the polisher/grinders down in the shade.  Together they finished the coarse and fine polishing of several of the mast spreaders.  These have to be hand sanded and then treated with Nyalic, just like the mast, before we can proceed with rigging the diamonds.

Jon polishing up one of our spreaders
Jon polishing up one of our spreaders

Sue took advantage of the afternoon shade on the base of the mast to attack again with 400 grit and a bucket of water.  At the end of the day she asked Nut and Bank to finger sand the old paint off the intricate inner curves of the cleats, a job she can't do with a glass cut on the finger of the right hand and her left in a cast!

Houa got more engine insulation pieces mounted, and he also braced and reinforced the starboard aft bunk, which was actually cracked.

Sue sanding a spreader with her good arm
Sue sanding a spreader with her good arm

Jon left the yard at 4pm to go help some cruising friends understand how best to use the Google Earth Plugin for our navigation program, OpenCPN.  Enough people have asked that Jon is now working on a new webpage that explains this process in detail.  Look for it to show up in our Cruising Info section soon!

Thursday, March 21:
Another hot day at the yard.  Temperatures hit 38C (99F).  Sweat city.

Amanda started the morning up on the cabin top with more chipping of non‑sticking gelcoat.  After 3 hours of that picky, sweaty job she was covered in little white crispy gelcoat bits.  Sue was up there with Amanda, but she was wielding a broom and vacuum.  It's amazing how much grit and dirt (dust) blows up onto the top of the boat from the sandy yard.

After sanding with 800, port hull is starting to show reflections
After sanding with 800, port hull is starting to show reflections

Mike from AME came by with 2 of his workers to show them what we want done on the cockpit and sugar‑scoops to prepare them for the next gelcoat spraying.  We don't want any more trouble with the gelcoat not sticking, and it's possible our local team just doesn't "get it" about how meticulously clean and well sanded the substrate has to be.  We'll see what the quote is, and see how that matches with our estimate for our team to do the work.

Our team was hard at work again today with 800 and 1200 grit sandpaper both under the bridge‑deck and out on port topsides, where Lek worked alone.  Both areas are beginning to look wonderfully shiny, and there are still a few more steps in the polishing to do!

Houa rearranging headliner supports to avoid the new hatch
Houa rearranging headliner supports to avoid the new hatch

Houa has moved his attention to the plywood strips that hold the headliner panels in place in the forward cabins.  The whole pattern of Velcro‑covered strips has to be re‑designed now that we have bigger hatches overhead in those forward cabins.  Houa could have bought " (20mm) plywood, but we don't need anywhere near a whole sheet, so he set about saving us money by building up multiple layers of marine ply to create the correct thickness.

Jon split his day between polishing more of the mast spreaders and power sanding the waterline on the port hull so that the gelcoat is fair with the hull.  Jon managed to get most of the way down the outside of port hull, but this ISO 2500 gelcoat is hard as rock!

Friday, March 22:
A ho‑hum start to the day, then exciting advances in the afternoon!

Love the reflections in the polished gelcoat under the bridge-deck
Love the reflections in the polished gelcoat under the bridge-deck

Lek is slowly making his way up the sandpaper grits on the port topsides, today wet sanding with 800 and then 1200.  Under the bridge‑deck is where the real excitement happened.  While Pla and Yoong continued on the inner topsides near the bow, the rest of the team worked on 1200 and 2000 grit from back to the middle of the bridge‑deck.  By the end of the day, Baw, Bank and Nut were taking turns wielding the heavy polisher(!) applying Solar polishing paste and giving our undersides an amazing SHINE!  Yay new gelcoat!  Very beautiful and exciting.

Hoau also had a landmark day, having finished replacing and re‑positioning the supports for the forward cabin headliners.  When we put the larger hatches into the forward cabins to increase the ventilation, they cut through some of the headliner supports, so those supports had to be reworked.  It was not a difficult job for Houa, and he finished soon after lunch.

Spreader arms & etc, waiting to be polished
Spreader arms & etc, waiting to be polished

Then Houa pulled down our cockpit table to take a look at it.  He took it apart, and was soon figuring out what to save, what to replace, and how.  The table is teak, rimmed with a beautiful bent teak laminate.  The rim is fine but the interior of the table halves are just plywood with teak veneer.  Years of sun and rain and moist atmosphere have taken their toll, and some of the plywood has rotted.  Houa got out the sander and smoothed back some of the old wood.  He thinks he can save 3 of the 4 sides of the table (it folds onto itself), and maybe only replace the teak in the interior of the upper piece which was so often exposed to the weather.  Very exciting, and we're sure he's happy to be doing some real wood craftsmanship again.

Sue and Amanda put in a few hours polishing the aluminum spreaders for the mast, and then took off during lunch to go to Phuket town.  The goal was to locate some reasonable fabric with which to cover the (new) mattresses for the cabins.  Thalang Street, in downtown Phuket, is noted for its fabric shops.  Unfortunately, they hit all 6 of them and found that they stock mainly clothing fabrics.  Remembering the Fijian fabrics and African fabrics we saw when we were in those areas, we were hoping to get something on the beds that reminded us of Thailand.  But it may not happen.

Pla & Yoong sanding the difficult forward end of the bridge-deck
Pla & Yoong sanding the difficult forward end of the bridge-deck

Jon spent the morning taking the dimensions of some of our mast tangs.  Most of them are just aluminum bars with a hole for the rigging components (mostly the diamonds).  But some of the holes have stainless steel inserts, and some of the other holes have become elongated, indicating that they really need inserts.  The inserts can be made ahead of time in any machine shop, but we're hoping to find a machine shop that's willing to come to the boatyard to drill out the tangs and press in new stainless steel inserts.  It requires very accurate drilling and a portable hydraulic press (and a willingness to think creatively, which Thais seem to do pretty well).  We Shall See...

Baw & Bank filling pinholes, Amanda chipping gelcoat
Baw & Bank filling pinholes, Amanda chipping gelcoat

Jon also got in some time with the orbital sander on the waterline.  He finished fairing in the gelcoat on the outer port waterline, so he now only has the 2 inside waterlines left to do.  Catamarans sure have lots of waterline!

Saturday, March 23:
A busy Saturday with all the workers showing up at 8:15, having been read the riot act by Cris.  He pointed out that if the workers wanted to be paid for 8 hours, they need to work 8 hours.  This was prompted by us asking Cris how many hours the workers are supposed to work.  They put in a pretty full day, but it was Saturday, and clean‑up started at 4:30!

Jon handed the waterline power sanding job off to Nut, who worked his way down the inside of starboard hull.  He originally eschewed Jon's setup of masking all but 1" (25mm) of the sandpaper, to protect the phenolic just below the gelcoat, but when Jon pointed out that he was damaging the phenolic, Nut understood the value of Jon's setup.

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

Jon spent most of the day with his hands in water wrapped around a sanding block.  We're getting ready to do a Nyalic application tomorrow, and it would be nice to be able to coat the mast all the way from the second spreader to the bottom.  But all the intricate cleats, brackets, winch base, etc make the bottom of the mast a very complicated and difficult area to prepare.  We may just Nyalic to the line clutches, and save the base for next time.

Amanda began the day up on the deck with more gelcoat removal, and in the afternoon she joined Jon at the base of the mast.  Since we couldn't get the polishing disks on the grinders into some of the nooks and crannies, much of the base of the mast had to be hand sanded, sometimes with pretty coarse sandpaper, like 80 grit.  Then they had to work their way up through 120, 240, 400 and finally 600 grit sandpaper.  It's looking much better, but there are some places that are visible that we can't get to at all, like under the winch bases.  We'll just have to do the best we can...

Houa getting creative with his router on our cockpit table
Houa getting creative with his router on our cockpit table

Our gelcoat teams were still working under the bridge deck from the bow back to the centerline, to the area they'd polished yesterday.  Much of the work was wet‑sanding, but Baw and Bank also did some pinhole repairs, Bank using a bird's feather to place the dots of gelcoat.  Baw used the Ryobi drill to "sand" the pinholes on the tip of starboard bow.  They figure 1 more week to have the whole under‑bridge‑deck area polished.  Lek, who was still working alone on port topsides, finished sanding with 1200 grit, so he's moving along nicely.

Houa had fun with the sanding of the cockpit table.  After his initial examination, we determined that the bentwood teak laminate around the edges of the table are fine, but 2 of the 4 table surfaces need new teak.  He began by routering long lines into the plywood and teak veneer so that he could easily chisel out the remaining strips.  He'll replace the thin veneer of teak with " (6mm) thick teak strips, which should be much more durable.  Then he wants to seal everything in epoxy and give it several good coats of protective varnish.  It should look awesome!  It sort of violates our rule of "no exterior varnish" but it will be protected under the bimini so shouldn't need much maintenance (we hope).  Towards the end of the day Houa got creative with some "tatooing" in the wood, drawing designs with his router.

Jon painting Nyalic on the cleaned mast
Jon painting Nyalic on the cleaned mast

Sunday, March 24:
Our second Sunday in a row, but it's so satisfying to get the mast all beautiful with Nyalic!

Because Amanda has her friend Liz visiting from Seattle, it was Sue and Jon who went to the yard before Sunday brunch.  They washed the mast with hose water to removed the week's grit.  Then they wet sanded with 1000 grit to get all the sanding cuts in a line for a smoothly burnished look.  After that, it was a biodegradable detergent wash and finally a rinse with fresh drinking water (which comes in 20 liter jugs for about 50).  Once the mast air dried, they used clean rags to wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol.  With both Sue and Jon brushing, they made good time getting a coat of Nyalic all the way from the second spreaders down past the first spreader and all the way to the line clutches (Spinlocks) near the winches at the base of the mast.

Jon, Sue, Amanda and Liz met for brunch at Flint's One Bakery (a Sunday tradition) then took a rental car up to north eastern Phuket to see the Gibbons Rehabilitation Project and to climb the forested path to Bang Pae Waterfall.

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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