Thursday, July 16, 2015

Alberg 30 refit: Wet Hull

Now that all the paint bottom paint has been removed, (well about 90%, I still have a small section left on the starboard side) I can begin to formulate a plan to repair the blisters. But that repair is going to have to wait a bit...
...because after getting down to the gelcoat and letting the boat sit for a few days these dark spots started to appear on the hull.

I smeared them with my finger to make them go away thinking it might have been dew or something. 

Well that wasn't it either; the dark spots returned. So I believe there is water in the gelcoat and the fiberglass laminate. The paint must have been holding the moisture in. I do not believe it is a lot of moisture but I will have to let it dry out before beginning repairs. Epoxy will not adhere to the hull unless it is completely dry. I am ok with this since I am in no rush. The boat is covered and has been out of the water for a year now. Actually, having said that..I really do need to get moving!
That big white spot is the previous owner's attempt at filling an old hole in the boat where there used to be a saltwater intake to the galley sink. The patch worked but it was not done properly. I believe all he did was fill the hole with an epoxy putty and some of it was still wet when I sanded over it. I was always a bit leery of the repair because of other things the previous owner had done in a similar slap-dash manner.  I will have to grind all that out and repair it correctly. 

So on to the next big job: Removing all the deck fittings, hand rails, stanchions and teak from the topside decks.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Happy 4th of July 2015

Happy 4th of July!
Happy Independence Day, America!

This picture was taken May 22nd while on the ferry. I have actually seen a few fireworks shows this year while running the ball park ferry. I hope everyone has a safe a fun 4th. I wish we could be with friends and family but I have been called in to run an extra ferry to handle tonight's fireworks show in Norfolk.
On to boat work update:
This what I started with yesterday, a scraped starboard side

 And this is how the boat looked after about 4 hrs of sanding! 

I have question all you Good Old Boat guys, there appears to be a red gelcoat  stripe all the way around the boat at the original waterline? The boot stripe on the boat appears to be 3-4 inches higher than the original waterline. I heard that some Alberg 30 sterns appeared to sit low in the water. Our Sal did not. She sat quite nicely; I wonder if this is because someone altered the waterline. 

Because I did not want to get too dirty working on the bottom I decided to take more stuff off the boat in preparation for work inside. Salacia has a small volume interior compared to some 30ft boats and I am still amazed at how much stuff can be stored! I feel like we've already offloaded so much and there's still more to be done, 

Work continues, and I am hoping that the nastiest part of the job is just about over, as I finish up the bottom paint removal process. I will then begin repairs on the bottom in preparation for her barrier coat.

Have a safe and relaxing holiday weekend!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Bottom paint removal, starboard side & a Couple of Young Cruisers

It's been really hot here the last few weeks. Humidity has accompanied the heat, and heat indexes have been well over 100 for several days now. Regardless, today I just could no longer stand not getting anything done on the boat. I suited up when I got home and started the starboard side.

I am happy to report that this side of the boat's gelcoat seems to be in much better shape. You can see that the blue gelcoat extends much further down the hull and there does not seem to be as many blemishes. What a relief!

Armed with the scraper, I got to scraping.

A little elbow grease, sweat and determination was all that was needed!

Heat and paint scraping aside, I met some like-minded cruisers yesterday. After finishing my shift on the ferry I noticed this salty-looking cruiser had pulled into the free docks in Portsmouth. I had to go over and talk to the crew. I was immediately greeted by two friendly cruisers, Andy and Anna, who were sailing their sturdy Mariner 31, Jumble. They were headed to New England from San Diego, CA. They invited me aboard (I was curious to see their stove arrangement), and I could have chatted with them all night. We exchanged blog info and I snapped this photo before heading home. Follow them at
Fair winds Guys!!! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Bottom paint removal continued and hull blisters

This evening I finished up the nasty dirty paint removal task on the port side of the hull. During the last few months I have been pretty busy with work, family and other projects and I was becoming frustrated and worried that the refit would never progress. I had piddled around here and there but no major tasks were getting done. Fortunately, this has changed. I made it a priority to get this refit rolling.

I had been using a 6" sander to remove the paint. That thing made all kinds of dust. It removed the paint but was a bear to use. I decided to try scraping a majority of the paint. This turned out to be a great decision. In about 4 hours time I had scraped almost the entire side. 

After scraping a majority of the paint, sanding with a 5" Bosch orbital sander made getting to the gelcoat quite easy. Another 4 hours and I had 2/3 of the port side hull down to the gelcoat.

Working away at little bit at a time, I put in 2 hours last night.

Using the trailer as a bench and stool has come in quite handy.

Another angle of the sanded hull

Here's where the bad news starts. My Alberg is full of blisters (water intrusion), This is a good example of one. From what I can tell this is not a new problem and one that someone tried to repair long ago...about 6 layers of bottom paint ago to be exact, so maybe 20 years ago....who knows???

You can see the hull issues better in this photo. That discolored area which extends all the way to the stern seemed to be some severe crazing, and is full of blisters

The red dots appear to be old blisters that were filled and the other dots are new blisters. 

As you can see from the pictures I am making progress. I seemed to have opened a can of worms here on the hull. I surely want to fix the issues as best I can, but I also want to be sensible about the repair. I am devising a plan now to use West System epoxy for the repairs, and until then I'll be sanding the starboard side. More to follow!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Bottom paint removal

And I've already run into an issue. I started working on the bottom, beginning with the nasty job of removing bottom paint. When I got Sal out of the water I realized she has between 5-6 layers of paint. This being the dirtiest job, I decided to tackle it first. Upon inspection of the hull I noticed some weird coloring where the paint had chipped or cracked away. I decided to start where I noticed this weird coloring.

That small white area is where I started. Small pin holes and the funny looking pattern immediately had me concerned.

Sanded a small area, the odd pattern and pin holes seemed to be wide spread. Can of worms opened! 

As I began to remove the paint I quickly realized that this was going to be way more nasty than I ever imagined. Blue dust was everywhere. I did have a respirator but that was not nearly enough. A few days later with a the proper PPE I decided to investigate that area more. I began sanding with a 6 inch disc sander. Very good tool for the job. Within an hour I had removed about a 4' x 3' area and the odd pattern just kept going. I was looking for the original gelcoat and it was nowhere to found. The gelcoat is the outer protective layer of fiberglass boats, that seals and protects the fiberglass. My immediate thought was that the boat had suffered some damage in the area. I was starting to get worried.

This is the area I sanded. Almost 2 hours of nasty work. 

This is a close-up of what I found

I decided to stop because I was getting pretty discouraged with how widespread the affected area was. I sent a few pictures of it to people I consider "Plastic Classic" (old fiberglass boat) gurus. After a few days of emails and a few calls the general consensus was that the boat was not damaged and I was just seeing crazed/cracked, thinned gelcoat. These pin holes were voids in the layup between the gelcoat and the fiberglass. It seems as though somewhere in Sal's past someone sanded way into the gelcoat. At this point I am still weighing options about how to address the issues I found, but in the meantime I have to finish sanding the hull. I hope to have it completed soon. I believe I can do it in a week if I just buckle down.
Stepped back a bit to get a better view, have a lot of work ahead of me!

I have been pretty busy away from the boat with everyday life. I picked up quite a few extra hours captaining the ferry to get some money into the refit fund. I also had a milestone birthday (40!) and we had some special family members come for visits. I will blog about that in coming days.

Take care~

Saturday, April 4, 2015

(Boat) Traffic Everywhere

A look down the Elizabeth River. 
Most times you won't see anything at all when passing by it in a car, but working out on the river is a different story. Tugs, tankers and pleasure craft seem to be everywhere. The ferry I pilot on the weekends is not very nimble, nor is it very fast and I try to stay out of the way because these work boats are even less maneuverable.
 Below are some pics of the river traffic I encounter.

These pics are just a few examples of what it looks like when working out on the river. When a boat is close by, I'll keep the ferry at the dock and let them pass. This removes any guess-work for both myself and the other pilots. And besides, I enjoy watching these boats.

Not much happening in the way of sailboat refitting. I did begin the process of getting Sal ready. I washed her decks down and vacuumed all the nooks and crannies. She got quite dirty last fall; every leaf that fell from our willow trees made its way onto her decks. I tried to keep up with cleaning them off but was quickly overcome. I gave up until her shelter was in place then went to work. Here are a few pictures of what she looks like today:

I have also rigged a lighting system within the tent, to illuminate the workspace during nighttime work. 
Now she is just waiting for us to get started. I am formulating a plan. 

Thank you for following and stay tuned!