Stella - moves outside

With the topsides paint done, it was time to move Stella out into the elements so that the shed reconfiguration could begin (more on this in the next article, as we return to boat-shed related topics).

My neighbour Randy kindly agreed to pull Stella out of the shed and park her off to one side for now – he has a very cool old Land Cruiser pickup that he has restored, so there are more pictures of this boat move than usual!

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Stella - topsides paint is done!

This morning I got the second and final coat of paint on Stella and pulled off the masking tape – she looks great, I think! Not a professional job, but not bad at all for a couple of weeks of spare time – and now I don’t have to be embarassed at launching her.

I don’t think there will be time to launch before the move, but with not much left to do on her, we’ll be ready for right after that.

What is left? Bootstripe paint (have to wait for the topsides paint to harden up, the longer the better, and there’s no rush); deck hardware rebedding; some cleanup in the cockpit; sealing up the floatation tanks with 4200 or the like; replacement of standing rigging (it’s been ordered already); replacement of running rigging (haven’t looked into it at all). Doesn’t seem too daunting…

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Stella - first coat of paint

A few things have changed since my last entry. The first was the colour we are painting the boat – it turns out that Interlux Perfection in red needs to be protected from UV, for which they recommend a “glazecoat”. Googling that (since they don’t mention more than that) I find that in the UK the product literature for Interlux Perfection Plus (which is a two-part varnish) they say it can be used as a glazecoat for Perfection. This would mean additional money for the can of Perfection Plus and additional prep and additional time to put on another coat. Lo and behold I don’t find it to be that important that the boat be red!

After a trip to the store to see what other colours they had in stock, we selected “Fighting Lady Yellow”, which turns out to be a colour that a sport fisherman in Florida was painted, and her name is “Fighting Lady”. It’s a pale yellow (as you can see), and I think it looks quite nice. The only other choices were shades of white or dark blue – and while I love a dark hull, for some reason the Cygnuses I’ve seen with dark blue or black hulls haven’t looked right. Thus the yellow.

The next change was my intended first coat time of yesterday morning. I got out to the boat and got out the paint to mix and let sit while I solvent washed the hull (far too much use of solvents in painting a boat, but at least it’s a small hull). More easily said than done, though – I couldn’t get the can open! The rim unrolled without the lid lifting, and I ended up practically destroying it with vice grips before giving up for the day and returning the mangled can for another one. The second can we opened in the store to be sure, and it had difficulty as well, but finally yielded to a person with more patience and ability than I. We then resealed it lightly, causing me to worry that I wouldn’t get it off again this morning, which turned out to be a needless worry, happily.

So – finally – the first coat went on this morning, and I think it looks great! The paint went on easily and quickly, and of course shows up the imperfections in the hull – but I think this will be a fine example of a “five foot” paint job (meaning it’ll look great from five feet back) – which is more than I had set out desiring, so I’m tickled.

Without further ado (there’s been plenty ‘o that already), here are the pictures – she looks pretty good!

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Stella - second coat of primer on

I had a chance to get the second coat of primer on this morning, so she’s ready for another sanding (this time with 220, as high as I’m going to go) and then the top-coat in red. This second coat filled in most of the rest of the pinholes (it’s amazing how many I missed when I was doing the filling with thickened epoxy) – the rest I think I will never notice again, once the red goes on.

Here’s some pictures, for what they’re worth:

Sanding and first of the topcoats possibly this evening…

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Stella - let the painting begin!

In the past two days I’ve managed to sand down the thickened epoxy from Saturday, discover I needed more in a few places, apply it, sand it down, and go over the whole hull with 180 grit in preparation for priming. I meant to take a photo or twelve at that stage, but found myself with darkness approaching (and natural light in that shed is so much better than artificial) wanting to get the primer on, so I pressed on.

The primer is thinner than I expected (of course maybe if I had thinned it less it wouldn’t be? I don’t know for sure), so I think I’ll do a second coat tomorrow. I have just about enough left out of the quart I bought (one of the beauties of a small boat – a little goes a long way!) to do a second coat, and it’ll only add a day to the project, so what the heck? It’ll be a long time before I have her sanded out this nicely again, so I might as well take a little longer and do the job as well as I can.

Here’s what she looks like tonight – not too exciting, and it seems odd to have worked so hard to get the white paint off, only to put it back on in the form of primer!

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Stella - Nearly ready for paint

After a few more days of sanding (and burning arms), Stella is just about ready for paint. I finished off today by filling in the pinholes I found beneath the gelcoat (where I sanded right through by accident or on purpose) and dings with thickened epoxy. Tomorrow I can sand the filler quickly with 80 grit, then sand the whole hull with 180, and then prime.

The sanding process taught me a few things. The sander I’ve got (Bosch DERS 612) can be switched between random orbital and rotary eliptical – with the rotary mode being much faster for sanding. It has drawbacks, though: it’s much more tiring (harder to hang onto), and it leaves more scratches than with the same grit on random orbital. I started out with 40 grit, on rotary eliptical (I used rotary eliptical despite it’s drawbacks for all of the paint removal), and when I ran out of the 6 or so discs I had of 40 grit I moved on to 80 grit and finished the bulk paint removal with that. When it came time to go over the hull and remove the scratches and swirls with 80 grit on random orbital it took much longer on the part that I had done with 40 grit – to the tune of an hour for 1/3 of the boat vs. 30 minutes for the other 2/3rds.

Here’s an example of what I had to clean up after the 40 grit:

Oh! – and the worst part of the boat to sand – by far! – is the overhang. Despite the Cygnus having almost no overhang, the little bit she does have aft nearly killed me. I think If I could have picked the boat up and been able to stand underneath it would have been better, but sitting on a bucket and holding the sander at roughly top-of-head height was no fun!

Here’s a couple of mottled shots of her with the thickened epoxy on and not sanded – tomorrow I’ll sand (80 grit), then sand (180 grit), then prime.

I also decided to go another route with paint after realizing that I didn’t have time to order anything and would have to paint with what was available in local stores: I’m using Interlux’s two part. The primer is Prime-Kote (I think), and the paint is Perfection (red). We’ll see how it comes out with rolling and tipping.

More tomorrow.

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Stella - the sub-project

I had not intended for Stella to grace these pages at all, since her purpose is as a boat to be sailed while Luna’s restoration continues, not one to be restored herself. I bought her earlier this year when it had become apparent that Luna wouldn’t swim this year, and possibly/probably not next either – and there was an opportunity to get her at a favourable price, on a trailer. Seemed a good idea – that takes the pressure and frustration off of the main restoration, and lets me avoid cutting corners for the sake of getting something sailing. The only trouble with it is that any boat at all requires a little work – and while I thought I could just launch Stella in her current, somewhat down-at-heel state, I couldn’t.

I kept walking past her (she was parked in front of the boat shed, and there has been much activity there related to moving, although none of it on Luna) and thinking about launching – and kept going back to the horrible state of her paint. I couldn’t imagine rowing up to a mooring and getting aboard, and I knew I wouldn’t look back at her as I rowed away – and those are two of my pleasures in sailing, so something needed to be done.

I started by putting a sander against her hull, hoping that I could just smooth her out a little – but as soon as I hit the red paint under the white, and then the red gelcoat under that, I knew that it all had to come off, and a fresh coat of red go on.

This is an example of what prompted me to get painting (you may need to click to get a larger photo to appreciate it)

And this is what she’s looking like now, on the port side.

The starboard side is about half done – although at the stern I haven’t crouched down to get under the hull to get to the waterline yet, and there is lots of detail work, filling and fairing, and sanding through the grits (I started with 40, ran out, and have continued with 80 – will then go over it all on random orbit with 80, then 150, then 220) before the paint can go on. Still – on a boat this small, with the limited time I have (motivating, having deadlines), I hope to have it all done in a week of spare time.

I’ll post here under the Stella section, and post pictures in a gallery of the same name.

Here’s a couple more shots, similar to ones I like to take in the shed…

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