Friday, October 31, 2014

Just a Drop in the Bucket.

Drip... Drip... Drip.
I'm looking out my window as I work this afternoon. The downpour has lessened to what might be defined as a steady drizzle. ...Nope. I take that back, it's just plain raining.
We've experienced heavier than usual rainfall for October--and November is historically the wettest month of the year. (Just two more winters until the youngest kid graduates--not that anybody's really counting or anything).

After an extensive haul-out last July, we were pleased with the relative water-tightness of our 92-year-old boat (and when speaking about old wooden boats, the term "relative" is always included).

However, four months of sunshine and a relatively dry summer, (and when speaking about summers in the Pacific Northwest, the term "relative" is always included)... Our deck planks were pretty shrunken.
                         Cue rain: drip, drip, drip...

 It's pretty easy to locate the problems below Kwaietek's decks. After living aboard for four years now, we've developed a decent system. And the solutions? Well, they get the job done. Practical? Yes. Elegant? Nope.

Chris: "Hey--has anybody seen any of the dishtowels?"
Juliet: "Well, I've got about four of them in my room. Dad's used a few too."
Chris: "Guys! What the hell?!"
Jeff: (silently leaving the galley).

Good use of blue-tape and dish towels: (overhead of Juliet's bunk).
The decision was made at last to do something about this situation. We'd been avoiding it for the past few winters because, well because yccchh. You know...  It's the same as the old farmer who, when asked why he didn't fix his leaky roof, replied, "In the winter, it's just too wet to fix it and when it ain't rainin' it's as good as any man's roof."

Every November, our marina pals over on the David B always erect a winter cover on their boat. It allows them to work on her all winter and stay dry. It's a practice that is starting to catch on, as I'm seeing the tent-caterpillar-cocoons pop up in several other slips nearby.
Another boat shrink-wrapped for winter

The process entails building a framework for the plastic to cover. Jeff has priced out PVC pipes and a few 2x6's and some 2x4's. The framing will cost about $110. We will label everything so we can re-use it next winter. The heat-shrink plastic will run about $240 to cover our entire 63-foot boat. It comes in one big sheet. The trick is to run a line of rope around the bulwarks; wrap the plastic up and around it and use a heat gun to adhere the plastic to itself, around the line... then you use the heat to tighten the entire cover around the skeleton frame. There are lots of little optional extras, like vents and plastic zipper-doors that can be incorporated into the cover.
Jeff Smith has done this on David B so many times, he could probably do it in his sleep. All in all, it takes about two days--one day for the structure and one day for the plastic shrink-wrap.

David B's structure is in place.

Most of the other boats are using the white plastic, but we are opting for the clear plastic. Since we live on our boat, the extra light and visibility will be a benefit.

Jeffery has big plans for installing a 300-gal. polyethelene livestock trough on the foredeck and using a portable water heater to make a winter-time hot tub for us. That might very well make winters in the marina a wee bit more tolerable...

Anyways, tomorrow we'll head over to Hardware Sales and pick up all of our supplies. By Sunday we should have the skeleton finished and will purchase our plastic. I hope that these howling winds will give us a break long enough to work on deck.

Photos to come!

                                                  ~ Chris

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