and on with the new… part 2 of the exciting deck repairs on Sea Raven

faired and ready to go

Once the decks were sanded to near perfection, the glass work began… laying down 500sq/ft of fiberglass as your first attempt at anything like that was pretty ambitious for sure, but with ignorance leading the way, we were fine.  Well that and the fact the yard glassing expert was there for the first few hours to lead the way. With Sabi mixing epoxy by the bucket load, and me in old clothes, gloves and knee pads, the masks went on and we went to work.  Now the weather in Napa at that time of year is predictable, overcast in the morning till around 11, then hot for 3-4 hours, until the afternoon onshore breeze picked up. It was like this virtually everyday, except of course the day we had scheduled to re-glass our tennis court…

The wind kicked off first thing in the morning, not too strong, but any breeze makes handling 60″ wide sheets of fiberglass difficult, as if it wasn’t hard enough already!  But we managed. Working our way back from the bows, first wetting out the deck with epoxy, then laying the sheet and soaking it through, leaving a small overlap on each and making sure we got rid of all the bubbles, lumps and bumps with a squeegee and special fiberglassing roller thingy.

Kelly the expert left us at lunch time with half the deck still to go, we kept at it till late in the pm, letting the epoxy harden, then adding another layer to fill the weave of the heavy cloth we had used to do the deck.  As we finished around sundown, almost literally as we finished up the last layer of epoxy resin for the day, the wind stopped dead… gee, thanks….

taping out the non-skid areas

The next morning we woke to a pleasant surprise… There’s a process that goes along with epoxy and hardening where a thing called an amine blush appears, yup, had no idea what it was either, the book didn’t mention it, and neither did our rented expert the day before, but there it was.  A thin layer of wax over the entire deck… turns out the moisture in the air affects how bad it is, and as nobody had filled us in, we got the last layer of resin on late in the day.  Napa is surrounded by swamps.  Brilliant.   So the next day we spent most of it going over our lovely new glassed deck with razor blade scrapers and a sander, getting it all off, nothing will bond to it, and as we had some more fairing to go of course, it had to go!

Once we were happy enough with the finish on the deck, we painted it with a special protectant paint, which helped fill any little holes, and called it good!

the finished deck

When I got back to the boat the following year, it was time to finish it up.  The first step was mark out where the non-skid sections would be and where the “shiny” parts were.  The non-skid or grip deck is there so that, as the name suggests, you don’t fall flat on your butt whenever a little water shows up on the deck, which happens a lot on a boat as you mighty guess.  Another roll of masking tape later and things were ready to paint.  You can see in the pictures the lovely rounded corners on the areas where the grip deck was going, strangely these rounded edges match those of a beer bottle perfectly… weird… Anyways, the traditional no-skid option on a boat basically amounts to sand in paint, ok so the expensive brand name ones are a little more refined that this, but generally you have to add something abrasive to some kinda paint and hope you get a uniform spread.  I found online something that seemed, and turned out to be, a little better, and it was called Kiwi-Grip.  I  explained AGAIN to the Americans that a kiwi is a little brown bird with wings that don’t work and NOT a little green fruit, and that the bird was our national emblem and THAT was why people referred to us as kiwis, they got the name, or at least said they did.  I’m sure they thought I was painting our decks green, but whatever…

Super easy to apply, literally tape out where it goes, roll it on with their fancy roller – which isn’t really that fancy, you can get it at home depot- and peel up the tape, done!

With the deck painted it was time to put the mast back up, i figured it would take me a solid weekend to rerun the halyards, run the electrical and wind instrument wires and reconnect the new rigging, ROFLMAO!  It took me almost 2 weeks, and a lot of patience and swearing of course, I am a sailor…


the new decks from up high

But it all came together, both masts up, with shiny new standing rigging attached, and a whole new look for the old girl! Well at least on the outside anyways!


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