|Brunswick Sunset by the highway|
When we last left our hero he had blasted out of Florida bound for North Carolina fueled by high octane inspiration having spent a week on the water aboard Wade’s boat.
After riding with Wade back up to St. Augustine, from Stuart, I reset the camper van for travel and headed north. I stopped in Brunswick, GA at a Flying J Truckstop where I’ve slept many times; only this time not in the sleeper of a semi-tractor. From there, I pushed on to Navassa, NC and was finally back to the boatyard, back to my boat, sv Ruth Ann. The first priority was to sort through my stuff; what I had in the camper van and what was in the trailer next to the boat. A few tools I knew I was going to need were buried in the nose of the trailer. While I had been hiding from Winter in Florida, I had developed a preliminary project list based on my memory. Now that I was finally back, I needed to crawl around the boat, get my bearings, and compile an up-to-date list of jobs.
Also, the weather has occasionally reminded me that I arrived here a little early. Sometimes it is still downright cold! I've decided that I will persevere, do what I can when I can. I have, however, found a hostel over in Wilimington; an inexpensive spot where I can escape when it gets really damn cold. I'm actually here in the hostel the third weekend of February, 2020. There was a little snow in the air during the wee hours this morning and tonight it's going to be about 26 degrees!!!
|Arriving after dark.|
Painting the bottom obviously has to be done while the boat is out of the water. The thruhulls were in bad shape and needed to be replaced before the bottom gets painted, so I’ve started there. Production boat companies, even the good ones, have always had the bad habit of cutting corners regarding so-called “skin fittings.” These are the valves that let water in or out of the boat through the “skin” of the hull. This is, of course, right where you would not want a leak. You would think that good hardware done well would be the norm. Alas, boat builders of “classic plastic” boats used a ball valve screwed on top of a threaded thruhull. This practice was not just lacking in structural integrity, the threads on the two parts are actually mismatched and cannot seal perfectly. Skin fittings done this way, especially done decades ago, are a weak link.
|36 Year Old Ball Valve|
|Under the Galley Sink|
While I was having all that fun with bronze fittings, whenever it was raining or too cold, I was inside the cozy camper van working on the dyneema deadeyes that will help hold up the mast. Also this week, I did some cleaning; I sealed some leaks. Boat parts were ordered; projects were recorded and prioritized. I got some keen advice from my boatyard neighbors about cleaning my oxidized fiberglass hull. I also finally removed the “Afraid Knot” name from the transom and began removing the boot stripes.
|Sometimes you have to force it.|
Once the seacocks are installed, I can paint the bottom. I’m going to raise the waterline an inch and a half or so, then apply a barrier coat before the bottom paint goes on. I’ve already talked with the boatyard about getting my mast down for the next big job. The mast has to come down for re-rigging and rewiring, but that will be a couple weeks and another post.
I’ve learned not to discuss dates, but I am super excited how fast Ruth Ann is coming together.
|A little polishing still needed.|
Thanks. I’ll post details when they are ready.