Prepping to Paint the Deck

This weekend the main goal was to paint the decks. Next weekend is the 60th anniversary of the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron, and we’ll be going to fancy Velasis Marina to attend the party, so we want Watari looking her best. Saturday I spent the entire morning and afternoon masking off all the deck fittings then painting the waterways (smooth parts around fittings which allow water to run off the deck).

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In the afternoon I took a break to have lunch and pick up some more supplies. I walked a couple kilometres up the coast to the next town Hota, where there’s a supermarket/hardware store. Hota has a large dock and famous seafood restaurant. Yacht owners often tie up here while they have lunch:

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I had a look at the seafood restaurant, but the lineup was too long so I gave up on eating there. I did have a nice chat with a couple who’s daughter is currently studying in Vancouver (hi Tomi!). Instead I walked to the other side of the bay and had a great fish lunch for ¥1300.

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After lunch I found that the waterways were dry, so I masked over them to prepare for painting the non-skid deck paint. I’m using Kiwigrip for the non-skid, mostly because it’s the best option for covering over the horrid, rough, uneven blue paint the previous owner slapped on.

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It was dark when I finished masking over the waterways, so I had a quick dinner and worked on another project I’ve been meaning to do for a while, installing an automatic bilge pump float switch:

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This switch floats up when the water level in the bilge gets too high, triggering the pump, then switches off when the level is low enough. With the solar panel and charge controller in place to keep the battery topped up Watari can now take care of herself, even for months at a time, in theory. The trick with a system like this is to get the level of the switch right so that it switches off before the pump intake runs dry. I tested the system by opening the intake valves on the head (marine toilet) allowing it to overflow and flood the bilge (incidentally, many boats have sunk this way when someone forgot to close the head intake valves correctly). The switch activated and pumped the bilge nearly dry, easily overcoming the water inflow. Success! I also wired a manual switch so I can override the float switch and pump the bilge completely dry if desired.

The next morning I got up early looking forward to finally painting the decks and getting rid of that horrible blue… only to find that it was raining, despite a weather forecast for sun. I figured it would clear up soon, so while waiting I borrowed a kayak from Sekine-San and paddled out to one of the nearby islands. I climbed up to the peak and enjoyed an eagle’s view of the gray, rainy Harbour. Kiwako came out to lend a hand mid-morning, and as soon as the rain quit we got started painting the forward deck:

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… and that’s as far as we got. The rain started up again and kept up off and on all afternoon, so the little bit we painted never dried. In between rain showers I tackled  another project, mounting the new butane stove to the old gimballed mount. The old stove was gone when I got the boat, but it seems to have been a large two-burner propane stove. I’m of the school that believes propane doesn’t belong on a boat, so pulled out the corroded propane hose and mount during the interior painting. For now I picked up a cheap butane stove. At some point I’d like to replace it with a good kerosene stove, but we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, the new stove was unmounted and tended to slide around, so I made this mount for it:

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It worked out great, the stove is screwed down but gas canisters can still be easily replaced, and the gimballed bracket keeps the stove level while the boat heels. Later on I’ll cover the whole thing with aluminum foil for easy cleaning.

It was then past lunch so we made a pot of noodle soup, first meal on the newly mounted stove 🙂

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By the time we ate it looked like we would have to give up on painting for the day, so we decided to go for a little cruise in front of the harbour. The forward deck paint was still wet so we could only use the mainsail, and with the light breeze we were barely moving, but it was still a very pleasant, relaxing afternoon!

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We sailed around to the other side of the island in front of the harbour, where there are some interesting caves made in the soft sandstone through wave action:

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As as the sun set we headed back to port, and on the way home were treated to a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji in silhouette.

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