Friday, 27 February 2009

Refit Week 25 - Glossy Paint At Last !

The team here at Pro Yachting are doing a very good job .... despite myriad delays (all caused by us) they remain focussed on the main game, which is to put a high quality paint system on the outside of Crystal Blues.

It took five guys almost a full week clean and mask the deck before they applied the Grey deck paint - an incredibly detailed masking job, with every square inch of the deck either primed and cleaned (ready to paint) or covered with tape and garish pink (but effective) vinyl flooring. After the grey was sprayed they settled down to cleaning and masking over all of it again, for the application of the white non-skid surfaces (see the photos). The new non-skid paint is really grippy, quite a change from the ineffective surface we've lived with for ten years.

This week the deck was completed, and they'll now move onto the topsides of the hull (above the waterline), which are primed and waiting. Then they have the mast and boom, plus all the hatch covers and loose fittings to paint. However by the end of this week we should have access to the boat again, and will be able to start replacing all the deck fittings and fitting out the forward hold. Onwards & upwards ...

Bush Fire Commentary

People here in Phuket often ask us about the terrible bushfires that have ravaged our home state, and taken so many lives. For many it is difficult to comprehend how a fire disaster of this magnitude can occur. The Age newspaper (who provided the amazing little images at right) has an excellent site devoted to the fires - you can access it here, and we've now added two impressive files to our public storage site that say it all. Bushfire Images is a compact .pdf file containing a powerful collection of photographs. Written by an acknowledged fire expert, Anatomy Of A Firestorm is a fascinating and detailed news story on how seasonal climate, geography and localised weather conditions combined to set the disaster in train.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Recipes From The Squiggly Line

You just never know where life will lead. Twelve months ago I had no idea that I'd be back working this year. Never the less Ley and I were surprised when good friends Jacqueline and Malcolm Holt of SV Aeolus XC announced they were selling the boat and returning to Canada. We had met them on Sydney Harbour many years ago, and shared many strange (and wonderful) experiences in Australia and Asia.

Not ones to muck around, they made the life change happen in rapid time, then set about building new careers and a new home on beautiful Vancouver Island. Then Jacqui announced that she'd written a book (in her spare time no doubt), which was duly published. "Recipes From The Squiggly Line" is a cruising, cooking and recipe memoir, in which Jackie shares food reminiscences, recipes and travel memoirs from her nine years and 25,000 miles afloat.

From personal experience I know what a fantastic cook she is, and we were thrilled to see one of Ley's recipes included in the book. Check it out on their new website here.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Refit Week 23 - Life After Sand Blasting

We're very glad that's over - for 15 days my world consisted of a hand held light, a small sand blasting gun and a tangle of airhoses. Hooded and fully clothed I worked in a confined, noisy darkness, constantly bruising myself and getting smothered in grit. Ley sat on deck, controlling the sand flow. She was sitting next to a huge (& noisy) extractor fan, staring into a vortex of sand and making sure the sand supply was working. For her it was both mind and bottom numbing - over 40 bags of sand went into the hold, and then were shovelled out again.

Now we have to finish the painting - we already have two coats of Jotamastic 87 epoxy on everything in the hold, applied with a small 1" brush, making sure we get in and around all the frames and stringers, without missing any small areas. Of course we hand sanded between each coat. The next three coats will be sprayed - I bought a mini spray gun this week and our contractor Pro-Yachting has no shortage of compressors.

Back at home, our house guests Jon & Pam Choate, SV Tweed, were a great help in keeping us fed, watered and (reasonably) sane. We celebrated Pam's 60th Birthday with a big night out at Nai Yang Seafood.

Then it ended - for the first day of no blasting or grinding we walked around the house in a daze, really feeling like lost sheep. Normality returned, and Ley has settled down to varnishing our cockpit table, bread making and turning out a great batch of Green Mango Chutney (get the recipe here, or from the download panel in the right hand colum). She also finished servicing and re-building our big primary winches. I've started editing and compiling the video from our Bali travels last year.

My bruises are slowly fading, I have a very painful trigger finger and Ley never wants to look into a bag of sand again! We both agree that this project was the toughest job we have ever tackled on Crystal Blues. With us (finally) out of the way, Pro yachting have sprayed the final primer coats onto Crystal Blues hull and deck, and are now doing the final sanding and masking. Their attention to detail is amazing - lucky for us as both Neil and Pro are very fussy! We expect the AwlGrip gloss top coats to be sprayed over the next two weeks.