Thursday, 13 October 2016

Dirty, Dirty, People - Again - Removing The Antifouling Paint

Photo courtesy Peter Laine

Early This Morning, Speckled Progress Is Measured

Crystal Blues is looking like a speckled hyena, sitting awkwardly on the hard stand in Trinidad. We in turn are looking like wet and bedraggled coal mine workers.

Six years of accumulated paint is coming off, as we sand back to the yellow tie coat layer underneath. The black antifouling paint is quite toxic, also incredibly tough, so we're using an air powered random orbital sander and wet sanding under a water spray to eliminate the dust.

Along the way we're repairing some deep gouges caused by the (very) nasty net we hooked up off the coast of Suriname. That net dragged paint of the boat in about 20 places, initially around the waterline and then lower on the hull when the propeller twisted it up tight. In two places it went back to the steel, so we're repairing the epoxy base coat as well.

Andy Sanding With Ley On Hose Duty

After the first full day of sanding we hired someone with younger shoulders to share the load.  Our local friend Andy works freelance boat jobs in the yard here and is a practiced hand when it comes to this work.  We rotate ourselves on and off the air tool, totally dripping wet at all times, and gradually the black color is removed and the speckled hyena look takes over.  

The hard stand area here (yard web site here) is not really hard - it's a sandy soil that looks like dredging spoil. Each time it rains the entire area is boggy and soft, and in the tropical downpours there is two or three inches of water under the boat. The only positive side of all this is that we are cool, which is a pleasant change in this hot and humid climate. One more day should see the job completed and we'll move on to less onerous tasks. 

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