May 30, 2012

Cleaning the mattresses

In the end of last season we spotted some mold spots in the back fabric of the mattresses. I think that this was especially due to the persistent wet and rainy weather conditions in July, as we did not have a chance to dry the mattresses thoroughly. The mattresses are probably over 20 years old and especially the ones in the saloon bunks start to be somewhat worn out. Thus, we are planning to renew the mattresses during the next winter.

However, the coming season we are going to be using our old mattresses so we decided to clean them thoroughly. We also try to improve the ventilation especially in the forepeak. One step in the process was varnishing the mattress boards, which originally were left unvarnished by the yard - this to improve the ventilation under the mattress. However, in my opinion the trouble is that moisture is absorbing to the unvarnished wood. At least the unvarnished mattress boards did not work in our case. Thus, we decided to varnish the mattress boards and try to improve the ventilation in other ways.

Then we started cleaning the mattresses and the boat from the mold spots. The first step was spraying the mattresses with Starbrite's mildew remover. This product seems to be efficient, but in some spots the treatment needed to be repeated a couple of times.

The second step involved ozone blasting. We took all the mattress into the boat, closed the ventilators and the door and let the ozone generator run for almost 24 hours. Then I opened all the hatches and windows for a couple of hours to thoroughly air the boat, before going down below. The ozone blaster is quite an expensive piece of equipment and since one does not need it very often so it is rationale to rent it. We got one from the company called Waterproof Solutions Oy for a weekend.

We took all the mattresses inside the boat...

...closed all the ventilators.  

...and let the ozone blaster run for almost 24 hours.

The third step involved cleaning the boat and mattresses thoroughly. For the mattresses we used spray-extraction cleaner, which is a good device for deep cleaning carpets and mattresses for example. It sprays water into the fabric while it is simultaneously vacuuming the dirty water back. This unit was also borrowed from Waterproof Solutions. The company is actually specialized in sodablasting, so we decided to book them for the next autumn for full bottom paint removal.

 Spray-extraction cleaner

The device vacuums most of the moisture out of the fabric. It is however a good idea to let them dry thoroughly in the sun after the treatment. 

May 28, 2012

Four days to go!

The launch of S/Y Dolphin Dance is booked for the Friday 1st of June, so this is going to be a very busy week - today I worked about 10 hours at the boat. Yesterday we finally removed the tarpaulin and today it was time to raise the mast. We decided to use a crane truck for stepping the mast to save some time and nerves. This was also the only option to raise the mast while the boat is still on the hard.

When the mast was standing, it was time to relocate the fridge compressor. As I wrote earlier, due to the misconception, the new fridge compressor was first installed vertically. Today we changed its positioning to horizontal and it seemed to be working ok.

She starts to look like a sailboat again after the tarpaulin is removed and the mast is standing again.

Stepping the mast took about 15-20 minutes with a crane truck. The operation was much easier and less stressful compared to using a mast crane at the harbour.  

Spring is a good time to maintain rigging screws.

The old Frigoboat compressor quit working after 21 years of service

Fortunately, the new evaporator fitted well into the fridge

The new compressor now re-positioned and horizontally mounted. We are considering adding some protection for the compressor from moisture and other objects in the cockpit locker.

Keel is now repaired and primered. It still requires a couple layers of antifouling. 

May 27, 2012

Interior stuff

While Antti has been busy at the boat, I have made some purchases. For this season, we are trying to upgrade the interiors and the storage system like we have blogged before. So now finally, I went shopping and made some decisions! Since the new curtains will be natural white, I decided to get stuff that blends blue, turquoise and natural white. As you might remember from my interior posts last year, we had quite a lot of turquoise stuff so we will now need a bit more white to make a the interior look and feel good.

First of all, we bought this one storage box that shall be a new home for clothes so that we need not have that many bags onboard. Additionally, I finally chose to buy the striped pillow by Gant (that was listed as the first one earlier) and one additional blue striped pillow by Casa Stockmann. The turquoise blanket is also by Casa Stockmann, as are the blue and white striped napkins. 

Now we are impatiently waiting for being able to bring all this stuff to Dolphin Dance. We still need to clean the boat and fix quite a lot of stuff until we are that close to setting sail...

May 24, 2012

Fridge compressor incorrectly installed!

I wrote a blog post earlier about installing a new compressor for the fridge. Unfortunately, the installing did not go quite as planned, since the Waeco CU-55 compressor is not suitable for wall mounting! Many thanks to Chris who pointed this out after seeing my blog post on the subject!

It is a pity though, since I thought that I had found a good place for the compressor. Now I have to start all over again with the positioning. More info coming later on as we have re-positioned the compressor.

Compressor mounted incorrectly to the wall, now have to figure out a new place for it.

May 19, 2012

Teak deck maintenance: injecting epoxy and re-caulking

One seam between the deck and the coachroof has definitely given me a headache! I repaired it twice last season, but unfortunately the caulking had once again separated from the teak. I believe that the problem with the repairs done during the sailing season is that the teak does not have enough time to get dry thoroughly. It may take at least a week or so for teak to dry thoroughly, and you are not always that lucky with the weather in Northern Europe. If the teak is not completely dry when making the repair, there is a risk that the caulking is pulled off when the teak shrinks. Furthermore, deck gets frequently washed with seawater when sailing, so it makes the repairs during the sailing journey more challenging. And you do not want to spent a week at a harbour just to get one seam fixed...

After the old caulking was removed, I injected some epoxy under the teak planks. There appeared to be a void in the corner of the coachroof and deck, and this was a place for water to collect. The void was easily detected as the spot remained wet longer than the surroundings. Thus I decided to fill this void with SP 106 epoxy. I was influenced by this sailor/blogger, who used epoxy injection on deck repairs as well. The repaired seam is now let to dry under the tarpaulin for a while, before I start cleaning the deck.

 Removing the old caulking and cleaning the seam. This is the most time consuming part of the repair.

Warming epoxy in water bath before use

Mini pump helps getting accurate metering of resin/hardener mixture: five strokes of resin and one stroke of hardenerer.

Injecting epoxy with a syringe. 

Applying Sikaflex-primer 

Applying new caulking. (At this time the camera decided to start taking black/white photos)  

 Finishing still wet caulking with a tip of finger (moisten with some washing-up liquid)

The new caulking after the masking tapes are removed. There is no need for sanding the teak. 

May 15, 2012

Thoughts on bow anchor...

When cleaning the waterline stain the other day, I noted once again, that s/y Dolphin Dance is leaning slightly towards her bow when floating. Obvious reason for this is her large bow anchor and windlass, which have probably been retro-fitted by one of her previous owners. She has been previously sailing in the Mediterranean, so the large bow anchor probably dates from those days. Our 20 kg CQR-anchor is pretty well oversized, and normally seen in 40-50ft boats. Together with Lofrans' manual anchor windlass and 40 meters chain, they add quite a heavy weight on the bow, which is not good in terms of sailing performance. However, we have enjoyed good night sleeps when at anchor, knowing that it can blow pretty hard before this anchor starts to drag!

Since the current CQR is also a quite heavy anchor to handle, I have considered some lighter weight alternatives. We have some other requirements for the bow anchor as well: at the moment we do not have a bow ladder, so we are using the anchor as one. Therefore the anchor should have a roll-bar which can be used as a step. Secondly, we might be using the anchor as a gennaker bowsprit, since we do not have one either. So the gennaker furler could be attached to the anchor's roll-bar – this idea needs still some refining however. Based on the holding power, price and the other requirements, I am mostly interested in Delta and Rocna anchors. According to the anchor sizing guides, 10 kg Delta or Rocna anchor should be enough for a 29 ft boat.

A Finnish boating magazine "Vene" tested different anchors a couple of years ago. In this test the CQR was a clear winner in both mud and sand bottoms. They tested the anchors also when the direction of the pull was changed by 90 degrees. Also then the CQR scored the highest points. However, CQR is said to have problems with weed, but this type of bottom was not part of the test. Furthermore, the new generation anchor designs such as Rocna or Spade were not tested, but probably they would have changed the leaderboard. In the test group, Delta was second best in terms of holding power.

If we are keeping our current CQR, it needs some re-galvanizing. 
Price of a new 11 kg CQR is about 680 € in Finland.

10 kg Delta anchor by Lewmar, price about 175 €

10 kg Rocna anchor, price about 386 €

P.S. We actually ordered the Delta anchor, but had to sent it back since it did not need our requirements for a bow anchor. Namely, the roll-bar which we use as a step, was smaller and placed higher than with the CQR. We also tried to find bow ladders, that would work with Delta, but could not find suitable one from local maritime stores. Thus, we decided to keep our trusty and chunky CQR.

Delta is basically a modernized, fixed shank version of CQR.

Previously, I often had difficulty in estimating, how much anchor chain is already out. In the chain there are colour marks in 5 m intervals, but it seemed to be difficult remember those colour codes. Thus, I put cable-ties every 10 meters, i.e. one for 10m, two for 20m. Cable-ties should have been colourful though, but I only happened to have black ones onboard.

May 11, 2012

Storage options

We have been trying to compare different kind of storage solutions to make it easier to store all our stuff onboard. Earlier we already got the storage box for shoes but now we are planning to get one that we could use to store clothes. We are planning to get a box that we can keep in the fore peak all the time. We already bought the Sea rail bag from Blue performance which is actually designed for storage on the cockpit. However, it might be a bit too small for storing clothes. Surprisingly, there seem to be quite few products on the market designed for cabin storage on boats. However, one can also find suitable products from an average home product store. Here some other options that we have gone through.

H&M Home 

H&M Home 



To-Do List

Our current plan is to launch S/Y Dolphin Dance in the last week of May and have the boat ready for the season's first sailing in the beginning of June. Still plenty of things to do, before we can set the sail.

The keel repair is advancing and the front part of the keel got its third layer of epoxy primer yesterday. A tractor with a boat hoist is booked for Tuesday morning and the idea is to move the keel support a bit forwards which will allow access to the centre of the keel bottom.

Yesterday, I spotted a poorly attached teak deck seam, which needs to be re-caulked before the tarpaulin is removed on Monday.

There are a few cracks on the tiller, which need to be repaired. They are already opened with Dremel, so the next step is to add some epoxy filler and a few layers of primer.

Opening the cracks on the tiller

The bilge is also on the to-do-list. I am almost done with a "nice job" of sanding the old top coat off the bilge bottom. The idea is to re-coat the bilge with an epoxy primer.

Floorboards removed to get access to the deep bottom of the bilge

Also the mattresses need some cleaning. We are planning to use extraction spray cleaner for cleaning the mattresses. Good news: one does not have to buy this expensive piece of equipment, since it can be rented for a few days or so. We got the idea from a company called Waterproof solutions Oy, when searching for a company to do bottom paint slurry blasting. They also have an ozonator for rent, so we are planning to try that one also. More info on this later on.

I have also begun to ask offers for an indoor storage space. We are going to perform a larger renovation for S/Y Dolphin Dance and it is scheduled to take place during next winter - so more info coming later on.

This and many more things are on the to-do list to keep us busy during May.

May 8, 2012

Articles in Nautic-magazine

During April I have been working with two articles for a Finnish boating magazine Nautic and now they are published in the May issue (3/2012). The first article (pp. 24-27) is a travel story from Hammerhavn in northern Bornholm, which we visited last July. The article also features travel tips by a Finnish couple with many years of sailing experience in Bornholm.

The second article (pp. 32-34) is about different ways to avoid seasickness. Both articles are written in Finnish.

Link to the online magazine

May 7, 2012

A weekend in Gdansk

Since the cold spring weather continues in Finland, we decided to take a break from boat maintenance tasks. Thus, we took a flight to Gdansk in Poland for a weekend vacation. It is nice to see that in the southern coast of Baltic Sea the spring is further: the trees have already leaves and everything is green.

On Saturday, the temperature climbed well over 15 degrees and the Sun was shining so we decided to go to check out some local marinas. First we took a bus to Gorki Zachodnie where the polish yard Delphia has its marina. Unfortunately, all the gates were closed so we had to settle for watching a number of boats sailing in the area.

 This boat requires a bit more maintenance...

Afterwards, we took a local train to Sopot, which is a seaside town and a famous holiday destination. In the centre of the Sopot beach, there is the longest pier in Europe - it is over 500 meters long. At the end of the pier there is a marina for cruising boats.

Antti on the Sopot Pier

Gdansk is a beautifully restored city with an impressive history. It is situated by the Motława River and since our hotel was by the river, we have been happily strolling by the riverside. Sunday was a rainy day but in the evening the weather got better. Thus, we focused on relaxing and eating well, but later in the afternoon when the Sun came out again, we went to see the marina situated in the heart of Gdansk city centre.

Gdansk Marina in the old town area

Gdansk is definitely a place which we shall visit later on also by boat. We shall make a tour of the Southern Baltic Sea in the future! After this relaxing weekend, it is good to get back home and back to normal routines again.

/Minna & Antti

May 1, 2012

Waxing almost done

Hopefully everyone had a nice May Day!

On Monday we started, among other things, waxing the topsides of s/y Dolphin Dance and 3/4 of the work is done now. As mentioned earlier, the keel repair is the deciding factor for our launch schedule, but we try to make the boat as ready as we can regarding other respects. If we have spare time before the launch, we will do a second round of waxing, but the topsides look pretty good just after the first round. The topsides were first washed with plenty of water and boat shampoo, then treated with Hempel's Cleaning Powder and finally waxed. Addition to that, the bootstripe and area right above the waterline was treated with Hempel's Clean & Polish to get rid of the the algae and waterline stain.