Apr 29, 2012

Keel repair - part 1

Finally we got plenty of sunshine and a bit warmer weather this weekend so it was good time to start with the keel repair. The damaged part of the leading edge of the keel was re-laminated. Also the front part of the keel bottom was repaired at the same time. However, the scratch on the bottom of the keel continues further aft so it has to be repaired in two stages. After the front part is finished, the boat is lifted up and supported on another part of the keel, so that the center of the keel bottom can be accessed.

I was checking the calendar and calculating the time that it takes to paint required layers of epoxy primer and antifouling to the keel. Unfortunately, it seems that it might take another month or so before we are ready to launch. According to the present estimation the first sail of the season would be in the beginning of June. Well, time passes quickly as there are plenty of things to do. 

The damaged area was sanded. Dremel is useful tool for operating in tight places.

Heating the area under repair.

Applying new layers of GRP mat. Laminating was done by professional since I do not have previous experience of laminating fiberglass.

Apr 27, 2012

Cleaning the topsides

The spring maintenance continues: the topsides of s/y DD are now cleaned with Hempel's Cleaning Powder and are ready to be waxed. I am very pleased with the result and the efficiency of this cleaning powder. The operation of this oxal acid based product is based on a chemical reaction so there is no need for mechanical cleaning. The cleaning powder worked especially well in removing the yellow stains near the waterline.  See the before and after pics for checking the results.

Weather is finally getting a bit warmer so the plan is to start working with the keel repair today.

The cleaning powder is mixed with some water and the paste is applied with a brush to topsides 

The right side of the waterline is treated with the cleaning powder. The boot stripe requires still some cleaning after the treatment. 

 Removing the rust stain coming from anchor locher drain is a typical problem. The Hempel cleaning powder removed that pretty well (right pic). 

Apr 24, 2012

The first impression of new curtains

Last week, we received the fabric for the new curtains and on Saturday, I started cutting and sewing. On Sunday, we tried the first one for the cabin hatch - and it fitted well and looks good! There are 10 more pieces to be done so I will be working with them later on. I think this first piece looks surprisingly good, since it was sewed by someone who had not used a sewing machine in years...

Apr 18, 2012

Instead of studying for the exam...

As I wrote earlier, I have taken part in the coastal navigation course during this spring. The examination of the course is held this Friday so I should be preparing for it! I should do those tidal calculations, study the theory of weather and do some drift calculations.

On the other hand, I went shopping yesterday and I might as well show you what I found! I had a work trip and on the way, I stopped at Design Hill, a nice design store in Halikko next to the motorway from Turku to Helsinki. They had some navy accessories and fabrics and I bought this navy club bag. This one shall be used as a bag for laundry or for groceries this season. :)

Apr 17, 2012

Planning new cushions and blankets

We are planning to get new cushions and blankets for S/Y Dolphin Dance. I have looked through many online stores and catalogues to find the perfect ones... Last year, we had some turquoise pillows onboard but now we would like to change the cushions a little since we will have those beige curtains (we have ordered the beige fabric and will get it next week - after that you will hear more about the curtains project!). We also have dark blue new frotee bath towels so we would like all these beige, dark blue and dark turquoise colors to fit together well. The cushions could be the link in between these colours. Here some of the best cushions and blankets I have found so far!

Stripes pillow by Gant Home 29 € @ Stockmann

Frida cushions 10,90 € / 2 @ Jotex

Stripes pillow 9,90 € @ H&M Home

Star pillow by Gant Home 65 € @ Stockmann

Navy pillow 6 € @ Jysk

Grey and blue Lempi-Blankets 52 € by Finlayson

Decor -blanket 39,90 € @ Stockmann

Lexington Cottage Check -blanket 179 € @ Stockmann

Apr 15, 2012

The tiller and the mattress boards varnished

The tiller is now varnished with the total of eight layers of Hempel's Favourite Varnish. We are quite pleased with the end result, although the tiller still does not look like a new one. Over the years the varnish layer had let go on some spots and thus the wood had absorbed moisture and turned darker. However, I do not mind that the tiller has some patina. The most important thing is that it is now protected from the weather.

We also chose to varnish all the mattress boards on the boat. They are basically only pieces of wood found on the interiors of the boat, that are left unvarnished by the yard. According to Hallberg-Rassy, this is to increase the ventilation under the mattresses. For the same reason all the boards have many ventilation holes since new.

However, during last summer we experienced some longer periods of rainy weather. Furthermore, condensation was a problem especially during early summer, when the sea water was below 10 degrees in the Baltics. During those conditions, the moisture absorbes to the mattresses, and they cannot be dried outside when the weather is rainy. Additionally, human beings lose about half a liter of liquid, so the problem is present especially in the sleeping cabin. Therefore, we are trying a little bit different approach for the coming season: the mattress boards are now varnished from both sides to prevent the moisture from absorbing to the wood. To increase the ventilation under the mattresses, we are planning to acquire mattress underlays.

Apr 10, 2012

Spring maintenance finally began

Finally the weather permitted starting spring maintenance at the boat - the topsides of S/Y Dolphin Dance are now washed with a boat shampoo to get rid of the easily removable dirt and grime that has accumulated there during the winter lay-up. The boat has been well covered during the winter so the topsides look pretty good after this first stage. Thus, this year we are trying a little bit different method and  will skip the most labour intensive clean & polish stage and opt for Hempel's Cleaning Powder instead. The powder, which is based on oxalic acid, is mixed with some water and the paste is applied with a brush to the surface, left for 15 - 20 minutes and then rinsed with fresh water.  Sounds easy...I am hoping that it will bring sufficient results before waxing. Let's see if it works.

Apr 9, 2012

Varnishing and planning purchases

Usually at this time of the year we have already removed the winter cover and started cleaning and polishing the topsides. However, this spring has been very cold so all this has been postponed until the days get a bit warmer. We have plenty of things to do at the boat, so this means that we have to probably postpone the date that S/Y Dolphin Dance is launched by couple of weeks. We had initially planned to launch in the end of April, but now the mid-May seems more probable. So it is still one and a half long months till the sailing season starts.

However, there are plenty of things that one can do if the weather does not permit working outside. First and foremost, we have been varnishing the tiller and mattress boards. Tiller has already got five layers, but it needs still a couple of more layers and then it will be ready.

Now it also a good time to make a list of items that need to be purchased. One of the biggest investments for the coming season is a new compressor for fridge to replace the original one that quit working last summer.

When going through the catalogues of different maritime stores, one often comes up with interesting products.  One that we found quite rational is a folding bucket to solve the problem of storing buckets onboard.

Product photos

Apr 3, 2012

Organization and storage onboard

During last summer we learned that for two persons, a 29ft boat is spacious enough when everything is kept well organized. However, after a longer sailing leg one is often tired and organization is easily forgotten. A tidy boat can alter to a very messy one in a very short time. One of the problems are the shoes. One needs to have quite many of them onboard for different situations. When visiting Ikea last time, we bought a SKUBB organizer with nine compartments and we shall use it for storing shoes onboard. This is important, since shoes do get easily ruined if they are not stored in a good way. We hope that this one will fit well in the small wardrobe there is.

SKUBB organizer from IKEA
We would prefer a boat with after cabin, since then the fore peak could be dedicated for storage. However, since we do not have one, the fore peak is used for storage during sailing and all the stuff is moved to saloon every evening and back again next morning. Thus we are planning to add some storage space for clothes etc. in the fore peak. In general, it is important that things have their own designed place. In such a case there are not that many moving objects that can easily create a chaos onboard. Blue Performance has a wide selection of products for helping with storage onboard. One product that we are considering is a foldable storage box like the one in the picture.
/Antti & Minna

Foldable storage box by Blue Performance

Apr 1, 2012

Preparations during spring

We were planning to start cleaning and fixing the boat already. Even though it is the 1st of April, the spring has not arrived yet: it was snowing here in Southern Finland today! Thus, we had to settle for working with the other projects.

First of all, the curtains. I have measured how much fabric is needed, but now we have to make some decisions: Which fabric shall be used? We shall have white or off-white curtains, but what shall the material be like? We are considering some synthetic fabrics even though the natural ones are normally more appealing to us. Onboard, synthetic materials might be more durable. Additionally, it would be wise to create a curtain for the hatch/window over the forepeak berth that won't let the sunshine in too early in the morning. That curtain shall be blinding or we need too use lining... We'll see.

 This nice photo of a crocheted produce bag is borrowed.
We are making a lot of plans at the moment! I namely bought new yarn by Novita, and will soon start crocheting a new, more functional vegetable bag to be used onboard. The one I crocheted last year (you saw it in a blog post earlier) was not as great as it could be, so I will give it a new go!