Signs of spring…
…snow geese congregating in nearby fields and rivers,
…ice on the lake has melted,
…cyclists and convertibles abound,
…the evening sky has taken on a new look,
…summer tires installed,
time to bring R.E.D.’s heart back onboard!
Putting back the batteries has caused much stress in the past.
Such a tight space to work within,
one of us holding the wrench the other ratchet,
and if one of us drops the nut…
well… we won’t go there.
I can happily say all is tightly installed and we are still together as a couple.
I’d consider that a very good day.
This year we made a small change that did make accessing the batteries easier.
We installed a vent,
purchased at a local hardware store,
usually used for venting kitchen appliances,
this one in oak, stained to match the rest of the new additions.
Installed at the base of the companionway stairs,
in front of and below the battery access hatch.
It will also serve to allow air flow into the rear bilge area.
We also started bringing the beginnings of other necessities onboard….
…because there always seems to be injuries,
we re-stocked with extra bandages..
…because it’s a great time to begin barbecuing.
…and because Captain says it’s time to retire our winter beer.
This next project was more necessity driven
than just making little cosmetic changes or
modifications to make living on R.E.D. more convenient.
Opening and closing the companionway hatch was wearing the gelcoat,
in some places almost exposing the porous fibreglass.
Back to the internet forums for advice,
we discovered that some boat owners had remedied the problem
by applying teflon tape to protect the surface and to prevent further damage.
So when the winter weather started to improve,
we headed back to R.E.D. to remove all the strapping
to be able to remove the companionway hatch…
We purchased the teflon tape and marine adhesive…
…and brought the companionway hatch back to the workroom,
AKA our livingroom…
…it was also a good opportunity to paint the underside of the companionway hatch
with Captain’s new friend Bilgekote,
making it smooth as a baby’s bottom and easier to clean.
…teflon tape applied to the hatch edges…
…then back to apply the strips to the boat.
We needed temperatures above 4 ° C for proper curing time.
The second part of this modification was more cosmetic driven…
During one of our first outings on our brand new boat two years ago,
my daughter commented that yes, it was a pretty boat
(just what every proud boat owner wants to hear is a ‘but’)
…’but boats with real wood are so much nicer’.
We had to agree that real wood trim is really beautiful,
so when it came time to tackle the companionway ‘rubbing’ problem
we decided to replace the white strapping.
Captain’s choice: white oak…
…out with the (no so) old and in with the new…
…wood primer, natural oak stain and Cetol (4 coats).
…givng results the colour of a fine single malt.
We then grabbed a small weather window,
a beautiful 15 ° C clear sunny day,
to put it all back together…
…This is my new favourite boat friend.
I had heard of Butyl tape
did I realize how useful it really was.
It provides the adhesive power of tape with the sealing power of caulking.
Captain remarked that this alone was worth the trip.
…a small amount around the screw head…
…and under the strapping to give added protection,
…and a good seal
between the wood and fibreglass.
All the hardware is back in place…
Now onto the next project…
…designing the companionway door.
MacGregors typically lack good easy access storage
and with this season taking us away from our home for at least two months
we wanted to make some small improvements
by adding a place to store extra supplies.
We found the seat between the galley and V-berth
to be wasted space – who wants to sit opposite the head (toilet).
And last season it became a catch-all for clothing bags, ball caps and galley gear.
After gaining some great insight and inspiration
from a fellow Mac owner, Doug Wendt aboard
Captain François undertook his winter project
(keepin’ the boat dreams alive)
Measure twice…cut once…
…the first cut (back panel)…
…Important next step…
…rough assembly + trip to the boat to make sure it fits…
A couple of minor adjustments then piano hinge installed…
…securely glued and screwed…
…it’s looking disturbingly like a coffin…
…front panel stained and silver trim to match the galley refrigerator assembly
with 4 coats of varnish…
A visit to R.E.D. and the new addition fits perfectly…
…and we can still easily access the storage below…
…Captain (of course) is very pleased…
…the seat cushion is back in place…
…showing that we will be able to access the new storage
with cushion in place (a latch with bungee still to come)…
…and Captain can still sit comfortably beside the galley
without bending over.
Now if only all this snow will melt so we can get this season started…