Working in Woburn

11 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
Glenys continued with her varnishing projects, while I had a look at our battery charger.  In 2013, our friends Maury and Bonnie from “Smidge” gave us a new battery charger after ours stopped working.  At the time, I just wired it in and left it loose on the floor of the cupboard underneath the chart table with the intention of installing it properly when I had time - five years later, it was still lying in the same position.

I checked the wiring, installed the temperature sensor and connected the remote control panel.  I then bolted the unit to the bulk head under the chart table.  Sounds like a simple job, but I had to disrupt the aft cabin to get at the batteries; I had to pull out all five drawers from under the chart table; and pull out a lot of my spares from behind the saloon seats.  For a few hours, the saloon looked like a bomb had hit it while I sweated and cursed working in the cramped space under the chart table. 

The chaos of a small job

12 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
In the morning, we caught a mini-bus from Woburn and went into St Georges.  We caught the bus going the wrong way so we had an interesting tour of the local area.  It’s a very verdant country.  We didn’t stay long in town, only visiting the vegetable shop, a supermarket and the fish market.  We were back home by noon.

Glenys did some more varnishing, but I couldn’t motivate myself to do much, so I messed about trying to tint some wood filler.  We have a few holes and dents in the wood work which need filling, but the standard colours of the fillers that I’ve bought don’t match our wood, which has an orangey hue.  Earlier in the day, I’d bought some water based wood filler and a set of poster colour paints, so I tried to match to our wood.

It’s not easy because the filler dries to be a lighter colour and then changes tint when the varnish is put on.  I drilled some holes in a scrap piece of varnished mahogany and filled them with my various tints.  I’ll let the samples dry and varnish tomorrow.

In the evening, we went to Taffy’s Bar for English Fish & Chips and to listen to the cruisers doing an open mike session.  The food and the music was great.  I’m glad that I didn’t take along my guitar because I would have been terrified, trying to play after some of the very professional musicians. 

13 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
Glenys carried on with varnishing and I tackled the port-side teak toe rail.  There’s some dark staining on the teak around some of the wooden plugs, which cover stainless steel screws.  Over a year ago, I worked on a similar problem on the starboard toe rail and found that the staining is caused by a fungal attack - mildew and a small amount of wood rot.  I treated the rot and the staining has not returned, so it was time to do the port side.

St Georges Harbour

I removed 22 of the affected plugs, dug out the small amount of black powdery rot that I could find and then flooded the holes & surrounding wood with Ethylene Glycol.  I let it soak in for a few hours then soaked up the surplus.  I’ll let it dry out over the next couple of days and then refit new teak plugs with epoxy.

14 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
No surprise, Glenys continued with the varnishing, it’s getting easier now because she’s done the initial sanding of the various fixtures and is now just doing the light inter-coat sanding and brushing on the varnish.  I did a bit of varnishing of the cockpit shelves and then put the teak plugs into the toe rail.

I mixed up some West System marine epoxy in a small plastic cup, which was fairly runny, so that it could fill the small voids left where I’d removed the wood rot.   Unfortunately, the wind was very strong and blew over the cup, spilling epoxy onto my lovely teak deck.  By the time that I’d scraped it up and washed it down with Acetone, I had a large 2 foot long patch of epoxy-coated deck.  It looks a mess, but I’ll have to wait until it hardens off before I can do anything.

15 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
After a bit more varnishing, I chiselled off the tops of the teak plugs on the toe rail and hand-sanded the teak smooth.  I then brought out my orbital sander and tackled the epoxy that I spilled on the deck yesterday.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad a job - I sanded the area with 120 grit sandpaper and most of the epoxy came off.  There’s still some in the course grain, but that will eventually come out as the deck wears.

Trying to Tint Wood Filler

We’re slowly ticking projects off our list.  It’s only three weeks until we fly back to the UK and we’re trying to do as many jobs as possible before we fly out.  That way, we’ll have less to do when we get back in October and we can get back to cruising more quickly.  Having said that, our lives are very tedious at the moment and we’re looking forward to going home.

16 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
Glenys is nearing the end of the varnishing - she’s done the magazine racks, the washboards and the two cockpit shelves, plus a few smaller parts.  We’re planning to sail to Trinidad in a few days, so we’re not starting any more projects.  The boat is in chaos and we need to start tidying up.

After a spending a couple of days trying to tint the wood filler, I have to admit defeat.  I’ve tried different amounts of white, black, red and yellow paint, but I’m unable to get the right colour to match our woodwork.  I’ve decided that too much white makes the filler look muddy and it’s better if the filler is a little darker than the surrounding wood.  My final conclusion is that I might as well use the wood filler in its original colour - ah well, at least I tried.

17 June May 2018    Benji Bay, Grenada
We finished off a bit of varnishing in the morning and then went to Taffy’s Bar for another boozy Sunday Lunch - we’re becoming regulars.  It’s definitely time to move on…