Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spring Cleaning

The departure of winter means that spring rituals are about to commence: for some, it indicates that it's time to plant bulbs and tend to the garden; in parts of Ohio, it signifies time to hunt wild turkeys (not the liquid type) or scour the ground for edible wild mushrooms; for boaters, springtime means that boating season is upon us and lots of work needs to be completed (subsequently lots of money is spent) before a boat is launched into the water.

In Brooklyn, the strange weather and the cold early spring delayed many of Kings County's swabbies, including your editor, in the annual maritime ritual of sanding, scraping, cleaning, masking, buffing, and painting. However, this weekend, we did get to the coast and discovered that Barnacle Bill of Brooklyn had taken advantage of the nice weather to get some work done.

For those of you readers who are landlubbers, the job of prepping a boat is very, very dirty and potentially toxic. For the sake of brevity, we are assuming that the boat doesn't need any engine work, work on any internal systems (heads, pump-outs, water systems, etc), nor does the boat need any structural repairs to fix any leaks. We're just giving you the basics here. This typically includes: sanding and scraping any loose paint off of the bottom of the boat in order to prep the boat for a new coat of bottom paint, which protects the hull from becoming a nest of barnacles and other sea organisms. What makes the paint work, is also what makes it expensive and toxic: copper and copper copolymer, which provides a controlled releases of biocide to kill off any sea creatures. The paint is also, very expensive: for example a gallon of Micron CSC costs around $150. That will, if you are lucky, be enough to cover the bottom of a 30-foot sailboat. Because a boat is awkwardly shaped, its not that easy to paint the bottom. A lot of bending and stretching is involved and most sailors will tell you, they'd rather paint a flat wall, than a boat's bottom. Additionally, if the boat has wood above the water line, that will typically need to be sanded, cleaned and oiled (for teak) or varnished to protect it from the sun and salt.

When the bottom paint is finished, granted there are no hiccups in the plan, the boat needs to be washed and dried and then waxed. Like a car, the wax protects the boat's hull from dirt and pollutants For your editor, the washing ritual wasn't so much fun this year. The bay was particularly dirty last year, and we had some oil stains and funky green stains just above the waterline that didn't come out using the powerwash. We needed a magic elixer to remove the stain. Using a brush, we applied Y-10 fiberglass stain remover , let it set for about 10 minutes, but didn't let it dry) and then scrubbed the heck out of it with a Scotchbrite pad. That did the trick for us.

Once all of this is done, your local yard can help you put your boat in the water and step the mast.

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At Tuesday, May 01, 2007 9:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. That was a good primer on bottom work. It seriously took me a week last year to manage to get all the antifouling paint off my hands after I helped a friend do the bottom of her catalina. Is that your boat in the picture. Looks like a full keeler. What is it? Cheers from Carroll Gdns, Brooklyn

At Tuesday, May 01, 2007 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Brooklyn Salt said...

The Classic Plastic I reference is one of the many vintage Pearson Ensign daysailors that hail out of Sheepshead bay.

For more information on the 22.5' classic, got to


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