It’s A New Year’s Post with a Cheap Boat Trick

Shhh. Galapagos is sleeping. She’s hibernating during this very cold part of the winter, just trying to conserve energy for the sailing season that is right around the corner; when the sun comes back to stay in the sky for longer and the weather gets above freezing. That’s right. We tiptoe around the subject of boat ownership in the winter. We don’t want to stir that pot too much. It’s not a very satisfying time to own a boat; those months between fall and spring. These are the times when you just write that moorage check and look the other way.

We took a New Year’s walk down at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, which is about 5 miles from the house. A great way to see the water.

In terms of boat work, Mike has been a more dedicated soul than I have. I check on her during the week to be sure she is well tied and safe. He trudges down to the marina on the weekends and does a little of this and a little of that. This week he finished a small project that had been nagging at him for awhile. He had replaced the fuel gauge and the new one was smaller than the old one so you know what that means. Right. The existing hole was too big for the new unit. He hemmed and hawed for awhile about how to mount the thing where it would look decent in the cockpit and keep water out of the cabin. Star Board? Sure, if you want to buy a big piece. He didn’t. Wood? Yeah, we don’t really have the right tools/skills for that. No go. The solution came to him during a nap. Mike does some of his most creative thinking during his naps. You get to benefit from his solution.

You know those round plastic discs that people put on the wall where a door handle would hit? They protect the wall from being injured by people flinging doors around indiscriminately. They also do a dandy job of becoming a mounting plate for a fuel gauge. Just drill a hole for the gauge and Bob’s Your Uncle, there you go. Cost: about 3$, and available at any local hardware store. He’s a smart man.

Neat and tidy!

I gave up on my boat project for the winter because it’s too damn cold. And this is bitter irony because my boat project involved insulating the hull. Only problem is the materials I want to use to not do very well in cold weather. As an experiment I painted the hull inside some of the stowage spaces in the salon. Three days later, they were still wet, even though I was running a heater, blowing directly into the space.

That’s a heater being directed into the painted space.

I used some heat and noise reducing paint called Al’s HNR, which I ordered from Amazon. It’s got those 3M microspheres already mixed in. Yes, I know I can buy a bag of those spheres for 10$ and mix them myself. I’ve got that bag. This is easier in terms of experimenting because I don’t need to protect my lungs in order to use it. If you mix your own, you need to wear a respirator to keep the little microscopic spheres from entering your lung tissue.  If this turned out to be worth it, then I’d mix my own.

Anyhoo, the paint goes on like whipped cream, smooth and silky. But it’s too cold for it to dry. I’m still interested in experimenting with how much of an actual difference it would make, but I’m not interested in surfaces that won’t dry because the weather isn’t warm enough and the hull is 43F, a fact which I know because Mike bought himself a nice little hand held temperature meter and I stole it from him.

See? I’m not making this up. Also I love this thing.

My plan was to paint the hull inside the cabinets with this stuff a couple of times, then use hull liner over that. I got a screaming deal on some very nice fuzzy hull liner at the local foam and fabric place. It will make the interior of these cabinets quiet and hopefully condensation free. It goes on with spray adhesive. It’s probably too cold to use that, too. And, maybe it’s just me, but the idea of using a spray adhesive when I’m using electric heat to keep the cabin warm enough to live in just sounds like a stupid idea.  So this winter project is an epic fail. It will wait.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch house, we had the gift giving holiday and Mike gave me a nifty one-touch winch handle and a waterproof case for electronics. Sweet! It must be love. 

Want to see what I got him? This.


And, in keeping with the decorating theme, I felt like the Man Cave on board Galapagos could use some decor.

Why does this make me laugh hysterically? Now featured above the workbench.

And this for the engine room:

It’s funny, because it’s true!

I know what you must be thinking. “They have that big blue boat they are refitting and THIS is the stuff they get for Christmas?” .  Hey, we can’t all be married to Mark over at Our Life with Ceol Mor; Mark, who bought his wife, Cidnie, brand spanking new Lewmar 55 winches for Christmas. No way. We can’t all be married to him. And that’s just fine I tell you!  Because guess what? We have already purchased our tickets for the boat show later this month and Mike says we are taking our credit card this year! You know what that means? It means Merry Cruising Christmas to us because we are shopping for refrigeration, among other things!  Oh yeah, baby, there are boat projects coming this year.

So we’re saving all our energy for the next big push, which will be this spring before we take off for our 4-5 week (Holy Extended Vacation, Batman!) cruise in July. Mike wants to have another go at the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Until then, we live life in the slow lane. Mike putters. I paint. Here’s a little boat totem I painted for Galapagos. Some people are diesel mechanics. Others are not. Galapagos Totem


20 thoughts on “It’s A New Year’s Post with a Cheap Boat Trick

  1. Beautiful painting! The swirls on the turtle remind me of the fibonacci sequence. Very mystical, yet the turtle is the symbol of Mother Earth in Native American lore. Love the colors, too!

  2. Love the turtle. Interesting you picked an object of very slow movement for Galapagos first totem. The color combo feels good. May 2015 be a great one for you and Mike andGalapagos

  3. You didn’t get winches because your’s do not suck as hard as our old ones did. No way no how. I am sorry you are suffering in the depths of winter but man oh man but you make a cute Christmas elf. Also. Mike’s solution is genius and it looks absolutely spiffy! Well done!

    • I wear that hat so I don’t have to do my hair on Christmas morning. That’s the secret. Always wear a hat! Those are very pretty winches you have and I am not one bit jealous. Soon you will be using them and having glorious sailing. Again, not jealous at all

  4. Just a suggestion, I’d do the insulation in the cabinets and see how it goes for a year before you put the liner in. Those fuzzy liners have next to no insulative value of their own and if your paint doesn’t stop the condensation, the liner will just turn into a mold breeding ground and you’ll curse the day you put it in.

    • Well that’s an idea. I thought this stuff was supposed to cut down on condensation in the cabinets, but yours sounds like the voice of experience?

      • Unfortunately, yes. Unless you’re absolutely positive that it’ll never get wet from leaks or condensation, the fuzzy liner will grow mold very efficiently. Insulating paint is a good idea but may not be enough to prevent condensation, there are a lot of variables. It depends on how much moisture you generate from breathing, cooking, showering, drying towels and the like inside the boat, as well as how cold/wet/humid it gets outside, how much ventilation in the cabinets, etc, etc, etc. That’s why I suggest you apply the paint and monitor the condensation levels as you use/store the boat through at least one seasonal cycle.

        • Well ‘insert favorite curse word here’. I got this stuff specifically because it’s supposed to be mildew and mold resistant. I know that’s only part of the equation, though, so I’ll take your advice and do a test run first. The very last thing I want to do is waste my time!

  5. Thanks for the tip with those door stop wall protectors. Exactly what I need to patch a couple interior holes in the fiberglass / gelcoat. If you ever see a Hunter 35.5 named Hope hailing from Seattle, remind me that I owe you guys a round of drinks!

    Happy New Year!

    • Yay! We’re useful! So happy you can use the tip. We’ll keep our eyes open for you out there. When we leave the slip.

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