The Passport Project: Part 18 (Winter work)

Sanding, not cooking: Marty, aka Breaking Bad's Walt White

Sanding, not cooking: Marty, aka Breaking Bad’s Walt White

Once the Seattle Boat Show ended in early February, it was time for us to shift into boat project mode.

After buying our 1985 Passport 40, Meridian, last April, we spent every spring weekend scrambling to get work done so we could move aboard for the summer by the end of June, and then much of the summer toiling away on her. We didn’t get much time to take the boat out and enjoy her, and we vowed this summer will be different.

So a few weeks ago, we started tackling our list of winter boat projects. While last year was all about the exterior — ripping up the teak decks and replacing them with non-skid, stripping and redoing the brightwork, rebedding deck hardware and a kazillion other little things (see the list in this post) — this year we’re turning our focus to the interior.

First on the list is completely overhauling the head. We redid the shower stall last year and this year are replacing the toilet, sink and faucet, repainting the chipped and worn bulkheads, revarnishing the teak and covering the ugly, unneeded holes next to the toilet that the doofus who installed the current toilet (and did a great deal of half-arsed work on the boat that we are now fixing) drilled into the bulkhead.

About those holes: one of the overarching objectives of our boat projects is what I’ve dubbed Creepy Corner Eradication. That means getting rid of those dark, worn and otherwise creepy areas — and on a 28-year-old boat that hasn’t been particularly well-maintained, there are plenty of them.

The head, ready for painting (we removed the marble sink and will be replacing it)

The head, ready for painting (we removed the marble sink and will be replacing it)

So while Marty is tackling the head project (which we’ll write about in a future post), I’m focusing on the painting and revarnishing. I’m starting in the forward cabin, since it’s where we sleep and I want that space to be refreshed and restful. I’m repainting all of the white surfaces — the overhead, holds, hatch covers and bulkheads — and applying a fresh coat of varnish to the teak.

I figured it would take two days to sand everything down and do the taping. But naturally, this being a boat project, it took the better part of three days. I’d forgotten just how dirty sanding is; by the end of the first day, with Marty sanding in the head and me doing the same in the cabin, the interior of the boat was covered in a layer of white dust, as were we.

But last Sunday, it was finally time for the fun part: applying the first coat of paint. On the recommendation of finishing expert Diane Salguero, who painted our non-skid decks, we’re using Pettit EasyPoxy with some flattener mixed in to tone down the paint’s high-gloss finish. After much deliberation and consulting with friends who have painted their boats’ overheads, we decided we wanted something in between a high-gloss and a matte finish.

Repainting and revarnishing: fun. Preppring for it: not fun.

Repainting and revarnishing: fun. Preppring for it: not fun.

While Marty put the first coat on in the head, I hurried to get a coat on in the cabin before the fading afternoon light disappeared. The cupboards on either side of the v-berth are shallow and come to a narrow point toward the head, requiring me to do some major contortions with a handheld light to see where I was painting and in some cases, paint with my wrong hand. Downward dog? More like pretzel dog.

By the time dusk started falling, I managed to get a coat on all of the surfaces above the bunk except the bulkheads around the portlights, since we’ll be replacing or rebedding them and will paint them after that.

Even in the dim light, I could see the difference. The cabin was looking brighter, more inviting. So was the head. It’s amazing what a simple coat of paint can do.

It will take many more hours of work, but we’re slowly bringing our girl back to her original splendor. And while it might be silly to anthropomorphize a boat, we’re as superstitious as the next sailors. We believe that if we take care of our girl, she’ll do us right in return. And she’ll look awfully pretty while she’s at it.

2 Responses to The Passport Project: Part 18 (Winter work)

  1. Deborah Bach March 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Courtney, call me crazy, but I actually like painting.

    You’ll have to come onboard for a visit this summer!

  2. Courtney Kirchoff March 7, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    “But last Sunday, it was finally time for the fun part: applying the first coat of paint.”

    Only on a boat is applying paint considered “fun.” I can’t wait to see the finished boat, she’s going to be a show-stopper.

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