2006 Haulout

s/v Stella Blue or Hauls or Home

April/May 2006 --

I put off this haul for a year, as I was going to repower and spend the last winter doing major stuff. The last step in my repowering requires yard work.
My new engine sits on 16 inch centers, but my stringers are on 24 inch centers, and I wanted the yard to handle that major structural construction.
I didn't want to do that myself,
because I didn't want to risk screwing it up.

I learned a big lesson: Don't haul out the first week of nice weather after two months of rain, because the yard is so backed up that it takes forever to get anything done. And, don't haul out during the spring Boat Show, because nobody is paying attention to business. I didn't plan it that way, that's just the way it worked out. I was rebuilding the steering right up to the day they came to tow me into the yard.

The good news is that I have an open work order for the stringers and the repower, and I'm not being charged for laydays in the yard.

This looks really nasty,
but it's just
cracked fairing compound.

Darn it, the keel work I did three years ago sucked. So much for my spot fix.

More importantly, that "smile" is too big, and too wet. With my keel shape, I really shouldn't have a smile at all.

Note that it's weeping water.
The weeping continued for far too long,
as water drained out. I think I'll need to rebed the keel, but not on this haul.

Water has worked itself under the fairing compound along the hull/keel seam, which is working the fairing compound off.


Here's the port side.

This is ugly. The paint has just popped off. On close inspection, I can see that it's pulling off at different layers, but in many cases it's failing down at the lead.

At this point I'm thinking about it, but it really looks like the bottom layer is failing. As nasty as it sounds, it looks like I'll need to take it down to metal and renew the whole thing. I could do another spot fix, but it'll just
look like this again in two years.

A few quick taps, and
the old fairing compound just popped off in chunks.

I started working back from the leading edge, to look at the joint and work back to where it's
still in good shape.

You can see black bedding compound in the joint.

As I worked back along the keel joint, I could see that the bedding compound was in pretty good shape. However, water has worked back along the joint, which has delaminated the fairing compound and caused the crack to lengthen.

At the leading edge, there's a red fairing compound. It has clearly been stressed and cracked, and It makes me think that this has been working around.

There's black bedding compound behind it, but it's crumbled and shot.

I'd better check those leading keel bolts.


Back outside, I cleaned it down with a grinder and looked at the crack.

The bedding compound was nice and tight along the entire keel except for the leading edge, where it had just crumbled away.

I took a thin blade and cleaned away everything that wasn't solidly attached.

The keel nuts on the two little leading bolts weren't very tight, so I pulled them off and cleaned them up. I think that this is a result of the changes I made when I rebuilt the mast step in 2002. When I did that project, I tightened up the leading 1" keel bolt (under the mast) and it must have reduced the load on the two leading 1/2" bolts, allowing them to loosen up.

There's really no way to get it perfect without dropping the keel, which I'm not prepared to do right now. So I let it dry out for a few days, and prepared nice big backing plates for those leading bolts.

The plates are made out of 1/8" stainless.
I laid them down on a big block of wood, and hammered them into the same shape as the bottom of the hull. Note that the corners are turned up so that there won't be any sharp corners stressing the laminate.

Then I shot caulk down the bolt holes, and caulked up the backing plates really well.

Finally, they were torqued down to 90 foot pounds. I'll have to go back and scrub the heck out of this area
and clean it up.

I ran this little grinder bit back along the entire exposed joint, to clean off any surface crud and ensure that the bedding compound was good.

Then the entire exposed area was painted with West System epoxy. I used a 3M stripping pad to scrub the epoxy directly into the lead, so that it's adhering to new metal that has never been exposed to air.

Then I filled the crack with a putty of epoxy and colloidal silica. This has good compression characteristics, and should help to transfer lateral loading between the keel and hull without cracking.

I also injected the same putty into the void at the leading edge of the lead keel. I didn't use caulk, because that would be a waste unless the void was perfectly clean -- which would require dropping the keel. Not today. The epoxy putty will handle compression stresses better.

Then, while everything was still wet, I set a strip of Knytex along the joint.

I don't consider this to be structural, but it will stabilize the joint and reduce stress on the new fairing compound.

I used Quikfair epoxy fairing compound.

I like it better than mixing the red stuff into West System epoxy, and it also kicks off faster. You can machine sand it in four hours.

Now it must be sanded fair.

Hopefully, with the keel bolts
properly torqued, this
won't be a problem again.

Yup, they were due
for replacement.

They're pretty red.

The red wasn't very deep, though. As I looked at the sawzall cuts, it was clear that these would have held up for another ten or fifteen years.

However, I'm more worried about leaks that could work into my core. Note that the red has extended up along the edges
of the through-hull.
Water was working up.

I only have three sea cocks and through hulls left to replace, and they were on my list for this haul.

Because I have a cored hull,
I'm especially sensitive about holes.
I'm going to ream the core back, seal it with epoxy putty, and lay fiberglass around
the edge of the hole.

I had the yard pull the old ones,
and that turned out to be a good idea.
They didn't want to come out.

I would have spent days working on them before getting to this point, but the yard guys do this all the time and know when to say "heck with it" and pull out the sawzall.

Two of the sea cocks are a nice big 1-1/2" size, to service the cockpit drains.

The other one is the raw water intake
for the engine.
I'm going to make it bigger, because I may want to Tee other things from it, like a watermaker or a wash down pump.

So I took a wood plug and jammed it in the old hole, and cut it off flush. That left a nice solid surface for a hole saw.

I'm not going to reinstall
flush through hulls.

All the other ones on the boat are mushrooms, and I don't race, so there's no reason to go through the hassle of trying to fit a new flush through hull into the old spot.

I'm going to build it up
and install mushrooms,
so I ground down
around the holes.

I ground the holes 1/8" larger and reamed the core back with my
Handy Dremel Tool, packed the core with epoxy putty and
lined them with Kyntex.

For a full story on doing this, check out the 2003 haulout page. There's no point duplicating all those pictures here.

The only difference is that I used Kyntex and got it done faster.

I really like Knytex.

It has two layers of unidirectional glass fibers, laid at right angles, and a backing of thin mat. The mat doesn't have binders, so it will
work with epoxy.

(Some mat has a binder that is designed to dissolve in styrene resins, but which will impede wet-out with epoxies.)

The whole assembly is sewn together, so it holds shape when you cut circles. It's thick enough to build up fast.

I left about 1/8" of the old cutout in place, and will plug it with three layers of Knytex.

First I set some small circles to fill the remainder of the old hole, then went for lunch while these layers kicked off.

Since it's overhead, you can't lay too many layers or
the whole thing will just fall off
onto the ground.

Don't ask me how I know that.

Doing this stuff is so much easier in the yard.
I can dribble epoxy all over the place without worry.


Time to break out the old shoes. I've had a pair of boat shoes in the back seat for two years. I've been waiting to be stuck in traffic so I could jump out and put *one* on top of the center divider, just to give other drivers something to wonder about.

But I never got around to it,
so I'll wear them now.

After lunch, the epoxy had kicked off but was still tacky and green, so I went back and added progressively larger circles of Knytex until it was built up flush with the hull.

When the fairing compound kicked, I wet sanded it down to match the hull shape and drilled out the new holes.

Here's a pic of that.

You can see how the fiberglass lines the hole, which will stabilize the bond between the old hull laminate and the new epoxy that protects the core.

The next day, I used a grinder to get it as flush with the hull
as possible.

Then it was covered with a very thin layer of fairing compound.

Back to the keel.
Oh hell.

I tried to wet sand the keel to a stable layer, but it just kept chipping up, and I ended up
down to the metal.

It's just failing and falling off the lead all over
the place.

Note the little spots that look like grinder marks.

Many of the failures are occurring down
in those grooves.

Here's one of the big 1-1/2" holes.

The repair lay up looks cool.

This should be plenty strong,
and I don't need to worry about a leak getting near the core,
ever again.

Well, I faired and painted a single coat of Interlux 2000E barrier coat on the new keel, hull joint, so when the yard blasted they wouldn't hit anything but lead.

However, the yard doesn't blast any longer, due to EPA restrictions.

So I covered the keel in Jasco Paint and Epoxy remover, and scrubbed it with a wire brush, and gently scraped with a putty knife.

That really wasn't as effective as I would have hoped, and I ended up putting on a rain suit and full face mask and wet sanding with 36 grit.

The problem with wet sanding it is that the lead oxidizes so quickly that before it's even dry, it oxidizes to a dull gray color. Here you can see how the part at the top didn't dry as quickly, and hasn't oxidated yet.

That oxidation layer will prevent any paint from sticking.

Here's a close up of the grooves that were left in the keel from the previous round of grinding, probably when the keel was originally shaped up.

Odd as it seems, many of the failures are starting in these little grooves. Maybe it was because they grooves had formed an oxidation layer before the original
base coat was applied.

This is why I didn't want to get aggressive when I scraped
the old paint off.

So I wet sanded it two more times, getting all of the old grooves cleaned.

This left the keel a little bit dimply, although not horribly bad.

I cheated, and broke the yard rules.
I couldn't wet sand, so very very early on a Sunday I wore a full suit, respirator and face mask and dry sanded two square foot sections.
As soon as every bit of a section was shiny and rough, I painted with Interlux 2000E two part barrier coat, and scrubbed it into the lead with a 3M stripping pad.

Then I put two more coats of 2000E on, followed by a white coat of 2000E.

That will be a signal layer, so I know not to sand too much off.

I sanded the keel smooth with 120 grit.

On a Friday afternoon, the yard lifted the boat up so I could strip and prime the bottom of the keel. It was failing there as well.

The Landfall 38 has a very flat, wide bottom on the keel. That's nice, as the boat can easily sit straight on the keel.

Here's the bottom of the keel, cleaned but not yet primed. I'm not going to put fairing compound on it, because the fairing compound was cracking off around the two spots where the keel rests on blocks during hauls.

I put three very thick coats of 2000E on the bottom, and another three coats on the sides over the white layer. That's seven coats on the side, which should be more than enough to keep water from soaking down the the bottom layer.

Here's a side shot, showing how the keel is now a bit dimpled from sanding out the grooves. That's better than having grooves.

Really, I could have trowelled fairing compound over the first layer of 2000E, then sanded it fair. And I would have, but I only have weekends to work on it and that would have used up an entire weekend.

This boat needs to get back in the water.
It's been sitting out for three weeks.
I don't race, so it's not going to bother me
if the keel's not perfectly faired down.

In retrospect, it took the yard so long to get some other things done that I *could* have put a layer of fairing compound on there and sanded it perfect. Darn yard.
More on that later.

On Sunday morning, I checked the last coat of 2000E and it was still green. That was good, but was a bit of a surprise since I would have expected it to be fully cured after 12 hours. However, it gets really chilly and foggy around here at night, so that must have slowed down the reaction. Great news!

The paint was too soft to sand, so I scuffed it up well with a 3M stripping pad.

Two signal coats of red bottom paint went onto the chemically "green" Interlux 2000E.

While the boat was in the slings I went ahead and painted the spots where it sits on the jack stands.

Before we go in, I'll paint the whole boat blue.

I'm tired of keel pictures. I sure hope this is the end of it.

Memorial Day Weekend --

After waiting six weeks for the yard
to do the work on the stringers,
I said heck with it and did it myself.

After six weeks, I'd spent enough time talking with them about what they were going to do that I knew what to do.

So I did it. Darn, this boat *has* to get back in the water or I'm going to go nuts. Actually, it's probably too late for that.

The new stringers have thier own page.

I was supposed to be back in the water,
and over at Angel Island this weekend.
Not happy.

During my 2003 haulout, I did an experiment
and primed my strut with Interlux 2000E,
because it was handy.

The 2000E held up great on the thru hulls, but the strut still failed. I've never seen paint stay on the strut.
After three years, it was falling off. So this time, I tried
anticorrosion paint. I had it open for the new thru hulls, and figured I'd try it and see what happens.

I'm not holding my breath.
I figure it'll fall off, and I'll go back to leaving the strut bare. What the heck, though, I might learn something.

With the new through hulls back in,
I covered the raw water intake with this cool strainer from Groco. It has a hinge, so the
through hull can still be cleaned out if necessary.

It's a good thing I don't race.

Of course, nothing's simple.

My hull is cored, and though the screws only penetrate the exterior laminate, I really can't risk a mistake that would get the core wet. So drilled a small hole all the way through the hull. From the inside, I made the hole big enough to stick my Handy Dremel Tool inside and clean out all the core, then ream it back about 1/2" with a little hex key.

That little hinged cover is held up
with a pin. I took a little bit of monel wire and siezed the end of the pin back
to the ring, so it won't slide around.

It's a good thing I don't race.

After blowing all the dust out with compressed air, I stuck some tape over the bottom, and filled the holes with really thin West System epoxy. After a couple of minutes, I popped the tape and let it drain out. That made sure the holes were wet and the core saturated.

Then I stuck the strainer on the bottom, with the screws into the hull, and filled the holes from the top with a thick putty of epoxy and colloidal silica.

I don't want to epoxy the strainer to the hull, so I stuck some wax paper in there. The screws were dipped in Mineral Oil, then set into place.

Now there are perfectly threaded mounts, set in epoxy. That'll keep water from leaking anywhere.

After it set up, I popped the screws, flushed the holes out with solvents to remove any traces of the mineral oil, then sanded everything down and mounted the strainer with 4200.

Inside, I glassed a couple of layers of X Cloth down, just for fun.

But I was here almost three months. Shoot, if I had only known, I would have peeled the hull down to gelcoat first thing, let it get really dry and put a new barrier coat on.

Finally, after far too long, we dropped the boat back in the water so that we could use a crane to put the new engine in. I stayed on the boat for that, to make sure the
new stuffing box didn't leak.

The boat needs to be in the water when aligning the engine, so that the hull is fully supported and isn't deformed by
sitting on the hard.

Naturally, we had some problems making it fit, despite all the planning. That's
a different project.

So this haulout isn't quite officially over, because the boat's in a yard slip,
not my own. But it's close enough
to call this web page done.