If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.


Teak Oil and Little Projects

Scrubbing the floor boards with simple green and a little dawn dish soap

While Don and I were working on fixing leaks and blocked hoses in the head (bathroom) on Florian, we noticed the teak slatted wood floor that inserts over the shower basin was stained, and a little, er... odiferous - from its proximity to the leaking toilet.  We took it home, and scrubbed it thoroughly (diluted simple green & a drop of Dawn dish soap), rinsed it really well, and then put it outside in our dry, hot desert air for a week.

Putting the first coat of Watco Teak Oil on the slats
After researching options for treating the teak, we bought a can of Watco Teak Oil Finish, and followed the easy instructions: Apply it generously, wait 30 minutes (it soaked in pretty fast), apply it again, wait 30 minutes, and then wipe off the excess. It worked beautifully.

After applying the 2nd coat, and wiping away the excess
I was amazed at how quickly the oil soaked into the wood, and the transformation from dull and parched looking, to rich and grain-beautiful. I chose this route with the floor slats after I read about teak oil in an article by Don Casey. Access to information like this is one of the thousand reasons I love the internet. In my day to day boat ownership school, I'm in the 1st grade, learning to read See Jane Run, and the expert advice archived online is a stadium of generous tutors, waiting for me to pull up a bench and absorb the knowledge they're sharing. I feel so stinkin' lucky to be mounting this boat-ownership adventure at this time in technical history.

Re-installed in the shower basin floor, and it looks brand new

Old and new rubber ladder caps
The next little project was replacing the caps on our Swim Ladder. They were split and cracked, so we bought a few spares to swap them out. I dont expect them to last long in the sun and sea air, but at least I don't have to worry about the stainless ladder tubing cutting through the old rubber to mar the gelcoat on our transom (rear end of the boat - the ladder legs rest against the transom when it's dropped down for climbing in and out of the water)

Drop-down stainless swim ladder on Florian

Before & After - Rubber Swim Ladder caps
Next up on the swim ladder is a little stainless polish and some elbow grease.

Every boat needs a bottle opener
The bottle opener on Florian is mounted to the cabinet under the Nav desk. It's in a good spot, but had seen better days; the ridge that catches the lip of the bottle cap had chipped and required a bit of wrestling to get the cap off a bottle. Since Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters, we thought our new bottle opener should be adorned with the Florian Cross. We tested it with a couple of frosty Sam Adams when we finished projects for the day, and I'm happy to report that it works beautifully.

The next handy tool we need to bring aboard Florian is a working cigar snipper. :)


Prop Wash & Anchor Rode

We had a great Labor Day weekend laboring on s/v Florian. We re-installed new, longer rope with a new splice to our existing chain, and put the anchor back on with a new shackle, minus the last 6 chain links that were corroded.

Stiff, twisted rope in the anchor locker. With Don on deck using the windlass
and me down below wrestling rope kinks, we eventually got it all off the boat.
The splice in our chain/rope was too stiff & swollen to fit through the windlass. After several attempts - both wet and dry - we decided to pull the chain, rope and anchor off Florian so we could lay it all out in the garage at home and take a closer look at the entire rode.
Anchor and rode off the boat and in the car.
We cut the fat, old splice off, and I was amazed at how fluffy and light the interior of the nylon strands are, considering how hard and stiff they were on the outside from compression and 16 years of silt & salt water.

After cutting the splice, the rope opened up, like a flower.
(I know, that's a total girl-statement, but I get to. (: )

The anchor shackle screw pin was corroded, and the last 6 links of chain were pretty beat up too. Don used a plumbing wrench to get the shackle off, and we bought new, longer rope. We had a new splice made to our existing chain (70 ft), after cutting the bad links off. I'm interested in learning to splice, but since keeping the chain and rope connected is rather crucial, I'll opt to leave this new splice to a professional so I can relax when we're anchored, and I'll practice splicing with the old rope.

The previous shackle had to be wrenched from the anchor
 We haven't been able to identify the manufacturer of our chain. It could be Simpson Lawrence, since we have a SL Windlass, but after calling them (now Lewmar) to ask if they sold chain in the mid 90's, the support staff had no answers and little interest in finding one.
Do you know of a chain manufacturer that stamps the links with SL?
*UPDATE* At the Annapolis boat show in October 2012, we had the good fortune to speak with Kevin Donahue of Lewmar, formerly Simpson Lawrence. He helped us identify that the SL on our chain stands for Short Link, and that it's 3/8 BBB, likely manufactured for Simpson Lawrence by ACCO back in the early 90's. Mystery solved! Thanks, Kevin!
Pile o' rode
We re-attached the anchor to our partially new rode and fed it through our cleaned and greased Windlass (more on that in the next post). It's a tall pile of rode with not a lot of fall in our anchor locker, so we'll have to be mindful of kinks & hockles by letting the full length of chain and rope out without the anchor in deep water so it can untwist and right itself once or twice a year.

Bearded Propeller on s/v Florian
Florian hasn't left her slip for about 8 weekends while we removed & re-built the head, cleared a sanitation hose block, and worked on the windlass and anchor rode, so our prop has grown a beard. (Which is a good thing; no growth = galvanic corrosion from electrolysis) Our zinc anodes are working.

This is a 20 second video Don shot with the GoPro - to test the camera & dive housing mounted to the whisker pole, and to see if he could clean the prop from the cockpit. :)

After lots of labor over Labor Day weekend, it's time to relax on Florian.
After ticking off a list of To-Do's, it was time to relax with a cold brew in the cockpit. The weather was beautiful in the marina (though we heard a big Southerly swell from Pacific storms was not fun out on the water, and most of the boats that left in the mornings came right back.) We hope you had a safe & fun (and productive, if that's on your list) Labor Day weekend. Happy September!