Light in the cave – or painting the interior

Dark teak interiors are valued in the Danish boating community – strange since we all seem to favor  light Nordic design. Chip-Chip has been owned by people who have loved to sail, and to sail far. Consequently, countless screw holes in the teak reminds us of long forgotten instruments, storing containers, fire extinguishers etc. And the interior is somewhat worn. Practically it doesn’t really matter, but still…

So we decided to start painting and varnishing in the v-berth. Esben sanded it down in early spring, and I did the research on varnish. Big topic apparently. We ended up going with Epifanes for no particular reason. But spring was cold in Northern Germany, so it took forever before could get started. In the end I decided that 5 degrees would have to do for varnishing, which meant that I could only apply a new coat after 48 hours, so the five (I think) coats took a while. After spending hours taping up the newly varnished surfaces, we started painting. We used Hempel’s Multicoat coat paint, which was okay – but it needed five coats to cover the wood completely.

 

Our head (toilet) is original and made of metal covered in flaky paint. We took it home to see if it could be saved, and in the meantime I continued to paint and varnish the little room to help make it a bit more inviting. I think I succeeded!

It was quiet an effort to get the sanding, varnishing and painting done, and the main cabin was still waiting – once started we would have to finish. But in the end we decided to go ahead. So Esben spent his last two days off after easter sanding everything down. Then he left to work in the UK for two weeks, and I could start the task of varnishing and painting. I ended up going every day for a couple of hours, and did a bit each day. The kids and I decided that we wanted to surprise Esben by telling him that there was no way I could do any work while he was away – and then when he came home everything would be finished. In the end I didn’t manage for that deadline, though, but finally everything was done. It was awesome!

We are really happy having finished this project. The boat is so much lighter now – and we can write draw on all the green surfaces, they were painted with chalkboard paint.

 

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Restoring the teak seats

“STOP PULLING THE WOOD!!!!” Mattis jumped when I started screaming at him. It was summer and he had been playing in the cockpit, and was checking out how the seats were made of marine plywood with a teak coverage. Only problem was that the teak coverage was basically paper thin and peeling off. And while it’s not really a big issue, it’s not aesthetically pleasing, and if the teak is not fixed, the marine plywood below would slowly be damaged by the water creeping in.


So we asked my dad if he would let us work on the seats in his workshop during easter. That way he could give us advice on how to proceed while we were working, and we had the local boat builder down the road for extra advice and for materials.

By measuring at the location of the hinges, we figured that the old teak pieces had been 5mm thick originally, and we then asked the local boat builder to cut a teak plank into small pieces. We wanted to take the old seats apart and use the old teak as templates for the new pieces, and after much work we finally had the marine plywood, a pile of old crappy teak an the side pieces kinda preserved.


It took forever, but finally we started building the seats up again. We used Sika 291i sealant, both for gluing the teak onto the plywood, as well as for the joints.

We put sika on the seats, added the teak carefully with dividers in between them, and then put compression on while they dried out. Once dry (so the next day), the protruding teak pieces had to be cut off, and then it was time for the side pieces. These were cut out individually, using the old pieces as templates, and then glued and screwed onto the seats. Finally we added sealant to the joints. To avoid having sika everywhere, my dad told us tape it up; you sand the sealant off afterwards, but it penetrates the wood and leaves a slight color that is not directly visible, but you sense it anyways. So the tape went on. The last day, we worked late into the night, but finally had four finished seats to bring home. Now we just had to sand them.

In the end it was not easy getting the hinges back in the right place, but we managed and now have lovely seats. But most importantly, we learned how to work with teak, so next time we can do it ourselves – just need to invest in some nice tools first…

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Installed! Now we just need to fix the rest of the wood…

 

 

2 steps forward and 500 back

“That was a long holiday, don’t you think?”. The kids agreed, we had been on Chip-Chip forever, sailed across miles of water, and were ready to go home.

In reality we had arrived less than two days earlier, and only ventured down the other end of the harbour to buy fresh fish for dinner. The plans were much bigger Friday morning; Esben would fix the cockpit drain quickly Friday afternoon, so that we could leave with the outgoing tide Saturday morning and visit one of the Wadden Sea islands. But then the drain didn’t fit, and after a trip to the nearest major marine store it became evident that it wouldn’t be a quick job.

Whatever, we could fix it Saturday morning and still get a nice sail in the afternoon – except that the job took too long, so once it was finally finished, we took the boat out for a 1 nm trip to the next harbour, sailing with the genoa in next to no wind. It was nice nevertheless, the kids got an ice cream, we bought fresh fish for dinner and we even had time for dinner on the way back.

Since it was the pentecost weekend, we still had time for an overnight visit in one of the nearest harbours. We just needed to do final adjustments to the new standing rigging on Sunday morning before leaving. Esben went up the mast in the new Topclimber, and as he began adjusting the first spreader he yelled to me: “We’re not going anywhere! The end piece is broken”. I didn’t believe him at first, but then he leaned to the side and showed me how he could wiggle the piece like a loose tooth. By then we had enough, took a couple of pictures of the culprit, backed up the car and went home for lunch.

We did, however, come back a couple of hours later to try out the banana boat, which we bought secondhand online sometime during the winter. We bought it without having ever sailed one before, but figured that if it didn’t work out for us we could just sell it again. Esben took the kids for a sail, but we’re so far not completely convinced if we should keep it.

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The topclimber is pretty handy

And now that the weekend has ended, we’re trying to find a spreader end piece for a 47 year old mast. So far it’s not too encouraging, but hopefully we will find a solution, hopefully before we’re planning to go on summer holidays – Esben already suggested that we just remove the mast and make a trip down the Dutch rivers. Somehow I would much rather go sailing – with sails.

You would think that we would have learned by now that you can never count on anything going smoothly on an old boat. But I guess not…

It’s much easier rowing with the wind