2018 Boat Projects.

Last year wasn’t just a big year for us personally but another big year for boat projects.  Here’s a list of the big jobs that was carried out.

Aft Cabin and Head.

With the arrival of our little crew member in early March my Mum and step dad Pete was coming to stay on board with us for nearly two months.  This meant Morgan had to get the aft Cabin and head ready for them.  When we left the US this cabin and head was no where near finished.  We had basically just built walls out of Marine ply, and filled both these areas up with wood and supplies. 

The aft section of the boat was such a mess neither of us actually took any pics. Morgan started the project at the end of November 2017 and finally finished minus the door to the hanging locker and the door to the washing machine cupboard (minor details at this point) two days before my parents arrived at the end of February. 

Aft cabin before

Here’s a quick reminder of what this cabin looked like when we bought the boat.  The floor and bed was on the same level. Meaning you had to literally sit on the floor to get into bed.  Also the cabinetry was on the outboard of the cabin and half of the bed was under the cockpit sole.  The Electrical panels was also in this cabin.

So in the US we decided to completely gut out this entire cabin. We lowered the bed frame and the floor and took the electrical panel out completely. It was an empty shell at one point that we primed and painted.

Then Morgan and my Uncle rebuilt the walls before we left the US.

This was the work that Morgan did from November to February.

Luckily Morgan’s brother Jojo came out to see us for two weeks in early February to help Morgan celebrate his 40th Birthday so Morgan got some extra help for that time he was here which was great and so needed.

He utilised all the old doors and the majority of the trims to add to the new cabins look. And here is the end result. A much more practical and bright cabin.

This was the same for the aft Head. We hated all the old cabinetry and formica. So we gutted it out and started over. 

We kept it simple. Used Marine ply for the walls and floor and added a few coats of epoxy to seal it of.  Then painted it. We installed a washing machine under the companion way steps that is accessed via the head and also added a locker space that one day could serve as a wet locker but for now holds our laundry basket etc. 

This is the process. And the end result.

Pilot House Floor.

This was the most used floor on the boat and we think it might have been the original flooring.  The rest of the boats floor was newer in comparison.  So whilst in the US we bought 2 sheets of teak and holly.  Its not 100% finished yet as there is still work to be done to the pilot house however 90% of the existing floor has been changed out for the new. Again sounds simple enough, but try lining up all the stripes from the various pieces. Of cause once the pieces all fit they were given a few coats of vanish.  It looks amazing and lightens this area up quite a bit.

Sewing Projects.

All boat projects came to a halt once our little Gaël arrived and turned our world upside down.  When Morgan finally came up for air about 3 months later he decided to start of slow with some sewing projects. He completed several sewing projects over the last few months.

The first project was a proper mainsail cover.  When we left the US we had on board an oversize mainsail cover belonging to a super yacht.  When we used it we had to tuck it around the sail from all directions.  It really wasn’t an easy task covering the mainsail tidily.  Morgan designed the cover himself and it took him about three interrupted days to complete it.  The end result a perfect fit mainsail cover.

With the new main sail cover on we were left with the gigantic piece of material that we had been using as a cover.  So Morgan made a really great awning out of it that extended from the start of the pilot house back to the back stays.  For a few months of usage this was amazing. It offered so much shade and cooled the pilot house and cockpit down tremendously.

In October Morgan’s mum Jacqueline came out to visit us for a few weeks.  Having her around Morgan decided to tackle the job of pilot house blinds.  Shade for the Pilot house was something we debated about for months. As there is windows all around when the heat is on this area could really heat up.  We enjoyed sitting in the pilot house with its near 360 degree view out but depending on the time of the day it would get pretty hot.  We had material on board so debated about curtains or blinds and then one day Morgan suggested outside screens.   We got the material at a reasonable rate in Martinique and having an extra pair of hands on board over a weekend they got the blinds made. What a game changer.  Its reduced the heat inside tremendously and I also like the privacy aspect of it.  We can see out but no one can see in.  Perfect.

Also whilst having Jacqueline with us Morgan decided to tackle the most difficult sewing project, a dodger.  We knew this project was going to be a tricky one.  They took templates out of plastic and then cut the material to it.  All outside in the elements which made it quite tricky.  Jacqueline returned to France before they could finish it but a few days after Morgan got the final project done.  I think he did a great job. 

Hatch linings.

This was a real pain in the **** project, so much so that I didn’t get many pics of the process.  The original hatch linings were made from laminated wood. The majority of the hatches when we bought the boat had minor leaks from dried up hatch seals that unfortunately meant most of the hatch linings had been destroyed.  They were beyond repair.  However the trims were salvageable. 

51225893_556871681496204_7264404386195963904_nMorgan used packaging cardboard to make a mould of the gap between the hatch frame (lining) and the cabin ceiling/old trims. Once happy with the way it set he removed the mould and fibre glassed the back side of it to the existing trims.  Once the resin was cured the cardboard was removed and the surfaces required minor filling and fairing.  Then it was ready for painting and the trims were varnished. 

It sounds like a easy enough task but it was far from it and took a few trials of what would work to get the right mould.  In total he had to do three big hatch linings (60X60) and 5 small hatch linings (40X30).

51174348_2149271888429682_3829214496891600896_nThis took about a month to complete but they look absolutely amazing.  We chose to paint the linings white for a cleaner look.  It looks slightly odd with our current ceiling color but it adds a burst of light to our otherwise somewhat dark interior. One day when we have heaps of time on our hands we would like to paint the entire ceiling white.  But thats not happening any time soon.

Dodger and Bimini.

Now that we have had both structures for a few months already I find it so hard to believe we lived with out them.  We had bought some stainless steel frames when we first arrived in the Caribbean with the intention of one day making a dodger. Well in September when we ran south to Grenada for hurricane season this was the main projects Morgan worked on.  A friend of ours offered his workshop for Morgan to work in.  He used two existing frames to make the dodger frame and then built a combing from scratch using marine ply. I was a bit skeptical of it at first when he had three layers of ply glued together and then bent to the shape he wanted. It took quite a bit of fairing and sanding but the end product looks amazing. When he bought it back to the boat I was super impressed. 

We weighed up the options of getting the Bimini made out of Stainless steel or galvanized steel and eventually went with the galvanized steel.  We have a welding machine on board so before we left Martinique Morgan bought all the materials he required and then in Grenada he fabricated the frame.  It took a few trips back and forth to get the frame right and luckily we had friends there that could help manipulate this big frame structure on board.  Once the pre-fit was approved Morgan painted the galvanized steel.  A few coats later it was fixed back on board.  

It was a few months before we sailed up to St Martin where we purchased two additional solar panels to go on the Bimini. Morgan had to once again fabricate a support frame for the panels to fit on. Then epoxy, faired and finally painted.  It isn’t completely finished yet as we would like to make a material/windscreen section to join the Dodger and Bimini and also make roll-able flaps for the Bimini sides to help keep out the sun and rain.  So Nomadica has taken on quite a different look in the last few months.

High output Alternator and bracket.

Whilst Morgan had access to a work shop and machine shop in Grenada he decided to fabricate a bracket on the engine in which he could install a high output alternator. The thought of ever having to motor any distance and not be able to charge the batteries made us cringe so its always been something we wanted to do.  Another great improvement and a few days work to get it all right. 

New Freezer and Refrigeration units.

The original refrigeration/freezer system was a Glacier bay. It worked a charm but boy it really sucked a lot of power.  In order to keep up with its power demands we found we had to run the generator an hour and a half in the morning and the same in the night.  The one massive compressor ran both the refrigeration and freezer so there was always a fear that if it broke we could lose whatever we had in the fridge and freezer.  Also if we lost the generator we could be under powered in running the system. We could never leave the boat unless it was on the dock which is very rare, as we had to turn the system on and off manually twice a day.  Morgan had moaned about this for months so finally at the end of the year he decided to change out the system for a more conventional marine refrigeration and freezer system.  What a game changer these new systems are.  We haven’t ran the generator since and both units works great.  The Glacier Bay came with 2 thick holding plates in each compartment. Once these were taken out we were left with so much space.  So whilst doing the installation Morgan did some modifications to the boxes and added shelves for practicality.  Its fantastic and so much better than before.  Sorry no pics. 

And I think thats it…..I didn’t always get the pics as we pretty much have had our hands full but it’s been a good year all around 🙂

Now that thats done…..Lets sail to Cuba. 🙂

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The last year in review.

A new year a new effort at keeping up with this blog.  A few days ago we paid another years subscription so I am hoping this is the motivation we need to be a little more regular at writing.

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1st January 2019.

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Also a few days ago we celebrated 6 years of ownership of Nomadica.  It really is crazy how fast that time has flown by. I remember that day so well.  We were so so excited and I think quite nervous to.  Now 6 years on we have been living aboard her for a year and a half already and we are comfortable in our home afloat.   We haven’t travelled that far in that time but we have achieved a lot. 

 

 

 

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Nomadica in Martinique.

The first part of 2018 was spent in Martinique, waiting on the arrival of our little crew member and then after his arrival in March we waited a few months to get use to life on board as a family of 3 before we started moving.  Of cause in June hurricane season was once again upon us and after the previous years activity we delayed our plans of heading West.  Instead we did a few runs up and down the Island chain, dodging a few tropical storms and spending the majority of the time in the southern Islands.  In September the height of the hurricane season we went as far south as Grenada.  Morgan had a project that he wanted to do there and it seemed like the perfect time to go. 

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The Island chain from Google Maps.

The last few months of 2018 we saw ourselves in Grenada and Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreau, the Tobago Cayes and Bequia which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, The Saints in Guadaloupe and lastly St Martin.  We spent Christmas, which was a special one being Gaël’s first Christmas and the New Year in St Martin and enjoyed bringing in the new year with old cruising friends we had met from years before. 

Really you could spend a few years sailing around the Eastern Caribbean Islands but thats not something we have any desire at all to do.  To be honest we have found the Caribbean to be over crowded and expensive so it felt good to be finally on the move.

 

Last week we made our first west bound trip to the BVI’s it was nice to finally have the wind at our backs.

Cheryl, Morgan and Gaël.

 

A New Life for Us…..

A year ago today our lives changed.  A year ago Nomadica was launched and we started our lives a float. 

We had dreamt about living aboard our own boat again for years.  Its been a bit of a whirlwind as it has not always been easy.  But when I look back on what we have achieved in the last year, the projects and goals a head are nothing in comparison.  I will write more on that later.

In March we welcomed into our lives our new addition.  Our son Gaël Kai Morice was born on the 4th March here in Martinique.  We couldn’t have been happier.  Our hearts are full and our lives have been busy.  After a short hospital stay we bought him straight home to the boat.  My Mum and Stepdad made the long journey from St Helena Island to be with us for the occasion.  They arrived on the 1st March for nearly an 8 week stay on board.  Just 3 days after they arrived Gaël decided to make his arrival.

We are still in Martinique at the moment, but will be moving along the Island chain soon. Its wonderful to finally be a family a float.  Our little boy has already had his first sail to St Lucia and back.  

The  first of many adventures a head.

Cheryl

Christmas in Martinique.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have officially suck at keeping up to date with Blog posts. Months ago I thought I would have so much time on my hands and that this would be an easy task.  But since June, since we have been living on Nomadica I have been struggling with writing and more enjoy living this life we have been dreaming about for so many years.  I guess a part of me also don’t want to fall in to the trap of writing about something rather than experiencing it first hand. I’ve seen it where arrivals and departures and significant moments have been missed simply because one has been too engrossed in writing about it.  Sometimes its nice to look up and appreciate life around you instead.

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Enjoying a Caribbean Sunset on the beach with friends for Christmas Eve. 

So a year ago today we arrived back in Charleston full of excitement and motivation.  It hasn’t been the easiest of years but we have enjoyed doing everything for ourselves as appose to living the life as professional crew.

This Christmas was the first time we have spent in our own place, our own home in 13 years, the last time being aboard our little Noa in Brazil where we spent our first official Christmas together anchored of Itaparica.  Crazy how time has passed.

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Christmas Eve 2004 anchored in Brazil with Noa.

This year we spent Christmas eve and Christmas on a beach here in Martinique with new and old friends.  The oldest friends being a couple we met 13 years ago when we first started sailing together.  We met them in Ascension Island and at the time were the only two boats anchored there.  Adrian and Hiltrut had been sailing for many years together and had at the time a 5 year old son Eric.  We spent some fun times together then and departed Ascension the same day they bound for the Caribbean and we for Brazil.  That following year we met up a few times in various locations in the Caribbean and then years passed again before we met them in St Lucia when we were officially working on one of the Gunboats.  It was nice to see them here again in Martinique and its like time has never passed. Although their son Eric is now an eighteen year old which reminds us of how time has really passed. 

One of the things I enjoy immensely about this life is the people you meet.  Unlike land life where you might never meet your neighbor.  On a boat that is almost impossible and if anything once on anchor its quite common to go and say hello to those around you.  We’ve met some wonderful people in the last few months and have started to build great friendships.  This Christmas we spent with those on a beach having a cruisers pot luck. It was a great day filled with good company and excellent food to share in a beautiful location.

For those that don’t follow us on Facebook, its time for me to also admit one of the reasons why I have been slacking.  Life for us is about to change.  In less than 10 weeks we our adding to our crew list.  Yep Baby Morice will be arriving in early March :-).  We couldn’t be happier and this new addition has been a long time coming.  Being in the early stages of pregnancy in our last month in Charleston was not easy.  Loading the boat, finalising work, changing rigging and the mountain of other things we had to do whilst suffering with nausea and fatigue was not much fun.  On the 2000 mile sail to the Caribbean I was far from my usual self and totally out of balance.  So for now we have decided to put down our roots for the next few months and continue the pregnancy here in Martinique where the medical facilities are the best in the Caribbean. 

It hasn’t been a smooth journey but we are grateful.  A new chapter in our lives will soon begin. 

Merry Christmas from Martinique

Seasons Greetings from the Caribbean. 

Boat Projects under the Caribbean Sun.

So we haven’t been completely lazy here. Morgan’s been keeping busy continuously twigging systems and finishing jobs on board and of cause we don’t stop with general maintenance.  Its such a pleasure though to be working on our future, our dreams, our boat.  

So here’s a summary of the major projects he’s accomplished so far.

Solar Panel.

IMG_0195A few days before leaving Charleston we made the decision to get a solar panel shipped to us.  Not having the time to install it, we stuck it in the aft cabin with the rest of the materials we were carrying.  This was one of the first jobs Morgan got to on arrival here.  He made a bracket on the solar panel and secured it on the aft cross beam between the two stern poles.  It works a charm and also creates a nice shaded area in the aft section when sailing. 

Swim Platform.

You will remember the swim platform frame that Morgan got Jimmy to make quite a few months back.  Just days before our departure we bought some sapele wood for this platform.  This was one of the priority projects he tackled which made getting in and out of the water such a pleasure.  The planks were quite thick so he got these cut down on the dock the day before we left Charleston.  Once we arrived he cut the planks to size to fit in the frame and evenly spaced them on the frame.  It was tough work drilling the holes necessary to secure the planks, it even ended up with a trip to the ER and 8 stitches later which was the result from hot metal fillings slicing his finger like butter. 

 

To add an extra touch he also routed out the planks which not only looked good but helps with grip.  The end product looks amazing. 

 

Deck Hardware and Tracks.

When we left Charleston we installed the minimum deck hardware.  Once time allowed here it was time to get the rest of the deck blocks and tracks installed.  You might think thats an easy enough task.  However installing the 4 tracks on the gunnel took us quite a few days and lots of prep.  Firstly we had to drill 140 holes through the 8mm steel gunnel where the tracks were going to be placed.  Once this was done we had to treat the metal and the holes, prime and paint the area.  Then 140 bolts later our tracks were finally on.

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It was great to see the boat kitted out again and it was nice to take away the temporary blocks we had been using.  Whilst we did this Morgan also treated areas of the gunnel that had some rust spots showing. Yes its a steel boat and we will be doing this continuously.

Now that we’ve sailed the boat a fair bit it also gave us a chance to see what we actually wanted to reinstall and what we felt would no longer work without the teak deck adding some height. 

 

Installation of Deck Hatches.

In our haste to get out of the USA we didn’t install all of the deck hatches. Instead Morgan made epoxy ply wood covers that he secured over the openings instead. It wasn’t exactly pretty but it was the best we could do.  So since arriving he has been installing the last few hatches.  The Master Cabin hatch had originally had a teak frame around it which had since been removed.  So this was the trickiest one.  However after lots of thought he came up with a solution and its was a fantastic treat to have a operating forward hatch. 

 

Our nights our now cool and our days are bright with all the hatches on deck finally in place.

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Installation of deck wash/anchor windless box.

IMG_8424With the removal of the teak deck came few alterations that needed to be made. Originally there was a stainless steel box bolted to the teak with the deck wash and anchor windless box installed in.  Of cause with no teak we needed to make a solution. Its a simple one but it works well.

 

 

 

Building of Forward Head.

This has been the project that has given me the most to smile about.  When we moved on board Nomadica in June the head area’s was still two blank spaces.  Just weeks before departure I begged Morgan to at least install the toilet in the forward head.  Using the yard facilities was OK but it got a little old after a while.   This is how we lived for a few months, with just a toilet and one sink in the galley.  So when Morgan finally started on the forward head I was so please.  We had a few delays due to the weather.  Of cause just when he needed to prime or paint we had like two weeks of continuous rain which hindered progress.  He couldn’t exactly paint with the boat closed up and us locked in side. 

 

Originally this head was terribly old fashioned with lots of unpractical storage spaces.  Most of the wood work was also covered in formica which had pulled away.  We had to get access to the hull when we did the welding work so decided to strip this entire area out.   It was a blank space and we had discussed the plans for this at great length. 

 

I could never imagine it would look the way it does today.  There is still a few fine details but I am totally happy with the end result.  I’m also amazed at how the space feels bigger than originally imagined.  Its got me excited about the build projects ahead.

 

So thats it.  As I write work has finally started on the aft cabin and head.  Its going to be a few weeks if not months but I know we will get there. Slow steps whilst we enjoy life on board. 

Cheryl

Life in the Caribbean.

Seriously has it been over a month since my last post.  I have been slacking and time is getting away from me. 

Sunset in the Caribbean

Beautiful Caribbean Sunsets.

A friend mentioned recently about my lack of blogging which prompted me to get back into it.  I have no real excuse 🙂 apart from the fact that I have gone into complete relax mode.  I think we do deserve that a little after the last few months.

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Enjoying life in the Caribbean.

 

I guess we are also enjoying life to the fullest which makes it hard to sit down and write about it….well I find that the case anyway. 

Anyway here’s to making a better effort from my side.  Its hard to believe we’ve been here in the Caribbean for over three months already. Initially it wasn’t our intention to be in the Caribbean this early, but its been an interesting experience.  Heading south to the Caribbean in the height of hurricane season was definitely not on my priority list but it was too late to head north to Canada and Central America had quite a bit of tropical depression activity at the time of our departure.  Looking back on this hurricane season I had every right to feel the way I did.  This hurricane season has officially sucked and probably ranks high on the the list of worse seasons to date.  Not wanting to mess with the weather in August we headed straight south to Grenada.  Of cause if anything came close to us we were prepared to run even further south or at least in the opposite direction.  We are still prepared to do that. 

IMG_0294A few mere weeks after our arrival in Grenada hurricane Irma and Maria created absolute havoc on several of the Caribbean Islands.  Both were category five hurricanes that caused catastrophic damage and numerous deaths.  We watched both hurricanes track north of the Island chain with our hearts in the our mouths. It was hard to imagine just a few hundred miles away peoples lives and the Islands they called home were being changed and destroyed.  So many yachts were also lost and destroyed during this time. The pictures and footage that followed was heartbreaking.

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Early morning colours.

However life for us continued.  Our days on board Nomadica have slowed down quite a bit.  Of cause sunrise is early here in the Caribbean so we are awake most days super early as the first signs of light comes streaming into our hatch. Its a beautiful time of the day where everything seems so calm and still.  Our mornings are spent leisurely before we start on boat projects. 

 

Things are getting done but slowly.  More on that later.

Another friend asked a few weeks back what is the best thing I enjoy about being in the Caribbean on our own boat and I have to say its the people we meet. We’ve been to the Caribbean several times before, so the we are no strangers to the Islands.  However life on a boat is so much different to that on land.  You get to know your neighbours and making new friends or acquaintances is just so much easier in this life.  Already we’ve met some great people and get togethers to enjoy sun set drinks seems to be a frequent happening now.

We’ve noticed a change in the weather in the last few months.  August was hot and humid, September it cooled slightly and then October bought more frequent rain squalls and cooler evenings.  November the temperature at night has dropped which makes it so much more comfortable for sleeping under the stars.  Even the sea temperature have dipped a few degrees which makes swimming in the azure waters a real treat.

By far our favourite time of the day is as the sun sets. We love to light up the BBQ and take thanks for the day that has past. 

We stayed in Grenada for just over two months before slowly hopping up the Island chain to Martinique where we’re currently at.

Life is simple out here and we are loving it.

 

Throw back Thursday – The Hull and Transom.

The Hull and Transom.

Rather than dwell on what we still have to do, lets see how far we’ve come. 

When we first saw Nomadica, then Kata Brava in October 2012 she was unfortunately in a bit of a sorry state.  Pretty much rotting away and destined for the scrap yard.   

 

I for one will admit that I wasn’t at all interested in her, I remember driving up to the back of the boat, the transom, and looking up at a lot of holes.  Her lines were beautiful there’s no denying that but I just saw a lot of work. 

Morgan on the other hand was not phased by it at all, he’s not afraid of a lot of work and he got more excited as we looked around.  He saw the potential in her before I did and it took a little persuading on his part for me to agree to finally put in a offer. 

 

We worked on Nomadica full time for an approximate 11 months in total in the yard.  Four months back in 2013 and for seven months this year (2017).  This is what we have achieved so far.

The day we purchased her we also got the hull audio gauged to check for thickness and weakness’s.  Apart from the obvious which was the transom there was just one weak spot on the stringer in the pilot house that had had water sitting in for god knows how long.  So this piece was cut out and renewed.  Also there was a cut out in the keel that we assumed was done to inspect inside of it.  Otherwise apart from small pitting everywhere she was in good shape.

Of cause with any welding work that could infiltrate into the interior we had to get access to this area from the inside as well. So there was a lot of cutting out of panels to do this.  Whilst the welders worked on the outside I would sit on the inside with a fire extinguisher just incase.

Once the welding work in this area was done we got the entire bottom of the boat sand blasted.  When this was completed and cleaned we added 4 coats of primer to the hull almost immediately.

 

We practically had to rebuild an entire rudder as the existing rudder was of the boat when we bought it and in a sad state also.  We had originally thought we could repair it but as Morgan looked at it further he felt it was better and probably easier to just rebuild the entire piece.

 

This year when we returned to the boat we gave the entire bottom a light sand again a little more TLC before adding another two coats of primer.

 

Days prior to the launch and the day after the last coat of primer we finally got the anti-fouling applied.  This was the part I was so looking forward to.  I had dreamt of what she would look like with a black bottom.  We were not disappointed.

 

The transom was our biggest issue on the hull.  As I mentioned it was full of holes which meant water was getting into the boat.  We looked at cutting out the various sections but then in the end we decided to change the entire plate.

 

With a clean slate we figured we could do anything we wanted with the transom.  We didn’t want to have the same as what was originally there and Morgan came up with the idea of adding the back steps and platform.  Which is just a fantastic feature.  I’ll have more about this finished product in another post.

 

The topsides were in fairly good condition.  There had been a few dinks on the port side, but nothing that a grinder and filler couldn’t fix.

 

We didn’t do very much else to the top sides until this year.  Then the mammoth job of sanding it all down came.  We spent hours, days, perhaps even weeks doing it until we were happy.

 

After the initially sand down then Morgan would go and add filler to any spots that was slightly uneven.  Any slight cracks was grinded out and fillered in.  The process seemed never ending at the time.  Once we were happy with this we finally got a coat of primer on it.  It was great to see the uniformed hull again, even though it was a sickly grey.

Over the course of a few weeks the hull changed colour again and again with the meticulous sanding and fillering in.  It wasn’t easy working out in the elements and with the intense Summer heat and with the notorious bugs.  We were happy the day we finally got the first top coat on.

Here’s a summary of the hull colour change in the last few months.

In all we applied six thin top coats in total before we called it a day.

We are completely happy with the vivid red.  It definitely stands out here in the Caribbean.

Nomadica
On anchor here in the Caribbean.

I think that gives a good summary of what we have done in regards to the hull and transom.  Stay with us for the next Throwback Thursday.

Cheryl.