Saturday, April 10, 2010


I don't know what I've done to piss off the teak gods, but have a look at that unfinished toe rails on Good Company (top). Sigh. So much for all that fabulous boat karma I was banking on Isabella (bottom). At least there's no varnish to strip.

There's a very long list of things I love about the Island Packet 380. The toe rails are not on it. To begin with, they are a good 6" wide (at least) and made, not from one plank of wood, but four. Yes, four narrow planks of teak. So every 12-18" there are four screw holes and bungs. When I get up to Rock Hall, I'll count them for the record. AAAAHHHHH.

Then, every 12" inches or so, sometimes less, there's some kind of hardware that you have to work around and/or tape off. Add to that a stainless steel strike plate that runs around the entire exterior edge, and you've got a 6-inch by 91-foot torture chamber.

There are two bits of good news. One: we hired someone to sand them. Some poor soul removed the strike plate, cleaned the wood and sanded it. I'll have my first look at their work tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Two: Chip may have discovered the antidote to varnish. It's called Flood, made to protect exterior wood from the elements. As far as I can tell, it wasn't intended for the marine environment, but Chip experimented with it on Isabella to great results. He put it on the boom gallows, the bowsprit and the dorade boxes, and they held up great for several years with very little upkeep -- all during not one, but two complete refinishes on the toe rails. I frequently glared at those dorade boxes as I crawled past on my knees, covered head to toe in teak dust.

The heavenly Flood is water based, so prep and cleanup is a breeze. You clean the wood, paint on the Flood, let it dry, paint more coats until water beads up. A few months later, need some more? Just clean the surface and paint it right on. No stripping, no sanding. Can you hear the angels sing?

Flood permeates the wood, so no worries about chips, dings, peeling, patching, seams, lifting. It's everything Cetol got us so excited about -- and then failed to deliver -- and without the muddy finish.

Many before and after photos to come, and probably a few entertaining DIY disasters along the way. The fun begins tomorrow.

p.s. -- Have I mentioned that the 380 has a teak eyebrow?

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