May 2018 – Boat Projects

Saxony and I LOVE living on the West Coast. We ski in the winter and sail in the summer. What else can one ask for? I get this grateful feeling in my stomach when I am skiing in some beautiful alpine terrain in the winter months and I know that in a few short months we will be sailing and swimming off Leela in our clean and rich West Coast waters.

But before the summer good times, there are always the Spring boat projects to be completed. We don’t mind. We actually like it. It’s a nice change from our normal white collar jobs. Good old manual work on a beautiful sailboat does indeed soothe the soul.

In the spring of 2018, we wanted to repaint the hull with a new coat of antifouling and address some pesty leaks that were happening around the Captain’s seat in the cockpit as well as a bit of varnishing and a few other bits and ends.

Sailing Leela
Early May. Onroute to the haul-out. Lion’s Gate Bridge in the background
Leela before the haul-out
Leela before the haul-out

Painting the bottom is a hard, messy and “not-fun-at-all” job. The paint is quite toxic as it prevents marine organisms from growing on the hull. You have to sand the entire hull with a soft pad, clean everything as best as possible and then apply two coats of this very expensive paint. And the entire time you are working under the boat in the worse angles possible. Boat yoga and crossfit combined.

I personally love extremes in experiences. We had one for the ages here with Saxony performing in a Fenntessa bikini fashion show in the evening and painting the bottom paint the next morning. What a trooper. From this:

Saxony at Fenntessa Fashion Show
Saxony at Fenntessa Fashion Show

To that:

When we purchased Leela we had removed all of the teak planks in the cockpit to plug the leaks through the screw holes. Turns out we still had two leaks in the cockpit. One from the captain’s seat and the other from water intruding in the cracks of the teak steering pedestal base. The only way I could see to solve the captain seat leak was to completely remove and rebuild.

Captain's seat removed. Time to rebuild properly
Captain’s seat removed. Time to rebuild properly

As for the steering pedestal base, we coated it with two layers of fiberglass and took the opportunity to repaint the cockpit. Leaks solved!

Due to our limited time out of the water, we enlisted some help to wax the hull too which was in dire need of some TLC. We had always envied other boats where you could see the reflection of the water on the hull. And we’re happy to report we achieved that goal!

We fiberglassed and repainted the cockpit well
We fiberglassed and repainted the cockpit well
Finally a coat of hull wax is applied!
Finally a coat of hull wax is applied!
Deep inside, we love varnishing. We really do.
Deep inside, we love varnishing. We really do

We blitzed all of these projects in 10 days as we had to get Leela in the water by a certain date due to my surprise 40th birthday celebrations. 🙂 Before you knew it, Leela was back in the water and we enjoyed the loveliest evening motoring through Coal Harbour, something we had never done before.

First time ever taking Leela through Coal Harbour
First time ever taking Leela through Coal Harbour
Early May in English Bay. Water is brown from all the runoff
Early May in English Bay. Water is brown from all the spring runoff
Leela is back in the water ready for another season of sailing!

PS – The Return of Kale Chip

If you’re still reading, the following is a crazy story. In the fall of 2017 some poor schmuck stole our beloved dinghy “Kale Chip” from the dock in False Creek. The same thing happened to us the year before so we waited to see if Kale Chip would naturally surface at a local marina before calling the Police to declare our dinghy stolen. We eventually filed a police report in February. Come Spring 2018, and Leela is on the hard and we’re thinking it’s about time to start looking on Craigslist to find ourselves a new-to-us used dinghy. I’m taking a break from sanding the bottom, scrolling Craigslist on my iPhone when I see a picture of a dinghy that looks a whole lot like Kale Chip. I waited until I got home to see if the registration number on the dinghy in the picture matched with Kale Chip’s. Lo’ and behold, it did! I immediately called the seller and pretended I was interested in buying the dinghy.

The seller lives in Surrey (ie not on the Ocean) and agrees to a meeting the next day. We call the police to ask them, “what do we do”? Police informs us of how things will proceed. A police officer will meet us near the seller’s house and stay out of visible range. Our job is to basically go and meet with the seller and inspect the dinghy to ensure it really is ours. If it is, we are to call the police officer and he/she will show up within 2 minutes to inform the seller the dinghy is stolen property.

The plan went down without a hitch. The sellers were too youngish teenagers who initially told us they had the dinghy for 2+ years and had really cleaned up Kale Chip good. We had never seen our dinghy look so good. They had even painted the transom and added an aluminum seat. Saxony “excused herself” to make a quick call (to the cop) and before we knew it the police officer arrived and things got pretty intense. The father came out of the house and everyone was pretty confused as to what was going on. What the seller told us is they had picked up the dinghy at a local auction and they had the receipt to prove it. They proceeded to pull out the receipt and sure enough, it appeared legit.

The father of the sellers was really wanting to ensure it was our dinghy. I had to produce the photo below to prove that the registration numbers matched! Haha the look on their faces was priceless!

The father and his sons crouch over my iPad to see the picture that proves Kale Chip is ours! haha (the registration numbers are the proof)
The father and his sons crouch over my iPad to see the picture that proves Kale Chip is ours! haha (the registration numbers at the bow are the proof)

The officer informed the sellers they were in possession of stolen property and we were free to take Kale Chip back home. Saxony and I felt terrible as these young men really had worked hard to make Kale Chip beautiful and they were getting nothing for their efforts. We offered to give them $60 for their cleaning efforts but they refused any payment.

We were really happy to get Kale Chip back and such a pristine state!

Kale Chip never looked so good!
Kale Chip never looked so good!
1 Response
  1. Peter Green

    Wonderful to read of your exploits and recovery of Kale Chip! Doesn’t Leela look beautiful after the clean, maintenance and polish?
    Best Wishes
    Pete & Wendy

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