First Hobie sail of the season

Hobie 14
First Tiger sail of the season.

There are still a good number of projects that I want and need to do to Tiger to spruce her up this season.  The last day that I had off I had the option of staying in the driveway and doing some of the projects that I have planned, or go sailing.  With clear skies and light winds it is easy to see that I would chose sailing rather than boat projects.

The light winds were actually rather frustrating because they were light and variable.  When the wind would go calm both the boat and I became confused as to where the wind would start up from again.  More than once I was caught off guard by and accidental jibe when the wind direction suddenly changed.  All of the wind challenges were complicated by the reality that Hobie cats are notoriously difficult to tach.  Tiger would end up in irons (probably my fault honestly) and the wind would die down so my tricks for getting her out of irons wouldn’t really work because the wind wasn’t in our favor, and often changed direction which only complicated the situation.

Hobie 14

Of course, all of those difficulties with the wind aside, taking Tiger out was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.  Who wouldn’t want to spend a couple hours laying around on a boat while causally sailing back and forth across a lake?

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Brightwork Part I

Update: Do not use this method of wood sealing.  The epoxy will seal the wood however doing it as I have described will lead to an unappealing visual result.  Please do not use this method until I update this page and remove this message.

O'Day Daysailer thwart
Unfinished thwart

To thwart or not to thwart, that was the question.  My lack luster knowledge or Shakespere aside I did need to decided what to do with the thwarts in Spy Hop.  They were both unsealed wood and each was falling apart where they attached to the seats. From my perspective I had two options, refinish the existing thwarts and repair the damage that had occurred, or build new ones.  Well, the wood that made up the thwarts was still in somewhat good condition so I decided to refinish and repair rather than start over.

O'Day Daysailer thwart
Damage that developed over time that prevented the thwarts from attaching to the seats securely.

I trimmed out the portion of the thwart that had broken out and made a plug to fit each of the notches to recreate a solid piece of wood.  I didn’t have any old and faded mahogany laying around the shop (yes, I should be ashamed of myself) so I ended up using some meranti mahogany left over from a different project.  The colors don’t perfectly match but the patches are small and I doubt anyone will notice if I don’t point it out.  After some final shaping and sanding it was time to consider finishing the wood.

O'Day daysailer thwart image
Thwart coated in West System epoxy. Reflections are making the surface look somewhat milky.

Varnish has been the go to finish for many many years.  I tend not to have varnish on hand let alone spar varnish since I prefer to finish wood with my own concoction of oil and beeswax.  Sadly that concoction doesn’t lend itself to water and UV protection, both of which will be needed.  Conveniently, I do often have epoxy on hand and when epoxy is coated with varnish the combination becomes more protective then either of the parts alone.  Or so the West System literature tells me.  I do like the West System and like the idea of not needing to put on twelve coats of varnish every few years.  So I went ahead and coated the thwarts in a couple coats of slightly thickened epoxy resin (with the 206 hardener of course, resin alone just makes a mess.)  Once the epoxy cured the result was rather striking, a remarkable amount of life was brought back into the somewhat old and tired thwarts.  Honestly I haven’t applied varnish yet but I am already rather impressed.  I do intend to add varnish in the future, however I got side tracked by actually sailing Spy Hop.  Well who could blame me, I had to see how she handled with the newly repaired and sealed thwarts.