Brightwork Part II – Some new thoughts

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.

After a bit of time to experience and live with the epoxy sealed thwarts I have some new opinions.  The easiest way to say it is that I am a little disappointed in the results.  I knew that the epoxy would react to UV rays, but I didn’t realize that it would apparently happen very quickly.  The deterioration hasn’t been structural or decreased the protection of the thwarts in any way, but it doesn’t look great,  and that is still a bit disappointing.

Daysailer coming
The varnished coaming wood kept out of sunlight still looks nice, however the UV exposed part looks less so.

While working on the coamings I have developed some thoughts about improving the way I go about sealing the wood.  First I’ll do thinner coats of epoxy.  On the thwarts I went the route of applying thicker coats but less total coats, next time I’ll do more coats but make them thinner.  Heavier coats of epoxy became difficult to control and led to unnecessary run off.  Also, the complex curves of the coaming meant that achieving an even coat was difficult while going heavy on the epoxy.

A heavy coat of epoxy also meant that sanding would likely be required to even out the coat.  My experience is that sanding ended poorly.  The epoxy would sand but would also become cloudy from I assume the dust getting I to the small scratches left by the sand paper. A less course sand paper would probably mitigate that some what but my resolution became to sand as little as possible. I have yet to find a good way to remove the cloudiness once it is produced.

Daysailer comings
Coamings before and after being covered in epoxy

Varnish on top of the epoxy does do a little bit to bring back the visual appeal of the coated wood but it doesn’t fully eliminate the cloudiness created by the sanding process. A couple coats of varnish does add a luster to the wood that epoxy doesn’t which adds a nice level of finish to the final product.

So yeah, I might be a little bit disappointed by the results of this first experience with sealing bright work but I have learned some things in the process as well.  The tiller is the next wooden piece that needs some improvements,  I plan on applying some of these lessons  on that when the time comes to brighten it up.

Guests on Spy Hop

I tend to treasure my time alone and enjoy sailing solo from time to time.  But, of all the things that I prefer to do alone, sailing isn’t one of them.  On our last sailing excursion Asya and I had the pleasure of hosting some of our sailing friends Jen and Cory.  This was a first for us as we finally have a boat that is large enough to accommodate more than two people.  And it was an absolute blast!  We went out to our usual sailing haunt, Mashpee Pond and prepared for a day on the water.

Guests on Spy Hop

Anchoring is a maneuver Asya and I have done only once before under the close eye of a sailing instructor in Santa Cruz, and it had been a while since we had done that.  Jen on the other hand had experience and was willing to lead us through the process, so the decision was quickly made to anchor at one of the islands that are scattered across the lake.  That would allow for some swimming, a drink, and a snack.  Yes, it was all good fun.

Spy Hop anchored mashpee pond

We even made some new friends.  These little guys were fun to watch as they paddled and dove around.

Ducks on the Pond

And we lazed around and enjoyed the day on the water.

Laying on Spy Hop
She’s hold a camera, not a phone!

I think that we are going to need to do this again soon.  Having extra hands aboard allowed for plenty of enjoyment since sailing tasks could be spread between four people, plus the company was fantastic.  We will need to take more guests out soon.

Sailing After the Storm

Hurricane Arthur brushed passed New England on the 4th of July.  Obviously the best choice of activities for the 5th was to go sailing!  Well, maybe.  Winds were on the stronger side, blowing steadily at about 10 kt and gusting into the 20 kt range.  Conditions were on the border of not being a good idea given the gusty and variable conditions.  But, our desire to go sailing over powered my caution.


Nothing bad or dangerous happened (aside from trying to beach downwind, not sure I want to do that again).  But, even though nothing broke and Asya and I came back still speaking to each other I’m still not convinced that we should have gone out that day. Before we launched I was mildly uncomfortable with the weather reports.  They were the strongest winds that we had sailed in, and the wind seemed confused, blowing from one direction then gusting from another.  Conditions were such that we both felt overwhelmed from the beginning, and a couple hours later when we put back in we were frustrated, which isn’t a good way to end a sail.  In hind sight I wonder if it would have been smarter (and safer) to have stayed on the beach and simply enjoyed the view.

The upside of going out after the storm was that we learned where our current wind threshold is.  I’d say 25 knots maximum and a 10 knot gust factor is all that I am comfortable with at this point.  Yes, the veteran Hobie sailors will probably say at those wind speeds the fun is just starting, and they are probably right, but I am just not there yet.  And that being the case, I’ll continue to be a wimp and push the limits only a little bit at a time.