Mind the weather

sailing centerville harbor on cape cod
I should look happier, I’m on a boat after all.

I am still fascinated by how different the weather can actually be from one place to another.  I don’t mean the weather on different continents, but how different the weather can be in a rather small geographic area.  Specifically over a couple of miles.

Before going sailing I always check the weather conditions, current conditions and forecasts as well as past conditions to get an idea of the weather trends.  Since I work in aviation I look at the current weather reports at the local airports, giving preference to the one that is closest to where we will be going sailing.  Last week before a sunset sail the wind at a local airport was reported as being 10kts gusting to 18kts.  The direction was from the south east which is largely unrestricted blowing into the Centerville Harbor.  10tks gusting to 18kts isn’t a huge amount of wind but depending on the gusts it can end up being a handful.  While motoring out Asya and I decided not to actually raise sails given the limited time we had before sunset and we weren’t entirely sure of what the conditions would end up being.

The conditions were delightful!  The wind gusts weren’t as bad as the weather report (~two miles away) would have lead me to believe.  There was a minor swell, somewhat noticeable in the picture above, but again not as bad as I would have assumed from the reported wind direction and wind speed.  My takeaway from this is that weather conditions change, both for the better and for the worse.  As much as I like knowing when I pull out of the driveway that I am going sailing, there is still the variable of weather that can and sometimes should change the decision to go sailing.

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Sanding Hobie

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Removing a layer of paint from our Hobie 14’s hulls was not a job I was looking foreward to.  The above picture clearly shows some peeled paint covering originally yellow hulls.  However, truth be told it hasn’t been as much a pain in the butt as I expected. At first I nievely thought that I could sand down the boat by hand.  After an hour with sand paper Asya and I could hear the universe laughing at us as we got absolutely nowhere. As with woodworking I accept that boat maintenance is a learning process. We quickly learned that removing the rquired layer of paint would require more mechanical muscle then I could supply in a timely manner. So I invested in a Porter Cable sander/polisher.  The Porter Cable worked wonders, I cleaned half the port hull in a couple hours instead of the several hours or days it would have taken by hand. 

There is still plenty of sanding to be done to fair up the current sanding job and prepare the 40 year old gelcoat for polishing.  In addition to sanding and polishing there are also a few repairs that need to be made to the gelcoat. I’m thinking of using epoxy to fix some of the small raw spots in the gelcoat.  Epoxy is by no means the most esthetically pleasing option but color matching the faded gelcoat will be impossible.  At this point I would rather create a structurally sound boat rather than a pretty looking boat.  But a patched yellow boat will look much better than a fading and peeling yellow and white boat.

With every day that passes sailing season comes closer, and I am anxious and excited to get the boat back on the water. But until then sanding continues.