Esper Refit 9 – painting with Awlgrip primer; reforming the cabin

It was all about the painters this week, racing against the weather before the heavens opened. Mey was also tasked with some painting and she seemed to get most of it on her clothes.

Mey gets half a tin of paint on her face

Mey gets half a tin of paint on her face

Summary Video

As usual we’ve put together a ten-minute summary video of this week’s progress. Go full-screen and choose high-definition to make it feel like you’re actually in that lazarette with Mey.

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Painting The Awlgrip Primer

This week was all about getting the Awlgrip 545 primer on the top sides. Once this had been achieved it meant the painting team could crack on with the deck, so it was a case of get it done before anything else could progress.

Kim and Oot mix up the primer

Kim and Oot mix up the primer

Unfortunately this week’s weather forecast decided to play games with us. We’re approaching the transitional period so the wetter weather is approaching. The painters needed three hours to apply two coats of 545 Awlgrip primer so we had some fun and games trying to work out when this could be done without it raining. Generally it rains in the afternoon and sometimes during the night. This makes it particularly humid first thing in the morning. Peter, our neighbour, had an electronic humidity meter so we were able to monitor exactly how damp it was under the tent. We watched it drop from 83% to 70% over an hour, taking it to an acceptable level of humidity.

Oot applying the first coat of 545 Awlgrip primer

Oot applying the first coat of 545 Awlgrip primer

With the primer now out the way the painters can crack on with the deck. With the two layers of biaxial fibreglass to grind back (four layers on the locker lids for extra strength), they’ve quite a bit of grinding to be cracking on with.

Kim grinding the old gelcoat

Kim grinding the old gelcoat

Drying Out The Cabin Hatch

Last week we talked about the strange bit of filler behind the cabin hatch that had been contributing to a leak. It seems that leak has contributed to some rather wet decking around the hatch. It had delaminated and a gap had formed between the ply and the grp and was no longer stuck down. We cut away at that area and I ran a moisture meter over it, which highlighted some pretty wet ply (readings reaching 44%). The readings dropped as the moisture meter ran forward, so this suggests that the water had been building up from the back, via the old filler, and not down the mizen mast as we had always suspected.

Lek cuts away at the ply around the hatch

Lek cuts away at the ply around the hatch

Reforming The Cabin

Storage is always an issue on a liveaboard’s boat, and with our love of materials we’ve accumulated quite a wardrobe! Jamie’s shirts were hung up on a make-shift rail whilst Liz’s tops were crammed into an awkward cupboard. Since Jamie’s shirt rail ran across a single bunk that was never used, we decided to box it all in and create a large wardrobe. It sounds dramatic and it does close in the cabin slightly, but it opens up an enormous area for much needed storage.

The old single bunk. A large, wasted space

The old single bunk. A large, wasted space

Tui starts to construct a chest-high cupboard, which creates a large area above the cupboard for further storage

Tui starts to construct a chest-high cupboard, which creates a large area above the cupboard for further storage

Identifying the Diesel Leak

One of the issues we’ve had in the cabin was a diesel leak. In fact for years we thought we had two leaks. One we knew about and was probably caused by Jamie’s over-zealous epoxying whilst in India. The other leak, however, was truely baffling. It was creating some pretty nasty stains on the veneer and an unpleasant smell inside a locker. After pulling the carpet off the walls of said cupboard (yes, we’ve inherited this rather nasty, brown carpet lining in our cupboards) we revealed the culprit: a bracket in the lazarette, never used, had four through-bolts that were leaking. Since the lazarette is not water-tight (something we’re looking to rectify) any water, plus diesel jerry can spillage, builds up in the well and leaks through the bolts. Over many years, this leak had slowly soiled our cupboard and walls. It was the cause of the foul diesel smell in our cabin over the last year too.

Bracket off, bolts out, holes filled and the cupboard cleaned we’ve sorted out this problem once and for all.

Revealing A Secret Storage Area

For eight years Liz slept next to a cavity that had no access to it. It didn’t figure that there was something important behind it since the same cavity on the other side of the bed was a cupboard. Finally, after all this time, we cut out a large panel and, lo and behold, a new cupboard has been created! It contains the exhaust and fuel pipe so these will be boxed away and a medium-sized cupboard built around them. Like we said, discovering new storage area on the boat is a marvelous thing!

Ton reveals a secret storage compartment

Ton reveals a secret storage compartment

What’s Next?

Next week we hope to take delivery of our veneer. We ran out and had to order some more! Also we’ll only be in the yard for two days as we’re off on a little break. When we return it will be Songkran, the traditional Thai new year, so there’ll be little progress as the workers return to their families across Thailand and Myanmar too.





5 Comments on “Esper Refit 9 – painting with Awlgrip primer; reforming the cabin”

  1. Tony Gibb

    Okay so I want to know how many of those 52 shirts you get to wear in a week.  I am ashamed to say I might have you beat but we are just going to have to compare when we are back in the water!  Looking good and love the video – keep it up. 

    1. Jamie

      Tony – I don’t wish to brag, although I do, but that’s 52 custom-made shirts. It does not include the off-the-shelf ones I’ve been buying in Malaysia. The main reason for having so many, however, is my ever-changing girth. A shirt for all seasons and all tummy sizes too.

  2. nancy lake

    Yes, I’ve got a question! Once Esper is refitted and her make over’s complete, what happens next? I mean do you just sail away or do you have to do some kind of test run to check everything out? Is there a kind of ‘snagging’ process? Ta!

  3. Susie H

    Can’t for the life of me figure out why boat manufacturers don’t provide access to all the voids from day one… like you we decided to do a bit of opening up and now have two perfectly usable storage lockers behind the corners of our saloon sofa. If you need replacement lining for lockers thick non-slip matting or table protector does the trick.

  4. Tim Furlong

    Blue Peter, Liz, look who’s talking 🙂
    Interesting question from Susie above and my theory is that the manufacturers use the same fittings for different models to keep cost down…just a theory mind.

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