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Cat Maudy gets a makeover…and fixed steering!

Dockside in Baltimore MD. It would be nice to enjoy some downtime after 30 days of cruising. But no.

Since arrival into the port of Baltimore:
Day 1: Skate 25 miles
Day 2: Can’t move. Realize I was too outta shape to skate 25 miles on Day 1
Day 3: Still recovering from Day 1…tho my new PINK custom speed skates arrived Fed Ex from China
Day 4: Now I skate in pink boots – energy has returned!
Day 5: Start training for sprint-triathlon…add running and biking to the exercise mix. Notice that I can no longer afford to gas up the car. Holy crud! Good thing I’ve got a bike! Soon I’ll need solar powered legs.
Day 6: Captain & I decide that Cat Maudy needs to get hauled out in early June – at Georgetown MD- for rudder/steering repairs plus 3 weeks of exterior restoration projects (sanding, grinding, painting). I was really looking forward to this.
Day 7: address the mold problem that began in Charleston SC on the entire interior of Cat Maudy. She will require complete restoration to all painted surfaces to be completed by end of May. More fun!

Yep, I’m really enjoying some downtime.

We decided the best place to begin interior restoration would be the starboard forward berth. What originally appeared to be a 2 day project…. morphed into an 8 day project. All clothing and bedding (which had been stored in airtight bags after a mold infestation in Charleston SC) had to be moved to the salon. After we removed the bed frame and mattress, we discovered about 30 gallons of stagnant water sitting in the hull. The water had gotten into the hull during the ICW portion of our prior cruise — where we overfilled the water tanks in order to get low enuf to pass under 65′ bridges. Some of this water spilled out when powerboat wakes tossed us around in shallow waters. Sooo, we had to pump out the water from the hull, let it dry…and disinfect for odor relief.

After a shopping excursion to Home Depot for all sorts of fun things (ventilators, white paint suits, painting supplies, sanding stuff and more) – we were ready to tackle removing the latex paint. That’s right, latex paint. I had it in my mind last year when I originally painted all of the staterooms — that maybe I should TEST using latex paint on just the starboard forward berth. After all, glossy latex is used in home settings that get wet a lot (bathrooms) — so it seemed logical that it would work well on a boat. Nay nay. One year later, the mold was everywhere, the latex did not adhere well to the prior layers of marine primers…and overall it was a big mess. Best to stick with pricey marine paint. Fortunately, I did not use latex paint in any of the other berths.

While we had sealed off (so we though!) the starboard forward berth from the rest of the hull — we soon realized that sanding would propel all dust particles throughout every surface of the boat. It took 2 days to clean off all of the particulate matter throughout the boat. Unfortunately, the sanding wasn’t too effective, as we discovered that the original layers of paint (pink) was not adhering well to the fiberglass. Off to West Marine to get some fiberglass-friendly stripper chemical. Next, we applied a layer of ooze (stripper) to the entire berth area….and waited for all of the paint to come peeling off. Ok, it didn’t exactly work that way. First you have to scrape off all of the ooze, and only SOME of the paint works its way off too. So, we spent a lot of energy scraping and giving our upper bodies a good workout. Who needs a gym? Then, we decided to apply a second layer of ooze (stripper) to try to get off the remaining paint. That seemed to work better – but it still burned many calories to get little chips of paint to come off the hull. To remove the remaining gummie stuff from the hull – acetone did the trick. One more treatment of sanding…followed by a layer of cleaning chemical – and we are now ready to paint the first layer of primer.

Needless to say, all of the chemicals AND paint smelled really bad – so we had to keep as many hatches open as possible in order to breathe. One night I even slept in the cockpit – the fumes were that bad. Soxy, our cat – discovered that all of these open hatches were a perfect opportunity to escape off of the boat onto the dock (luckily, she returned later that eve!). This project seemed to be going really well.

By the time we applied 2 finish coats of paint to the starboard forward berth – I thought my arms were gonna fall off. They somehow managed to stay on – and we returned all mold-free tie-dyed clothing to closets and compartments – and put the bedding back onto the bed. It looked fantastic – like a hippie boat bedroom out of the 60’s. With this berth complete, we rode the momentum and moved on to the starboard stern berth.

…this sanding technique did NOT work too well, tho we did manage to get white paint dust all over ourselves and the entire boat.

Fortunately, the starboard stern berth did not have a layer of latex paint, and we had learned a few tricks from the 8 day adventure of fixing up the forward berth – that would make the job go faster. One trick – was to attach the vacuum directly to the sander — so that all of the particulates would go into the vacuum and not permeate throughout the boat. The next trick, was to mix 50-50 primer with finish paint – so that we would only need to apply a 50-50 layer, and then a finish coat (as opposed to 1 coat of primer…then 2 coats of finish).

And finally, we avoided leaving certain hatches open that allowed Soxy to jump directly to the dock. Full speed ahead now! The entire starboard hull was now complete — ie. Mold removed, completely sanded, primed and finished with the appropriate marine grade paint. Exercise diversion. Time for a few days off of boat projects…for some skate and triathlon training.

Skated 40 miles one evening on my new pink Bont speed skates. The workout was great – but this was a bit too much time in my new pink boots since they haven’t yet been broken in. My inside right ankle was heavily bruised. After a few more days of painful skating (due to inside ankle bone), it was time to do what I do best. Obsess. It was time to get serious…and drag the Captain to the local Safeway parking lot — to video my skate technique, and help analyze this ankle issue. Sure enuf – that pesky right ankle collapses inward. Bought some arch supports for my skate boots, arch inserts for my running shoes….and it appears that the collapsing ankle problem is now history.

Returning to boat projects now…with my arteries full of exercise endorphins. We would now prepare to tackle mold and painting on the port hull. We chose the port stern berth as the next job. The mold was fairly advanced on the port side – so the entire berth area needed to be “bleached” in a toxic Simple Green solution. I wore the respirator for this – and with 30 knots of wind – the hull aired out pretty quickly.

By the time we were ready to begin painting, we had the prep-n-paint routine down to a science. I had even packaged up Tupperware bins with all of the necessary paint items – making it easy to pull out whatever was needed. Before stepping into the staterooms, we suited up with latex gloves, white suits, respirators, plastic bags for our feet, and each had our own set of rollers, paint brushes, stir sticks and pan liners. Pat would paint the “bed” area, and I would work the closets & entryways.

Both ‘heads’ on the port hull were out of service while fiberglass repair and painting renovations were underway

…and a finished look for the staterooms on the Port side. Can I be done with painting now please?

After a year and a half of steering Cat Maudy in circles, she was finally getting a tune-up by the finest boat mechanics at Georgetown Yacht Basin. Bent rudder shafts were getting straightened, bearings re-lubed….we would soon have to learn how to steer the boat without massive over-correction!

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