The lovely city of Douarnenez France has become A home away from home for us. This magical waterside city is where we are keeping our wooden boat for the winter. I highly recommend it as a winter storage for any sailing boat on the Brittany coast. It is an exceptional place for wooden boats as there are so many around. Port Rhu has a lock and maintains a 4 meter depth. There are many chandleries, wood workers and repair specialists. 9 month storage coasts less then $1000 euros!

We arrived early to the festival in dourdenez France. We spent most of that week at the Trombel and port ru part of the waterfront. It wasn’t until about a week in we happened to explore the sardine processing plant and found the other harbor. This is where the 600 wooden boats packed in for the Temps Fete Festival. Here on this side was a massive harbor with a wonderful stone quey. Many restaurants and cafes line the quey overlooking the water.

The amount of local people volunteering to make the festival work was staggering. The amount of wooden boats that sailed from all parts of Europe was amazing. Each day a determined type of sail boat would go out and sail around in front of the festival. We couldn’t figure out where we were to go so we just sailed around feeling a bit goofy.

Along shore there were classes in different nautical traditions. The sculling station was always full and the evening races were my favorite to watch. I also enjoyed watching many large boats sculling onto there moorings after taking all sails in. Here in France sculling is a tradition that are keeping alive. It works, why not.

They caught our short lines. Made fast my uncleated breast line. Frantically pulling in tiger maru who was running down currant on a pontoon in the harbor entrance of Douarnenez. We were tired from our crossing and the Ushant shipping lane that crossed the Brittany coast and English Channel. Thanks to david and Christina we arrived safely, attached to land or at least a pontoon.

They hail from the fabulous port town of Mevagissey which we couldn’t anchor off because the wind wasn’t right. There’s is a traditional gaff yawl built in Martha’s Vinyard by Ashley Butler and sailed home to the UK .

David bought her. Crossed the Atlantic single handed two times-in that same year. Spent three days in the azores, a few weeks in Antigua for the classics and a few nights on some other islands. Basically he does it for the freedom of sailing alone offshore. He is really the last of true adventurers, setting his oil lamps at night for his running lights, using his sextant for positions and carrying all those sails to be hanked on and off . Christina is the last of the last also – who supports his passion and does not dare get in his way, rather assists him with weather from onshore. She really gets the passion of mad single handed sailor.

The flush deck no cockpit boat must be hard to sail in the weather that dominates the uk. It must be miserable in boarding seas. Actually the only place I would want to sail her is in the tropics with cushions on deck and awnings spread above. Much like how David Wegman set up his flush deck cow horn Afriggan Queen who sailed the world the trade winds route.( now gone due to hurricane Irma) David from mevigissey is clearly different and as he says “has to do it the hard way”.

David’s work shop the crown jewel of the innards of the boat. Look at all those storage spots and space for making, fixing & navigation.

sally b is for sale but David keeps her moving. For him it is a way of life and he can’t seem to get enough. Interested? What’s his email? Gonna find out.

Kirby paints are made here in the US. Kirby paints have been around since the 1800,s. If your ever in New Bedford Mass go take a look at where the paints are made and meet the owners. I use them both on boats and in my home. They do exceptionally well on the hulls and interiors of yachts where salt, sun and water are ever present. I love the historical colors for all my wooden floors & built in fitted furniture. Here Dulcinea has been painted in Kirbywww.kirbypaints.com paints.

Here I have painted a floor in Kirby paints.

We were preparing for an Atlantic crossing on our cold molded wooden sloop tiger Maru, when Julien spotted rot in the port deck. ” people do ocean crossings in open row boats” I said knowing how long our project list was already. It was to late he had already chiseled back the rot and was letting it dry in prep for his Dutch men repairs.

He knew it would be a messy job so we headed across the Hudson River and tied up to a rust barge where he proceeded to get loud and dirty. We also pulled the mast and placed it on the barge for a total refit. New inter stay with running backs for a storm sail. New halyards, rigging, staylocks ( norsemen is out of business) and new beefy spreaders.
Re doing a teak deck

Julien has decided to us west system g flex as the glue for this project.

  •  our decks are plywood with double diagonal mahogany. Once the decks were repaired, we milled the teak wood and scarfed the pieces together full length. Most of the source of rot was at butts so Julien wanted tight splices with no end grain exposed. next we removed all fastenings and filled the holes, while fiberglassing thin spots on the deck.
  • First deck piece was thru bolted with 2 by 2 cross clamps. This clamp would bridge the following strips so that we could wedge each strip with out fastenings.
  • It is a messy affair. I lay down g flex with 403 and 407 filler on the teak strip. Julien spreads it on the cambered deck with a sculpted plastic squeegee. We only lay enough goop for one teak strip.
  • Next we bend the teak in the shape of the deck, the breadth of the boat, while trying not to mash up our glue. We tuck it under the cross clamp and wedge the ends tight as we go down the deck.
  • Next we insert our separating string which is . 155 inch weed walker cord. This creates an even separation of the teak strips and a breaker for the future caulk.
  • We clean up epoxy that has used out of the wood strip so that we will not have to scrape and sand tommoroow when installing the next strip.
  • Each day we knock out the wedges and install a new strip. It takes a long week to do the port side.
  • After all the strips are laid  down we remove the cross bar and plug and fill the holes that were holding the cross bars. We sanded the deck with a belt sander and caulked with PL roof polyeurithane. We has sampled it 8 years prior and ir worked better then the expensive teak deck systems caulk. It is easy to remove and does well in the sun and costs $ 5 a tube at Home Depot.

We estimate about 100 Hours  ( we charge $110 an hour for both of us so that’s about 10,000 plus $2500 dollars in materials for this job.)

After two months of determined work we are almost ready to hit the high sea. It has been a long time dream for both Julien and I to cross the pond in our own boat. Little did I know the amount of energy it would consume. I am tired, frazzled & worn. To view our journey by tracking latitude and longitude goto https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/TigerMaru

Two months prior to leaving , Julien was putting in some structural beams and found rot in the deck. Here we are replacing the port deck without fastening. Up came the old teak. A bit of scarfed wood went in and then some fiberglass. On top of that we g flexed new teak wood clamped down with bolted down cantaleviered 2 by 2 . We then wedged the teak as we went. We also used .155 inch weed whacker cord as a bond breaker between the caulk and bottom.  It was difficult to work with. Next we pulled the clamps off and finished the deck with black roofing pl bought at Home Depot. I found it easier to apply and less air bubbles then teak deck system. It also only cost $5 a tube. We had previously tested it seven years

We also installed an inner stay to hang a storm jib on. Running backs so the mast won’t pump. I have just finished sewing 116 drogue cones with the help of Michele, Julien daughter and crew. We deliberated about how to get weather out at sea and finally came up with predict winds offshore weather and an iridium go. Michelle has been setting it up and soon we will be able to receive weather and get texts and email as well as calls. Our Eperb, Winslow life raft and spin lock PDF were bought at landfall navigation in Stamford conniticut. We will use C- Map on the iPad for charts of Western Europe as we don’t know where we will land. Once I pay the $40 I can download them for keeps. This is very scary for us as we are paper chart people. I will let you know how iPad navigation works out for us,

Lots of wooden boat owners can not afford the major refit option here in New York. Many of us realize that plugging away in Martha Stewart style is the way to go. Some of us keep lists with structure being the priority. Not to many, plunk money in the cushions and varnish while ignoring bleeding fasteners, broken ribs and cheesy looking planks. Every wooden boat owner has a plan and we often stick to it.

Urbanboatworks ( thats us Julien & dana) is honored and pleased to keep these New York Wooden boats alive & sailing. Check us out at www.urbanboatworks.com if your in need of help and live in New York or CT.

 

Brightwork is finiky work.   As an offshore sailor who is pretty rough and tumble, I consider my varnish protection first, perfection second. As a wooden boat owner I am aware not only of the movement of the wood on the boat but also the area’s that take the abuse. Therefor I do things like coat all rounds and surfaces that lay flat to the sun several times. A typical cabinside will get two or three coats on the waterways and eyebrows- to one coat on the horizontal grained cabin wood. Some places will get three cost while others will get one.

Here are a few tricks I have learned over the years that make it a but easier.

  • Clean your surface ( after Sanding ) 3 times. Once with a vacuum, then with a rag with spirits on it and lastly with a fresh tack rag.

I use to tell the people that worked with me doing brightwork in the tropics ” it is all about cleaning” and i would tell my clients “your paying for more then a seasonal coat. Your also getting a complete wash down to your openings including screens, tiles and walls. ”

  • Wait until the pollen has passed and there is no wind

Everyone is in a rush to get evrything knocked off there list for boat season. It pays to do your brightwork on the perfect day with no wind, early in the morning but not so early that dew is around.

  • Always buy and use a new brush.

I now charge one new brush to each job for the last coat. After someone has spent good money on sanding and cleaning they should not have a problem paying 12-18 bucks extra for a new brush, with no dust.

varnish
brightwork on an S- Class Boat

DSC_0186

varnish hatch
varnish on an alden hatch

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