MRL 2020

A photo of the headliner removal from the cabin ceilings.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and work transitions, I spent most of 2020 camping out on my sailboat and outside my family home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. My online teaching at a community college afforded me the time and flexibility to become very familiar with all the issues with Grace. I didn’t really have a master plan for restoring Grace, and tackled whatever issue seemed most pressing.

My broken arm had recovered enough for me to do most of the grunt work myself. Friends came to help occasionally, which was always much appreciated! I started by moving as much Grace’s equipment, trim, cabinetry, cushions, etc. into storage.

I then went about the arduous task of removing the vinyl headliner glued to the interior ceilings of the cabin. The glue had failed in several areas, and it was sagging. Probably the most surprising find in removing the headliner was a wasp nest behind the headliner in one spot. They probably entered through hardware that was poorly bedded. Removing the headliner and the residual glue from the gelcoat wasn’t easy. I tried several more ecological techniques, such as citrus solvent, which worked pretty well. In the end, I resorted to using acetone with plastic and metal scrapers and brushes.

This year was also the year for learning how to do repairs to fiberglass and how to bed deck hardware. I started by repairing cracks in gelcoat and rebedding hardware with butyl tape. Other projects included In addition, I stripped the interior woodwork and applied several coats of Le Tonkinois Bio Impression Flat Varnish, which is usually a primer for exterior applications and works just fine on its own for interiors. I serviced the winches, which hadn’t been cleaned or greased for some time.

I also got professional support on a number of items in 2020. Santa Cruz Marine did an annual service on the Tohatsu outboard. Pineapple Sails made a new 155% jib out of tri-radial mylar. They also repaired minor tears and chafe in the mainsail, and they replaced the class jib bottom batten and leech line. Bullseye Canvas made new covers for the winches.

Steve Leddy’s Rigging Shop replaced the standing rigging, installed masthead and tricolor lights in Weems and Plath’s Q-Collection, replaced the mast wiring for navigation lights and the VHF antenna, prepared lifelines for new Vetus stanchions that I installed, and coordinated the fabrication of aft pulpits by Ian Klitza. The aft pulpit included a mount for a stern light in Weems and Plath’s LX Collection.

Ian also fabricated and installed a new stainless steel lift bracket that had completely rusted out, and he tightened the keelbolts to 90 ft lbs. Later in the year, Ian fabricated a stove attachment and holder on gimbal for a Solo Lite camping stove compatible with alcohol burners, he added additional mount points to the mast base plate, he removed dents from the bow cover, he added a mount for a bi-color light on the bow pulpit, and he lowered lifeline mount points on the bow pulpit.

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