This year finally saw the end of major repairs and improvements to Grace. Mostly, I kept up with annual maintenance, such as servicing the outboard, bedding deck hardware, servicing the winches, and keeping up with the brightwork. I am continuing to use a natural linseed oil varnish, called Le Tonkinois Linseed Oil Varnish No.1, which is a pleasure to work with and is durable enough. I did some minor fixes to hairline cracks in the gelcoat here and there, and I rewired the bow bi-color navigation light, which had been removed to be repaired by Weems & Plath. I also picked up a spare 3-gallon fuel tank with a direct hose attachment to the outboard, which will be used for extended motoring when coastal cruising. Filling up the outboard’s tank every few hours gets old fast!
Bottom paint and waxing
Notable in terms of maintenance was that I took it upon myself to apply the bottom paint this year. I lightly sanded the previous coat of Pettit Hydrocoat ECO, and applied two new coats throughout and a third coat near the waterline. One of the thru-hulls were starting to leak, so I rebedded that thru-hull completely and rebedded both thru-hulls from the interior with 3M 5200 sealant. In addition, I made backing plates for both thru-hulls out of a marine plastic board to improve their strength. Zincs on the rudder shaft were also replaced, and I waxed the sidewalls with a traditional carnauba wax made by Four Seasons.
Boom repair and sail replacement
In one of those particularly windy days when I was the only sailor foolish enough to be out on the water, I snapped attachment point of the mainsheet to the boom during a practice man-overboard maneuver to recuperate a backpack that happened to be floating near me in the water. The mainsheet attachment broke off in the middle of a jibe, which caused the boom to swing against the shrouds and snap the gooseneck attaching the boom to the mast.
Really, it was for the best. The failing hardware showed me a weakness that needed to be fixed prior to any multi-day coastal cruising. I brought the boom in to Ballenger Spar Systems. Their shop manufactured a new gooseneck and made an even stronger attachment point for the mainsheet. I switched to dyneema reeflines, which seems to be an improvement from the standard polyester lines. Ballenger also riveted on hardware for a second reefing line. While my 20+ year-old mainsail only had one reef point, I realized that on the windiest days, a second reef point was very much needed.
The mainsail and class jib were replaced with sails made by North Sails, a company with an entire line of sails for the H-Boat. The new sails were standard dacron for cruising and singlehanded racing. A new cover by Bullseye Canvas was made for the new mainsail. All together, I’m very pleased with the sails and setup! They came in handy during the trip from Santa Cruz to Berkeley in September.