Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sea Strainers and Recaulking

Sorry, it's been so long since I last updated this thing.  Both our families were down here and left about a week and half ago, so we haven't really had the time to update the blog.  As stressful as it was, it was really nice seeing our families and showing them around St. Augustine.  My parents, of course, love our boat, but still want us to come back to NY and live a "normal" life.  You gotta love 'em for trying.  We spent 2 weeks hanging out on the beach, sightseeing around town, and dolphin watching from our dinghy.

Frank and siblings

Mommy and Daddy

Dolphin watching

Back to work on Moitessier....we recently checked our "new" sea strainer basket from Groco and you wouldn't believe it,  the seam on the basket corroded through.  We were so shocked to see this, as we just replaced this about a month and half ago.   Apparently, you're not supposed to use SS strainer baskets if you're in saltwater.  We were a bit appalled, because no where on the product did it say to not use this.  Not only that, but these were the only strainers available at West Marine and it seems "everyone is using them."  Surprising, huh?  We switched the basket to be a plastic one, so hopefully, it'll hold up better.

Corroded at the seam

We're currently in the process of recaulking our cockpit, a job that is not for the feint of heart.  The process is simple (note the sarcasm)...since we didn't want to spend $300+ on a Fien multi-master we decided to cut out the old caulking by hand.

What we did was, first, we took a razor blade and cut out each side of the seam (being sure to not gouge out the teak).  Then, with a small screw driver, we inserted the tip under the caulking, lifted, and peeled.  After this was done, we used the screwdriver like a chisel, scraping off the leftovers from the sides.  Where the deck has worn (where the seams are too shallow), we used it like a cabinet scraper, holding it almost vertically as we ran the tip along the bottom of the seam.  After this fun process was done, we used a piece of metal the same thickness as the seam (we broke a file into a couple pieces), and covered it with 80 grit sandpaper and ran it along the seam, sanding it square (note here that you should say goodbye to the first layer of skin on your thumb and forefinger).  Then, we vacuumed up the mess, and used acetone to clean off the rest of the grit and sawdust.  Now on to taping.  We taped off all the edges and ran a line of caulk (Teak Decking Systems) on the inside of each seam, making sure to pull the tape off shortly after caulking, because we wanted the caulk to settle nicely into place.  We spent all day yesterday doing this, it literally took from 10am-10pm, and we only got half of it done.   Though i'm sure the multi-master would have made this all much easier; thank the lord, we don't have teak decks!!

Cut each side of the seam with a razor blade

Use screwdriver to remove caulking 

Sand off inside of seams

Seams should look like this before taping 

Looks kind of cool with the blue...

All done

Before I forget to mention, we just replaced the pump for our AC unit.  Seems someone may have run it dry or maybe forgot to prime it and ended up burning it out, so we can now have some ice cold air coming in when we really need it.  Of course, we're limiting ourselves to how often we use it because 1) we're trying to get used to the florida heat and 2) we don't want to use a unit too much for fear of it breaking.  Seems we've developed a phobia for using things because we're afraid of having to fix it.  Sounds silly, but we're trying to prioritize our finances as well as projects by which one is going to get us out of here faster. (We justify fixing the AC because it will make working inside feasible ;-)


  1. The caulking looks great! But watch with the "thank goodness we don't have teak decks" comments (much work to do). :) What guided you through the process? This site has seemed the most thorough to us and your process seems consistent with it: http://www.yandina.com/TeakDeck.htm. Curious as to whether you used some other source.

    s/v Calcifer

  2. Yes, that was definitely one of the references. We also follow other HC owners blogs (in this case, Remetau's) as well as HCOA for advise on most of our projects. This recaulking was a real pain. If I were doing decks, I would definitely look into the Fein Multi Master tool. It'll save you a lot of time and back pain :)