Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Whew, the pilothouse windows are finally in. What a project. They are custom stainless frames cut, welded, and molded from 3/8" stainless barstock then adhered to the pilothouse with 3m VHB tape. Then 1/2" scratch resistant polycarbonate sheeting is fitted and VHB taped into the frames. All the edges are then sealed with Boatlife.

I'm happy with it. I think it turned out pretty darn nice for having never done such a thing before.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Dog and His Ball

So. Willie has this ball.

He found it in the park one day and dragged it home, as he sometimes does. Generally he'll find a tennis ball, bring it home, bring it back to the park the next day, and forget it there. End of story. But this ball was different. We weren't really sure why. Maybe it has the perfect squish when he bites it. Or maybe it's the fact that when it bounces, it bounces high, but not too high, and he can catch it mid-air. Maybe it's the color scheme. Whatever it is, Willie. Loves. This. Ball.

And he'll do anything to get it. He'll run over greyhounds, for instance.

Last year, Willie and I had a bit of a power struggle when it came to his walks. I was newly pregnant and very morning sick (all day long), and it took all of my energy just to walk him up to the lawn in order for him to do what needed to be done. He had spent the last few years of his life going for a fair walk prior to doing his business, but the docks at Thayer's Landing are far shorter than Constitution's, so he felt cheated. All he wanted was a bit of time to run and play. All I wanted was to lay back down so I wouldn't vomit, so it took me a bit of time to figure out Willie's thinking. He'd sometimes end up going more than 24 hours without peeing, even though I'd take him out 7 or 8 times. It was so frustrating. Suddenly it dawned on me - when I took a ball with and played with him, even for a few minutes, he'd do what needed to be done at the end of the play session. Problem solved.

The instant we came back to Thayer's Landing, Willie got into this rhythm. Every time we turned right off of the finger pier, he knew we were going up to the grass and he'd run back and grab his ball. If we turned left, he knew we were going to visit our neighbors, Jon and Kelli. If he forgot it, he'd hurry up and run back to get it. Now he never forgets it. It doesn't matter if it's 5am or midnight. Sometimes I think he's forgotten it until we get up to the grass and he turns around with a big orange grin.

Generally, Willie is happy with any toy. But I know that if he happens to lose this one in the water or wears it out, we're going to have to buy a replacement for him. Who knew that a dog would get so attached to a ball.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's been going on with the Creekmore?

To answer the title question: LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS. That's the basics of what has been going on. The current result is something we are very happy with, and is pictured here:

Yes, we finally have the hatches in. And the deck is painted (sorta). The pilot house frames are now in as well (not pictured above), but the install of those is pictured below. Sorry for the lack of pictures of the process of all this stuff. It'd make for great reading material in a "how-to" sorta way, but I just haven't had the time to stop and take pics in the middle of these projects.

So, lets see now... how'd we get to this point... Well, all spring it rained. It rained and rained and rained. Meanwhile the boat was sitting with no shrinkwrap (because it had collapsed in late winter) and we had all the hatches covered with plastic dropcloth and taped over. When our parents visited for Ivy's birth we got a small break in the weather. The help of the two fathers (now grandfathers) was a fantastic windfall and the deck got filled, faired, and primered (I think that might be in a previous post). Then it rained for many more weeks. The next quick weather window I was able to paint 2 coats around the hatches and then tape em back up. Again, rain and then a break in which I was able to drill all 72 holes that were going to be needed for the hatches. I drilled them all at 1/2" and refilled with thickened West System epoxy. This gave a solid core to drill 1/4" holes in for the 1/4-20 bolts. I got it all set nice and ready to install and then had to re-tape and cover it all up because the rain was back. Finally, two weeks ago, the weather actually truly got better. That was the cue I was waiting for. I painted the entire deck with 1 coat of Easypoxy High Gloss White (It took just over 4 hours). That added up to 3 coats around the hatches and I was then finally able to bolt them all in. To do this I decided to go a bit unorthodox. I used 3M VHB tape around the edges of the hatches. It is the same tape they use to put windows in airplanes and skyscrapers. I have friend who used it on the windows of their Morgan 36 and has had a great experience. I figured it was worth a shot. The VHB is only 1/4" wide, and the flanges on the hatches were over an inch so there was still room for some 3M 4000 UV adhesive, which is generally more standard of an approach. All the bolts were also well slathered with 4000 before being thru-bolted and sinched on with twin nuts below. Those hatches aren't going anywhere, for a long long time. The lids will rip off of the hatches long before the hatches themselves could ever leave the boat. I am very pleased with how they have turned out.

As for the pilothouse window frames, they only had about 1/4" flange all the way around so I went with VHB tape only and then used BoatLIFE Life Seal around the edges to give a watertight seal. Our friend Jon, who lives on Shantih here at Thayer's Landing with us, had some experience with Life Seal before so he came by to show me the proper way of masking it. The real key is in removing the tape IMMEDIATELY after it is caulked. It made for a fantastically smooth and straight line. Again, very happy with it. Now I just gotta get the glass (scratch resistant poly-carbonate). Expensive stuff...we'll get that later.

Other things:

**The hull, from the waterline up has been sanded, bad spots (where old primer was crackling) filled, faired and resanded. It is ready for paint.

**The hull, below the waterline has been sanded, filled and needs to be re-faired.

**There was a bad spot on the keel, just a tiny crack from the freeze/thaw of sitting out in rhode island winters for 20+ years. That has been ground out, filled, fiberglassed... still needs re-fairing.

**I got ahold of two old teak steps to start a staircase inside. I built a box structure underneath them to provide more storage. We didn't want a ladder because it just wastes the space behind it. The structure is still rudimentary in the picture below, but I also have two teak steps that will make it a full teak staircase. It is solid, stable and looks great with all 4 teak steps. The ply stucture will be skinned in oak to match the other oak in the picture. The only issue is that my engine access is behind there and I need to devise a way to move the stairs in a hurry (probably some sliding track?) to get to the engine room under the cockpit. But the main purpose is getting Jenny, Ivy, and Willie in and out safely. Even Willie can maneuver these stairs. It's hard to find a sailboat that dogs can easily enter/exit with no assistance.

**We bought some 1.5 inch wide stainless bar stock 3/8" thick and I have cut and ground 4 lengths of it to use as a tracks for the drop in board at the companionway. I had to do some work to make the opening hatch align nicely with the cutout and that project is still underway. The picture here shows the cabin top cutaway at the companionway. My hands are not small.

**We began oiling the teak inside the salon. Wow. It makes such a huge difference. The oak trim, which many boaters frown on, is such a fantastic highlight to the teak. I really love the way it looks together. We started doing this as an attempt to make the salon feel a bit more home-like. I want Jenny and Ivy to feel comfortable when they come hang out at the boat while I work. It has been very difficult for Jenny to get any real work done as she is constantly tending to Ivy. She is a fantastic and wonderfully attentive mother, but that means boatwork has to be on hold for her a bit. Fine by me, I love doing boatwork. I'll try to get some pictures of the newly oiled teak soon. It really does help make the place a bit homier.

**In keeping with the goal of making it more home-like we have been working on cushions and cushion fabric in the salon. This is just for the starboard settee... the chairs on the port side will be next whenever we finish the cushions... they are about half done now.

**We've purchased the prop shaft and prop. Those will be next on the install list. More about that later.

*We also got a brand new 3 burner propane oven. We now have it sitting in place waiting for a time when conveniences like an oven are more timely to deal with.

**The rudder has been removed, packed up and shipped off to a boatyard for repairs on the open patch where a self steering gear had at one point been intended.

**I managed to find a dirt cheap Engel 45qt freezer/fridge cooler. These things are awesome and some of the liveaboards I know (http://www.ellenjohnandrubicon.blogspot.com/) have done away with their icebox coldplates completely in favor of an Engel. This will make transitioning from Madrigal to Creeky so much easier as we will have 12/120volt refrigeration immediately upon moving in. SUCH A HUGE HELP.

**Last, but certainly not least, I've been making plenty of time to hang out with my beautiful new daughter. Ivy is fantastic and growing like crazy. All the boatwork combined with 50 hours a week of actual work at my job has made getting time with Ivy difficult. I hate the fact that in order to make our new home, I have to spend so much time away from our current home. Thus, we are trying desperately to get the Creekmore launched as soon as humanly possible. If we can launch it, we can live on it and then we can all be together while I work on the boat. Right now it pains me to leave home each day to go work on it. But I know that if I seriously keep busting at it, I can get it done quickly and then we can spend every day together. Hopefully that time will come sooner than later. Either way I cherish all my time with her. She is a funny little baby and is already developing the personality of a hamhead. She smiles all the time. We get lots of quasi giggles and coos. She loves when I make faces at her, or make monkey noises with her. She loves to fly like an airplane. We have great fun together already and I can't wait til we can move into the big boat where she will have so much more room to play and grow... and I can be there for all of it.