Friday, July 13, 2012

Whirlwind Summer

This summer has been whizzing by.  The sheer multitude and scope of the projects that Creeky requires is mind-boggling to us.  We are really feeling the crunch now.  The plan is to have the boat ready for a basic survey by early August, which means my target date for basic waterproof completion is August 1st.  Man that date is rapidly approaching....

The first major victory to report is that we now have just over 9000 pounds of ballast in the keel!   It is composed entirely of lead blocks held together with a mixture of polyester resin and shot.  I installed every brick myself over a period of about two weeks.  I had a forklift bring pallets to the deck level where I could reach over the side of the cockpit, grab them, and lug them down inside the boat.  I'd set them on the floor, about 1000 pounds at a time.  I had about 10 five gallon buckets mostly full of lead shot, shavings from the chainsaw, old bullets, and odd shaped pieces from jackhammering old keels.  I'd select the most appropriately sized and shaped block to fill a space, then another, then another creating a jigsaw puzzle of tightly packed blocks.  Then, I'd shake lead shot and shavings into all the crevices and voids.  Next I'd mix pint after pint after quart after quart of polyester resin and pour it all into the seams, binding all the lead together to create one big solid void-free keel.  Whew, simple process....

Blocks chainsawed from old keels are being raised to the cockpit.
The keel of an old Pearson Ariel cut into slabs looked deliciously like giant lead tuna steaks.

3700 pounds installed.  This is the forward most compartment nearly full.


The lead was an excruciating project, but I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Now I just hope she floats nice and even!  I still have some finish work to do (as should be obvious by the still exposed lead in the photo above).  I just received a 6th and final 5 gallon barrel of resin which I will be mixing a thick muddy mixture of thickener and lead shavings to create a nice smooth cap to the ballast.  After the cap I'll fiberglass the whole mess down  with a huge amount of fiberglass and tab it all down in extraordinarily heavy fashion.

So many of our projects have been structural and fairly boring to look at.  Cutting up lead keels with a chainsaw is exciting and all, but there really isn't much to see.  Glassing in the sterntube was just downright boring.  I'm so tired of projects that don't have any immediate gratification haha, so I've been overjoyed to work on a few of the more visible projects. 

Stern Cleat, and a roughed in hatch.
We might have went a little overboard on the cleats we bought.  They are big bollard style behemoths, but I really like cleats in general and I think they can really add to the look of a boat.  We also got a great deal on them from Peter at Monahan's in Weymouth.  Consequently we have these awesome salty looking things.  I love it, and its great to see shiny things being put on the boat finally.
There used to be a giant hole in the afterdeck which was planned to be some sort of hatch that never saw the light of day.  It's been covered with plastic and duct tape for two years now.  I've gotta get in that aftercompartment in order to install the cleats, cockpit drains, and some of the overboard hoses.  I didn't want to have to re-tape the hole every time, so I found an old fiberglass hatch in the junkyard.  I managed to get the yard owner to sell it to me for $25 only because I bought it along with a couple thousand pounds of lead keels haha. 
Afterhatch being glassed in-- and one of the cleats off in the corner

On another fun note, I was finally able to start applying barrier coat to the bottom!  Currently we have 4 coats applied.  The more the merrier as far as barrier coat goes, so I plan on doing two more tomorrow morning for a total of six before we apply ablative.

First two coats of barrier coat applied.
 In the meantime, we took a little trip home to Michigan.  Jenny and Ivy went for 3 weeks.  They spent two weeks with Jenny's family then flew to my parents where I surprised them all by driving out from Boston to visit for the last 5 days.  haha it was a great time and I'm so happy I found the chance to head for home, otherwise we may not have gotten the chance for a visit this year.

Ivy's Great Grandpa bought her a ride on pirate ship.
Here she is practicing her pirate snarl!
It was crazy being separated from Ivy and Jenny for two weeks.  The amount of work I got done was phenomenal, but so was the amount of growing and changing that Ivy did.  She started making two word sentences, pointing at people when their names are said, her balance improved leaps and bounds.  Its really crazy watching a kid grow.

...and for anyone wondering, YES, I took every precaution I feasibly could in regards to playing with lead.


  1. This is awesome. As an observer, the feeling is like waiting at the finish line for the Boston Marathon and seeing you round the corner on the last straightaway. The Creekmore is now a real sailboat.