Captain's Log

Part 3: Beavertail Restoration Part 3: Sand, Prime, Paint...Repeat.


The only way I can explain boat repair/maintenance is that it is cyclical. Once you finish one task or repair another one begins.Whoever said BOAT was an acronym for "break out another thousand" was right. I am not complaining mind you I'm just pointing out to all the DIYers out there that you should seek or consult with a professional before undertaking a project like this.

 I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by talent as I have undertaken this task. Though I'm handy with tools and have spent ample time around boats and repairs the precision of the work at hand requires zen like patience. For example, as shown in the previous posts I've done my share of sanding on this deck. Once I was happy with the sanding it was time to throw some Awlgrip Primer on all of the exposed sanded surfaces. So I helped prep and Beau painted the skiff with an Awlgrip 545 Primer. The finished product just in primer transformed the skiff's appearance and it looked new again...little did I know:)  So for the first time in the restoration timeline I walked away from my skiff for a few days letting the primer cure and the skiff looked brand new again. I polished stainless hardware, ordered parts, cleaned bolts, sold my old Power Pole and worked on my old Yeti and casting platform. The next step is to sand much of the slicks in the primer to a finer grit so that the finished paint product has little to no noticeable "swirl" or sanding marks. Once the primer cured it was time to hit the grit. So sander here we go again.

With the sanding phase of the primer over the next step was to prep the boat again with Awl Prep and rags and then make sure the boat was as dust/lint free as possible so we didn't end up with dust in our finished and curing paint job. After some debate and agreement Beau and I decided to paint the skiff with an Awlcraft 2000 Cloud White. It's a great white color with rich bright white tones you might find in Shakira's Teeth in the latest Crest commercial and none of the cream hints you'll find in colors like Oyster White. After this coat of finished paint in cloud white the skiff really had a gorgeous finish luster or "Glossed Out" appearance. A few beers and some high fives and Beau and I again walked away from the skiff for a few days to let it "kick" or harden.

I took this opportunity to connect with Stuart
Foreman of High Speed Welding here in Wilmington. Stuart started welding and working on boats in the Spencer Yacht Yard and has since moved to Wilmington and is a successful small business owner running a custom fab shop. I arrived at High Speed Welding armed with some illustrations and pictures of poling platforms and the basic measurements we needed for width and height of the platform legs and dimensions for the top.
I learned a lot about what Stuart and his crew work on and was impressed with the transformation of raw straight anodized pipe into elegant shapes and curves to form my poling platform. Stuart began by building the base of the platform lid. We then laid out the feet or pads on the work platform per our measurements off of the boat and screwed them down. I watched Stuart put several custom bends into the pipe to form the aft poling platform legs and with some simple positioning tack weld them to the pads and then add the lid to the legs and fine tune the fit with a little muscle making sure we were plumb on the frame and lid. With a few discussions about shape and bends on the pipe we had the raw shape and stirrups made.
It was a great way to stay on task with the project and get a break from sanding and painting for a day. Fun too to watch anyone in their element working with their hands. Stuart is an accomplished welder and watching him or Beau "build" is a very fluid experience to watch unfold. With the framing of the platform complete I left the finish welding in Stuarts hands knowing I wouldn't need to rig the platform until I was nearly at the completion of my skiff's build.

While the paint was curing on the deck I began work on rewiring the trailer and learned an important tip from Luke Donat of Donat Marine Solutions in Wilmington, NC. Most companies ground their wires to the trailer rather than run two separate grounds from the plug to the tail lights aft. The problem with grounding to an aluminum boxed frame trailer is #1 you create electrolysis every time you launch or load the skiff or operate your trailer with wet components, especially in the salt. #2 Running two fresh grounds from the trailer harness aft is slightly more expensive on a manufacturer. So I chose not to ground to the frame and bought 50 extra feet of white marine grade ground wire with the hopes I won't be chasing "grounds" as I have so many years past when a light stops functioning. I also replaced my tires, which were worn from 2 years of use, a couple of rollers, rims, clearance and stop/turn lights as well as safety cables for towing this upcoming season.

After completing my trailer retrofit the paint on the deck was now dry enough to touch but not yet sand in preparation for completing the Awlgrip non skid. So I spent a day doing minor gel coat repairs and finish sanding to the hull. After repairing small dents and dings I attacked the chore of compounding and waxing the entire hull. This proved to be well worth my time as it really brought out a luster in the boats gel coat that I hadn't seen in a while. It's always amazing to me to see how much more vibrant paint or gel coat is after a good polishing.

While I was working on the hull and platform I sent my new 3 spoke stainless Gemlux Wheel off to Capt. Phil Woodham down in Titusville, FL for some custom rope work. Capt. Phil is a true renaissance man and has kept the tradition of nautical rope work alive and well hand braiding countless wheels, gaffs and more for passionate anglers. Part aesthetic part function of comfort the tradition of running coxcombing on a wheel dates back to early sailing times when the c
oxcombe stitch was used on large sailing vessels to mark the rudder's center position on the wheel. Now more elaborately finished with Turk's Heads knots and wrapping the entire wheel Capt. Phil has aided a lot of anglers in their desires to adorn their wheels with a timeless traditional elegance. I certainly appreciate the time and hand crafted skill required to do this and was proud to have a piece of Capt. Phil's history adorn my wheel and this special skiff. I think you'll agree it was a nice touch!

Finally the Beavertail's deck was ready for taping off the slick areas and sanding of the nonskid areas. I carefully taped all my non skid outlines and began hand sanding all my tape edges, being extra careful not to eat the tape with my 80 grit sand paper creating flaws in my upcoming non skid application. With my hand sanded perimeter in place I once again used the DA sander to scratch the larger areas with 80 grit to make a better bond with the soon to be applied Awlgrip nonskid.

I finished out the week with the beginning stages of re rigging the Beavertail. I started by polishing, priming and re sanding my aluminum motor mounting plates, repairing gel coat nicks in my casting platform and painting it seafoam green to match the hull, rigging the console gauges, re installing the jack plate and new Taco Rub Rail. The project is truly back on track after some atrocious winter weather causing delays, busted knuckles and a lot of hustling to watch the paint dry.

Please stay tuned in as we near the final stages and get closer to finishing the rigging phase. I'm already further along in finishing the skiff than this reflects but I need a few more days of work to post the progress! Thanks for taking the time to check out the skiff, the site and my progress on this renovation.

All the Best,
Capt. Seth Vernon