Thursday, August 1, 2013

new toy.

We got a kayak! 

When I graduated from college oh-so-many-years ago, my dad asked me what I wanted as a gift. Wise old 22 year old that I was, having NO idea where I'd be at the end of that year, let alone in the next 5 years, I proclaimed that I wanted a kayak. 

I can promise you that I was not a die hard kayaker (is that what they call themselves??). I wasn't even an intermediate. Honestly, I don't think I had ever attempted to kayak in. my. life. So why this new found obsession with water sports? Couldn't tell ya. My best guess is that I had dreams of seeing the world from a boat, which is not actually too far from the truth at this point. Oh, and also, then, as now, I am haunted by water. My life is never so fulfilled as when I am in or near water. I am not even kidding. I'm like that girl/mermaid in "Splash". I start to wither up and die (figuratively, of course) unless I get to submerge myself in water on a regular basis. That's why winter is so torturous as a midwestern dweller.  

Majorly off topic there for a minute, but I'm baaaack. Okay. Kayak. A few years ago Menards, of all places, had kayaks as part of their after Thanksgiving sale and I get this call from my dad. "Hey, they have these kayaks on sale. Do you still want one?" And foolishly, I said yes once again (what is wrong with me??). At this point, we do not have a boat, I don't have a roof rack to carry it on the mini to the lake or the river, or even a space in which to store it. Duh. You guys, I'm super smart, if you haven't figured it out. Luckily, I have the super coolest parents around that agreed to store it in the top of their garage for us. Every trip up to see us since that purchase has had some sort of mention about bringing the kayak up. Sort of a running joke. But it's ours at last! They brought it when the visited last weekend and now she's tied up in front of our bow at the dock. I just took her out this morning, as a matter of fact! Between the two of us, we take her out at least twice a week. It's allowed us to explore the marina (and scope out what other types of boats have their home here at Reef Point) as well as paddle up the Root River. I've seen lots of mallards and geese and today I even saw some sort of weasel trying to haul a dead fish from the water. What a wonderful tool to explore with and a great workout too!

sunday share.

This week's share was a joint effort requiring some patience AND some elbow grease. Josh is the Internet surfer of the two of us and looks around for inspiration from other Union 36 owners--how they've modified, DIY'd, or upgraded their vessel to suit their lifestyle. One thing he found while poking around was a few owners who stripped down the teak in their cockpits. Ours, as you can see from the photo was in need of at least a scrape down and new coat of varnish and sealant. We decided that in the name of better traction for wet days and for a nice visual contrast, the cockpit bench will stay unfinished. 

A heat gun, a paint scraper, a chisel (which turned out to be a better scraping tool), and plenty of hours to spend were the key ingredients. I started on Wednesday around noon and finished the cockpit around noon on Friday. Slow and steady, right? Actually, the process was pretty tedious. Blow this crazy hot air from the heat gun over the surface of the teak, and when it blisters, run the scraper or chisel over the surface to pull off the varnish and top coat. Small sections, over and over and over. Some places it would all come off in a swipe, but some places required me to scrape again and again. Also, you have to be very mindful not to leave the heat gun pointed in one place for too long. Oops. There may be a few scorches places that hopefully some sanding and sunbleaching will take care of. We also did some teak on the cabin top. There are some boards inlaid on the fiber glass near the mast and we decided they should be unvarnished/sealed so they would have more traction when you're hoisting the main.

Eventually, all the teak will get stripped and some of it revarnished. The floor grate in the cockpit will stay naked teak once it's stripped, as will the grab rails on the cabin top. For now the boards by the mast and the cockpit bench that were stripped are "aging" in the sun while we are away this week. Next step is sanding to hopefully completely rid the surfaces of any remaining varnish/top coat and then replacing the caulk between the boards on the bench. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!

Fair winds, and happy Sunday!

Top photo is before and bottom is after.