Hauled out and on the hard
On March 27, 2006, we brought Final Straw up one of the Mooloolah canals to Lawrie's Boatyard in the nearby town of Buddina where she was hauled out on their 40 ton lift. Our last haul out was in New Zealand two years ago, so, it was time to renew the anti-fouling bottom paint to repel the barnacles. It had also been eight years since we last painted the hull and the tropical sun had taken its toll these past five years of cruising. In addition, the teak decks were wearing and needed sanding to give them their smooth appearance again. So, with all this in mind, we made arrangements to do a refurbishment through local boat builder, Adam Ashby. In the photo above, Final Straw is surrounded by scaffolding where she was sanded and faired.
Inspecting new paint
We decided to use a new paint technology called AlexSeal. It was developed at a German company using techniques they used in painting aircraft. It was a bit of a risk because there's only a few years of history on its lasting value. But, through age testing performed by an independent lab, the results were impressive. The paint contains a higher percentage of solids which gives it a rich glossy look and added UV protection. When all was said and done, we were very happy with the results. Adam and his guys did a really nice job!
One glassy hull!
The view in the photo above shows just how glassy the hull looked after painting. It was pretty impressive. When our friend, Adrien, of s/v L'eau Life, saw it he said, "You could shave looking into this hull." This photo also shows the anti-foul paint used. It was Micron Extra by International Paint. By the way, Adrien was also hauled out and painted his hull for the first time in over 20 years. He also used AlexSeal painted in Matterhorn White. It came out beautiful. You can see more about his refit at his website at www.adrien.com.
After the painting was complete, the deck sanding began. This was a big job and at times there were as many as five people on deck with sanders and sandpaper grinding away. The deck job took several days. The large areas were done by machine sander and the tight areas were all hand sanded.
Replacing teak plugs
But, the real time consuming job was replacing literally a thousand teak plugs which cover the screw holes that fasten the teak planks to the fiberglass deck. Each screw had to be removed after the deck was sanded and replaced with a slightly shorter one which was dipped into epoxy and then covered by a new teak plug. Then the deck had to be sanded once again to smooth the plugs and level the black Sikaflex seal between each plank.
New main salon cushions
Besides the external refit described above, we also felt it would be a good time to replace cushions in the main salon and have new cushions made for our cockpit. We also refurbished the bimini and dodger which cover the cockpit and we added a new sun cover over the boom to shade the deck when anchored in the hot tropical sun.
Reflections in the hull
Just before launching Final Straw, we took this photo of our reflection in the hull admiring the finished paint job. The entire refit took six weeks to complete. But, this included delays from the Easter holidays, Aussie Memorial Day and ANZAC Day, another important holiday. During this time, we stayed on the 11th floor of a condo unit at Point Cartwright, not far from the boatyard. It had a magnificent view of the area. On one side, we overlooked the cities of Mooloolaba and Maroochydore and the Glass House Mountains. On the other side we could see for miles up and down the coast and out the Coral Sea. It was just a little hard to leave when the boat was ready to be launched again.
View southeast from condo balcony
We really enjoyed watching the sunrise in the morning on one side of the unit and evenings watching the sunset on the other side. A couple of rainbow lorikeets would visit us occasionally by stopping at the kitchen window and hoping for a hand out. We also watched a family of sea eagles that apparently lived on the top floor of our unit. They would regularly fly by our balcony with fish they had just caught. It was a real nature paradise here.
Sunrise from the balcony
View from the galley (okay, kitchen)
Interestingly, the condo unit was owned by an American lady who lives in the San Francisco Bay area. She comes here occasionally and leases it out the rest of the time. Point Cartwright is a nice spot with great views, beaches and beautiful walking paths through a couple of parks. just steps from the building's entrance. There's an automated lighthouse right on the Point. All ships entering Brisbane must stop here to pick up and let off a pilot who guides them through relatively shallow Moreton Bay which leads to the Port of Brisbane. It was interesting to watch the pilot boat go out to meet the ships 24 hours a day in any kind of weather. The pilot often has to climb a long ladder between the pilot boat and the ship. It looks like pretty dangerous work.
Painted and ready to launch
As they say here, Final Straw was looking pretty "flash" when she was ready to be launched on May 10th. We moved back aboard that day and returned to the marina at Mooloolaba to prepare for our trip north to the Whitsunday Islands in a few weeks. We still had to renew the watermaker, repair some rigging issues, put new engine mounts on the generator and complete several other odd jobs.
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