Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Repairs and Video Update

Repairs

As I write this post, Midnight Sun III is currently in the Pensacola Shipyard getting final repairs completed.  To be honest, I have made the lions share of the repairs (other than mast and rigging) myself while waiting on a space at the shipyard.  Everything has been backed up because of Hurricane Sally.  We are very grateful to Rick Zern and the guys at Zern Rigging for getting the mast and rigging work done.  Awesome job guys - as always!  Also, a big thanks to Hunter Riddle at Schur Sails - another local Pensacola firm that does first class work at a reasonable price.


Final items include painting the bottom (antifouling), wet sanding/polishing a few remaining scratches on he starboard hull, and detail cleaning/polishing the topsides and hulls.  

Of course we have had several rain days sine she was hauled out - but we are hoping for a speedy turnaround by the yard and our contractor - Perdido Sailor!  So the pressure is on Brandon.....its all up to you now!



Our Plans for 2021

Of course with the ongoing Covid situation, our plans are even more certain to be "written in the sand at low tide" - meaning subject to change and revision.  I know that many of my blog readers are in Europe and other parts of the world, but the situation here in the US is far more.........well I hesitate to say better, but certainly more "nonchalant" than other parts of the world.  Comparatively, we have few restrictions on travel within the US, and facilities are certainly open and available.

That said, our current plans are to leave -hopefully later in March and head south around Florida then across to the Bahamas.  From there, we will likely head back to the US East Coast (Maybe June) and head north for Hurricane Season.  I hesitate to put this in writing, because I just know that things will likely change.  But as of now - that's the plan.  I will keep you posted, but we are getting excited to hopefully be underway soon.  Now that does mean we have a LOT of preparation work to do in the next month.  So wish us luck!!

Video Update

I have finally finished the video series on our Atlantic Crossing from La Rochelle France to Josephine, Alabama!  This has been quite a project, but the entire trip including our planning and preparations now form 9 episodes that are uploaded to YouTube.  The final part - Episode 9 covers the Bahamas to home.  Since we have come through the Bahamas several times and since this was the last leg of our trip, we  passed through fairly quickly but did manage to stop at a few places that we had not had a chance to visit on previous trips.

Please check out the final episode at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUJkQ4wT5cE 


If you would like to see the full series of videos, please check out the following link:

Thursday, January 28, 2021

We Have a New Mast!

Our new mast has arrived and as of this post (Jan 28, 2021), is being installed by Zern Rigging of Pensacola.  Once the install is completed and we have se-trialed the boat, I will write a post on the differences and improvements.

Needless to say we are very happy and will soon be back on the water.  We are planning a cruise starting (hopefully) in March.  More info to follow on that.  We have been very busy with repairs since Hurricane Sally.......and the new mast is a significant step forward.

Here are a few photos of the work in progress:


Waiting patiently for the boom truck to lift the mast!








New mast design - note the spreaders - Two levels!


St. Christopher and Silver in place - taking no chances this time.  Note the more robust mast foot.



Mast in place  - now to work on the Standing Rigging



One step closer to getting back to being a Sailboat!




Saturday, January 16, 2021

Progress with Repairs!

By way of recap - Midnight Sun III was damaged in Hurricane Sally.  The devastation to boats in our area is difficult to comprehend.  So many boats were lost as a result of the unexpected nature of Hurricane Sally.  We were expecting tropical storm conditions at worst, and we actually got a Cat 2 (I think 3) hurricane.  The worst attribute was that it was a slow mover, and we had sustained winds well over 100mph for hours and a high storm surge (I measured close to 9 ft).

If you look back a couple of posts, you will see some photos of our damage.  The major damage to MS3 was the loss of the mast.  Other damage was largely superficial - but the estimate from the boatyard was still substantial.  Notwithstanding that - the boatyards have all been full with wrecked boats etc, and all the repair contractors are booked and cannot give a date as to when they can start.  Its been very frustrating  - so I decided to get moving on the repairs myself and have the boatyard do anything I could not get to.  I'm happy to say that although its been slow.......I am almost there!  THe big thing of course is the mast - and I am pleased to say our new mast......new design has just been delivered to Zern Rigging in Pensacola and it should be installed next week (guessing around January 15 2021).

Mounting points for pulpit seats










So in the meantime, I have been grinding out spider cracks around deck hardware.....filling with epoxy and re-gelcoating......

So far, I am pretty pleased with the progress on this.  There's a bit more sanding and polishing needed.  But most of these areas will be drilled out again to mount hardware.







There were also some scratches on the coach-roof, that I have pretty much got out with a light wet sanding.  Once this is complete, I plan to have the topsides professionally detailed, compounded and waxed.  Yes, I could do that my self and may do if I can't find anyone that will do this for me........but I do think there is an art to doing this well.



Helm Station

I have been building a new helm station enclosure.  This time, the new version will have a hard top

Removing the old frame - bent by the tree
Removing the old damaged frame for Helm Station




Building the new frame from 1 1/4" dia. stainless steel tubing


Fabricating a new hard top from 3/4" thick King Starboard XL.  This is pretty heavy material, but it sure beats laying up fiberglass and it seemed to machine pretty well with a router.







New stainless steel frame installed ready for hardtop.  I also took the opportunity to run some cable in the frame so that I can add lighting.







Installing a Lewmar hatch in the hardtop for ventilation and to be able to see the sails when sailing!


The next step is to get this up on top of the boat!








And Viola!  New hardtop on the boat.  I have temporarily attached the old windshield, but we have a new canvas enclosure on order for the hele station and for the entire cockpit area.  We should have that installed by the end of February. I think this is really going to change the look of the boat  I have installed wiring in the frame so that I can put LED lights in the hardtop.  So there is still some work left to do before this project is complete!


The next step was removing and mounting damaged deck hardware.  This has been fairly easy - there are a few damaged stanchions.  I had to re-bed and tighten a couple of bases, but so far no gel-coat cracks other than the forward pulpit seats that I fixed.  I have just replaced the metalwork for those and fabricated new seats also from Starboard.  I thought the original seats were teak. but they turned out to be  marine ply.  So I figured the Starboard would last longer.  When making the new seats, I made them about 1.5 inches bigger (at the request of the admiral) to accommodate bigger butts!



So we are getting very close to being seaworthy again.  Jobs remaining include replacing a piece of toe rail and sealing a leak on a window.  Oh - and of course a new mast!   Which has arrived in Pensacola.  We will be headed to the shipyard next week to have the mast, rigging, and sails installed by Zern Rigging and Schurr Sails.  These guys are the best and I can highly recommend them.  They work very closely together to ensure everything fits.  We have had work done by Zern and Schurr before and they are  both first class!

Anyway - I am going to go ahead and post this and hopefully one more update should see us back on the water as a sailboat rather than a cata-trawler!