Little Bear Westsail 32 Refit Progress #3

Arrrrrr me hearties… welcome aboard.  Again.  Don’t you ever get tired of showing up here? Seriously.

Well the best laid plans of mice, men, and pirates tend to change.  I’m a bottom kind of guy, so I’m back working on the bottom.  I decided to forgo the stripper method and go with a more brutal and direct method: Grinding.  Nope, not the bump-and-grind kind of thing that happens down at the club, real grinding. With a grinder.

It’s hard work. And dirty. And I managed to get fiberglass, bottom paint, and gel-coat up my nose. So now my nose is running like Ben Johnson and I sound like I have a cold. But on the up-side, I have half of Little Bear’s bottom naked.  Tomorrow, I attempt the other half. Full monty – so to speak.

I’ve decided to take some vacation days and use them up on the boat. The weather is right, the time is right and `tis a worthy enough project to do warrant taking time off from work.  I hope to have the bottom finished by week’s end.

Here’s what she looks like at the moment:

stbrd bottom

That’s a panorama shot which is why Little Bear looks like a bloated guppy.

The tools.   I tried to use an aggressive carbide abrasive attachment on the Fein, but that was slow and was too aggressive.  It tended to dig into the glass.  My Ryobi angle grinder wouldn’t accept the standard 5/8″ arbor disks so I went out and bought a new DeWalt angle grinder. As luck would have it, it was on sale.  10,000 RPM, a backing plate that accepts 6″ disks and – viola! We’re off and grinding.  I used a total of two 80 grit disks to take the remaining bottom paint off the starboard side.

The stripper worked well where the bottom paint was over gel-coat but there seems to have been a lot of work done previously and the bow and stern are coated in what I think is epoxy fairing putty or some other substance. The bottom paint became one with the epoxy or whatever it is and would NOT come off with stripper. But it did come off with a grinder. And because the stripper had removed the top layers of paint it only took about 3 hours to complete the starboard side.

I tried to use a quick-strip wheel and it worked fairly effectively but it wore down to a nub very quickly and cost $10 a shot.  I only managed to grind the rudder with one disk. So while it did a smoother job it wasn’t that much faster and way more expensive so forget that noise. This is the quick-strip wheel before:


Quick-Strip Wheel

And after (the nub):


And because it’s father’s day today, Dread Pirate Admiral took me out for  a Father’s Day breakfast. And while we were there sprung this surprise on me:

helo ride

Yep, a helicopter ride.  Sure is a different perspective up there where the birds soar.  Wish I had my GoPro. (Thanks team GoPro 😦  )

Thanks lover.

Fair winds, following seas, and God’s blessing.


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