Sunday, March 15, 2015

Name removal and some new tunes

Howdy Folks,

As I've mentioned in the past, Kara and I have been planning to rename Baboo since we bought her.  Despite the superstitions, neither of us is crazy about the name and we want to love everything about our little cruising casa, including the it has to go.
During one of our recent trips to the marina, a couple folks on our pier who are both preparing to leave on their open ended cruises (in 2-3 weeks...bastards), mentioned that they where planning a renaming party for their two boats the weekend of March 21-22.  Since we've been dragging our heals on getting this done, we decided to join in the festivities and do our renaming at the same time.  So to get things ready in time, our plans where to remove the old name this weekend.

Since I was in Houston for work at the end of last week, the plan was for me to meet Kara and Buster, our German Shorthaired Pointer at Baboo and spend the weekend taking care of a few projects and maybe get in a little day sail.  This was going to be Buster's first time aboard Baboo and while he's always loved spending time on our boats, he's never spent any real time on a sailboat and we weren't really sure what to expect.  Unfortunately, Kara came down with food poisoning when she went out to dinner with her mom Thursday night, so she and Buster stayed home.  Since I was already in Houston, I broke away Friday afternoon and headed down to visit Baboo.

In preparation for removing the old name which was painted on, I had read several threads on CruisersForum and to double check, posted a question on the IP owners forum (IPYOA) and the general consensus was that EasyOff oven cleaner was the way to go.  Evidently it doesn't harm the gelcoat and does as good a job of removing pant as it does baked on pizza cheese...mmm Pizza.

So still a bit nervous, I stopped at the local Randal's grocery store picked up some EasyOff and other essentials (beer and snacks).  Then dropped by West Marine to pick up a fine scotch brite pad (essentially very fine artificial steel wool) that's great for scrubbing stains without scratching the surface.  I also picked up some rubbing compound and surface polish to restore the shine to the gelcoat before we apply the new name and are able to wax the transom again.  Waxing before applying the name can cause issues with the vinyl lettering not sticking properly.

Then I headed down to the boat hoping I'd have enough time to remove the old name before it got too dark.  After chatting with a few folks and reassuring them (and myself) that I wasn't crazy, and was in fact about to apply oven cleaner to our transom.  I lowered the dingy down into the water from the davits so I'd have a place to work and coated the old name with oven cleaner. 

Soaking in EasyOff

The guidance I got from IPYOA said to let it sit for 5 minutes or so and then scrub with the Scotch Brite pad.  So that's what I did, I was absolutely amazed at how easily the old paint came off using this method.

I was pretty proud of myself for remembering to stop mid way and take this picture.

As you can see it worked like a charm.

I'd say the total time scrubbing was about 1-2 minutes.  Speaking of which, oven cleaner is nasty stuff, I wore disposable gloves for all this scrubbing, you don't want want this stuff on your skin.  By this time the paint was really more of greasy smear, very easy to get off.  Since the paint went so smoothly, I decided I'd press my luck a bit and try the same thing on the vinyl lettering for the previous hailing port.  I wasn't looking forward to breaking out the heat gun and meticulously peeling them all off.  So I coated the whole thing in oven cleaner and stepped next door to chat with me neigbors who where putting a new bimini on their beautiful Pacific Seacraft 40.  When I came back and scrubbed at the vinyl lettering all I really got was a ton of green foamy mess. The top layer of the vinyl came away, along with the dye but must of the vinyl remained.  So I re-coated and went back to chat with the neighbors.  The second application and scrubbing took most of the lettering off but there where still spots here and there, so I re-applied a third coat.

After the second coat and scubbing

I let the 3rd coat sit for a few minutes and was able to get all the lettering off this time.  All total I'd say it took about 20-30 minutes to remove all the vinyl.  Of which, 5-10 minutes was actual scrubbing, the rest was waiting for the oven cleaner to work it's magic.  Overall I was really pleased with how well this works, thanks CF and IPYOA.

The finished product

Once I was sure I'd cleaned away all the oven cleaner, I then washed and dried the transom.  As expected the finish was a bit splotchy with areas of low and high gloss from the removal of the wax.  So I spent a good deal of time compounding and polishing it back to a finish I was happy with.  This was the long part of the project and the compound took much more elbow grease than the paint and vinyl removal.  The finished product looked pretty good but since the sun was hesitant to show itself, I'll reserve judgement on if we'll need to do another round of polishing before applying the new name and hailing port info.  If I had to do it again, I'd have no hesitation using the oven cleaner, it worked great.

Enjoying a beer and a break in the clouds.

So that project being done, I enjoyed a couple cold beers from a local Houston microbrewery and contemplated what to do with the rest of the day.  During the name removal project I got a call from a couple I'd "met" via email from a thread on CruisersForum.  They also have an IP40 and keep her literally 5 minutes away in a nearby marina and invited me over for drinks.  Since I was planning to head back to lake LBJ that night, I packed up the truck grabbed the 4 remaining beers of from my 6-pack of Hopadillo and drove over.

Tasty stuff - I'm enjoying the last of it while writing this entry on the deck (lake LBJ)

I met them on their boat, a beautiful and well equipped IP40 Carpe Diem and since they have a full enclosure (it was chilly by Texas standards) we relaxed in the cockpit and got to know each other over a few drinks.  They were super friendly folks and I'm sure the next time we're all 4 down in Kemah, we'll get together for dinner, drinks, sailing...or some combination there-of.  It's always nice to meet other interested cruisers and benefit from the perspective of folks who have been sailing for so much longer than we have.  I believe John mentioned he's been sailing for 40 years.  With that many years of experience, they're bound to be able to teach us a few things.  Plus they where super cool and have exceptionally good taste in boats ;) what more could you ask for.

By the time we decided to break for the evening, it was 10 PM and I was no longer interested in making the 4 hour drive back home.  So I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to Baboo (sounds better than nameless) and started relaxed with Airborne - by William F. Buckley, to wind down with a little rum before bed.

The next morning I got up early'sh 7 AM and walked up to the marina lounge for a little coffee to try and decide what I was going to do.  On our way back to Texas from Abaco, we took a wave on deck and didn't realize we had failed to properly close a hatch all the way (rookie mistake) and of course the splash was a direct hit on our tired old Alpine stereo that came with Baboo.  We where already planning to replace it, since we use our phones for everything musical and wanted something with Bluetooth capabilities.  Still it was a complete loss and we where very luck nothing else was damaged, the SSB is about 2 feet away.  I'd been putting this project off since we got back because I wasn't sure how painful it would be to get the old stereo out.  As much as I wanted to go home, being the only one on the boat and knowing that we where hoping to have some friends down to visit us on the boat next weekend, I decided now was the time.  The new stereo was just sitting there waiting on me, it would be nice to have a better option than the portable bluetooth speaker we'd been using.

So, I wandered back to Baboo and started crawling around looking for the best access to remove the old system and check all the wiring.  Fortunately, like everything else I've found on Baboo (knock wood) access was fairly convenient, Island Packet did it right.  Removing the old unit was fairly easy and the wiring was nice and clean.  I even found the old manual and wiring diagram for the original stereo, so after a brief trip to Home Depot for some waterproof crimping butt-splices the ones with heat-shrink tubing, I was ready to go.  Side-note: it really is nice being in Kemah, we're 5 minutes from just about anything you could need for a boat project.  Really lowers the stress level when working under a weekend time crunch.

Checking all the old connections and labeling

Crimping the new connections

Anyway, I got back to Baboo and wired up the new stereo, taking time to check every connection before heat-shrinking it.  By noon all the speakers where working and the Bluetooth and Pandora control worked like a charm.  I wired it so that both "front" speakers where in the Salon and the "rears" where in the cockpit so using the fader we can isolate output to either area.  That way we can turn it up inside without annoying our neighbors when in the marina and if anyone wants to sit outside in the cockpit, you won't annoy folks down below.

Tested and ready to go

Overall, I'd consider this to be a successful weekend.  It's nice to knock out a few little projects, though next time I really want to get out for an actual sail.

On the plus side, when I got home Saturday afternoon Kara was feeling better and we where able to go out for a relaxing dinner and came back home for a movie.  And a bit of rum.

We woke up this morning to a really nice quiet day on lake LBJ.  After a couple cups of fresh coffee we worked on another frame for Kara's garden, we have a bit of a deer problem so it has to be completely covered.  When that was done we actually got out for a bit of sailing on our little Catalina.  The lake is definitely not the same as ocean or even bay sailing, but it was great to get out and enjoy being outside.

Oh and the sun even graced us with it's presence today.  So yeah, all in all, a pretty nice little weekend.

My chicky - Chauffeuring me around lake LBJ at a blistering 3 knots

And me at every bit of 4 knots ;)