Thu-Mon, July 31st-August 4th - Boat Chores and Explorations

Something that had been bothering us quite a bit were the "headliners" in the aft cabins. When Beneteau built the boat, they glued this foam-backed vinyl up to the walls and ceilings throughout the boat, and in many places the foam had disintegrated and the liner was falling down. It was very messy, as the decomposing foam made a noxious dust that would fall down every time you even so much as touched the headliner. I had, in the past, tried re-gluing the liner to the walls and ceiling, but with limited success. The glue I used did not seem able to put up with the heat and humidity here in the tropics, and now the headliner in the port cabin, which is our "guest" room, had reached a point where it was really bothersome. There was dirty foam and glue bits all over the back cabin, and not at all the kind of place you'd invite guests to stay the night. So on Thursday I decided to rip it all out, clean the surfaces and paint them.

What sounds like a fairly straightforward task took me almost 5 days of unpleasant labor. After ripping out the headliners and cleaning up the resultant mess from the foam dust and glue, I realized that before I could paint I'd have to remove all of the old adhesive, including that which I'd added during my various efforts to re-affix the liners. So I spent the following day and a half, the rest of Thursday and all day Friday, scraping the old adhesive off the fiberglass. It was painstaking and boring work.

Even after the scraping, the fiberglass still wasn't clean enough to paint, so I spent Saturday and half of Sunday cleaning the walls and ceilings of any remaining glue with pure acetone. In the first place, it was hard to find enough Acetone to do the job and I had to spend nearly a half a day on Saturday afternoon, just rounding up more. In the second place, it was really hard work. The acetone evaporates very quickly, so you can only do a few square inches at a time. Also the fumes are very noxious. Thank goodness I had an organic vapor mask on the boat, because after 1/2 hour working with the acetone the first day, without the mask, I was pretty high and nearly sick from the fumes. The next day, wearing the mask, I was able to work for nearly 8 straight hours cleaning the sticky glue off.

On Sunday, after much scraping and acetoning, I thought I was ready to paint, but at that point I was unhappy with the paint I had bought previously (a household primer and enamel). I wanted something tougher, so before I could paint, I spent another several hours that morning going back to various hardware stores (dinghy-taxi-taxi-dinghy), until I finally found some white 2-part epoxy paint that fit the bill. Returning to the boat about noon, I prepped the room - taping off the windows and so on and putting down drop cloths. Finally, around 2 pm on Sunday I was ready to paint it.

The actual painting only took about 5 hours, with a 2 hour break between. I put two good coats on, and boy was I happy when it was done! I spent most of Monday finishing off the job - taking down all the prep work and taking it to shore to throw it away, and putting the port cabin back together (I had to disassemble the closet, light fixtures and so on to paint it). Then I cleaned all the wood with Murphy Oil, washed the windows, and re-inventoried all of the spare parts stored under the beds, before finally bringing the matresses back into the room.

I'd only planned on spending 1-2 days on this task, but when all was said and done it took me nearly 5 days. But it's like everything else on a boat ... it's twice as hard as you think it is! I mean, not only do you have take taxis and dinghies to get anywhere, but the work is usually in very tight spaces, and often the boat is rocking the whole time you're working, making everything just that much more difficult. In the meantime, I was "enjoying cruising while getting the cabin painted".

Images from the Artisan Fair