Pylasteki is a 1961 Pearson Triton sailboat. She is one of my personal project boats... I am rebuilding her as a blue water cruiser.

Enjoy, if you have any questions or comments, drop me line:


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Editors note/update: Don't roll sprayable fairing compound. I always forget exactly how much sanding it takes to get the roller stipple to go away. Added about 3 hours of sanding. I ended up using 60 grit hookit on a 5 inch random orbit sander, and 40 grit on a 16 1/2 inch long board, and 80 on a 3M flexible Marine fairing board to get it blocked down.

I borrowed a set of hands to wrap a wooden batten around the hull to address whether or not my question mark areas were high spots or the edge of low spots, marked them and will spray her with another coat or three of fairing compound. She has an 1/8th inch low from the stem to where she starts her turn, just aft the chain locker bulkkhead. There is another low about where the forward large portlights are where the hull goes from round to flat that needs a bit of love.

Those holes will get an extra pass for each coat sprayed. The whole boat needs to be build out a bit more than a 1/16th to get past the high ridges left by the old bulkheads and stringers that telegraph through with each sanding. The goal is to stop sanding when you see the previous coat start to show its self, add another coat and average out the surface. When you hit harder paint, or fiberglass through soft primer it makes a halo, the high spot never gets lower, but digs a low spot all the way around the high.

Until the whole panel is one color, its very hard to get the last of the ripples out.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Sanded out...

I forgot in my last post to mention why I'm fairing the hull, putting the cart before the horse with as much deck work as I have to do for the cockpit and deck.

First, the toe rails have some old damage on the starboard side I need to repair, where the shape has a bunch of wiggles and gets wider. The top surface of the toe rail isn't fair either, on either side so I'm going to build it up, and block it back down with a long board so it is fair and true.

I'm going to fiberglass over the hull to deck joint on the outside, and want to make sure I am low compared to the faired hull, and don't have to float out the top half of the hull, or grind half the fiberglass I put on back off. This was an oversight on my part, as the bulkheads were originally installed in the boat before the deck went on. The deck was tabbed to the hull, around the bulkhead tabbing. I should have tabbed the deck to the hull where the bulkheads sit to keep things water tight and avoid having a path for water to get to the main bulkhead.

Second, I'm going to have an outboard well on Pylasteki, and it is difficult to sand out and fair up to a hole, so I'm pushing the boat to finish primer, so I can scuff it and shoot top coat and not have to try to fair up to the hole.

I finished sanding the first layer of Awlgrip Hull Guard Extra down smooth with 80 grit on a 5 inch random orbital sander. I pulled a skim of awlgrips pink fairing compound in the worst of the lows, old docking scars and pin holes, stress cracks that I opened up.

It was blowing 20-25 yesterday, so I rolled on a coat of sprayable fairing compound on the hull. I'll be sanding it with a 5 inch random orbital, followed by a 16 inch file board with 80 grit, and the occasional wooden paint stirrer with sandpaper stuck to it. The fin along the counter, under the transom, I'll sand out with a piece of styrofoam shaped roughly to fit the curve and push in towards the fin at an angle in a cross hatch pattern. 5 inch orbitals don't sand inside corners very well, and hand sanding puts in grooves... Just have to make a board to fit the shape and not sand inline to the inside corner.

The process is to sand off the roller stipple and get a smooth even thickness coating, then to use the 16 inch file board to identify the holes (low spots) if the material is thick enough, I sand evenly over the whole surface until the sandpaper starts to scratch the low spots. If I start to burn through to the white primer, or hit fiberglass at any of the high, high spots (where a hard spot along a bulkhead or stringer might be) I will apply another coat to build the whole surface out evenly.

If it sands out, I'll spray a coat of high build primer over the hull and sand it out to 220 grit, followed by 545 and topcoat.

Making somethings shiny is easy, making it fair takes leveling the surface to average out all the imperfections.

I do prefer to spray primer, but I've got nearly 250 feet of a run from where my air compressor is sitting on Noel, to Pylasteki and not quite enough air line to make the run.


Friday, April 13, 2012


Since the last update I have been sanding.

I've faired in the lower cabin top, which wasn't exactly straight forward. The mast had crushed the shape out of the inner skin of the deck. I put the new main bulkhead in, which held the inner skin in the, not an arch, shape. So, it took a few days and cycles of puttying last week to slick everything out and get it right. Not to count that the back edge was an extra 2 layers of cloth thick over the bevel to get back on to good glass, meaning that once it was round it also had a slight taper.

Normally you can use a long straight edge as a batten and ride it on both ends of a surface to pull a layer of fairing compound so long as the two edges are right. In this case, neither the front nor the back had the right shape or even the same shape. Normally you can use a thin flexible batten and wrap it around the curve, and pull from back to front, so long as the center of the curve is straight... not the case either, as the front end of the cabin top was well low.

This took a varying array of putty knives, and flexible long boards to work out, as battens and sreeds did not satisfy the eye. This was all together more trouble than it was worth, given it will be under non-skid... but at least the non-skid won't have any low spots.

For non-skid I am planning to use kiwigrip as it sounds interesting!

In between puttying and sanding cycles on the cabin top and side decks, I've floated out the main cabin with fairing putty, so that it is possible to sand with a 5 inch random orbital, which is about the limits of what I'm after. As smooth as decent sheet rock is good enough for me. Pylasteki did not have a molded headliner, instead the inside finish was the hand laid fiberglass as it came out of the mold. This was good enough for the first 50 years, but when you want to strip all the old failing paint you can't, really. At least not without tipping the sander up on edge and digging the paint out of the low spots.

I bought a quart of Petit Easy Cabin Coat, as it is supposed to have a good resistance to mildew and you can recoat it with out sanding. I haven't used it before, but I am tempted by both those factors. First though, I'm going to apply a layer of Mascoat Insulative Coating, a ceramic loaded paint that reduces the emissivity of a surface. Emissivity is a fancy word, meaning that heat doesn't transfer as easily through the material, reducing the formation of condensation. I haven't used this before either.

I left the main portion of the house roof alone, other than stripping the paint, as it will be repainted and insulated with reflectix. The same goes for the underside of the side decks. I'm going to put a few furring strips up, and use some 3M scotchlock, velcro on steriods, to hold up a liner. I haven't decided if this will be a sheet of thin varnished plywood or white formica.

Sanding continued:

I've started getting the hull ready to paint, as prime painting season is coming up soon. The ideal 80 degree days with 70 degree nights, for a few weeks. I'm going to get all the outside topics knocked out and get started on building an interior.

I finally got the last of the stress cracked gelcoat off the hull. This has been a long term project, as it is about as interesting as putting cotton balls in pill bottles, but much more serious. The smoother you remove it, the easier the paint job is to get fair.

I used an 8 inch pad sander with 80 grit 3m gold stickit discs and sanded both sides of the hull smooth. Then where ever the guy who sprayed the gelcoat in to the mold, sprayed two passes over the same spot, I dished it out with a 5 inch disc sander. Horror of horrors, as this is a slow speed grinder, that quite easily can turn something smooth into one big grooved up mess. However with care, and a very light touch you can take off only what needs to go, and come back and sand the slight ripples out with a random orbit sander.

Then I started dishing out stress cracks along the boot stripe with a dremel and a ball burr as I didn't grind the gel coat off this area, as there is a pretty decent transition from the bottom of the boat to the topsides that I didn't want to have to re-fair. A boot stripe with wiggles and bumps just doesn't look all that great.

After they were dished out I painted the hull with Awlgrips Hull Guard Extra, with a 4 inch chip brush and a squeedgee. It did not look very good, but I used a plastic squeedgee to force the primer in to the pin holes in the bare laminate and did not reduce it until it started getting to thick to work with. I had not used Hull Guard Extra before, as it is relatively new in the Awlgrip Lineup, I normally use 545 as a base coat but my Awlgrip rep talked well of it. No sanding needed to overcoat for 6 months, adhesion promoter for pink putty! I like that, because sanding the grooves and shiny spots of the lows is hard on your finger tips. Pylasteki is the test subject... Seems to be a common theme.

I am sanding off the brush marks with a random orbital sander and 80 grit. I'm going to lightly pull awlgrips fairing compound as a skim coat over the whole boat to fill more pin holes and dished out stress cracks. Hopefully Sunday I will be able to spray the hull with a few coats of sprayable fairing compound, to long board out with 80 and 120. Then a coat of high build sanded out to 220 followed by 545, and top coat.

I am going to spray her snow white, with a good bit of flattening agent in it. I don't want her to look quite like a million bucks for the world tour, but the foundation will be there for a 15 year paint job that is 2 days work away from being a mile deep. I must say, I'm almost tired of shiny boats.

That is all for now,