It has been 3 1/2 months since we were hit by the tornado, and we are still in temporary quarters at Joe Wheeler State Park Lodge. Our contractor is still forecasting finishing up the condo by the end of August, so we are getting close! In the meantime, thought it would be good to summarize the past few months.
We intentionally kept "Help Me Rhonda" in service until a couple of weeks ago - she had lots of cosmetic damage, but structurally and cruising-wise she was fine. So, we managed to get a couple of trips in and some boat projects completed before the summer temps got too high. We did finally surrender her to the service yard 2 weeks ago for some major work that will take about 4 to 6 weeks. Here she is getting the bottom sanded and prepped for 4 coats of Interprotect 2000 barrier paint and 3 coats of Interlux Micron Extra bottom paint. The hull is also being painted from the rubrail down. Other repairs will include all new canvas and isinglass for the aft deck, repairs and replacements to the handrails and stanchions, repairs to the teak swim platform, and an assortment of other things.
If you recall before the tornado, I was in the process of enclosing the flybridge with glass and sliding glass windows. After our Loop trip, the isinglass and canvas were in need of replacement and quite frankly, we don't like isinglass. So, enclosing the flybridge became my fall/winter/spring project and I was about halfway done when the tornado hit. One of the advantages of having our temporary quarters at Joe Wheeler is that they also have marina facilities here, so it was convenient for me to keep the flybridge project going to completion before the serious summertime temps kicked in. It was a huge project as I had to basically design a square-framework plan to adapt to a "nothing-is-square" flybridge. I'll spare you all of the details and just show a few pictures of the final project.
Before, anchored at the Bustard Islands in Georgian Bay, Canada
After, docked at Joe Wheeler
I went back and found a shot of the flybridge from inside right after we bought the boat to compare it to all the changes we have made over the years. Lots of changes! Have never understood why some owners want to cover up all of that beautiful teak.
Back to the window project - The two side windows in the front are fixed glass and the center window is hinged. All window panes are custom-cut tempered glass and had to be measured and ordered precisely (within 1/8 of an inch) in order to fit correctly. I used cypress wood for all of the framework and trim because of its light weight and resistance to decay.
Both sides and the aft windows are a 3-piece sliding window design and also required very exact measurements so they can slide but also not allow much "extra" movement. I also had to come up with a plan to strengthen the framework to counter rough seas when they occur. So, the tops and bottoms of all the windows are either completely framed in or have 1-inch teak on both sides.
The teak I used for the trim is darker than the original teak on HMR. I actually got about 120 feet of this (5 inches wide and 1 inch thick) in a trade for a dinghy years ago. We think the contrast in shades turned out nice. There are about 8 coats of varnish at this point, more to come in the fall when we get the boat back.
A few shots from the outside. Notice I tried to keep the angles of the framework the same as the existing lines on the boat. And needless to say, the view is quite nice now, the protection from the elements is wonderful, it's a permanent fix, and I was able to do this for about 1/4 the cost of new canvas and isinglass which would have to be replaced again and again in the future! Quite pleased.
While she was "under construction," I also took the opportunity to install a new stereo/CD player.
Flood lights for the outside. Note the old canvas and isinglass was still in place at this point.
And refurbished the top of the aft deck with new paint and new carpet/trim for the dinghy platform.
Well, that turned out longer than I had planned, so I'll cover Wheeler and our 2 boat trips in a separate post.