Alistego’s Blog

Alistego Returns to Service!

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After weeks of what (sometimes) seemed to be mind-numbing boat work, the good ship Alistego returned to the waters of Cold Lake for an absolutely lovely day of sailing. Though the wind was just very light to light it was a perfect day for reacquainting this crew with her ways.

While the local racing fleet was trying to go ‘round the buoys, we contented ourselves by enjoying a light lunch while we watched everyone else trying to get all the “speed” they could from a knot or maybe two of wind! I can’t be sure but I think I saw some of the racing crews "huffing and puffing" to fill their spinnakers! The photo above was taken by one of the crew members enjoying the day’s racing.

Unfortunately, after returning home, I discovered a couple of centimeters of water in the bilge under the cabin floor boards. After a thorough search it became clear that it wasn’t coming from the bilge board cases or their pins, which left only the bronze bolts securing the lead ballast to the keel. To test my theory, I poured a small amount of clear penetrating wood preservative into the recesses around each of the nuts and bolts and sure enough I got a small amount of leakage near the rear ballast bolt. So it seems that the mighty 3M 5200 is not quite as permanent an adhesive and sealant as I had believed back in the day.

At first my plan was to try and drop the lead ballast and just re-do the whole job but after a little research it became clear that just because a 5200 joint is leaking doesn’t mean it isn’t still impossibly bonded to the hull. A poor couple on Youtube dropped the keel on their large sailboat and ended up watching the keel take a 2 foot by 3 foot chunk of the hull with it when it finally let go! That seemed to me, something I wanted to avoid. The more practical approach seemed to be to remove as much of the 5200 from the ballast/hull joint and then reseal the joint with fresh 5200 to ensure compatibility and hopefully waterproof the joint again. So that’s what I did.

The resealing of the ballast is now complete and I’m satisfied with the outome but we may have to wait until spring to see if it was successful as our sailing season is winding up here in our part of Canada. Perhaps we’ll get a really nice autumn day that just begs for a trip to the lake and one last sail to wind up the season.

Let’s Freshen Up a Bit...

I really can’t believe that it has been 17 years since we launched Alistego in 2006. While she got fairly regular use for the first years, the last four or five have seen the poor boat languishing in our storage building except for her annual removal for a good scrubbing and to be honest it has been a few years since she got even that small amount of annual attention.

Finally this summer, the sailing spark began to return so I took a complete inventory of what the boat needed to be put back into service. She didn’t need much, really, but she was looking tired, so the cabin sides and front got some new coats of varnish which was a very good start. Next up was some new varnish on the rub rail and some fresh paint on the toe-rails. Now she was looking more like her old self but one thing was becoming very apparent. Her decks looked terrible. Wear and tear and lots of stains left behind by all kinds of contaminants (bird droppings, bugs, etc.) had it looking pretty sorry and just plain sad!

Obligatory “before” photos:

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I began prepping the deck for recoating with Interlux Interdeck non-skid paint. After all the original lasted this long, unsightly, yes, but it was all still stuck down and in place. It became clear just how bad the stains and blemishes were when sanding with 80 grit paper didn’t completely remove them. I decided to remove all hardware to make the job much easier and soon came to loathe my decision to use marine silicone to originally bed everything down. Needless to say there was plenty of authentic “sailor language” to accompany the process. In the end it all came off without much serious damage to the decks. Everything is now re-bedded with a more user-friendly alternative.

And of course, the obligatory “after” photos:

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Dale Hymanyk 2022