Fair thee well

I forgot something when I recounted the steps needed to get from nasty rust to “nice boat!”: smoothing the fairing compound.

We (and by we I mean Peter) heaped and scraped and pushed gloopy fairing compound into the primed rust divots. Wet fairing compound is impossible to get perfectly smooth; it either is built up too low or too high.  Too high means it has to be sanded off; too low means more needs to be heaped on top, left to cure, then sanded off.

Fast forward to a few weeks after we finished applying the fairing compound (while our neighbors and other well-meaning marina residents ask us if we are trying to make our boat look worse). One fine day, while Peter is at work, I think about doing some sanding on the pesky area I’ve been showing you all along.  Area in question is on the starboard side of the main companionway; the first thing that slaps your eyeballs as you step on deck.  (Note that this sanding is called fairing.  I actually faired the fairing compound; believe it or not I’m not being clever at this point.)

An electric sander was among the many tools that came with Devilfish when we purchased her. It was in less-than-perfect shape but awesome because it was one less thing we needed to buy. I pull it out of Narnia, attach a quarter-sheet of coarse grit sandpaper, and break off one of the little arms that secure the paper.  To be honest I don’t break the arm as much as I break the handle that makes me able to maneuver the arm. Undeterred, especially since the sandpaper was already snugged down, I switch on the machine and start fairing.

It goes more quickly than I thought it would and is surprisingly fun.  Fairing compound dust is blowing all over me.  And the boat.  And into the boat.  Oops.  I close up the companionway and fair on.

Fairing compound dust on my black pants. I thought black went with everything.
Fairing compound dust on my black pants. I thought black went with everything.

The fairing goes quickly but the pieces of sandpaper get used up quickly, too.  I manipulate the broken arm of my sander with a screwdriver to change each piece. My hands start to tingle from the vibration. Prying the screwdriver under the rusted arm becomes challenging as my fingers get numb and clumsy. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and I continue.


One of the things I like to do when Peter is at work is start a project and only tell him when I’m half way through or more. It’s part of my charm.  I send him pictures of the faired area. He takes it well and asks if I have checked my work against the wood support for our dodger structure.  I reply Of course, bristling with righteous indignation, then actually do it.  Phew.

IMG_5885
Here is the long shot of the wood laid on the now smooth surface.  This is taken from the opposite side from the picture above.

The wood has to sit on the area I have just faired.  It will sit on something but it still needs to be a pretty accurate fit in order to not trap moisture, which causes rust. My technical fashion eye pays off once again and we don’t have to slap on (then sand off) yet more fairing compound.

And a close up. That tiny gap will be filled with something squirted from a tube.
And a close up. That tiny gap will be filled with waterproof bedding compound.  I throw these words around like I know what I’m talking about.

I just have to make one more fair joke: there was a fair amount of fairing compound to be faired.

Ok. I’m done.

3 thoughts on “Fair thee well

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