MOKEN Makeover, Part One

January 21, 2015: Personally, we think MOKEN is a pretty sharp looking boat. She has a green hull, white topside with green stripes on the pilothouse and black bottom paint set off by a white boot stripe. The deck has a coating of grey anti-skid to make walking around safer in wet conditions. There are matching green covers made from Sunbrella fabric to protect certain things on the deck, like hatches and windows, windlass, dinghy and outboard.

Despite overall good looks, there were a few changes we wanted to make top side and some maintenance issues to address.

Exterior paint is a big deal on a steel hulled boat like MOKEN. A few layers of primer and top coat are all that stands between the metal hull and the elements. Keeping the paint in good condition is an insurance policy against rust and corrosion.

Anti-Skid Prep (February-September 2014)

Originally the anti-skid was run up and under the gunnels and applied in huge swaths covering almost the entire deck. This made for difficult repairs, as you pretty much needed to reapply everywhere, even if just a small area needed refreshing.

The first task was removing the anti-skid around the edges. This was not quite as easy as it may sound. The edges have a lot of nooks and crannies to work around. We hired a local crew to take care of this project while Chris was away at work.

It involved using a heat gun to soften and a scraper to remove the old anti-skid. Afterwards, filler was applied to get a nice even surface (this also involved a lot of sanding) and brushing on a primer before the final spray painting could be done. We weren’t able to do any spray painting in the Subic Bay Yacht Club for environmental reasons, but all the prep work was done while we were in the marina.

Haulout (October 2014)

On October 1st, we had MOKEN hauled out for the paint work at Watercraft Ventures, just across the basin from the yacht club. It’s always a bit nerve wracking to get the boat in between the concrete pilings to reach the Travelift, and even more so when you watch all 35 tons of MOKEN being lifted out by just a few straps. It’s a relief when she is lowered onto the blocks and propped up with big stands all around.

While MOKEN was out of the water, we had to move out. Watercraft doesn’t allow anyone to live on board while boats are on the hard. Nukaat continued his visit at the farm where he’d been during our trip to Georgia, and we moved into a hotel for a couple of weeks.

Bottom Paint (October 2014)

Antifouling paint keeps things from growing too quickly on the bottom while it sits in the water. The brackish water in the marina is tough on bottom paint. Unless you can take the boat out weekly for a spin, the bottom needs to be cleaned by a diver every three to four weeks to keep the growth at bay.

Every couple of years, the bottom paint needs to be stripped, patched and repainted. It had been two and a half years since our last haul-out, so we were due. This project was done by Watercraft Ventures using International brand paints.

The first step was pressure washing. It didn’t take off all the thick growth of sea life, so next the workers came in and scraped off everything that was left. This was followed by sanding off the remaining antifouling paint, grinding of any blisters to bare metal, and applying new primer. The grey tie coat came next, topped off with two coats of black antifouling paint. There were as many as 14 guys working on the hull on any given day.

It was also time to replace the zincs, or sacrificial anodes that help keep corrosion at bay. These 16 large zincs are placed below the waterline to help protect the metal. The anodes shed electrons more readily than the other metals on MOKEN, so corrosion dines on the anode’s electrons before dining on MOKEN.

Other Painting (October 2014)

With the boat out of the water for the new bottom paint, we were also able to get started on the painting top side. We had a crew of four working on top. It wasn’t just a matter of applying white paint over the primed areas. All the white deck paint was prepped and repainted, as were the green stripes on the pilothouse in turn.

With the bottom paint finally done, Chris decided MOKEN needed a fresh white boot stripe too.

As there was some rust evident on the port side of the hull right near the stern, we took this opportunity to sand this area back to the bare steel, prime and touch up the green paint to prevent any further corrosion. Of course, now we think the rest of the green paint on the hull looks a little lifeless. It will be repainted in the next round.

Other Projects (October 2014)

While the painters were at work, Chris and I had our own projects. For much of the time I had my head stuck in the various deck lockers, cleaning them and chipping out old paint in preparation for repainting. My other main task involved the removal and cleaning of window trim, stripping the sticky UV film from all the pilothouse windows and replacing window latches with new ones.

In addition to overseeing two different crews of workers (one under the boat and one on top) as they did the prep and repainting, Chris removed as much of the hardware from the deck as possible and used super toxic paint stripper to clean up the pieces that had been over sprayed on a previous painting job.

Chris also removed the old collapsible bimini over the cockpit. In the next phase of MOKEN’s makeover, we plan to replace this with a new permanent design. In the meantime, we’re using a tarp.

Clean-up, More Painting and Other Stuff (October 2014 – January 2015)

With MOKEN back in the water by the middle of October, and with all three of us living back on board, it was time to finish the clean-up. Despite endless taping and masking of the windows and bits that weren’t supposed to be painted, there was a fair bit of overspray that needed clean-up afterwards. This involved polishing all the white and green paint and using paint thinner to remove overspray from the stainless and windows.

We also had some fibreglass work done on some of the deck boxes and then all of them repainted inside with a white gel coat. Once that dried, we were finally able to move all the clutter from all over the boat that belongs in the lockers back to their rightful homes.

One of the painters returned to tape, prep and paint the anti-skid on the deck and pilothouse roof. The new Resene anti-skid paint is a little darker grey than the old but it looks great.

Chris took this opportunity to replace many of the aluminum and 304 stainless deck hardware with higher quality 316 stainless from our favourite stainless fabricator in town. Ador’s shop may not look like much, but the stuff he makes is beautiful. And all custom made. We had him copy the exterior engine room vent, the jack line brackets, the brackets for the paravanes, the pilothouse door wedges, boxes for our navigation lights, our outboard mounting handles, and two new mounts (one for our AIS and one to increase the height of our GPS antenna).

Originally another fabricator tried to make the paravane brackets. What a mistake that was. They didn’t fit. They weren’t even close, and the quality and finishing was nowhere near that done by Ador. But he took them and fixed them for us without even making us feel bad that we didn’t ask him to create them for us in the first place. Lesson learned.

While much of the lighting on MOKEN is already LED style, we’ve started swapping out the remaining incandescent lighting with LED lights. To this end, Chris replaced two under cupboard galley lights, all the lights in the engine room with LED lights, and upgraded the chart light in the pilothouse.

Around this time, the owner of the Seahorse boatyard arrived in Subic Bay aboard a new Diesel Duck making the crossing from Hong Kong, and he brought us replacement struts for all our hatches, which were getting weak. Chris quickly swapped these over.

As a welcome home when we moved back on MOKEN, our freshwater pump broke down and the sink faucet in the aft head started leaking, adding two more urgent items to Chris’ growing to do list. We found a replacement faucet in town and used our spare water pump, and quickly ordered a new pump from Canada to keep on board as a spare.

Covers & Sails (September 2014 – January 2015)

The final part of this round of the makeover was some work on the fabrics on board.

Our sails were removed for cleaning and repair of some minor tears. We had new pilothouse window covers made with a Phifertex vinyl mesh fabric that we had included in our shipment from Canada two years ago. These mesh covers block up to 90% of the UV rays while still allowing some light in and some ability to see out. They provide descent privacy during the day, but you can see in from the outside at night if the lights are on. Not only do they make the pilothouse much brighter during the day as compared to the opaque green Sunbrella window covers that we used to use, but it also stays cooler. Imagine!

We also had the upholsterer make a couple of removable, washable covers for the two chairs in our salon. He used some hand-woven fabrics we bought in Burma earlier in the year, allowing me to do away with the ratty old beach towels that we were using. And I took a turn at making a green Sunbrella cover for our search light on the pilot house roof.

What’s Next?

There’s no end to the projects on board MOKEN as we get her ready for more extensive off-shore cruising, do regular maintenance and fix things that need fixing along the way.

Next up in our makeover plans is an update to our GPS antenna (it stopped working on our last trip out), designing a new hard bimini to shade the cockpit area, installing our new wind generator and eventually adding solar panels. Oh yes, and repainting the lifeless green hull of course.

2 responses to “MOKEN Makeover, Part One

  1. whew!  WE haven’t done anything NEAR as much on OUR new house!  Then again, labor here is totally different than there — send them over!!! See the pope?  

    • They’re on their way! Missed out on seeing the Pope. Don’t think I would have coped well in a crowd estimated at 6-7 MILLION devotees.

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