Whew! It has been a hot, sweaty, long week or more of doing all the prep work and final painting of the “racing stripes” on the top and bottom of the dark Awlgrip “Azure blue” sides of the hull and the many surfaces, nooks and crannies of the decks and cockpit. We doing all this with the glossy white Awlgrip or polyurethane paint that will be the final colour for all these surfaces and I think you may agree that the contrast between the white and the blue is very striking. For some reason we had quite a few problems with this last round of painting with dirt, bugs and bird droppings and also with the “man made” problems of it being so hot that is is almost impossible to prevent drops of sweat to fall onto the freshly painted surfaces as this is all being done out in the direct and very intense sun here and with all the overhead tarps removed as you can see in the pictures. Ron the painter is doing the best he can but you can imagine how much you perspire when all wrapped up in the white Tyvek suits and full face mask in these 100/35 plus temperatures. But we now have the first coats of gloss white on the decks and the final coats of white on the “racing stripes” (surely good for an additional knot of speed when sailing don’t you think?!).
To my mind and eye the hull has turned out spectacularly well and I could not be happier with the results after so many months of literal blood, sweat and tears with my phenomenal Fijian crew from Baobab Marine. Learnativity’s hull is extraordinarily well insulated with about 4” of sprayed in place foam insulation and paneling throughout that there won’t be any problem with the additional solar heat that a darker surface creates and the only downside I can imagine right now is that it will show the dirt and salt accumulation a bit more and require more diligence on my part to keep it all clean and shiny. But these are mere cosmetic issues and well worth it for the smile and joy I will have every time I row up to Learnativity or admire her from shore.
In hindsight it would have been much smarter to have used vinyl tape for the white stripes on the hull as I had not realized how much work it was going to be to carefully tape and more so sand all these stripe areas. The sanding of the underlying blue painted surfaces where the new white stripes would go was particularly slow as I had to sand each stripe carefully by hand to create a good surface for the new paint to stick to and sand carefully and exactly up to the fine line of the special masking tape and yet not damage the thin tape so the edge of the painted stripes would hold well and be perfectly straight and smooth. It took me three solid days of non stop sanding just to get them all done but again the efforts were well worth it.
It is experiences like this remind me why I am able to feel such profound joy when I’m out enjoying a great sail, or standing on deck under another awemazing night sky or toasting yet another fabulous sun down. One of the reasons I value experiential learning so much is the great joy we derive from the feelings of complete contentment with the fruits of our labour as you do that big “exhale” at the end of an exhausting day (which is why I think it is called “exhausting” BTW) and you have this magical combination of being completely spent and yet filled with that deep inner satisfaction of seeing the results of all your hard work. For many of us in our professional careers the results of our work are often much less visible or tangible, yet no less there, but when you work with your hands to create, improve or repair things, these feelings are very intense and Oh so much a part of experiencing profound joy in life. I’ve come to realize this even more clearly over the past four years out sailing as I have come to understand why such simple things as watching a sundown from my aft deck or just being out under an impossibly immense star filled sky or being one with the underwater world as I snorkel, are all so meaningful and joyous because of how much “blood, sweat and tears” I’ve put into making those moments possible.
My hope is that my sharing with you of some of my recent experiential learning might have stimulated you to reflect on some of your many past moments of such great joy as you “inhale” all the powerful positive joyous energy these create and help power you through the coming days, weeks and months.
The decks and cockpit are much more labour intensive both for prepping and painting as there are very few large flat surfaces and mostly all small spots of all angles, shapes and sizes.
Tomorrow (Monday here) we will start in on what should be the last round of light sanding all the deck and cockpit surfaces and if the current round of hot dry days continues we should be able to finish all the spray painting by the end of next week. This will be a particularly welcomed milestone for me as I will finally be able to peel off all the plastic and masking tape that has been covering very window and hatch area on the boat and has turned my usually bright interior into a dark “boat cave” with no natural light getting through. It has been this way since I hauled out at the beginning of September and I don’t dwell on it but it will be SUCH a great to have windows and hatches I can see through, skies and light that I can see above me and fresh breezes blowing through the cabins. These two will be more of those moments of great joy as I appreciate them all the more for what it takes to have such gifts in my life.
Many of you commented on how much you liked the last album of photos I posted when painting the hull blue so I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking and post this latest album of the latest progress painting the stripes and decks. Hope that sharing some of my joy stimulates more of your own.