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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Memorial Day, Varnish and More Boats

Helen and I went sailing on Memorial Day along with a million motor boaters. They weren't too bad because they were all anchored up on the flats playing in the water and not speeding all over trying to run us down. There aren't too many days they can find an excuse to get out on the water and off the trailers so they were making the most of it. I won't say anything bad about the motor boaters because the sail boaters were sorely lacking; it was a beautiful day, nice breeze and we were the only sail on the water on the whole west coast of Florida. What's wrong with this picture? Nothing, old folks cover up to keep the sun off while the young let it all hang out. You probably don't want to see me hanging out anyway.

Sure was pretty water wasn't it.

Then we sailed on down to the Mar Vista for a lunch of shrimp and beer, see what I mean about the lack of sailboats. There were motor boats of all sizes trying to get a spot for lunch.

Here's something for you to ponder. We've all gone to acrylic latex paint for our boats, actually the new ones are all acrylic, whatever that is. These paints last forever, don't fade or chip, are water proof and simple to touch up and clean up. But we're still stuck with the horrible problem of trying to live with bright work. Well you are, I've pretty much given up anything that looks like wood. There are three things on the outside of Helen Marie that hasn't been painted, this vent, the floor grating and the door which is starting to go to hell. So what would happen if you used water based varnish? Would it hold up like the paint does? Would it just sort of wear away and not chip and need to be sanded down to the bare wood? I sanded the floor grate about a year ago, the good varnish had lasted less than six months, and put on four coats of this stuff. It's really easy to put on since it's water. I just slopped it on and blew the excess off with the air hose and it still looks the same as when I put it on back then. And it dries really fast. It doesn't give you the deep high gloss look of "real" varnish but if it lasts who cares other than the nuts who want to impress us with their mirror finish. The side vent went on last week after hours of sanding the old cracked stuff off and three coats of this put on, I'll let you know how it holds up.

His new motor is on Jim's boat so the end of this build is in sight. This motor is fantastic, it has electronic fuel injection and fires up and runs like a sewing machine. He hasn't said what he's thinking of doing for his next project, there's no way he'll ever stop, the challenge is just too much fun.

Stan's junk looks sort of like a junk or a landing barge. It's lacking ends but does have a painted brown bottom. Stan does things a bit differently than most of the rest of us. When I say this is the biggest sixteen footer you ever saw I ain't kidding. This isn't a trick picture, he really is standing next to it with a roller in his hand.

Well, I take that back, I do know someone else who's a strange boat builder or should I say who builds strange boats? I think it's both in this case. This is Jay Bliss doing some tank testing of his new high speed electric race boat. He's probably doing this while Peg is off somewhere. Jay is famous for his designs. He thinks of something and builds it with absolutely no regard of what anyone else thinks he should be doing, that sounds familiar doesn't it, I wish he lived next door to me so I could watch him make this stuff up.

This Core Sound is a good example of what happens when anything is left alone for years. It doesn't matter if it's a car, a house or a boat, things just start to go bad if they're not used. This boat was built here at the shop back in '08 by Doc Jose to the highest standards. I've told you before about how particular he is about everything being perfect and they will be again when I'm finished. This boat will be just right for me and Helen and kids and dogs. A good example of what happens to oil paint can be seen on that narrow brown water line in the second picture. It wasn't originally brown, it was bright red like the new paint up top. It has faded from red to brown over the years out in the sun even though the boat was covered with a tarp. It will still be red in five years with this "house" paint.

A bunch of motor boat looking things in this view of the shop. We'll see what's there in a couple of months because all of these will be somewhere else.

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