Replacing Rotten Deck Core and Repainting the Non-Skid on a Sabre 42 Sailboat

I have to start this by saying that we 100% knew we were buying a project boat, and some strange twisted part of us was really looking forward to digging into this particular project.

With the benefit of hindsight, air conditioning, a lot of wine, and 3/4 of the deck still ahead of us… I can say that I’m glad we chose to tackle this project 🙂

Brio II was a very, very leaky boat. We spent our first Thanksgiving onboard running around trying to put pots and pans under the real streamers, while consolidating books and other treasures to the few confirmed “dry” places we could find. I don’t remember a thing about the turkey, but I definitely remember the pots and pans 🙂

Which is why we decided to start at the top with the deck rot, tackling the cabintop, and working our way “down” (ie – to the sidedecks and cockpit) over time. I’d hoped we might get to the sidedecks this summer, but it turns out July-August in South Carolina are HOT and HUMID and FULL of thunderstorms (shocker?) so we’re calling it a win with the cabintop complete, and we’ll pick this project back up a little later.

This doesn’t do the “after” justice, but it’s the only pic I managed to grab from the same angle with everything actually installed again. SO happy with how it turned out!

We’ve since moved Brio II to St Mary’s Boatyard, in Georgia, and are enjoying a bit of time with my family in BC while we wait out hurricane season.

While I can’t say I’m “excited” to continue the deck core replacement, I *am* excited to continue making progress towards a dry, solid, pretty boat! Which is a good thing, given we’ve now finished about 25% of this project 😉

The Messy Middle (in Beaufort, SC)

Whitehall Park, Beaufort, SC

I read something once about the good stuff being in the messy middle of the story. That the middle is where the learning, the struggles, the juicy bits really come to life.

Gotta say, living through the messy middle ain’t that much fun though 🙂

We’ve gone full-tilt into this deck repair / deck painting / headliner (ha!) project, and it feels a little like a groundhog day of sanding, fairing, sanding, painting, sanding, dodging thunderstorms, painting, dodging toddlers… etc

Painting the cabintop of a Sabre 42 CB sailboat with hatches removed in Alexseal

(Including redoing all of the little hatches on the cabintop… doesn’t seem too bad until you realize how multiplying every step by SIX really adds up fast!)

6 little hatches from our Sabre 42 CB

Squeezing in bits of time for fun (Hunting Island – the amazing state park that’s nearby – has opened again, so that’s been great), for toddler-wrangling and life stuff is a constant challenge, but one we continue to try to pursue…

We have managed to establish a mostly-daily family walk each morning, before the humidity is a total wet blanket and before the first meetings of the day drag us apart.

And we’re just continuing to imagine the myriad of ways this year might turn out.

Never mind turning our attention to what exactly it is we’re hoping to do with this lovely Brio II boat, other than quarantine and drill test holes in her deck core 🙂 (The knowledgeable amongst you can now offer, “more projects, of course!”)

A blank canvas is a beautiful thing, if just a little overwhelming.

Settling in for the Long Haul? (in Beaufort, SC)

I realize that as soon as I say something like “for the long haul” I probably jinx any semblance of a plan. Not that anyone is making plans these days!

We’re pretty lucky in that we’re already used to working remotely and spending 24 hrs/day together in a small space. Social distancing isn’t that different from cruising life anyways, and we’re super lucky to have boat neighbors with kiddos for Zephyr to play with.

Also happy to be ‘planted’ in a marina that we love, with a green grassy space to stretch our legs, great workshop, socially-distant-but-friendly-community, nice day-sailing opportunities (wishful thinking??), and frequent dolphin visitors!

Annnnd we just happen to have an extraordinarily long project-list that we weren’t sure we’d be able to really tackle this year… Staying put is giving us LOTS of opportunity to dig in. Our neighbors tease us that they’ve never seen anyone drill holes in their deck so happily 😉

The current biggie is the cabin top. Brio II leaks – like, a LOT – and has some deck rot. We knew this going in, so we’ve actually been pleasantly surprised to find that not ALL of the deck is rotten. Woohoo!

We pulled the headliner down (previous owner was a cigar aficionado, and we have the stained headliner to prove it), thinking that could be a relatively simple “improvement” to make.

That, of course, led to a closer examination of all the deck leaking… which led to stripping the cabin-top winches, cleats and jammers (we’re moving everything back to the cockpit anyways) and filling those holes, and then removing all the hatches (there are EIGHT hatches on this boat — 2 large, 6 small!) to replace the lexan and polish them up before we rebed…

But then once we had everything off, we started talking about how we plan to repaint the decks anyways (mostly due to the rotten deck repair which will be easier to fair and fix with new paint, but also to help beef up the very tired nonskid)…

So now we’re refurbing the little hatches, replacing the big ones, painting the decks, filling holes where old hardware was that we’re not putting back, removing and maybe replacing the handrails, attacking all the cabintop leaks we can possibly find… and – oh ya – replacing the headliner 😉

Once the cabin-top is done (painted & reinstalled!), we’ll tackle the side decks where the worst of the rot seems to be. We’re going to save the cockpit for last 🙂

This work happens in fits and starts, of course — interrupted constantly by dinghy explorations, potty training, income-generating-work-work, weather, and all that other general “life” stuff.

Zephyr’s birthday afternoon was a comical scene of pots and pans scattered around the inside of the boat, trying to catch all of the leaks from the *very intense* rainstorm. A deck full of holes is not great in a rainstorm 🙂

But we’re happy, we’re healthy, the air conditioning is running, and we’re kind of excited about what we might accomplish with a longer term stint of staying put… a dry boat is an alluring prospect!!


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