It took 8, 80 grit pads and 5, 120 grit pads and two hours to get the underside sanded smooth. It had been varnished, but I am going to try Sikkens Cetol as I despise, loath, love and hate varnish. I am, at times, so I’ve been told, a perfectionist and varnish bewilders me. I see no way of doing a perfect job on a sailboat while sailing… But, I can sand and brush a few coasts of this stuff onto a weathered hatch and live with it. But, I have to admit, it does look a little orange right now. Next weekend I am going to put a few coats of gloss over it and hope for the best, if it bothers me too much then I always have Plan B; rebuild it with white Starboard and never have to worry about wood again.
That’s my game plan for the forward hatch as its too weathered to refinish. It and the companionway hatch need to be rebuilt. The foredeck hatch will be 3/4″ Starboard with duel locks and some serious gaskets.
Actually, that is my backup plan for every piece of wood on this boat, except the toe rails as I might have those refinished in Ensenada when I start sea trials; it’s just 65 miles south of San Diego bay. For comparison, Catalina Harbor, where I love anchoring on long weekends, is almost 85 miles north by northwest.
As an FYI, when I did the top side later on, I scraped the varnish off instead of sanding it. It was the first time I ever used a Dremel, so I was experimenting a little…okay, playing. Scraping and sanding the top took a little over an hour as scraping is definitely the way to go in removing old varnish.
PS. This shot was actually taken awhile ago as the dream started to unfold, but you can catch a glimpse of the hatch’s “before” condition. I’ll update this post next weekend when I’m back at the boat with the “after” photos.