Busy, busy! The Raiatea Carenage team worked hard on Sugar Shack. They had to complete the wash and wax of the hulls, before we start the bottom job. You may be thinking, what is a bottom job? It does not have anything to do with my buttocks or the head (“toilette”). It is what we call a new paint job on the bottom of the boat. This usually occurs every 2-2.5 years as it requires the boat to be hauled out and can be pretty darn expensive.
We wanted to get a full wash and wax before we started on the bottom job. So, two workers got started on washing the boat. They used a new compound that removes the “yellow” tint from the hull. Sweet! They apply it like paint using a roller on a long stick, then rinse it off with water. They do this process several times. These two workers could only do the starboard inside and outside hull and the inside of the port hull. Since we were doing fiberglass work on the outside of the port hull. The last side will get done as soon as the fiberglass work is complete.
After 4 hours they broke for lunch. When they returned it was time to start the waxing and polishing process. This is certainly something that Matt and I could do, but ugh we did not want to! It is a pain staking process standing on wood suspended on metal platforms. No thank you!
First, you apply a small amount of compound, then you use a buffer to apply it. After a short period, you circle back and buff it off. Basically, you touch every part of the boat at least 3 or 4 times with the buffer.
The first photo shows a before and after. The 3rd photo shows Noel standing on a barrel on a piece of wood on the platform.
While we were negotiating the scope of work for our haul out we discussed the price of bottom paint. In the U.S. you can buy Sea hawk Island 44+ for about $280 per gal. We knew it would be more expensive here because it is French Polynesia and they have to import and ship it here. But, we did not expect it to be 2 or 3 times as expensive.
The yard said they offered two kinds of Island 44, we wanted the “plus.” Dominique, the owner, asked me, “did you see the price and notice it is more expensive?” I replied, yes, but that is what my husband wants. Fast forward to the next quote where we discovered one gallon of paint was 92157xpf ($927) per can! Holy $hit! I called and asked if it was a mistake and he said no, remember I asked you about the cost. What did I do – I must have converted it wrong originally but I had no idea. I asked them to hold off ordering the paint.
Ocean 2000 in Tahiti sells this same paint. So, I contacted them and they had 6 cans in stock! Great, how much is it? They sold it for 70890xpf ($708) per can. However, if I bought 6 cans they would give it to me for 20% off at 56712 ($567). Well that is much better than $927 per can! but still almost 50% more than in the U.S..
After we paid for the paint, Ocean 2000 put it on the next ship to Raiatea for a whopping 2500xpf ($25) shipment cost. We arrived to the yard with our paint waiting for us – a savings of almost $2200. Phew.
The good news was that the yard did not care. We thought there may be repercussions with us bringing in our own paint but they just wanted us to be happy with the paint of our choice. They even picked up the paint from the supply ship for us as we were not here when it arrived. Everyone’s happy.
Sugar Shack gets a new skirt!
Sugar Shack got a high pressure wash immediately after being hauled out. This removes soft growth, hard growth, barnacles (if we had any which we did not), excess ablative paint, dirt, grime, and most anything. It is the first step in getting a new bottom job.
Matt and I try to change the color of the bottom paint each time we have the work done. One, it is like changing your dress and gives you a whole new look. Yes, I am a girl and I just wrote that! But more importantly it allows us to know how much ablative paint has come off and what layer we are on. In other words, it tells us when to get a new bottom job.
In Costa Rica we had them apply a dark blue paint. However, the first coat was more of a light blue and I flipped a gasket. They said, not to worry, we will apply the proper color on the 2nd coat. Ugh, not what we wanted. Within 6 months Sugar Shack was sporting two colors on the bottom (dark blue and light blue). Not sure if the paint was bad or watered down or if the water we were in just sucked the paint off.
Another 6 months later and we were seeing dark blue, light blue, and red. Another 6 months later and we were seeing another dark blue and then the turquoise. Ugh. We had to wait to do the bottom job until we got to the Society Islands (where the yards are located). Fast forward to today and the psychedelia bottom job we’ve been sporting around town.
Putting on her skirt – painting begins
The team offered to come in on a Saturday, their day off! Imagine the type of leadership it possess to have your employees offer to come in on a Saturday to get caught up in the work!
2nd and 3rd Layer of Paint
We bought a little too much paint. Sort of a bummer as it is really expensive, but it just means a few extra layers on the boat. In between coats, Noel lightly sands the hulls to ensure a good stick for the next layer.
The before and after are amazing.
She looks lovely
And she got new shoes to go with her new dress (special paint for the props)
There are at least a half dozen pieces of machinery in the yard. Several fork lifts, the large travel lift, the travel trailer, and more. It is amazing to see the team maneuver around the yard with this large machinery. It takes patience, expertise, and precision.
For example, the large travel lift has to maneuver between the monohull, its stands, and our boat to get close enough to this small boat to move it. Look closely and you can see the driver and its cage is actually between our hulls! Nothing scratched or moved. Precision!
Raiatea Carenage Leadership
Dominque is a true leader, not just a boss. He instills a sense of passion, dedication, respect, and love of boats in all of his workers. He does everything that he asks his workers to do – everything. We saw him driving the fork lift, trailer lift, platform lift. We saw him showing his workers how to polish, paint, and work the fiberglass. He has his hands in everything.
Matt and I bought a case of beer for the workers who came in on Saturday to work on Sugar Shack.
The events of this blog post occurred on 15-22 September 2020. The blog post are 4-6 weeks behind our adventures.