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Restoring Companion Way Hatch On Sailboat

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NBF
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Restoring Companion Way Hatch On Sailboat

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Revitalising a 40-Year-Old Boat: A Summer Restoration Journey

The summer of 2021 on the North Broads has proven to be a challenging endeavour, contrary to the anticipated fantastic weather as June approaches. Instead of basking in the sunshine, the weather has been characterised by incessant rain and storms, hindering any outdoor projects. Despite the setbacks, we seized the opportunity to embark on a restoration project, focusing on the CompanionWay hatch of our 40-year-old boat.

Assessing the State of the Hatch

Our initial inspection revealed the aged wood of the hatch, prompting a closer examination to determine salvageable sections. Given the boat's four-decade history, it appeared that the wood had weathered beyond repair. Realistically, attempting to salvage it seemed futile. The decision was made to strip away the worn plywood, opting for a complete replacement.

Crafting a New Beginning

Simultaneously, the inclement weather provided an ideal window to introduce insulation into the boat, ensuring comfort during both summer and winter. Working with wood is a source of immense satisfaction, and the restoration process involves meticulous sanding and varnishing. The old piece, surprisingly durable, had withstood the test of time but needed to make way for a fresh start.

Insulation and Repurposed Materials

Choosing spray foam insulation was a deliberate decision due to its versatility and efficiency. Its ability to fill every nook and cranny ensures optimal insulation. With the insulation task accomplished, attention turned to crafting a new plywood piece. Embracing sustainability, we utilised repurposed wood sourced from another boatyard. Waste not, want not – a philosophy that aligns with our commitment to environmental responsibility.

Sealing Cracks and Sanding

To ensure a seamless finish, a filler was applied along the cracks, effectively sealing them. After allowing it to dry, a thorough sanding prepared the surface for the next steps. The repurposed wood, now in place, was ready for the application of yacht varnish. Epoxy, the preferred choice, was unavailable, but regular yacht varnish, coupled with meticulous sanding, promised a satisfactory outcome.

The Art of Varnishing

The varnishing process began with a 50/50 mix, allowing the varnish to penetrate the wood. Layer after layer was meticulously applied, enhancing the sheen until a glossy finish emerged. The proverbial acetone played a crucial role in upgrading the top coat, ensuring a durable and aesthetically pleasing result.

Repurposing for a Sustainable Future

In conclusion, this restoration project serves as a testament to the art of repurposing and revitalising old pieces of wood. It embodies a commitment to sustainability, utilising existing materials and minimising waste. As the hatch is reintegrated into the boat, we celebrate not just the restoration of a functional component but also the revival of a piece of maritime history.
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