Our Anchoring Platform Refurbishing

Storm season is only a few months away so consideration needs to be given for what projects take priority. One important one not yet completed is the anchoring system, so that has become number one on our list. Early on. the windlass was mounted on the anchor platform but that was as far as it went and no electrical has been connected nor the new anchor rode and anchor installed. As with other projects, this one needs to start from scratch and get the entire system done right the first time so we won't have to redo it or make any repairs any time in the near future. The platform that holds the windlass and the anchor roller is teak and in the same condition as the rest of the teak on the boat. Under that platform is another that is grated and gives us working space and a stowage area for lines and fenders and whatever. It all needs some serious reconditioning and we gave a lot of thought as to how and what we wanted to use to refinish the whole area. It is really not practical to redo the area with Cetol since it will get a lot of use and abuse raising and lowering the anchor not to mention cleaning the rode constantly with the wash down system. Once again we used what worked on our previous boat and decided that the area would benefit from a good painting. Our paint of choice is AwlGrip.




Careful attention also needs to be paid to the surrounding areas, so taping and covering with a good painters paper to protect it is important. After all of the hardware and the windlass was removed, all of the wood was thoroughly sanded with a 120 grit sand paper to get the old deck stain that had been used on it off and the surfaced smooth enough for the primer and paint. This did require removal of a lot of wood but was necessary to get the finish we wanted. In addition I felt the platform itself that would hold the windlass and anchor roller needed some reinforcing to beef it up and give everything a better support for the stresses that might be put on it under severe anchoring situations. A piece of teak plywood about 3/4 inch thick was cut to the same shape as the platform, except about 1/2 inch smaller all around. All of the wood surfaces were saturated with CPES (a penetrating epoxy sealer), including the new reinforcement piece, and allowed to dry for 48 hours. Next the reinforcement plywood was covered with a thickened West System Epoxy and screwed to the underside of the windlass platform. By gluing and screwing the two pieces together the strength was improved considerably. Once the epoxy had time to set, everything was sanded with 220 grit sand paper in preparation for the first coats of primer.

AwlGrip 545 primer is a two part primer with a thinner that can be applied by brush, roller, or spray, and can be used above or below the water line. Spraying is not an option so we would be applying this using a roller and foam brushes. The 545 is mixed equal parts, or 1 to 1, of the primer and its converter. A brushing thinner is added at about 1/4 part, to help with the flow when applied this way and increase the open time more than if spraying. After all three parts are combined the mixture needs to be stirred thoroughly and allowed to set for about 20 minutes to "cook" in the container before applying. The primer can be applied by brush or roller and if done by roller, an epoxy roller works best. Many folks roll the primer on and tip it with a brush or foam brush. I have developed a technique that allows the primer, and the paint too, to be rolled on without tipping. It requires that I continue to roll until the bubbles are gone and the primer begins to show a slight alligator texture. At that point I stop rolling and move on. It takes a bit of practice to find the point at which you quit rolling and move on without stopping too soon and wind up with bubbles or continue too long and cause the roller to lift too much primer off the surface. Any areas that the roller can't cover is reached with a foam brush, which I prefer over a brush. I usually carry a few foam brushes in my pocket since the epoxy in the primer and paint breaks down the foam after a while. So i just toss them when they reach that point and start with a fresh one. The surface gets three coats of primer allowing 24 hours between coats and sanding with 220 grit. The surface is blown off with air, wiped down with a tack cloth and a thorough wipe down with AwlPrep before each new coat. Once the final coat has had time to dry, attention is given to a more finished sanding to insure a good smooth finish to apply the topcoat paint.

For the final finish we decided on AwlGrip Sable Tan to keep from showing so much of the dirt and mud that would come up with the anchor rode. In addition the dark color would accent the adjoining teak and tan decks as well as speed the drying process in the sun. This will also require 3 coats with 24 hours and a good sanding with 220 grit between coats. The topcoat is mixed 2 parts topcoat to 1 part Cat3 converter and 0 to 1/4 part brushing thinner. This mixture also needs to sit and "cook" for about 20 minutes before applying. To put on the topcoat I also use a roller, but for this a different type is needed. The only roller I have been successful with is the white foam rollers that look kind of like a small hot dog. It is about 4 inches long and slides on a roller handle that is no more than a thin shaft. The technique to get a smooth finish is to keep the paint on the roller light, don't load up too much, and roll out as much as you can while continuously moving the roller until the bubbles stop and you get that alligator texture to the paint. You have to continue to move on the space since if you overlap as the AwlGrip begins to set, you will see the overlaps. Don't worry about the alligatoring since the AwlGrip will actually tighten up as it dries and the texture will go away. After each coat, the sanding process should make the surface smoother and smoother. The AwlGrip instructions call for a 300 grit sandpaper but I have had better luck with adhesion using the 220 grit. The finished product looks great and we have been told by professionals that it is almost impossible to tell it was not sprayed. After the last coat has had sufficient time to thoroughly dry, all of the bits and pieces should be bedded as needed and carefully reinstalled. The final installation will be the windlass, but that is for another posting.

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