Day 143, Year 6 Bread, Granola, and Varnish
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Weather: Partly Cloudy with Rain Sprinkles; Wind E 10-15 knots
Location: Prickly Bay, Grenada

It was another of those high energy days on Windbird and the mix of bread, granola, and varnish made for interesting day. We were totally out of granola this morning and had to have eggs and toast for breakfast. But having the toast wiped out the last of the bread, so making granola and bread got moved to the top of the TO DO list. I can’t believe we still have 54 of the 90 eggs we bought in South Africa. So having eggs for breakfast was not a problem. The eggs are now two months old and have not been refrigerated. Eggs in South Africa were not kept in a cooler in the supermarkets, so after buying the room temperature eggs, I coated them with Crisco and then turned them every couple of days. They are still good but the yolks are not as firm as they once were. I should mention that I now use Crisco instead of Vaseline to coat eggs. I had always used Vaseline until I met Lynne on Constance. She pointed out that Vaseline is a petroleum product and not all that desirable as a food additive. I agreed and switched to Crisco and the eggs have kept just as long as they did with Vaseline, maybe even longer.

So tonight, Windbird has two of four large containers of granola baked and ready to eat and three loaves of bread. That should last Mark, Steve, and I at least a couple of weeks. But tomorrow I will try to get the other two large containers of granola baked anyway. This morning I had trouble getting the oven to light and soon realized that the LP tank was empty. Mark switched to the second tank and we will get this one filled before we leave here. A twenty pound tank of LP gas usually lasts us about three months, so if we leave here with two tanks full, we won’t need to fill up again until September when we are back in the USA. And I’m not even sure we can get our old tanks filled there without some adaptations, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I did about half of the remaining spring cleaning jobs and ended the day by varnishing the cockpit cap rail and the Dorade boxes. While I was baking, Mark did the sanding of the cap rail for me and then he went to shore and walked to Ace Hardware to buy the right kind of foam brushes that I use for varnishing. I bought a few foam brushed in South Africa but the foam looks like it will disintegrate easily, and that is not what you want to happen while varnishing. So Mark’s stainless cleaning got derailed today, but hopefully he can continue tomorrow.

This next part of this log is in answer to some questions asked by Rich Corbett who often posts on our blog. Rich has just bought a sailboat and his most recent questions have been about what to do about brightwork and stainless. Since that is what we are doing, I’ll kill two birds with one stone by answering Rich’s questions and explaining in detail the products we use. For cleaning stainless and cleaning rust stains on fiberglass we use Prism Polish which is a metal polish and fiberglass deoxidizer, so it cleans the stainless and the fiberglass at the same time. We first bought this at an Annapolis Boat Show, but it can be ordered online from www.mppros.com, and we swear by it as a stainless polish.
The question about how much teak you want to keep up with on a boat is a big one. When we left Boston, I had applied fifteen coats of varnish to our rubrail, our handrails, the Dorade boxes, and the cockpit cap rail. The amount of salt water that constantly abrades the rubrail made that impossible for me to keep up with, so the rubrail is now “natural” gray teak. The same is true of our handrails on the deck, but for different reasons. We constantly tie things down to the handrails, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with them. So they are also now “natural” gray teak. I targeted the Dorade boxes and the cockpit cap rail and things I could keep up with and at least once a year, and sometimes twice, I sand and apply three to five new coats of varnish to these pieces. We tried Cetol on our previous boat and didn’t care for the look, so for me it is either “au naturale” or varnish. And the varnish I use is Epifanes Clear High Gloss Varnish. If I were starting from raw wood, I would apply five coats of Epifanes Rapid Clear, and then go to the High Gloss Varnish. You do not have to sand between coats of Rapid Clear, but you do need to do a light hand sanding between coats of High Gloss Varnish. This varnish is incredibly tough.

I’ll end this log on a light note. I got an email from my sister-in-law Sue a couple of days ago that still has me chuckling. My friend Linda Stuart in Concord was a fifth grade teacher before becoming math coordinator for the school district. Linda is always saying “frickin this” and “frickin that”, so I know she’ll enjoy this joke. And just coming from A-frica, I enjoyed it as well.

A frickin Elephant: from the diary of a Pre-School Teacher
My five-year old students are learning to read. Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said, “Look at this! It’s a frickin’ elephant!” I took a deep breath, then asked…”What did you call it?” “It’s a frickin’ elephant! It says so on the picture!” And so it does…”A-f r i c a n Elephant. “

Day 144, Year 6 Happy St. Patrick's Day
Day 142, Year 6 Thinking of Michelle