Painting the Nonskid

Built in 1980, the scars and repairs from 38 years of use were scattered all over Trini’s deck.  Old hardware, like snap buttons and common-sense fasteners were broken and rusty.  When we washed the decks, a white milky water would float around the boat.

Trini needed new paint.

We asked a couple of freelance boat painters/maintenance professionals that could do the work on our dock, they quoted us around $5,000.  Cheap compared to local boat yards but still too much for our budget.

After months of putting off this project and debating which paint to use, we started to hear good things about Kiwi Grip.   Its a popular nonskid paint with cruisers and a few boat owners  on our dock had used it.   We heard it was easy to apply and they liked how their decks turned out.



Now that we decided on the paint, we had no more excuses.

The can of paint comes with a stippled roller that creates the texture on the non-skid.  When you open the can you will immediately notice the consistency is like pudding.

To paint we gathered the following items

  • 4″ roller
  • Not shown  but we used a 9″ roller and put two of the small rollers on it for large areas
  • tape – tape around non-skid
  • exacto knife – trim tape
  • wire brush – rough up surface
  • trowel –  spread paint
  • cardboard box –  for the pealed off tape

We used a 2.5 gallon bucket to mix the tint into the paint.  The white was too white, this is why we decided to have it tinted.

Here’s the gist of what we did.

  1. Wash surface area.
  2. Tape off area and hardware, hand rails, etc.
  3. Rough up surface with wire brush (avoid tape).
  4. Wipe area down with acetone.
  5. Scoop paint out with cup & trowel over surface.
  6. Follow up with roller to add texture.
  7. Take off tape within minutes after rolling the texture.

You can find a step-by-step video from PYI Inc and additional painting tips.


Applying the paint was easy but we had to work fast in the warm weather.  The captain would apply the paint and roll on the texture.  I would follow behind and pull the tape.

One tip, don’t leave the tape on too long.  The paint can quickly dry to the tape and you can end up tearing off the paint with the tape.  You end up leaving a jagged edge instead of a smooth line.

We worked on this project over many weekends, painting sections at a time starting at the stern and working our way forward.  The most time consuming task on the project was taping.


Now we have a skid free deck.


Happy Sailing!

From the painting Boat Wife.

A Quick Haul-Out

Trini’s bottom was dirty.  She had a furry algae growing around the water line.  It was three years ago we pulled her out for a paint job, so it was time to give her a new bottom.

First we had to find a boat yard that would let us do our own work.  The only place in the Clear Lake area that didn’t require us to hire their staff to work on our boat was Starship Marina.

We save money, doing our own work since the going rate to hire skilled workers is around $75-$100 per hour.  Plus if something isn’t done right, we can only blame ourselves.

Even without paying for labor, the cost for a haul-out can add up.  For the haul-out, it’s $10 per foot plus $2 per foot to pressure wash the hull.  It also includes the yard blocking up the boat and placing a tarp under the vessel.  Then another $0.85 per foot for the daily yard rate.  This is a bargain considering the yard is located next to our marina and the only other yard we could do our own work in was Pier-77, located in Galveston, a day sail away.

Then there is the cost of the supplies.  Like the anti-fouling paint, a Regatta Red with 45% copper content.  It costs $125 per gallon.  We purchased 4 gallons for two coats on the hull.  We had just enough to do the job.

Other supplies to factor in…

  • Sand Paper
  • Plastic to tent the hull when sanding
  • Buffing Compound & Wax
  • Plus our hotel stay

Planning on two full days in the yard to sand and paint, we arranged to have her hauled out at 8:45 am on a Thursday and drop her back in the water on Saturday morning.  Hopefully we would have time to buff and wax the sides and stern.

Once Trini was on the slings, we knew the bottom paint we applied 3 years before had held up well.

There was barnacle build up on the rudder.

Barnacles on the prop.


And in some areas, a little black slim that was removed with the pressure washer.

The zinc on our propeller shaft, one we replaced right before Hurricane Harvey less than 3 months ago, was shot.


It was three hours, for two people to prep the boat and sand the 42′ hull.

Covered in toxic red dust after sanding the bottom we decided to paint the next day.


After a few hours of painting…

Trini had a new bottom.

And with a little help from a couple of guys in the yard (paid them 100 bucks) we got the sides buffed and waxed.

To see the improvements we made, here’s the Before Photo

And the After Photo

And That’s a Quick Haul-Out.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

First Mate, Kelly


Captain’s Trash to Treasure – Deck Chairs

The Captain found two chairs in the marina’s dumpster.  He showed me his find.  Torn and sun faded, they were in bad shape and something I wouldn’t sit on.


But the Captain saw the value in the chairs.  With closed cell foam cushions and aluminum frame, he claimed they were sturdy, comfortable and brand-new chairs would cost over $200 each.

His suggestion was to recover them.

Like many of his dumpster finds, they ended up in our storage unit for 6 months. Just enough time to get up the courage to tackle a new project, our first-time upholstering (anything).

After buying the marine grade vinyl from JoAnn’s Fabrics, the Hide-Em trim and thread from Sail-Rite, and running out to buy the air-pressured staple gun from Harbor Freight (once realizing the hand-stapler wasn’t as effective going through the hard plastic backing on the chairs), we were prepared to begin.

Below are the steps we took for this project.

Remove all the old vinyl and rusty staples.










The cover is off the cushion


Stich rip the seams of the old vinyl to use as patterns.


Pattern for the arm rest


Sew the cover.


Place the new cover on top of the cushion.


Pull cover tight over the cushion and staple.


The cushion is fully covered but still shows ugly staples.


Take the Hide-Em.


And staple it over the seams.


And Voila! One recovered arm-rest.


Now we just need to finish the other arm rest, the bottom and back cushion.  Then repeat all steps for the other chair.

In real-time it was two weekends with several coffee and wine (whine) breaks for the first mate.

As you can see a big improvement.  Now we just need to find the time to sit and relax.

Fair Winds from the First Mate!

The Magic of Paint

Our engine, like all good engines, starts.  That’s a desirable trait in an engine. It also doesn’t spew out black smoke and has a consistent chugging tone when in idle.  But if you were to look at our iron-genny (sailor’s term for engine) you’d think she was a relic from WWII.

Ford-Lehman circa 1980

Opening up the engine room doors one would find thin coats of brown corrosion encrusted on the surface.  Not yet a ball of rust, it soon would be if the Captain didn’t save it with a cosmetic intervention.

See the rust dust!

Wiping down the engine, scraping off the years of belt dust & rust left the Captain blacked from his efforts.  But like a movie star who’s lost their luster, a bit of rouge (can of spray paint) can brighten any dull surface.

Making her glow

The overall effect is an engine that looks good as well as runs good.

Two Days of Prep & Two Cans of Spray Paint

Not only did our Ford-Lehman get a new coat of paint.  The handy Captain replaced the fuel lift pump, gaskets, air filter and radiator cap.

So if paint can make an old engine look this good, maybe there is some hope for an old Boat Wife….think spray-on-tan.

Fair Winds


Cockpit Teak Tearout

Trini still has a few leaks to work on. Our project this week was to tackle the old teak in the cockpit.  In hard rain, water would drip down into our engine room and sea locker.



We had two options to fix this.
Option One:  Replace the old teak with new.  Not only is it  labor intensive and an expensive option, we would need to varnish the teak and maintain it annually.

Option Two: Pull up the teak, seal up the holes with epoxy then prime and paint where the teak once was.  Little to no maintenance afterward.

We picked option two.

Pulling up the teak
Pulling Up the Teak
Finding a Healthy Layer of Mud Under It


Once the teak was up and the benches cleaned, Capt. Kelly sealed each hole with epoxy to keep the rain out.  There were a lot of holes to seal.



After two coats of primer and a coat of sanded paint. (The sand is to prevent slipping when standing on the seats.)  The cockpit was ready to go.  So we took our friends, visiting from Phoenix, Kathy & Scott for a sail in Galveston Bay.

One item we will add are cockpit cushions to make it a more comfy ride.

Kathy & Capt. Kelly enjoying the cockpit
Scott enjoying the bow

Sailing Happy!

The Boat Wife

Kathy & the Boat Wife (Kelly)


Sexy Handrails

What is so sexy about handrails?  Nothing…unless you have newly varnished handrails that don’t leak.  Now that’s sexy!

Handrails won’t be in a 40 shades of gray setting (unless they also have straps).  But if your gal is a Boat Wife, (like me) she knows that handrails are sexy because they can keep her safe and it’s something to hold onto while sailing.  How sexy is that?  Sailing in Safety!


Handrails can be found inside the cabin and on deck.  A couple of our handrails on the deck would leak (during sultry thunder storms) into the interior.  One of the leaks happened to be over the Captain’s side of the bunk.

This fix went to the top of the list.

Our deck handrail leaked and needed to be sanded and varnished
Our deck handrail leaked and needed to be sanded and varnished


After taking the rails off the deck, Capt. Kelly sanded them down.  He applied several coats of varnish…about six coats.


Sanded and cleaned. Now ready for varnish.


After prepping the rails, we were ready to install them.  Capt. was on top putting down the bedding compound and the trusty Boat Wife was below to tighten the bolts.


Preparing the surface for the handrail



Installed, the rails look new.


Deck handrail screwed into the bottom handrail


Bottom Handrail. The one that leaked.


The fix worked!  After the first shower, there wasn’t a leak and there hasn’t been one since.



Now the handrails are doing the job they are meant to do.  Isn’t that Sexy!

Fair Winds!

Boat Wife


Weeks of Leak – Part 3 (The Finale)


Last week in our Weeks of Leaks – Part 2 project, we just needed to paint our final coat on the cap rail.  Which we did.  See the Before and After photos below.


Before - Gray & Weathered Cap Rail
Before – Gray & Weathered Cap Rail
After - Bright White Cap Rail
After – Bright White Cap Rail


Now that the front half of the port side is complete, we started on the aft port side.  This should be finished by the weekend.  Then in the coming weeks we’ll tackle the rest of the boat.


Finishing up the port side
Finishing up the port side

As Boat Wife of this vessel, let me tell you how tired I am of this project.  So next week I am going to start adding a new topic called Around Here.

I got the idea from my sister Nancy in Minnesota.  She has a crafting site & sells hand made cards called Goshery (Check it out, it’s a fun blog) where she highlights the events and happenings in the town we grew up in.  I never new it could be such a fun place until I started reading her blog.

Next week I’ll introduce to you MudBugs!

Until then Fair Winds,

Kelly (Boat Wife)


Thankful for Refrigeration

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my new refrigerator.  Our 34 year old cold plate system had died.  So for over a month I’ve been storing our food in the icebox located in our cockpit, replenishing the ice every other day.

It would be neat if a small refrigerator like one you would find in a dorm could replace the old system but a boat refer is not the same as one in a house.  The system we purchased works off of 12 volts so when we are off the grid it won’t take a lot of energy to run.  Also a sailboat refer doesn’t have a door but more like a hatch on a counter top. One reason for the hatch is the food won’t spill out when the boat is heeled over.

Trini, our 42′ foot Whitby Ketch, had a box for a freezer and refer.  Pictured below, I am in the refer part and next to me is the old freezer.  It’s a vast space that I decided would be better used as dry storage and the freezer, a bit smaller, would work well as the refer.

I can fit in the old refer!

The refer installation took over 7 days.

First we gutted out the old cold plates and compressor.  Dirty, heavy work.

Kelly in engine room over the compressor. Took two of us to pull it out.
Cold plates in the old freezer box- one on each side
Another picture of the cold plates

Then Kelly took out the rusty automatic shutters.  This device allowed cold air to flow from the freezer compartment to the refer.


Pulling out the parts and installing the new ones was not an easy task.

Hard to reach the bottom of the refer


Then we lined the old freezer with 1/2 inch foam and allowed to dry for a day.



Next we lined the wall with recycled plastic panels.  We sized the panels and adhered with adhesive and caulked the seams.  After a day of drying we added the condenser.

???????????????????????????????The compressor installation was next.  In the engine room, Kelly was able to hand the new smaller compressor himself.  We hooked up the copper refrigeration lines, ran the power lines and installed the thermostat.

???????????????????????????????The hatch on the old freezer needed some new seals.  The old gray seals had rusty nails securing it.


We also taped off the opening so we could paint it off white in order to get rid of the rusty stains.



Picture of our work space.


We had to resize our plexiglass shelves and install them.

Plexiglass Shelves
Plexiglass Shelves

Below is the refer with two levels of shelves. We turned it on and it worked.  I can even make ice!


I went shopping and filled it up.  Since there are two levels, I have to pull some items off the top shelf to access the bottom shelf.  A bit of a hassle, but this is boat refrigeration.

??????????????????????????????? This new refer cost around $1500 and doesn’t even have a stainless steel facade.  But I am a happy boat wife who is also thankful for a husband that can install refrigeration.

Happy Thanksgiving!