C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The slippery slope continues...

The slide into more painting projects continued today as we expanded the locker painting to include the portside salon bench and lockers.  No doubt they need the attention...
Upon attempting to sand the lids to the lockers we discovered the plywood was cracked, so two new lids coming right up.
 We did progress from the prep to the priming stage with Anne doing her time in the lockers.

Greg from Paradise Welding spent the morning completing the polishing work on the gallows.  He does an amazing job and the welds are not visible.
Can you all find Anne hidden in the image above?

Greg also dropped off the tubing arch for the bimini project.  We have decided to go with building a hard bimini ourselves and are awaiting the arrival of some fittings for constructing the frame.  Once we have the fittings in-hand the bimini construction should move quickly.  

Friday, June 4, 2010

A slippery slope...

With the generator box and the boom gallows completed, we are now waiting on tubing and mounting hardware so we can move forward on creating the frame for the bimini.  The lull in projects gave us time to address some lower priority needs... wiring the new tiller pilot and replacing the accumulator tank on the pressure water system.  Both of these project required that we remove all the items stored in the port and starboard cockpit lockers.  With all the lines, blocks, buckets, cushions, PFDs, etc. removed the lockers are large enough for us to crawl inside...
Once inside I was appalled by the amount of dirt, mold, and flaking paint.  My guess is the paint in the lockers and on the bulkheads is the original coat from 1966.

As is the norm with boat projects initiating a minor project becomes a slippery slope.  Using the paint left over from Anne painting the quaterberth area in May, we now plan to paint the inside of both lockers.  Let the sanding begin.
We anticipated sanding would generate a cloud of noxious dust and stream of paint chips so we taped up all the openings to the bilge and cabin area.  I also donned the protective gear.  About four hours of sanding per locker over a two day period and the area is now ready for painting.
We hope that this project does not delay our departure - yes we are still planning on spending the summer traveling aboard.  Waiting on contractors for components of the gallows and bimini project continues to push back our departure date. Greg from Paradise Welding is scheduled complete the polishing of the new welds on the stern rails and deliver the tubing for the bimini tomorrow.  Due to delays with the canvas shop we are now exploring the possibility of making our own hard top for the bimini rather than continue to sit at the mercy of someone else's schedule.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hanging the gallows

We hung the gallows today!
The act of hanging the gallows, drilling the final four bolt holes and tightening down the bolts, was not a challenging task.  The satisfaction of installing the finished product and nearing the completion of a project started two months ago is a feeling to be relished.
Note in the image above the stern rails originally ended at stanchion (vertical post) that slopes aft.  We added the forward section as bracing for the gallows.  This has the added benefit of providing more security in the cockpit and a great backrest when sitting atop the cockpit combing. There are still lingering aspects of project - polish the new welds and possibly purchase/create some leather covers for the cradle sections of the gallows.

In the images above and below the dodger is missing since we are continuing to refinish the wood on deck. 

To me the gallows looks much larger with the dodger absent.  We did complete all the brightwork this afternoon and plan to reinstall the dodger tomorrow.  I'll post a set of pre  & post gallows images once the dodger returns to the picture.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Completion of the generator storgage box!

The threat of rains deterred us from applying the final coat of finish to the exterior wood.  So what to do when the rains threaten?
Cleaning day, of course.   Anne tackled cleaning the dodger and other sumbrella items from C'est la Vie while I unfolded our Porta-boat dinghy, Origami, which has been stored under the lodge for the last 8 months, and began the cleaning. 

Adding gasket material to the lid...
and buckles to the box were the final two steps in completing the generator storage box.  Here is the finished product...
I've contemplated various methods of testing the airtight seal...  place a lit candle in the box and see if it runs out of oxygen or place a bowl of ammonia and sniff test.  Any other ideas out there?  The lid does fit tight enough to form suction on the box (i.e. I can pick the box up with the suction from the lid.)  This brings up another concern... if the box is truly airtight, then if we seal it up during a low pressure system and then move to high pressure will the lid become stuck?  Hmm.  I will take it as a compliment to my fabrication if we actually face this issue. 

There is a link on the right to a photo album of the construction process of the box. This is my first fiberglass project where I fabricated an original design.  All my previous projects have been repairs to existing creations.  While I am pleased with the finished product, I am also amazed at the time involved.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

6 coats in under 12 hours

With all the prep work completed yesterday, Anne and I were able to jump directly into applying Bristol Finish to the brightwork on C'est la Vie.  Anne took on the taping...
 while I began to mix and apply the two part finish.  We also rigged a sun  tarp over the majority of the brightwork to keep the surfaces from becoming too hot.

We've realized much better results, less issues with bubbles, if we can keep the surface in the shade/cool.  With the tape and tarp in place it then became a game of pacing and timing to continue to add wet on wet layers of the finish.  We did get very lucky with the weather.  In the image above note the passing shower in the upper, left corner. By days end we had applied six coats of finish with enough time remaining to avoid losing luster to the evening dew.
  We plan to come back to the larger surfaces (i.e. the companion way cover above) and apply a final topcoat after another round of sanding.