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, April 13, 2013

Rain Delay #1

Anticipating showers and thunder storms, I got an early start on sanding the deck.  Dawn revealed an ominous sky.

Morning clouds over Sunset Island
In about two and a half hours of sanding I completed half the cabin trunk.  Then the sky opened up.

A good rinse after two and half hours of sanding.
What I accomplished looks good, but we definitely have another round of fairing in our future.  Most of the additional fairing is at the junction of the cabin trunk and the deck.    

Now I'm headed back to the shop to sand down the gallows cross piece in preparation for a final coat of Bristol Finish.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Juggling Projects and Watching the Weather

The stable weather of the last week has eroded over the past 48 hours.  While we have only had one thunderstorm roll through the outlook has slowed our progress on repainting the deck.  

Anne cleaning tools after adding fairing filler to the cabin top.
 We did complete adding fairing filler to areas on the cabin trunk this afternoon.  Weather permitting tomorrow we will unleash the sanders.  We hope to have the area ready for primer by Monday.

The gallows cross piece now 3 coats of epoxy & 6 coats of Bristol Finish applied.
I continue to build up the finish on the boom gallows cross piece and other bits of bright work.  I'm going for 3 coats of epoxy and 8 coats of bristol finish on the cross piece.  At my current pace it should be ready to re-install on Sunday.  

Six coats of finish and a shiny hinge doth a rejuvenated  table make.
I also completed refinishing our table and installed a new hinge.  

Progress, Progress, Progress...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Very Filling Day

Anne taping off areas to be filled.  I followed behind with thicken epoxy. 
Yesterday we teamed up to filled the areas ground out on the cabin trunk.  In the morning we applied epoxy thicken to the consistency of mayo to fill.  The day was warm, windy, and sunny so the epoxy cured quickly.  Late in the  afternoon I returned and used an orbital sander with 80 grit paper to fair out the epoxy.

C'est la Vie in leopard print/
What did I do with ilde hands at midday?   Brightwork of course....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

More holes to fill in the cabin trunk

The application of a second coat of epoxy to the gallows wooden crosspiece began the day.

Two coats of epoxy on the gallows.
My plan is to build up three coats of West Systems Epoxy to seal the wood and then add 6 to 8 coats of Bristol Finish for the UV Protection.

Anne joined me for an afternoon of finding and grinding out small voids in the cabin trunk.  These voids, primarily found in the fiberglass layer below the gelcoat, date back to the original construction and are caused by a failure to completely fill the mold with epoxy.  Fast forward 47 years and these voids, the largest the size of a small pea, are causing the ordinal blue gelcoat layer and the paint applied in 1997 to crack. 

Anne uses an awl to identify in mark voids.  I used the grinder to open them up.
Today we expose the voids.  Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will fill the voids with thicken epoxy.

The number of voids we discovered was surprising, but better to fix them now than be forced to go in after our new paint has dried.  Fortunately the vast majority of the voids are on areas to which we plan to apply Kiwi Grip Non-Skid. This will make the task of fairing the area much easier.

More images from this project can be found in - Painting Cabin Trunk - Spring 2013

Hope the weather holds...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Filling Holes in the Cabin Top (a.k.a. dig a hole then fill it up.)

Today was devoted to filling holes in the cabin top.  Most were small holes used for fastening the dodger, the turtle, and the handrails to the cabin.  

never realized the cabin roof had so many holes.
I drilled the partial depth holes out to 1/4" diameter.  Holes for fasteners that may receive great stress loads (i.e. dodger frame, turtle, and handrails) I expanded to 1/2" and drilled through to the interior of the boat. This will allow us to through bolt and install backing plates on critical hardware. 

the interior view . ready for epoxy
All this drilling made a horrible mess of both the interior and the topsides of C'est la Vie.  The shop vac and I teamed up to clear away fiberglass and wood core.  Next I sealed the interior holes with tape.  Using a syringe and thicken epoxy I filled all the holes.  After painting the topsides we will come back and redrill the holes for the hardware. Drilling through the over sized epoxy plug will prevent water from ever reaching the wooden core of the cabin top.

The other hole in the cabin top took a bit more effort to fill.

The broken and leaking hatch in the head must go.
C'est la Vie's small head hatch was added by her second owner.  The additional light and ventilation are beneficial.  A few years ago the hatch began to leak around the frame.  Last summer, while loading the dinghy on deck we broke the hinge on the hatch.  Now we have opted to replace the hatch with a Nicro 2000 Solar powered vent fan.

Fortunately the screws retreated easily from the deck and frame.  Unfortunately the hatch was bedded with 5200 and refused to let go.

the proper tools for removing 5200.
The 5200 succumb to a heat gun, a scraper, and a hammer.  I then sanded down the area to remove the remaining 5200 and created another giant mess inside the boat... shop vac to the rescue.

Using clear plastic sheeting I created a template for the outside dimensions (OD) and the inside dimensions (ID) of the opening.

creating templates for material to fill and cover the opening.
I plan to use sea teak for the exterior material. So the OD dimensions were transferred to the material. 

 the fan will rest upon sea teak on the topsides
Fortunately I have some scrap teak to use for the deck plug and interior material.   Fitting the teak plug took a few trips between the hole and the sander, but patience paid off in a snug fit.  

the teak plug will be visible from below decks.
When flush with the interior cabin ceiling the 3/4" thick teak plug did not fill the entire depth of the deck.  One layer of  3/8" Plascore brought the plug nearly flush with the deck.  I filled the remaining voids with thicken epoxy.

Now we await for the epoxy to cure.  Addition photos of this project are available in the photo album titled -  Solar Vent Fan Install - Spring 2013.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Stripped Down Into Full Project Mode

Today we stripped down the decks and cockpit area in preparation for two projects

C'est la Vie looking a bit naked with her deck hardware, turtle, dodger, gallows, and bimini gone.
The dodger, turtle, cabin handrails, and deck hardware succumb to the need to paint the cabin trunk.  Our plan is to refinish the cabin top and sides down to the non-skid on deck.  We will address the decks out to the toe rails and the cockpit later this year.   We created a photo album to document this project... Paint Cabin Trunk - Spring 2013 

turtle and trim off the cabin top
The more we can clear off the decks the easier the job and the better the finish.  Clearing deck fittings and hardware also gives us a good excuse to make some additional improvements - refinishing wood trim, replacing the broken head hatch with a solar vent, properly attaching the handrails with through bolts, and properly bedding every screw or bolt that enters the deck.

Meanwhile back in the cockpit, we removed the bimini and gallows crosspiece in preparation for installing two 80W solar panels.

test fitting the panels to figure out the best position.
The addition of a photo-voltaic (PV) system to C'est la Vie has long resided on our wish list.  Thanks to Ben V., an friend and co-worker who's previous profession was solar installations, for providing the expertise to jump start this project.  We ordered two Sunmodule 80W panels and a BlueSky Solar Boost 2000E charge controller from altE. The size of the panels was a compromise between energy production and mounting space.  I'm certain many cruisers are faced with the same delimia... want / need bigger panels, but lack suitable mounting options.

We created a photo album to document the PV project... Solar Power - Spring 2013

We will continue to add photos to the albums and updates here on the blog as our projects evolve.